Long time no blog. I have a WIP (that’s work in progress) novel that I am working on. It’s about a woman searching for her soul mate–its chick lit with some steampunk and erotica thrown in just for fun. I’m on chapter 4, so who knows when I will finish.
In the meantime, I wrote a short story for the annual Beatnik Cafe that my writers group hosts every December. For those of you that can’t get to the reading in Beavercreek, here it is for your enjoyment.
Up On a Rooftop in California
“Tiffany” Mike yelled, trying to get his wife’s attention. The crazy woman had him up on the roof in eighty degree heat, setting up a Santa sled near the chimney. It never felt quite right to be putting up Christmas decorations in the middle of a heat wave, but after twenty years, he expected to sweat off five pounds the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Mike liked Christmas, mostly because Tiffany and the boys enjoyed the holiday. But now that the boys were teenagers, holiday vacation was about sleeping in and playing travel ball and hanging out with their girlfriends, not decorating the house with their mother.
Tiffany finished wrapping the palm tree trunk with green lights. She looked up and saw Mike waving her down. “Honey, you want to come up and make sure this sled is right? I think something is wrong, but I can’t figure it out.”
Mike heard Tiffany sigh and could have sworn he heard the word idiot. She’s the perfectionist; she can get up here and figure out the damn sled. Mike watched Tiffany reach the top of the ladder, step onto the roof, and promptly kick the ladder off the side of the house.
Mike ran his hand over his face and through his hair. “Seriously woman, after all these years you still can’t climb a ladder without pushing it away from the house?”
“I’m a freaking dental hygienist, not one of those property managers that climb up ladders in front of you so you can check out their bottoms. And you are the one that wanted me up here.”
“Yeah, so you could check out your beloved Santa sleigh. I wouldn’t want it to be misangled by five degrees. The reindeer might miss the hookup and end up in the swimming pool.”
Tiffany glanced at the sleigh and Mike knew immediately he had it screwed up. The project manager in him had to make the sleigh look like it realistically landed, centered and balanced across the roof. “It’s supposed to lean to the left of the chimney.”
Mike looked at her and sighed. He wanted to tell her that Santa is subject to the laws of gravity, but it wasn’t worth it. Getting off the roof will be enough of a fight. He took the sleigh, moved it to the left, and tightened the securing band. “Better?”
“Much, thank you. At least this isn’t as bad as the first time you put up the sleigh.”
He couldn’t believe she wanted to bring that up. “It’s pretty tough to top me putting my foot through the roof, but you may have done it this time. You want to get on your phone and call one of the boys to put the ladder back up?”
Tiffany reached around to the back pocket of her shorts. No phone. She moved her left hand to reach the other pocket. No phone. And then she looked at the palm tree. Sitting next to the empty light spool was her cell phone. “I left it by the tree so it wouldn’t fall off the roof. And the boys took Maddie and Emily to see the new Bond film.”
Mike heard a car and looked down, hoping it was the boys. But it was Ben and Kathy, the next door neighbors. Mike waved them down so they could help with the ladder. But the Johns didn’t understand the issue and thought Mike was just being friendly. They tapped on their horn, smiled and waved, leaving for destinations unknown.
Tiffany had sat down near the top of the roof, and had taken off her t-shirt, revealing a navy blue sports bra. Mike came over and sat down next to her. From this angle, he could watch the palm trees swaying in the slight breeze and could make out the ocean in the distance. “Well, what do you suggest we do now?”
“One of us could jump off the roof. It’s only a two-story fall.” Tiffany looked at him as if he should think this was a good idea.
“If by one of us jumping you mean me, you can think again. I have the bum knee, and besides, you have the medical marijuana license. If anyone needs to risk injury it should be you.” Mike was in no mood to play Tiffany’s hero, and the heat was only making it worse. But he had an idea. “How about if I pull the lights off the roof line, and you use them to lower yourself down the side of the house?”
Tiffany glared. “Do you really think I could manage that without kicking in a window? And I doubt it would support my weight.”
So she had gained 30 pounds. He couldn’t have cared less. She always looked good to him, even when she pulled her hair in a ponytail, washed the makeup off her face, and climbed into bed wearing a nightgown that left everything to the imagination. Mike took off his t-shirt to wipe the sweat off his face. When he finished, he noticed that Tiffany was staring at him.
“What? Am I burning? I swear I put on SPF 100 before I came out.”
“No, you are fine. I was just watching you take off your shirt and remembered the time we went skinny dipping at the cabin.” She smiled.
He remembered too. Tiffany had won tickets to a mountain retreat. The girls in her office had some system for winning radio prizes, and it was Tiffany’s turn to keep the gift when they won the weekend getaway for two. Tiffany’s mom even volunteered to keep the boys. And Mike had convinced Tiffany to get in the hot tub naked–it will be faster and easier to dry off. It was a lot faster and easier to do everything without swimsuits. Up until the maintenance man showed up because he waited until after hours to add the chemical treatment. Tiffany was not happy about having to get out of the hot tub in front of two men, but it had been a lovely sight.
Mike smiled and put his shirt on and kissed Tiffany on the forehead. “Okay, for you, I will jump. Even if I take out my bum knee. Want to help me figure out the best place to jump?”
They looked around. Definitely not into the back yard–too far to the pool, which was surrounded by decorative rocks and concrete. The side yard? It was bad enough having to jump, but into the dog’s bathroom? Nope, it would have to be the front yard. Nice and grassy, but with the downhill slope, Mike was a little concerned about rolling into the street.
“Well, here goes nothing.” Mike took a deep breath and reminded himself that it was only two stories and it wouldn’t be that bad.
“No, Mike don’t jump!” Tiffany’s shrill scream nearly pushed him off the roof.
“Okay woman, I thought this is what you wanted. What’s the problem now?”
“No problem. Look!” She pointed down the street. And sure enough, the black SUV had turned the corner. Chris and Mick were on their way home and were promptly treated like rescuing heroes by their mother. Mike couldn’t believe that Tiffany was treating them like princes when he was the one ready to risk bodily injury for her. At least no one had to jump.