Q is for Quarrelsome #AtoZchallenge #amwriting




“Here we go,” he said.

“Oh, don’t start,” she said.

“It happens every bloody time we go someplace nice. You have to start sniping.”

“Not sniping. They’re observations.”

“Based on your insecurity.”

“It’s not my insecurity if you’re checking out the waitresses and smiling at them.”

“That’s not true.”

“Which part?”

“Any of it. What I want to know is why it happens when we’re out at a fancy restaurant.”

“Because while I’m at home, blondes in miniskirts aren’t parading around for you to stare at their asses. Who knows what happens when I’m not there.”

“You’re unbelievable.”

“The check, sir?” the waiter asked.

“Why the hell not? I’m sure there’s not going to be dessert here or at home,” he said.


end 4/20/2017

S. Darlington


P is for Perky #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



“There you are!” the petite blonde with huge blue eyes says as she approaches with an equally huge smile on her lips. “Welcome to Burbank and Hughes! I’m Ellie with HR and I’m going to give you a tour of the offices and show you where everything is. Do you have any questions?”

She waits the briefest of moments, her lips pressed in a tight line as though it’s an extreme effort not to speak. “Great. Well, let’s go to the lunchroom first. It’s my favorite room in the building. You know why? Because it has windows to the courtyard! At my last job, the lunchroom had no natural light at all. It was so depressing. But, see. The windows are huge. The snack machines have a great selection and the coffee machine does caramel lattes. Isn’t that the best? It saves money from running out to Starbucks. Which is a great help when you’re saving for vacation or a nursery, not that I would know about that. Not since Jeff left,” she says, her voice suddenly strained. Quickly she replaces her 100 watt smile. “But, you know, some people are. Every little bit helps.”

“Now through here, we have a little waiting room. It’s for clients and staff. Look at the view from here. You can even see the river. Spectacular, isn’t it?” Her eyes grow momentarily vague as if reliving a memory.

I nod when she glances at me.

“Down this hallway, which you probably shouldn’t go along unless you’ve been called for, are the partners’ offices. Burbank and Hughes.” She pauses. There’s laughter at the end of the hallway and a very tall brunette in a very small skirt laughs broadly at something a man, I recognize as Jeff Hughes, says. I glance at my blonde tour guide who suddenly scampers down a different hallway, amazing me by her agility in those three inch heels.

“Down here we have the community room, nice name, right, where you’ll be working. Have you seen your cubicle? What I really like,” she says as she opens the door and lowers her voice as not to disturb the people working. “Is the natural light. Again! And your cubicle is over here. You have a skylight right above your cubicle. Fantastic! I’m so psyched for you.”

“Ellie, a moment,” the tall brunette who had been with Jeff Hughes calls away my tour guide.

Ellie smiles an apology to me and then stands in front of the brunette, looking up despite her very high heels. Every emotion plays across Ellie’s face as she listens, mottled red, creamy pallor, narrowed eyes, and finally pressed white lips. She nods without ever saying a word. When she returns, she looks suddenly as if she had run a marathon.

I’m about to speak, when her smile, maybe only at 60 watt this time, returns. “Back here is the supply room. We work on the honesty practice. Basically just sign out whatever supplies you take. If it’s the last, you just take . . .dammit. Honesty, what a laugh! You know I caught him back here with her? They thought everyone had left for the disaster planning seminar. Me included. And he was there just jackhammering into her. Where does she get off telling me not to waste time when she was doing my husband on the clock?”

Ellie has been speaking these words to the grey speckled carpet. A blush settles over her features.

“I’m so sorry,” she says. No tears. She shakes her head. “I thought he was the love of my life. Stupid, right? Well, I guess I was just as stupid as he thought I was. Right. Well, my extension is x642. I’m sure I forgot something. I’m just going to the waiting room and pour caramel latte in the potted plant.”


end 4/19/2017

S. Darlington

O is for Outrage #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



Tempers flared. Indignation rumbled.

Kerry listened to her fellow citizens rail against the Mayor and longed for her iPod. Perhaps she’d be more sensitive if these weren’t the same people who’d voted for the “change” he claimed to represent.

To his credit, he’d achieved the one change these partisan, one issue voters wanted. As if life were that simple.

But now the outrage as he pushed through other campaign promises that hadn’t concerned them until they understood the ramifications.

She needed her iPod. One woman’s music was another’s drug, just a little Hozier to take away the pain.


end 4/18/2017

S. Darlington

N is for Nervous #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



With each job interview, Janie’s sense of panic grew. A year ago, she had counted herself extraordinarily lucky when she’d obtained a job within weeks of earning her Master’s degree, but then the company suffered layoffs and she was the first to go.

She had just enough in her savings for another month’s rent and another case of ramen noodles. She glanced again at the name on the door plate wondering why it seemed so familiar, ominously familiar.

“Miss Dexter, Mr. Montgomery will see you now,” the administrative assistant said.

Janie straightened her black pencil skirt. Her smile trembled slightly.

Mr. Tate Montgomery stood looking out the window as she entered. He didn’t immediately turn around so she cleared her throat.

“Mr. Montgomery?” she said.

As he turned, her stomach sank. Nerves collided with resignation when she saw the familiar green eyes and the jagged scar on his cheek.

“I wondered if it was you,” he said.

And there stood the boy, the one who owned the only heart she’d ever broken.


end 4/17/2017

S. Darlington

The Viking Pillage Village


© A Mixed Bag

I am beyond late. But it was written when it was not quite Sunday in the US although by time I get done with my verbosity it will be Sunday.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here. The original prompt is here.

The Viking Pillage Village

Thanks, The History Channel. Ever since you aired The Vikings life around here has altered.

Erik and his Scandinavian friends built a Viking boat in the back yard. It’s become a great attraction for the neighborhood kids during the day and a weird man cave at night.

These six robust gentlemen from Norway and Sweden sit on the boat drinking beer and debate over what they should pillage.

Dagmar and I sit and watch the men who by day are scientists and accountants.

Erik yells, “More beer, wench.”

Dagmar hides a grin behind her hand.

I frown at her. “Bjorn hasn’t started doing this?”

“Are you kidding? If he spoke to me like that, he’d be cooking his own meals. It’s because you’re American. You’ve been colonized,” she says. She laughs as if this is the most hysterically funny thing she’s ever heard.

I shake my head, sit back down in my chair, and wait, wondering what Erik will do if beer service is discontinued.

He climbs out of the boat, ambles toward the house, his face wary. I grin.

“Pillage the fridge,” I say. He kisses me open-mouthed. “You can pillage other things later.”

end 4/16/2017

S. Darlington

Choose Me–H is for Hopeless #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



Choose Me


Each time the café door opened, Sara’s eyes darted up from her book. And each time her stomach roiled with disappointment and her gaze returned to words that were black blurs.

As she stared at the page, she mentally chastised herself. How stupid she was to send that email! “Choose me,” she’d said. As if there was a chance in hell that charming, cerebral Ben from London would even consider a geeky hick from small-town western Maryland. Her face flushed just thinking about it.

The door swung open again and, again, not Ben from London. Instead, a stocky guy glanced around the café until his eyes lit upon Sara. She frowned as he bound toward her, a bouquet of daffodils in his hand.

“Are you Sara?” he asked in an accent that mimicked Ben’s.

She nodded, a furrow appearing between her brows.

“These are from Ben. He wanted me to tell you that in a perfect world you would always be first choice.”

Sara took the golden flowers. “Thank you,” she said. Hopeless settled in.

The guy continued to stand there.

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Personally I don’t think the world needs to be perfect,” he said, a cocky grin transforming his features.


end 4/10/2017

S. Darlington

C Is For Confused #AtoZchallenge #AMWRITING



Coco had literally gone to the ends of the universe to forget about Marcus.

At the beginning it wasn’t easy because it seems that if you look hard enough, even in a land as disparate as Bovo Kan, you will find something to remind you. In Bovo Kan, it was the drinking vessels, like the stupid shot glass Marcus carried in his pack. In Tysquit-Tano, it was the ubiquitous neck tattoos, like his of a Celtic symbol. In Ohari, it was the voices of the singers, men with music in their souls, like him.

But here, on a planet she cannot pronounce, she has found peace from the tumultuous emotions she associates with him. On its windswept beach, with crystalline sea, she sits sipping a local beverage of ingredients with no meaning to her. Free, finally free.


The sound of his baritone launches a whirlpool in her mind. All of her uncertainty rises to the forefront.

His dark eyes gaze down at her as if she were a miracle. She’s seen that look before and knows that unless he’s made a decision, she’ll be lost again.

“I’ve missed you,” he says.

“That’s because I haven’t been around.”

He smiles. “I was muddled before.”

“You’re not now?”

He shrugs, smiles off-handedly in that way that both makes her cringe and salivate. “Not about you. Not anymore.”

Sighing, she shuts down the hologram. Maybe after another ten years clarity will return.


end 4/4/2017

S. Darlington

Bashful and Bonkers #AtoZChallenge #AMWRITING



“I stay away from women like her,” Brooks said as he watched the tiny brunette with the sparkling eyes.

Eric glanced at her. He had noticed her as well. “Why?”

“It’s the Seven Dwarf syndrome.”

“Don’t follow.”

“No Dopey, Sleepy . . .”

“Everyone’s sleepy at some time…”

“Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy…”

“What’s wrong with happy?”

“Doc and definitely no Bashful.”

Eric shook his head and downed the rest of his stout. “What’s so wrong with Bashful?”

Brooks jerked his head at the girl again and Eric turned toward her. Their eyes met. A soft flush curled over her cheeks, a cute return smile, and then she looked away. Entrancing, Eric thought.

“Look at you, dude. This is what I mean,” Brooks said.


“That’s the kind of girl who gets you to do stupid things and the stupidest of all is marrying her,” Brooks said. He gestured to the bartender for another round. “Happy is almost as bad because they make you think everything is right with the world. You know that’s full of shit.”

“Pot, kettle,” Eric said.


“Your Seven Dwarf syndrome philosophy sounds bonkers.”

“Yeah, that’s me, Bonkers, but you’re the one who’s about to go talk to Bashful, right?”

“Could be. Could be I’m seeing some Happy in my future, too.”

“Aw, man, that’s just sad.”


end 4/3/2017

S. Darlington



Sunday Photo Fiction⇐this is the link if you want to participate.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here.


Seems like just yesterday I wrote a Sunday Photo Fiction story…. 😉



I cannot explain the fear walking along the narrow pier, perhaps some repressed memory I cannot face in sunshine hours. As close to the center as possible, I navigate my quickened breathing while vertigo splashes over me.

The others pay no notice when I dash back, my arm unconsciously aching as if pulled by the explosive temper of a seventeen-year old boy. How can a grown woman be frightened to walk on a pier aligned with the silent bay?

A nightmare resumes in the disquiet night of the tiny girl facing the thin board stretching over the rocky creek bed ten feet below, how the plank narrows and narrows while he shouts red-faced. Then there’s nothing as she twirls into dank oblivion where memories and fears coalesce.


end 3/26/2017

S. Darlington



© A Mixed Bag

Sunday Photo Fiction⇐this is the link if you want to participate.

Thank you to Alistair at Sunday Photo Fiction as always for providing this prompt! To read more stories for this prompt, click here.



The believing claimed the image appearing on the side of Mesa Canyon portrayed the struggle of good versus evil. “It’s the end of days,” said others. The devout appeared at the canyon, kneeling toward the cliff side, praying, desiring to witness the coming. They appeared in droves.

Within days, mobile shops selling sacred items popped up alongside food trucks.

Hayley actually enjoyed the fry bread taco truck, but felt it her duty to smack her techno-geek little brother upside the head anyway. “Nice going, Brainiac.”

“Maybe I’ll do a Wookie hologram next,” he said before munching on a hot dog.


end 3/25/2017

S. Darlington