Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SEA CHANGE or TREE CHANGE (07/13/17)
TITLE: When Things Go Wrong
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Carl turned his head toward the sound. He placed his hands on his easy chair and pushed.
Ring-ring … Ring-ring.
Once upon a time, he would have bolted to answer before it rang a second time. Now, he just dropped back into the chair.
Ring-ring … Ring-ring.
“How annoying,” he thought, cringing at each of the three sets of rings that followed.
Beeeeeeeeeeep. Carl rolled his eyes, and pushed himself out of the chair. With some effort, he stood up. His wrists, elbows, ankles, hips, and knees all hurt.
“This is Carl. Please leave a message.”
“Hey, dad. It’s Monica. Checking up on you. Call me.”
Carl smiled. She was a sweet kid. He shuffled to the kitchen. Each step became slightly easier as he acclimated himself to walking. He reached the coffee maker and turned it on. A stream of water ran out of it onto the burner.
Carl shut it off. With his hand, he swept the spilled water towards the sink. With a final sweep of his hand, he knocked the coffee maker onto its side. Grounds spilled out everywhere.
“Aaaah.” He waved his hand at the mess and shuffled to the sink. Grabbed a glass. Turned on the faucet, and filled his glass with water.
Then he went to the kitchen table where his computer sat. He plopped into a chair and turned the computer on.
The computer whirred to life. Carl waited and waited. He bent closer to the screen and saw that the hour glass had stopped moving. It took three reboots for the thing to finally start working.
He went to the internet browser and typed “htmail.com.” An unfamiliar page appeared. “Did they change the look of the web page? He clicked on the “Hotmail com Login,” but no login screen appeared.
Then he noticed his mistake, and typed in “Hotmail.com.”
“Ahh, there’s my screen.” He selected Monica and opened a new email message.
“Hey, honey. Doing fine. Thanks for calling.” He hit send.
He got up out of the chair, and muttered as he walked to the front door, “Would’ve been quicker to call her.”
Opening the front door, he looked out in the yard. The lawn was overgrown. He changed and went out back to the shed for his lawn mower. He pulled it out.
Grabbing the chord, he pulled. Glub-glub. Carl pulled again. Glub-blub-blub. He pulled five times, to no avail. He unscrewed the cap to the gas tank and peered in. It had gas. He screwed the cap back on and pulled the chord again. Nothing.
He left the lawn mower there and went to the back door. He turned the knob. It was locked. He leaned his head against the door jam. “I thought all these things were supposed to make my life easier!”
He walked to the front of the house and went inside, grabbed his keys, and went out to the car. At the car, he felt a pain in his forearm and reached for it with his right hand. He shook it off and got in.
He drove towards the grocery store to pick up a few things and noticed he was low on gas. At the gas station, he filled up his car. He remembered a conversation he had had a week earlier with his friend Andy. “You gotta come with me, Carl. You can’t be taking care of all these things yourself. Let others do it for you. It’s like going out into the boondocks, without a care in the world.
His car began to act funny. It swerved slightly as he drove. He pulled over to the curb. His front tire was flat. He called AAA and waited and waited.
“I could’ve walked there faster than this,” he chuckled to himself. “Ok, maybe not.”
Four hours later, Carl walked back into his house from his twenty-minute trip to the grocery store. He walked over to the phone and entered a number.
“Rural Care Heavenly International, may I help you?”
“Please tell me about your facility.”
After only five minutes of conversation, the lady said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Bradley. We will help simplify your life. Be ready in half an hour.
“What do I need to pack?” asked Carl.
“Nothing. Come as you are.”
Carl smiled as he hung up. Then he picked it up again. He couldn’t help it.
“Hey, Dad. What’s up?” answered Monica.
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