I wrote this piece during NaNo17, between the hours of 12pm and 2am the day it was due for my local writing club’s annual short story contest. The prompt was “Snowbirds.” (They are everywhere in Florida, people from up north who come to live down here during the winter to escape the snow. For the record, as a whole they are terrible drivers.) I was half-delirious when I wrote it, but I think it turned out okay. It’s pretty much a one-shot–not much editing involved except for a last-minute review just before I submitted it for judging.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Leona, but our system seems to have glitched. The courtesy car we were planning to give you was double-booked with another appointment at the same time.”
On any other day, Maggie would have laughed it off and joined the other unfortunates lounging in the waiting room of the dealership. She might have gladly taken a break from life to sip at a hot mug of coffee, and even at that moment the aroma of a fresh brew wafted over her like country air.
But she had to be back at the Riverrun Country Club House at noon if she hoped to defend her HOA presidential nomination against Luanne Marcone, the one woman in the world she would relinquish even coffee to sabotage. A transplant from Chicago, Luanne called Florida her home from the first week of November through the last of March. Maggie, however, came down from the Adirondacks from October through April. Luanne’s greater absence alone should have been sufficient to lay the matter of the presidency to rest.
Maggie fixed the clerk—Becky, as her nametag read—with the kind of glare that had kept her husband faithful for thirty-four years.
“I must have that car. Is it still here? If it is, I was here first.”
“I—I think it is, but let me talk to my supervisor.”
Before Becky could skulk away, the glass double doors of the dealership’s service center swung open amid a torrent of dust kicked up by the autumn breeze, and there stood Luanne Marcone. She was tall, slender only because of it, her face long and eyes shrewd. She paused a step inside, her arms still stretched wide to hold the doors ajar as she narrowed her eyes at Maggie. Maggie stared back at her, her heart pounding against the jail of her ribs. Slowly, Luanne dropped her arms to her sides, and the doors swung closed behind her with a final thud.
“Luanne.” Continue reading