I’ve got a secret.
It’s about “the one that got away.”
However, because I posed the challenge question, I don’t have to answer it! Ha!
So I get to keep my secret.
Could be about a fish. Wouldn’t you like to know…
Welcome to the fifth installment of the Blogging Alliance of the Damned!
I love having everyone here. Pour yourself a glass of wine (it’s after 5:00 in Europe) or a cold beer, and hang out a bit.
Just don’t get wasted and start breaking stuff. We can only do that at The Matticus Kingdom.
I asked everyone to tell me, in under 300 words, about “The One That Got Away.”
These were so incredibly unique – it’s amazing how differently each person’s mind works. (Scary, actually. Who are these people?)
There’s some great short-short stories in here. My Alliance comrades rocked the full gamut, from toilets to death, and everything in between.
Here we go:
The Empress of Earnestness, Cyn K
He stood motionless behind the lamp post until the sirens’ wails faded. Then, glancing around to make sure the coast was clear, he forced himself to walk on at a measured pace. Don’t wanna draw attention to myself, he thought.
At this time of night, the shops were closed and the occupants in the few houses that could be found on this street were in bed. He wouldn’t be able to join them in their slumber. Can’t go home now, he realized, thanks to that Two-timing broad.
What was it about her that had sucked him in? She’d sauntered into the bar dressed to the nines. If only he had looked the other way or had left six minutes earlier, he would never have met her or her lunatic friend.
That crazy Eight, he thought. I shoulda known better than to listen to him.
He knew no good would come of trying to rob the Five and Dime store, but he let Two and Eight talk him into it. “You’re skinny,” they said. “Slip on in, unlock the door, and we’ll do the rest.”
They hadn’t known about the store’s security system, Cerberus. The mutt didn’t have the three heads of the legendary hound, but this dog was four times as vicious. The beast’s racket alerted the neighbors who called the cops. He had narrowly escaped with zero bites.
He ran for seven blocks, changing direction when he heard the police getting closer. Finally, he had hid until the ten squad cars had rushed past.
No more drinking, no more women, he swore as he ambled on his way. This time he had been lucky. This time, he was the One who got away.
Rarasaur, Official Alliance Dinosaur
His name was Ulysses and he died in a car crash, fifteen minutes after proposing to me. I didn’t say yes or no. I needed time to think.
He jokingly told me to make a fist, to make sure he didn’t slip through my fingers– to make sure I didn’t let him get away.
He was driving carefully, not one to be rattled. Cautious was his style. He was a stoic, a gentleman, a peacekeeper.
They said the man who hit him was asleep, a good man who worked too many hours to think straight.
Uly would have understood. He often said America was cannibalizing itself. He was a supporter of the red-blooded, blue-collar family.
He would have said something about how you can’t pay someone barely enough to afford potatoes and then expect them to think about consequences.
A man can’t thrive on potatoes alone, but he can survive.
Sometimes, surviving is the stuff of dreams.
He would have understood, hugged the widow, and forgiven the driver, but I didn’t.
I beat the windows of the car till my hands bled, shouting at the corpse who killed him until they pried me away, spitting and cursing all the while.
I didn’t pray over Uly. He didn’t believe in prayers, or Heaven, or God.
Instead, I cried over his broken body, and made a fist. It was a promise.
And though it took some time, I eventually kept that promise, forgave the man who killed him, and hugged his widow.
Crazy Cat Lady, Arden
I sometimes wonder where she is now. Is she happy?
It’s been a year since we first met. The bond took hold of us with such force that I swore it would never let go. Love at first sight flitted through my mind even though I don’t believe in such a thing. We spent the day together, getting to know one another and I knew we were meant to be. She needed me and I needed her.
We visited with each other often over the next few weeks and I prayed she would soon be a part of my little family. I couldn’t envision my life without her.
But some things just aren’t meant to be…
I don’t blame him for saying no. In hindsight, he was right. What if she didn’t get along with our girls? Our place was too small for another family member. The reasons were endless for no even though I wanted nothing but yes.
I don’t blame him at all but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.
I sometimes wonder where she is now. Is she happy? Does she ever think about me?
Does she even remember me?
Master of Analogies, Cutter
I woke up feeling confident. It was the morning of the kickball playoffs, and my team was the top seed. We had gone undefeated throughout the regular season, and it seemed certain that we could continue to roll through the playoffs.
It didn’t matter that we were missing a couple of good players. I was sure that we would be able to compensate for their absences. But when perhaps our best player called me to say that he sprained his ankle and wouldn’t be able to play? That’s when things got a bit uncertain.
Maybe the missing players were too much to overcome. Maybe I put too much pressure on my teammates. Maybe our opponents were better than I suspected. Maybe we just had a bad day. Whatever the reason, at the end of the playoffs, there was a happy team drinking out of a giant trophy, and it wasn’t us.
I’ve suffered playoff losses since then. I’ve had other teams that were good enough to win a championship. But none of them felt as predestined as that one did. It was truly the one that got away.
Duppy Conquerer, End Kwote
Call me Ishmael.
Actually, call me Pancho.
It was a calm spring evening. Warm air twisted around my ankles and up to my knees. It was the kind of night that made breathing worth it.
And then there was you. Twisting so fluid and free. Dancing right in front of me. Daring me to take you.
I wanted you so bad. It wasn’t fair. You were so close but I was powerless. Powerless to feel you. Powerless to touch you. It drove me crazy. So crazy that my stomach hurt.
Finally, I got my chance. All the people who stood between us moved away. They parted like it was meant to be. Like I was meant to come to you and you were meant to be there for me. It was perfect.
I got to you, heart pounding, and shuffled my feet with excitement. It was a beautiful moment. Me connected to you and you waiting for me to give you purpose.
This was it.
“I’m sorry, we’re not serving Shamrock Shakes anymore.”
The words pierced me like a needle through my big toe. I wanted to scream. I wanted to explode. But there was nothing I could do. Because you, Shamrock Shake, were the one that got away.
The Awe-wielding Editor, EditMoi
I was nineteen and he was tall. I was a good girl and he was a frat boy. I was interested; he was dark and good looking. I was smart enough to know better; he was funny. Our schools shared a library, we worked the same shift. Mondays he’d come in hung over and full of stories. We’d hide out in the stacks, pretending to re-shelve books, really just talking, putting the books in the wrong places. We couldn’t have cared less about the Dewey decimal system.
I had a boyfriend but I never talked about him.
Frat boy wanted to fuck me and the feeling was mutual. I can still remember the feeling of the scrap of paper in my hand, my number scrawled on it. I can still feel my heart pounding in my throat as I almost-but-didn’t shove it at him. I can still feel the disappointment as the scrap landed in the trash can.
After that I changed shifts.
The Grand Inquisitor, Grayson Queen
My body is cold and pocked with goose bumps. The adrenaline in my veins is giving me the shakes. I can hear the echo of every breath I take. All the things I knew, or thought I knew, drift away. It shrinks in the distance, and I see the queen standing at the tiny window watching me. In the same second it hits me that I’ve both won and lost; my life is over, but it’s for the best.
I wonder for a moment if it was just the nature of survival that compelled me to leave. It would be nice to believe that it was because of intelligence and nobility. At the root of it, I stepped out that door for selfish reasons. I wanted this; looking her in the eye, both us knowing our fate.
The queen alien has no way to breed. The space station will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and so will I. But at least I get to be the one that got away.
The Jester, DJ Matticus
I found her crying in our room, sobbing face down into a pillow. Her voice cracked and lips quivered as she showed me the bare finger and wailed that she had lost the symbol of our future together.
I comforted her, told her it didn’t matter, that it didn’t mean anything, wasn’t an omen, wasn’t bad luck, wasn’t worth being so upset over. But, she was inconsolable.
Between offered tissues and gasps for air, she recounted the steps taken that day to see if we could pinpoint where the ring might have been lost. There had been an incident where she had slammed her hand in the car door. The ring had been placed in her pocket for safe keeping. The pocket had an unknown hole.
Her mood lightened as we set a plan of action, grabbed some flashlights, and headed to search the dark parking lots, store fronts, and beach walkways she had visited after pocketing the ring.
We weren’t able to find it, but in the act of searching she recovered, and the gloom lifted.
But, she had been right, things unraveled after that. We ended up going our separate ways, our engagement broken.
Eventually I found out the walk on the beach had been with another man, the one she moved in with when she moved out of our house. Only then did I realize that for slamming her hand in the car door there hadn’t been much swelling and a bruise had never appeared. I wondered for a long time if there had even been a hole in the pocket as claimed…
She may have been the one that got away, but that’s absolutely fine. Sometimes our catches are supposed to get away.
I was free for The Queen when she stepped into my life.
I dropped to my knees, covering my face with my hands in shocked disbelief, the cost of this loss multiplying in my mind; adding in all the things I’d have to redo, all the people I’d have to contact and inform. The questions of how, the snarky comments, the embarrassment of my own stupidity.
I could have stopped it, saved it from getting away, if only my eyes would have believed what they were seeing. If only I’d been brave enough to reach out and grab it— but my brain rebelled against that course of action even as my gut screamed for it. ‘Cause, Ew.
Time slowed down as I peeked out from between my fingers, dread clutching my chest, something wet and kind of gross seeping into my jeans in the place I was kneeling; shifting my position the thought of “What the fuck is that?” drifting through my mind, answered quickly by another thought, “Dude, you probably don’t want to know” as I watched the last seconds slowly swirl away down the drain.
The outer door opened, women entered talking, laughing, their voices echoing through the room. I dropped my hands from my face not thinking as they came into contact with the floor. My brain screamed in horror as my palms felt the sticky moisture beneath them and I jerked them from the tile as I bolted to my feet, the horror of realizing where I was overcoming that of dropping my cell phone down the damn auto-flush restroom toilet.
Thanks, Alliance of the Damned, for letting me host this time!
(And for giving me a reason to start drinking early in the day).
Isn’t it wild how different everyone’s take was on “the one that got away?”
Maybe next time. See ya at the next challenge!