Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Mowing the Lawn

“Charlie, are you feeling okay?”

I sighed, and rolled over on my side. I could feel Franny’s eyes burrowing into my back, but I couldn’t work up the energy to care.

“Charlie? Well, you might answer me. I don’t know what’s wrong with you! The last few days you’ve acted like a stick in the mud! If something is wrong, say so. Otherwise, get out of that bed and get dressed. You promised to mow the lawn today.”

I listened as she walked away, angry footsteps and a loud sigh conveying what a lazy bum she’d married.

Ah, screw her, I thought, closing my eyes.

The truth is I’m not feeling well. I feel like someone’s taken a stick and beat me over the head. Not that I’d share that with Fran. She’d just say I’m faking it to get out of mowing the lawn.

My head hurts like a son of a bitch! I’ve never had a headache like this before.

“Charlie? Are you up yet? C’mon, I’ve got your breakfast on the table. It’s nearly noon, for crissakes!”

I shove the pillow over my head, trying to drown out Fran’s voice. That woman has a voice that can be heard in five counties when she starts yelling.

Maybe I’ll just lie here for another five minutes and try to get rid of this damned headache… it’s sticking to me like glue…

* * * *

“Hey, buddy, do you have the time?”

I look at the guy standing in front of me. Something about him doesn’t sit well with me. He’s dressed in black, in a heavy trench coat, a plaid derby pulled low over his eyes. Those eyes… black… almost dead. I start to move past him but he grabs my bicep, sending a chill through me.

“HEY BUDDY! I ASKED IF YOU HAVE THE TIME!”

I look down at my wrist, but my watch is behaving strangely… the hands are flying around the dial – backwards. What the hell?

“I… I’m afraid I don’t have the time…” I stutter.

“That’s right, buddy, ’cause you’re out of time.” The guy grins and abruptly releases my arm. Pain washes through me and I stagger.

The fellow reaches into the pocket of his coat and yanks his hand out, forming a make-believe gun with his thumb and index finger. “You’re out of time because this is a stick-up! Bye-bye!”

* * * *

Fran watched the paramedics as they worked hurriedly over Charlie’s body.

“I couldn’t get him out bed,” she sobbed. “I kept asking him if anything was wrong… I thought he was faking it. I thought he was just trying to get out of mowing the lawn!”

The male paramedic glanced at his female colleague. “Nothing to be done here. You want to call it?”

She nodded, looking at her watch. “Time of death: 1:16 PM.”

Fran cried out, “What? What?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am… there’s nothing more we can do. Your husband has suffered a fatal brain aneurism. It may be a comfort to you to know he probably didn’t suffer. These things are almost always instantaneous.”

Bewildered, Fran simply nodded, watching as they loaded Charlie’s body onto the stretcher.

Now who would mow the lawn?

© All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton and Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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Note: This story is written in response to Steam of Consciousness Saturday (here). The prompt word is ‘stick.’ Approximately 550 words written in 12 minutes. Had a bit of fun with this one!

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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50 Responses to Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Mowing the Lawn

  1. Having a migraine at the moment, perhaps this wasn’t the best time to read this story as I now having a nagging worry that my migraine is actually some kind of cerebral aneurism! 🙂

    Joking aside, this is another wonderful story, Kate! ❤

    I'm just popping off to make an appointment with my GP now… 🙂

  2. Adan Ramie says:

    It sounds like he suffered for a long time before the story. Makes me wonder how often he stayed in bed, the pillow over his ears, trying to drown out his marriage.

    Great story, Kate!

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Adan, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m guessing the guy spent quite a lot of time trying to drown out his marriage (great way to put it, by the way). 🙂

  3. stacilys says:

    This is awesome Kate. I love the last line, “now who would mow the lawn?” Classic.
    🙂

  4. noelleg44 says:

    Good job, Kate. Just before I got to the man in black I had a fleeting thought: What if he had an aneurysm? Guess our minds work on the same plane! And the last line…what an ending!

  5. Sheila says:

    Loved this ! Nice take on the promt, realistic dialog and a bit morbid- right up my alley of writing.

  6. Glynis Jolly says:

    Kind of freaky, Kate, but exceptionally good. (It brought something to mind from my past.)

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Glynis. I have a macabre sense of humor… for some reason, the idea of the little guy in Charlie’s brain staging a fatal stick-up and then Fran wondering who would mow the lawn sort of appealed to me in a weird way. Blame it on my mother – she made me watch The Twilight Zone when I was kid. It warped me! 😀

  7. nimi naren says:

    Wow Kate, I stopped breathing half way through…Thrilling! Feeling sad for Fran though😯

  8. Prajakta says:

    This was unbelievable! Great write

  9. Superb and absolutely realistic. Wonderful transitions. Poor Franny. How is she going to cope now with a lawn that still needs cutting? It’s a tragedy but I have the giggles. My apologies. ❤ ❤ ❤

  10. Tidalwavelet says:

    Sounds like somebody’s primary love language was ‘acts of service’

  11. Joanne Corey says:

    I am in awe of being able to write quality fiction in stream of consciousness! I admit that when I saw the title, knowing the prompt, my mind went to how many sticks we had to pick up from the lawn this spring before we could mow it. Easy to tell that I’m not a fiction writer…

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Joanne, what a nice thing to say about my fiction. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I was trying to figure out how many times I could use the word ‘stick’ in a story and this came together really quickly. That rarely ever happens to me. Usually I struggle to write something. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. 🙂

  12. Love it, especially the very last line.

  13. Gareth says:

    Great little story. And I see the copyright is relatively new (or have I only just noticed?) The amount of stuff you put out there, that’s probably a wise move.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thanks, Gareth. It was fun to write.

      I’ve been using the copyright notice only recently. I have a copyright notice on the blog, but felt it didn’t hurt to put it after my stories – just in case I ever pull a couple of them together and self-publish. I borrowed the idea from another blogger. 🙂

  14. I like the surreal dream of his death

    • Kate Loveton says:

      I like weird stuff. This is the sort of thing that I used to enjoy in shows like The Twilight Zone – a walk into the surreal. Thanks for reading, Derrick.

  15. That is absolutely amazing, Kate, especially as it’s SoC and that’s the way it came out. Such a change from beginning to end, yet the whole thing hangs together and is believable. Award yourself a major pat on the back!

  16. markbialczak says:

    Whoa! I’ll mow my lawn happily, Kate. Volunteer, even.

  17. This looks like is was a lot of fun to write, Kate. Very nicely done!

  18. jan says:

    Some men will do anything to get out of mowing the lawn!

  19. herheadache says:

    Love your interpretation for this prompt. Having a bad headache like the one you described is a horrendously frightening feeling. This story shows the need for more compassion, but still leaves the reader feeling the regret and the loss.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thank you for reading and for the sensitive comment. I meant the story somewhat humorously (because of Fran’s reaction), but you make a good point that a bad headache is a terrifying event. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and appreciate your letting me know. 🙂

  20. herheadache says:

    Love your interpretation of the prompt. Having a bad headache like this can be scary. This is obviously the worst case scenario. People need to have more compassion. I guess that’s what the story shows, but you feel for her regret and her loss.

  21. Devastating – and so like people in awful circumstances to respond with something
    superficial. Very well written.

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