[Author’s note: I just had a sudden flash of inspiration this morning, so I jotted down this bit of flash fiction. I hope you enjoy it.]
Jimmy was sitting on his sofa one afternoon watching TV when his fiancée, Jill, called. He picked up the remote, paused the TV, and then set the remote next to him.
“Honey, are you going to fix my car today?”
“Just gimme a chance to get to the store, honey. Like I told you this morning, I need a bigger screwdriver than what I have.”
“Wal-Mart is half a block away. You can get the screwdriver there. It’ll only take a few minutes.”
“I’ll get it done.”
“I know you’re not going to do it. That’s why I called to remind you for the second time today. You’re watching TV again instead of doing the odd jobs we talked about.”
“Well, I am almost through the second season finale of ‘Stranger Things’. It’ll be over in less than half an hour. I’ll get it then.”
“No, you won’t. After this you’ll surf YouTube until dark and then I’ll be home and it’ll be supper time and then there’ll be something else. Please get it done now.”
“It’ll just be half an hour.”
“I know you won’t do it. What do I have to do to get you to move? You know I hate taking the bus to work.”
“I’ll get it done, honey. I swear. I’ll do it now.”
“You bet you’ll do it now. Love you still. Bye.”
Jill hung up.
“I wonder what she meant by that,” said Jimmy turning off the phone and setting it aside.
Jimmy got up, stretched, and went to the fridge. As he pulled out a beer and opened it, he thought, “Another half-hour won’t hurt anything.”
Jimmy took a swig of beer just as he sat back down on the sofa crushing the remote.
“What the–” he mumbled as he stood back up. He picked up the pieces and threw them angrily into the trash. He chugged the beer, put on his jacket, put his phone in his pocket, and started walking to the Wal-Mart to get another remote.
Once at Wal-Mart, he spent so long flirting with the girl at the electronics register that he forgot the screwdriver.
Once back at home, he went to the front door and reached into his pocket to fish out his keys, but realized he had left them in the house and was now locked out. He punched the stucco next to the door in anger, scraping his knuckles in the process.
“Oww, that smarts!”
He set the plastic bag containing the remote on the deck in front of the door and started around the house hoping to find a window he had forgotten to lock, though he was usually good about home security.
Around the corner he found his bedroom window was slid open. Being a traditional stucco home in New Mexico, not only were the exterior walls coated in stucco, but most of the windows were tiny and set high off the ground. Fortunately, his old patio table was sitting just under the window, which he thought strange, because he didn’t remember moving it from the back yard.
Being large and not particularly agile, Jimmy carefully climbed on top of the wobbly table and started squeezing through the window. Under the window was his small dresser that was a little too short for him to brace his hands on as he wriggled through. He hoped that he could creep forward just a little more, drop just a little, and catch the dresser edge to stop a complete free fall. Then he could lower himself down slowly.
That did not happen.
As Jimmy dropped forward, his hands slipped on the dresser edge and he fell out of control, bouncing off the dresser, breaking two cologne bottles and three framed photos of him and Jill, as well as fracturing two ribs before landing face first onto the carpet with a loud thud and scraping his chin.
The commotion so scared the burglar in the living room that he dropped the TV, shattering its screen, and he bolted out the front door, stepping on the remote Jimmy had left behind and crushing it. Jimmy heard the man run out and started to rise quickly to run into the living room, but instead banged his head on the underside of the bedframe and immediately dropped back to the floor, where he breathed in some dust bunnies under the bed and had a violent sneezing fit.
When Jimmy entered the living room, he saw the mess and sat down despondent onto the sofa with his face in his palms and his head throbbing. When he rose to fetch some aspirin from the bathroom medicine cabinet, he saw a large screwdriver lying on the TV stand. That, he thought, was what the burglar must have used to pry open the bedroom window.
Before he called 911 to report the break-in, Jimmy left a voice memo on his phone.
“Note to self: never date another Wiccan.”