Saturday, July 30, 2016

Kimberly's Writing Challenge: Route 23.

My dear friend and fellow Vanity Club sister Kimberly Moore challenged me to write a story.  I always love a writing challenge!

So the topic she gave me was this:

Write a story about 4 unrelated people in cars and how their separate lives intertwine...but not in a car wreck.

500 words or more.

And I get to challenge her back.

If anyone else wants to do a writing challenge, I love doing them.  I do them with my dear friend Kim Hufford occasionally (though she hasn't finished the last one yet!  *GLARES*)

In any case, here's my 893 word story.  I call it Route 23.


John closed the car door.  It was a long day.  Here it was, a Friday night, yet he wasn’t happy about the weekend.  According to the clock behind the bar, it was now past 11 PM.  Seven hours ago, he was called into his boss’ office, and told that despite his twenty one years of service, he was being let go.  That the kid he’d been training was his replacement, not just a summer intern.

He was escorted off the grounds after someone brought him his coat.  They would mail his personal items to him.

Some of his coworkers joined him at The Patriot, which was just off Route 23.  They had some drinks.  He had five. Bought him dinner.  Now, here he was.   Alone in his car.  48 years old, and out of a job.  Now he had to go home, and tell his teenage daughter, Heather, that things were going to be different.  That he was unemployed. 

He missed his wife, now dead these five years.  Heather is her spitting image.  He felt his eyes mist as he thought of his daughter.  He wiped his eyes, put his car into gear, and pulled out onto eastbound Route 23.

Amy waited at a red light, left turn signal blinking.  Another Friday night: another failed date.  How many dates were just like this, since… since the divorce?  So here she was, sitting in her damn cream colored SUV alone.  Again. 

It’s hard enough to find a date at her age, she thinks.  Most of the guys are jerks and expect sex on the first date.  This guy didn’t even try to be nice.  She met him through OKCupid and agreed to meet at that new Mexican place.  She didn’t even finish her first margarita before he asked her to… to… oh she didn’t even want to think of it!  She stormed out, and went to one of her favorite places with the great wine list and cheese platters.  Her favorite bartender was there, and he even bought her a drink after the three glasses of wine it took to tell her story.
She drinks too much.  That’s what her husband used to say.  And then he got custody of the kids.  Maybe he’s right.  Maybe she needs help.  That’s it.  Tomorrow, she’ll stop drinking.  Again.  This time she’ll make it work!

The car behind her honked its horn.  Oh!  Green light!  She turned left onto eastbound Route 23.

Charles was driving west.  In his passenger seat of his truck was his baby: an AR-15 with all kinds of extras.  It’s got the Magpul grips and the Aimpoint sight and the Geisselle Super Tricon trigger.  Yeah, she’s sweet.  Got several spare thirty round clips too, before the damn liberals take them away. 

Somewhere out there is that cop; the big black one what arrested him for correcting his wife IN HIS OWN HOME!  Man’s home used to be his Goddamn castle ‘til them damn liberals had to go and spoil it.  Now she got that “protection order” from that liberal judge what says he can’t go within a hundred yards of her.  Damn bitch never had it so good.  It’s all that n****r cop’s fault too.

So Charles was going hunting.  He was going hunting for that cop.  He was gonna make it right.  Damn cop thinks he can do that IN HIS OWN HOME and get away with it?  Yeah, tonight he was gonna find that cop and make that cop beg for mercy and then shoot that cop dead, then go and get even with that bitch wife of his and then everyone will respect him and no one will mess with him again! 

He took another swig from his bottle of Kentucky Gentleman, and continued west on Route 23.

Juanita sat in her cruiser.  She’d been a police officer for nine years, since she returned from her third tour in Afghanistan.  She liked helping people, and as her papi was a police officer as well, she felt she was “carrying on the family business.” 

It was another Friday night, and she parked her car by the side of the road.  Lights were flashing everywhere and her fellow officers were finishing setting up the flood lights.  The signs were already in place: “Sobriety Checkpoint.”  Her first part of the night would be to pursue anyone trying to run through the check point, or anyone who did an illegal U turn to avoid it.  Later, she would take her turn checking drivers through the lanes, and handing out pamphlets to those who were sober.  The ones who weren’t would be directed into the parking lot of the Bull Tavern, which was big enough for the Mobile Crime Lab.

A mile behind her was town.  Maybe three miles ahead was the huge mall, with all its bars and restaurants.  This spot, right after a curve, was perfect for a checkpoint as drivers couldn’t see it until they were on top of it traveling in either direction.

Checkpoints were usually pretty routine, but every time they had one, they’d catch some people who shouldn’t be driving.  Maybe she and her fellow officers could prevent an accident before it happened.  An accident like the one that killed her papi. 

She shifted in her seat, and trained her eyes down the road ahead of her: down Route 23.


  1. You wrote a teaser. Although you can feel where things are heading, I would have liked to read the details of what happens next. Still, a literary work of truly have a gift! Chris Penn

  2. I agree, sounds like a great start to something marketable.