Lost & Found Longings
Three Tales By
Published by Markus Torres at Shakespir
Copyright 2016 Markus Torres
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Table of Contents
Stiff, warm winds flowed over the wall to the semi-private yard behind the motel room. It was an uncomfortable breeze but no more so than the heat of their room thanks to their busted air conditioner. Even more uncomfortable than the room or the wind was the awkward, stagnant silence between the two people sitting in that yard. Doug and Mary, recently married and on their road trip honeymoon. Doug raised his hand to his mouth, pulling a cigarette from his lips and letting the sharp, noxious smoke billow out like a factory furnace. Mary’s nose scrunched from the pungent odor, wafting it away with the back of her hand.
“Can you please blow that in a different direction?” Mary asked.
Embers splashed out into the ceramic tray that sat on the table between them as the cigarette was put out, Doug twisting it down into warm ashes.
“There you go. Fresh air for both of us to enjoy while we wait for the repair man that was supposed to be here an hour ago,” said Doug.
“Thank you. I didn’t realize you smoked so much.”
“Only when I’m stressed and I’d say this is a pretty stressful time.”
They’d been forced to stay in this budget motel in the middle of nowhere after their car broke down mid-trip. Luckily, the motel owner knew a mechanic who could fix their car. Unluckily, he lived even further out in the middle of nowhere and his trek to the motel would take some time as well as a good bit of money.
“Just relax, Doug. He will get here when he gets here, there is nothing we can do about it,” Mary said.
“I’m trying but you have to admit this is a pretty inauspicious beginning to our marriage, Mary,” said Doug.
Manicured nails rapped on the cheap metal of the chair’s armrest, joining the sound of the wind in breaking the slow silence that was building between them again. Mary turned her gaze skyward. White strands wafted lazily high above. Distant rumbling signaled impending rain, or perhaps it was just a passing cargo truck. They had exhausted conversation topics in their wait. Doug’s sigh escaped from him as he rubbed his thumb anxiously across his wedding band. Mary lowered her head from cloud gazing as the sigh reached her ears, witnessing the looks to her husband’s ring.
“Having second thoughts?” asked Mary.
“No,” said Doug, “Well not about the marriage. Just about this honeymoon. I was warned that a road trip could go bad.”
“You’re right, but so could any other trip. If we had flown somewhere, the plane could’ve broken down. We wouldn’t have to worry about cheap motels and mechanics with a lack of punctuality then would we?”
A crooked smile broke across Doug’s face as Mary made her joke, laughing merrily. That laugh was a reminder of the numerous reasons he chose to marry her.
“You have a dark and wicked sense of humor. Did you know that?” Doug asked.
“Letting it air out lets my light side lift me up,” said Mary.
“You are wise beyond your years, my dear wife.”
For the first time since they arrived the silence never came back to haunt their conversation. This time though they were interrupted by the plastic sounds of the phone shaking on its hook inside the room. Mary watched Doug make his way across the dark and stale motel carpet, picking up the receiver and nodding along with the muffled sounds she could barely hear from her spot outside. He placed the phone back in its spot, laying across the scratchy blanket covering the bed, his laughter filling the heated room.
“What’s going on?” asked Mary.
“Our mechanic is running late because his truck broke down somewhere down the road. They just pushed it into the lot next to our car.”
Mary couldn’t keep herself upright, falling onto her husband. Their laughter mixed together, creating an uproar that was carried by the wind and out to join the swearing and blustering of their would be rescuer, the mechanic.
The last light of the day faded as the sun set and fell beyond the horizon. Shortly after, the first light of the night popped up, luminous spots dimmed slightly by their cloudy glass filters. The neighborhood was again aglow with the soft artificial brightness provided by the rows of street lights. The still calm of the night was soon interrupted by the harsh, clattering tones of vibration on hard plastic. A tired hand shot out and stilled the source of the noise, a cellphone on the dashboard of a car. The owner of that hand, a large gruff man, sat up with an audible groan, checking that phone and disabling the alarm that had been set. He turned to his side and the hand struck out again, its target this time was the smaller man in the passenger seat. The passenger grunted in discomfort of having been disturbed from their rest, though no signs of waking were seen.
“Davis! Get up, you lazy sack. It’s time to go,” said the larger man.
“Fine, but this is pointless you know? We’ve come out here for a week and found nothing, Avery,” Davis said.
“It’s what we were paid to do,” said Avery.
“We may be getting paid, but normally you’d have called it quits by now,” said Davis.
Avery nodded Davis, which was as shock as Avery never really admitted his mistakes or Davis’ corrections.
“This is kind of a favor to an old friend,” Avery said.
The car’s engine sputtered to life as the ignition was switched, Avery then getting the car in motion. They traveled down block after block of suburban neighborhood, closing in on their destination, a prefabricated house set perfectly in this pre-planned cookie cutter subdivision.
“I’ll take the hustle and the noise of the city over this humdrum nonsense. I don’t see the appeal. My friend did and now look at her. Hiring us to find a cheating husband,” said Avery.
“Doesn’t your wife want to move out here?” asked Davis.
“She says she does but I know her. Two weeks out here and she’ll be tearing her hair out from boredom. She’s a city girl, through and through,” said Avery.
Davis simply shrugged his shoulders in acceptance, his new focus being the thermos in his hand. He gripped the top and twisted it off, the warm aroma of cheap coffee filled the car. Avery sniffed and his face contorted to show his mild annoyance at the intruding scent.
“When are you going to grow up and buy real coffee and not that corner store garbage?” Avery asked.
“It just tastes better to me. It’s what I grew up on, it’s what got me through school,” said Davis.
“Yeah? Well, as soon as you’re married your wife will see to it that you start appreciating the finer things. Like how my wife did for me,” said Avery.
Eyes were rolling as Davis ignored the same stuff he’d heard from Avery ever since they opened up shop as private investigators. He knew Avery was only looking out for him, and he appreciated it, always grateful that the seasoned detective had given him this chance, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t come off as a blowhard sometimes. A soft glow came from the driver’s side, Avery looking down at his phone. A picture of his
wife on it, her bright red hair seemingly going everywhere, wild and untamable.
“I can’t wait to get this over with and head back home to you,” said Avery.
“Maybe, and mind you this is a maybe, you should stop looking at your phone and watch the house for the cheaters. You know? Like we were hired to do? That’d get you home a lot faster,” Davis said.
Avery’s brow furrowed as he shut his phone off, his gaze turning out to the window.
“Don’t get snippy with me, Davis. Just because you don’t have anything to go home to.”
Davis again rolled his eyes at the same comment Avery always made. He knew that Avery’s wife was a topic always to draw ire. The cab of their car was slowly being illuminated by a passing car, the two private eyes ducking in their seats. Sounds of rubber turning onto a new terrain of concrete, the nearby driveway, dully rang out.
“That must be them, Davis. Can you see anything?”
Davis craned his neck up to peek. A male fitting the description of their cheater was exiting the car, moving over to help his passenger out. Likely the second cheater and the reason for their job here.
“I see our targets. Husband confirmed but the…how did your friend put it? Home wrecking skank?
Avery laughed lowly at remembering his friend’s comments about the woman she suspected was cheating with her husband. He then quickly silenced his laugh before nodding in confirmation to his partner.
“Well, said skank has not been confirmed yet,” said Davis.
“Keep watching and let me know when I can get up to take pictures. I want to hurry up and get home.”
A familiar crown of red hair was helped out of the suspect’s car. Davis’ heart fell.
“I don’t think you’re going to want pictures of this.”
Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Still Right
Kyle shuffled slowly into the diner while his fingers rapped a nervous rhythm against the top of his head. I can’t believe I am doing this. A blind date? What if it all goes wrong?
A well-manicured hand raised at the opposite end of the diner, waving invitingly towards him. The hand’s owner smiled brightly, her dress swished gently as she stood up from her booth seat. Her bright red hair bounced across her shoulders, a beautiful complement to her emerald green dress, which matched the color his arranger had told him she’d be wearing. Why wasn’t I told she would be a redhead? I’d have agreed sooner to this.
He ambled up slowly to her, his fingers ceased their rapping to brush through his hair.
“Hi. I suppose you’re my date?” He asked.
“It would certainly seem that way, otherwise waving you down like that would seem quite foolish,” she said.
Her lilting laugh calmed his nerves further, the imitation leather seat squeaked as they both sat down. Before the conversation could get going again, an elderly waitress with a kind face approached them.
“What can I get you two lovebirds?” She asked.
A red, lingering warmth flushed both their faces, bringing a soft smile to the older woman’s.
“I’ll have the special,” they both blurted out at the same time.
Pen scratches filled the air between them as she took their drink orders as well before heading back to the counter, both Kyle and his date glancing at each other, then down to the clean tabletop below. She’s gorgeous. I can tell we will be perfect for each other. His eyes darted up to hers though she quickly looked away, as if he’d caught her staring and thinking the same as him.
Kyle kept gazing at her as she gradually looked back to him, their blue eyes making prolonged contact for the first time. Her eyes searched his, seemingly getting lost within them.
“So, tell me what you do for a living? I know I was told before but it slips my mind right now,” she said.
“I am a design planner for a local software company. Though that sounds more intimidating than it really is.”
Her eyebrow arched as she heard his words.
“I could’ve sworn she said you were a teacher of some kind.”
Kyle bit his lip, joining his hands into a tent onto the table as his head tilted gently in response to her.
“She? She who?” He asked.
“Sarah. The one who set us up.”
“I was set up by my buddy, Craig. I know a Sarah from my work but not well enough for her to set me up on a blind date.”
Chatter lingered around them during a pause, her eyes focused on his. She looked as if she were solving a puzzle.
“Aren’t you Matthew? I’m Mandy. I was supposed to meet a Matthew here and you match the description I was given.”
His head shook softly from side to side, their gazes still hadn’t shifted from each other.
“No, I’m Kyle,” he said.
Realization crept into her eyes, the contact with his finally breaking. He too looked away, down to the table again when he sees the menu underneath the protective plastic layer on the table. Starlight Diner? I thought this was the Stardust Café?
“Well this is certainly embarrassing,” he said.
He looked over her again before standing up to leave, a crooked and sad smile displayed across his bright red cheeks. The chiming of the diner’s door bells rang out, a man in rough green plaid suit boisterously sauntered into the diner, nearly slamming the door behind him.
“Mandy? I’m looking for a Mandy!” He exclaimed to the entire diner.
A smaller hand slipped into Kyle’s grasp, slowly pulling him to turn back to the booth.
“Perhaps we can see where this goes?” Mandy asked.
His fingers gently rubbed against the soft skin of her hand still in his before he nodded, sitting back down to gaze into her striking blue eyes again.
About the Author
Markus Torres is a short story author currently enrolled at Full Sail University, working towards a Bachelor of Creative Writing for Entertainment. He weaves tales for his weekly Dungeons and Dragons games, which is also where his odd sense of humor and personal experiences come from for his Slice of Life short fiction stories. More information on him can be found here .
This book contains the following short tales: "Airing Out" is a story of a young couple encountering the hardships of being newlyweds in a trying situation, learning how to overcome obstacles together. "Mistake Out" is the story of two detectives out on an assignment. What should be an easy payday turns gut-wrenching as they locate their objective. "Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Still Right" will bring you into the middle of a blind date between two strangers, bonding over an immediate shared attraction.