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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: I'm Glad This Day Is Over!
By Susan Gurney


Amy watched her tropical fish rise to the top as she sprinkled their breakfast across the water’s surface. She smiled as the angelfish gobbled the biggest flakes before the smaller swordtails and hatchets could reach them. A dozen glowing tetras darted after the tiniest bits of food.

Heaving a sigh as she tore herself away from the fish tank, Amy grabbed her jacket and purse and headed out the door. “Ten minutes to catch the bus!” she muttered while locking the door.

Amy hurried the two blocks to her bus stop, her two inch heels clacking. She hugged her light jacket closer as a cold wind flapped the skirt of her dress.

“Look at this,” Amy complained to one of the regulars standing at the bus stop, “I’m wearing my new dress and open-toed shoes because the TV weatherman announced ‘another sixty-five degree day!’”

When Amy reached her destination forty-five minutes later--a bus stop three blocks from the downtown insurance building where she worked--it was even colder. Her toes felt icy as she entered her office. “At least it’s warm in here,” she thought as she thumbed through insurance claims.

Lost in her work, Amy jumped when someone knocked on her door three hours later. “Come in,” said Amy. Her co-worker, Jessie, poked her head into Amy’s office, looking worried.

“Amy, the boss is telling everyone to go home--now--before it gets any worse!”

“Worse? Go home? Why? We’ve only been here—what?—three hours? What’s happened?”

“Look out the window, Amy. It’s been snowing like crazy since nine o’clock.”

“Snow!? It’s April! It was sixty-five yesterday! This is ridiculous! I’m not dressed for snow!”

“No one is. I know you have to catch a bus, so you better get going. No one knows how to drive in snow here in Seattle! It will probably take you two hours to get home.”

“There go the lights!” Amy cried, while reaching for the flashlight in her desk, “--No electricity, no elevator, and down ten flights of stairs in two inch heels! This is not my idea of fun!”

Amy hesitated a moment outside the insurance building, watching huge snow flakes swirling in the wind while the other employees hurried around her. She steeled herself for the walk to come—three blocks straight into that wind, wearing nothing but a spring dress, a light jacket, and open-toed high heel shoes! “This day is just getting better and better…”

Little did Amy know then that the miserable three block walk—slipping, sliding and stumbling--would not be the last of her troubles that day…

--First she waited at that bus stop for an hour with a large group of hopeful passengers, only to have a police officer tell them that their bus had slid off the road and that they would all have to walk four blocks down a hill to catch another bus.

--After a wait of half an hour at that bus stop, the bus finally arrived. The driver told them they would have to wait for the next bus, as his was too full. The group--now far less hopeful--groaned through chattering teeth. Amy could barely feel her feet as she jumped up and down to stay warm. The grateful group boarded the next bus several minutes later.

The forty-five passengers crammed into the forty passenger bus were, at last, cozy and warm. Amy and her fellow passengers spent the next seven hours watching the snow fall on the interstate while their bus was stuck in a solid line of unmoving traffic.

After an hour or two of grumbling the passengers finally began chattering good-naturedly with new found friends. They shared snacks, water and even the embarrassment of having to relieve themselves by the side of the freeway, with women forming a human shield around each individual woman.

Eventually the bus made it to Amy’s town. It had long been dark when Amy transferred to her last bus, which could only take her as far as the bottom of a hill two miles from her apartment. Another hour and a half of walking and she was home…

Amy unlocked her door and entered her cold, dark apartment. It was midnight. Twelve hours to get home! Amy heaved a sigh, and with a “Phew! I’m glad this day is over“--she pointed her flashlight at her fish tank. All her beautiful tropical fish were floating belly-up. No electricity, no heater, no fish…

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This article has been read 483 times
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Seema Bagai 02/18/10
What a terrible day. By the end, I wanted to reach out and give Amy a hug.
c clemons02/20/10
What Seattle is this that it doesn't snow? And why would the whole city be without power because of a snowstorm? Just wondering.
Gregory Kane02/21/10
This was well told. I felt for Amy and I enjoyed the sense of camaradarie that ensued. I did feel sorry for the poor fish though!
Jackie Wilson02/22/10
A dreadful day all around! I felt her cold misery!
Allison Egley 02/22/10
Oh, poor Amy! I felt for her. Definitely a "phew!" day.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/10
Good story. Poor fish, but I liked how the bus all pulled together and shared and formed a human shield.
Author Unknown02/23/10
I laughed with an "ohh poor amy at the end"...I think I would have cried. very well told, so well told I don't have a blasted thing to tell you for tweaking it (red pen stuff). very nicely done.
Lollie Hofer02/23/10
Ah, poor Amy and poor fish. She definitely had a horribly bad day indeed. It held my interest all the way through. The only red ink that comes to mind is it felt like you transitioned from "showing" to "telling" in about the last third of the story. Even so, I was still rooting for Amy all the way home. (My sister was in San Jose when they had a powerful earthquake about 20-25 years ago.) The earthquake sloshed all the water out of her three large aquariums onto the carpet. Strange thing is they never found the fish from the aquariums.)
Beth LaBuff 02/23/10
You had me smiling with the "breakfast" for the fish. I was with your MC (and her 2" heels) throughout the day (the whole day!). Great work on this story (and if it's true, I'm sorry about your fish). :(
Amanda Brogan02/24/10
Sounds like Amy was having a Job day - everything going wrong! I hope she was able to get some new fish. :( I think that made a good (though slightly sad) ending to her story. Summed up her troubles real well. Just when she thinks her problems are over. . . :)