Endings and Beginnings

Happy Everything everyone!  Time continues to fly and not only is it the end of the month already, but also the end of the year!  Say what?!  Where did 2017 go?

I don’t know about you all, but this year had so many ups and downs, comparing it to a roller coaster is way too cliche and anti-climatic.  As the days wind down and gear up for the start of something new, I’ve been reflecting on the wins more than the losses to start the momentum in a positive direction.

My daughter is studying physics this semester and we have been rediscovering Newton’s Laws.  As a refresher, his first goes something like: A body in motion stays in motion; while a body at rest remains resting unless provoked.  My words, not his.

I think this applies not only to physics, but to every aspect of life.  To wax philosophical before diving into the next short story, I’d like you to reflect on this idea.  If you want to go somewhere, be something, whether it’s winning the lottery, or starting a business, you must take some action, no matter how tiny, every day in order to keep moving towards that goal. You can’t just say, “I want to be a published author,” then not write.  Some small action must be taken in order to keep that ‘body’ in motion.

So for all of you who plan on making resolutions, make sure your resolution is not only specific, but that you make a plan…a solid, actionable plan towards that goal.  Every. Day.  Tiny steps, bold strokes, it doesn’t matter.  Because a ‘body’, including goals and thoughts, will progress only if you keep applying action to it.  Otherwise, it remains at rest.

Short Story #4

This one is a straight up ghost story with supernatural elements.  The criteria was that the location was a Flower shop, and the item was a can of sardines.  This guy was living Newton’s first law. Until something extraordinary happened that changed his entire life’s momentum.

Enjoy the read and don’t forget that if you leave a comment, you are automatically entered to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card that I’ll email you before the next story is posted.  Winners are chosen randomly, so make sure you leave the correct email address in your comment so the money goes to the right person.  Spam comments do not count.  I’m looking at you Russian Porn spammers.  Yeah, I see you.  And I don’t appreciate it.

The Day I Chose to Live

“You really have turned things around, Andy. The whole town is so happy for you.  Your flowers and arrangements are simply beautiful.  They are almost other-worldly.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Thompson.  Say hello to Mr. Thompson for me and don’t forget: One ice cube every Tuesday for those Orchids.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or come by.”

I watch as she carefully lifts the teal colored pot of soft white orchids and shuffles out to her late model Toyota Camry.  I slide my left hand through my thick mop hair and exhale.  Every other day I hear a comment like hers and can’t decide if my life has been cursed or blessed. But as I look around my shop, the aroma of fresh cut flowers and greenery hanging in the air, I can definitely say it has been lived.

I step out back and pull one of my hand-rolled cigarettes from their leather pouch.  Leaning against the brick wall of the building, I run the length of the long, slim cylinder under my nose and take a deep belly breath, before lighting it.  Its contents are a special blend of cloves, Mugwort, thyme, and willow bark, wrapped in organically grown flax paper. Nothing about it is addictive.  I can’t be trusted with anything habit forming.  Not even coffee. You see, I’m a recovering addict.  You name it, I’ve smoked it, shot it, snorted it, or drank it.  Sometimes all of the above in the same day.  I’m okay admitting it, because if I hadn’t been an addict, I wouldn’t have the life I have today.  It all started about 38 months, 5 days, and 6 hours ago.

Following in my family’s footsteps with addiction, I worked any minimum wage job I could find to get me to my next fix. I told myself I got high to stave off the crazy that consumed Grandma and Pop.  However, there came a point where the need of getting high exceeded my need for work.  Jobless and homeless, the only place in town that offered any kind of protection against the weather and thugs was the old factory down by the river.

It had once been a thriving manufacturing plant in the early days of the industrial revolution, but after WWII, it became an empty shell.  In the 80’s a developer tried to make it into a bunch of small shops, like a drycleaner, a convenience store, and a few others, but every business that went in there failed.  The townsfolk said it was either cursed or haunted. I figured we were a perfect match.

A stock pile of canned food, including sardines, was left behind from the store.  Once I ate the food, I used the cans for anything from a bathroom, to a make shift lamp, collecting the sardine oil they came packed in, as lamp fuel.  One night, while curled up on the dank floor, riding the waves of a heroin high, I had the strangest encounter.  To this day, I think it was probably a hallucination, but I can’t be sure.  Through the flicker of the oil flame, a woman dressed all in white and floating several inches off the ground appeared in front of me.

“I love flowers, don’t you?  I miss their fragrance.  Their vibrant colors. Of creating a freshly cut bouquet.”

Scared that I had finally lost my mind, I ran out into the rain and slept under the highway overpass, not returning for several days.  But it turned cold and the local high school bullies had found I was a great candidate for working out their insecurities and inadequacies.  Knowing I wasn’t capable of fighting back, they stole what little belongings I had, spit on me, and even physically abused me.

They left me no choice. Reluctantly, I went back to the abandoned building, making sure I smoked, shot, snorted, and drank whatever I could afford every night before I slept.  Yet, no matter how inebriated I got, the woman returned. She was there, night after night, talking about flowers.  One such evening, out of money, hope, or desire to live, I embraced the crazy.

“What do you want?!” I screamed.



Her voice boomed accusingly, “They live, while you lay here dying a little more each night.”

“Then take me. I’m done with this life. I’ve nothing left to live for!”

With a toothy grin that showed a set of rotten and missing teeth, she started to float towards me.  Slow at first, then fast.  She barreled into me with a force that knocked my breath away.  My chest contracted, then expanded in a way that I thought my heart might explode.  A bright light filled the room and burned my eyes.

The next thing I remember, I was on my back in what had once been the parking lot of the building, until the weeds took it over.  Except among the weeds were beautiful, exotic flowers.  My actions not being quite my own, I began plucking them.  Inside the old building, in a type of mania, I gathered bits of lace and ribbon from a small craft shop that had been foreclosed on.  I used my old tin cans as vases to fashion beautiful bouquets.  Before the sun was high in the sky, I had made 12 different arrangements.  I brought a couple into town and asked passersby if they’d like to buy my creations.

At first, they scorned me.  Laughed.  “Poor, pitiful Andy.  The town addict.  Where did you steal those from?”

I was ready to throw them into the trash, when a kind woman, an former high school classmate, took sympathy on me.  “I’ll buy one, Andy.” She pressed some bills in my free hand, and selected a bouquet, inhaling their sweet scent. I watched as a broad smile spread to her eyes and her pupils dilated. “Take the money and use it for good.  Go to the Dollar General. Get some real vases and perhaps some soap.”  Her voice reminded me of the woman in white. But my mind was too busy exploding with excitement that someone actually liked my creations, to worry about such coincidences.

Taking her advice, I went straight to the store and bought every glass vase they had.

Each morning, for the next twelve weeks, just before the sun fully peaked over the horizon, I would go to that special spot in the parking lot, pick the flowers hidden among the weeds, and make bouquets, bringing them into town to sell.  Soon, people started coming out to the warehouse instead of me standing on street corners, word spreading of my flowers unique aromas and unusual arrangements.

Within months, they were sold out before noon each day and I was earning enough money to afford rent on a real home. Instead, I went to the Town Clerk’s Office, enquiring about the title to the building.  It had been up for auction for more than 20 years.  All the town wanted was money for back taxes and someone to ‘do something with that eyesore’.  I made a deal with the mayor and two years later, I owned the building.

With the help of some local craftspeople, the building is now a bustling business center.  My flower shop sits on the bottom floor, a corner section right near the still weed-filled parking lot.  A new lot sits on the other side of the building, away from where my special flowers grow.  Now, of course, I can afford to order flowers from all over the world, but my shop still offers the local variety, in old tin cans and other repurposed materials recovered from the building.  I’m unsure if what I experienced that night was real or not.  I’ve decided it doesn’t matter.  I have a new life now.  I’m alive and thriving and I can’t get enough of the lovely fragrance of a fresh bouquet of flowers.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.  See in you 2018!

— KT

Copyright K.T.George © 2017. This story appeared first on ktgeorge.com Dec 2017
Short Story Series: Story 4 – The Day I Chose to Live
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5 thoughts on “Short Story Series: Story 4 – The Day I Chose to Live

  • January 2, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I think this might be my favorite one yet. Although I have a special place in my heart for Danny Columbetti. This guy has a heartbreaking story. I am impressed by how well developed his character is, in such a short story. Great job.

  • January 5, 2018 at 7:40 am

    This is a great story and I am very impressed with how well you developed and incorporated the prompts.

    Happy new year. Looking forward to more stories.

  • March 1, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Found you from Twitter. Love your posts there, love the stories I’ve been reading so far!

  • March 14, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Great character development. Just spooky enough for my tastes.


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