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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mayhem Negotiations

This story resulted from throwing two more titles together to form a new one as a writing prompt. I also challenged our local writing club to come up with their version for tonight's meeting. Enjoy.


"Don't tell me you forgot?" Mary sighed over the phone.

Tom fumbled with his desk calendar. "Honey, of course not." Today was May 15th. What happened on the 15th?

"What do you have planned?"

"Ah, a birthday party."

She huffed. "No! Not a birthday."

Tom snapped his fingers. Their 20th wedding anniversary. "Yes, a birthday. The birthday of our 20-year marital bond."

Her voice grew softer. "You did remembered?"

He laughed. "Forget our 20th? Are you kidding?"

"How are we celebrating it then?"

Think, think. He palmed his forehead. "You remember that Italian restaurant we ate at during our honeymoon? We have reservations."

She squealed. "I can't wait! I love you, honey."

"I love you too. I'll pick you up around six."


"Bye." He wiped his brow. Narrowly escaped that one. He pushed the intercom button. "Barbara, call Andiamo Ristorante and make reservations for two at six."

"Right away, Mr. Longshot."

Tom turned his attention to his paperwork. Sharp raps rattled his office door. His boss, Ben, opened the door and stood before Tom's desk. "You haven't forgotten, have you?"

Not again! "Who me? Forget?"

Ben stared at him. "You did, didn't you?"

"How could I forget...ah, the birthday party."

Ben frowned. "Since when is meeting an advertising client a birthday party?"

Ah. Of course. "Meeting new clients is the birth of a new beginning. We're meeting with the owners of Andiamo Ristorante at..." Tom swallowed.

Ben pointed at Tom. "They'll be here at six. Don't be late."

Tom smiled and threw his hands up. "Where else would I be but here?"

Ben smiled and nodded. "See you at six." He left, closing the door behind him.

Tom let his head fall into his hands. "Now what am I going to do? I'm doomed."

"Perhaps I can help?" A sweet woman's voice met Tom's ear.

He jerked up his head. A young woman, black hair, wearing a tight, blue, knee-length skirt with matching blouse stood against the far wall.

Tom cleared his throat. "Who are you? How did you get in here?"

She waved her hand: sparkles grew and died off in its wake. "I'm your fairy secretary. Were you expecting your godmother?"

Tom rubbed the back of his neck. "A fairy what?"

She frowned. "Secretary. All executives have one."

She walked to his desk. "I know your predicament. You need a double."

Tom sat back up. "You can do that?"

"Just watch." She waved her hands in a figure eight pattern, then thrust them toward him. Sparkles engulfed him, then moved in unison next to Tom. As they died off, a second Tom stood beside the original.

Tom looked over the double as it did the same. "Wow," both Tom's said at the same time.

Tom paused, then turned to his fairy secretary. Both said, "Does he say everything I do?"

The fairy secretary nodded. "It is one of the limitations of a double. It doesn't have its own independent thought."

"That's annoying. How am I supposed to do both at the same time?"

She smiled. "It will take a little language negotiation. Chow." She disappeared into thin air.

Tom stared at himself. "Now not only can I talk to myself. I can talk back too."


Mary and Tom entered the restaurant. The head waiter greeted them. "Your name, sir?"

"Tom Longshot."

"Glad to meet you." The owner put out a hand to shake. "I'm Louie Armori, and this is my wife, Loraine. I look forward to your presentation."

The waiter said, "Ah, here you are." He checked off their name. "Follow me."

Tom shook Louie and Loraine's hands. "I look forward to it as well."

The waiter looked over his shoulder. "Sir?"

"Eating at your restaurant." Tom grinned at Mary's inquiring stare.

Louie and the waiter said at the same time, "Ah! You've not eaten here/there before?"

Tom swallowed. "Twenty years ago. Been a while."

Ben rose and proceeded to give some introductory comments to the Armoris while the waiter seated Tom and Mary.

After the waiter left, Mary gazed upon Tom. "You've been quiet tonight. What's going on in your brain?"

Tom whispered, "Waiting to start."

She raised an eyebrow. "Start what?"

Ben frowned at Tom. "My accomplice is ready. Tom?"

Tom cleared his throat. "Romance."

Mary leaned in closer. "Here?"

"Food is romance."

Louie nodded. "Catchy slogan. I like it."

Mary wrinkled her brow. "So you're waiting to eat before talking?"

Tom danced in his mind. "Romance is more than a touch, more than a feeling. Romance is two people bonding through the intimate act of eating with sexual appeal." Tom placed his hand on Mary's. "Then a touch is transformed into romance."

Mary gazed into his eyes. "How sweet."

Ben stared at Tom with a "what are you doing" expression.

Loraine smiled. "I like him."

Louie pointed a finger at Tom. "Great, but how do we get that across to the public?"

The waiter returned with a bottle of wine. "Are you ready to order?"

Tom replied in his sexiest voice, "Shrimp Alfredo, garlic bread, and a salad topped with your finest blue cheese dressing."

Louie sat taller. "Ah, I see. The TV ad will show a couple sexily ordering, then the slogan, 'Food is romance.' Brilliant!"

Ben's wide eyes stared at Tom. "Yeah, brilliant. That's what I told him."

Mary grinned. "Oh Tom, I've never heard you order food that way before." She glanced at the waiter. "I'll have the same."

Louie rose from his chair and extended his hand. "You've sold me."

Tom shook his hand. "I'm happy we're going to work together."

Mary's face fell. "What?"

Tom grabbed a glass of wine. "Here's to a fabulous future together."

Mary leaned over and kissed Tom. "I love you."

Louie gave him a thumbs up. Tom watched as Louie and Loraine followed Ben to the elevator.

Tom let out a deep breath. "Glad that's over."

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