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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: Poor Eleanor!
By Deborah Engle


After choking down a handful of vitamin pills, I looked forward to my morning cup of coffee. The aroma was inviting, but as I picked up the warm mug, something through the window caught my attention. “What is Eleanor up to? Why is she putting her carpet cleaner out on the back porch?” I continued to watch as Eleanor went back in her house and came out with her handbag, got in her car and drove away.

“Now, isn’t that curious,” I mused as I sat down to enjoy my coffee.

When lunchtime came around, I decided a chicken pot pie sounded good. “That little toaster oven is just the thing for a quick meal like this.” Breaking open the crust allowed the steam to escape, and a bit of gravy oozed out. “Ooh, that looks just right.” Smiling in anticipation, I forked up my first bite.

After lunch I carried my dishes to the sink. Through the window, I could see that Eleanor’s carpet cleaner still sat on the porch. “What possible reason could there be to keep a carpet cleaner out on the porch? You just have to wonder about some people.”

Cleaning up took just a minute. As I worked, I spotted my vitamin bottles sitting on the counter. “Did I take those yet today?” I wondered. The thought passed idly through my mind just as I noticed the door of the toaster oven had been left open. I did not realize until reaching to shut the door that the oven was still turned on. Heat continued to flow forth, warming the cupboard alarmingly. “Oh, my! It’s a good thing I caught that.”

My few chores were quickly finished and the afternoon loomed ahead. “I suppose I should go to the store. I used up the last of the coffee this morning.” On the way, I couldn’t help thinking about poor Eleanor. “That woman’s age is showing.”

Forty minutes later, I pushed my cart into a short checkout line. Not until emptying my cart did I realize I had not picked up coffee. “That’s what I came for to begin with,” I muttered. After reloading my cart, I backed my way out of the line. “Pardon me.” “I’m sorry.” “You go ahead.”

After one more trip half way across the store, another one back to the checkout, and a twenty minute wait in line, I made my way back to my car. Even before I got there, my heart plummeted. “The car is running…all this time I’ve been in the store, it’s been running!” I started to reach in my handbag for the keys, but then I realized, “You goof! The car is running. The keys have to be in the ignition.” Then I reached for the door handle, only to find it locked. “This is bad. Ooh, this is really bad.”

Locksmiths really are quite remarkable. In less than half an hour I was back in my car and on my way home, where the first thing I did was make another pot of coffee. Those first few sips helped me relax, and soon I had discounted my mistake. “After all, everybody leaves their keys in the car once in a while,” I told myself. As I finished my coffee I sorted through the mail, then placed it in the basket. Standing there by the counter, I spotted my vitamins. “Oh, I better take those.” As I turned to get a glass of water, through the window I noticed the carpet cleaner was still out on Eleanor’s porch. My concern for her was growing. “I hope everything’s okay over there.” Before I could decide what to do, the phone rang.

“Lizzie, it’s Eleanor. I was just calling to check on you.

“Well, I’m all right, why do you ask?”

“Because I thought you would have been over to get that carpet cleaner by now. When I saw you at the store last week, you said your company would be arriving by the weekend, so you would need to do the carpets by today at the latest. I had to go out earlier so I set it out on the porch where you could get it. Now I’m back, but it’s still there.”

The conversation suddenly came back to me. “Good gracious, it’s not often that I forget anything, but I guess I did this time. That same evening, some company called and said they were having a special. They did a real nice job, too.”

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This article has been read 567 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst01/21/10
Enjoyed this story; I can relate to being forgetful. Loved the MC's indomitable spirit.

Last paragraph has me a little stumped. Did Eleanor say all of this to Liz, or was the last couple of sentences directed at the reader?
Barbara Lynn Culler01/22/10
Talk about judging the speck in the eye of others when we have a log in our own!

I agree, perhaps that memory statement should have been italized.
Rachel Phelps01/24/10
Great humorous story! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Liz said that to Eleanor to explain why she didn't need the carpet cleaner. I could have misunderstood that. Loved the MC!
Janice Fitzpatrick01/25/10
This is so cute. Very endearing and relateable in a charming way. Clever piece, I relaly enjoyed this one.:0))
Jim McWhinnie 01/26/10
Charming little story!
Charla Diehl 01/26/10
This was a fun story to read. It's a great reminder that instead of judging others, we need to look at ourselves.
Carol Penhorwood 06/02/12
Thoroughly enjoyable! Nice to know I am not the only one.