Twenty Minutes

You have 20 minutes to write a post that includes the words mailbox, bluejay, plate, syrup, and ink. And one more detail… the story must include a dog named Bob


“What a beautiful day,” thought Maisie, as she put her outgoing letters in the mailbox.  Raising the red flag at the side of the box, she turned around to go back across the street and up her driveway.  Enjoying the fresh cool scents and breezes of early morning, she paused for a moment before going back inside.

There were huge old pine trees guarding her driveway, and a brilliant bluejay arrowed from the west sentinel to the east sentinel, filling the air with his unmusical screeching. How could anything that looke so pretty be so discordant?

“Well, back to work,” she thought.  She had a mountain of paper to clear from her desk before she could get down to the four hours of writing she scheduled for herself every week day. Keeping that schedule was an endless battle. There were so many distractions!

And one of those distractions was still at the kitchen table, mopping syrup from his plate with the last few bites of the pancakes Maisie had made for the family. The only one still at home with her was blue-eyed Matthew, not quite five years old. His mop of black curls always made her fingers itch to wander through that coarse, messy  mop.  Matt, however, had other ideas. Finishing his breakfast, he jumped down from his chair, gathered  his plate, cup, and fork, and took them to the sink where there was hot soapy water waiting for the last of the morning dishes.

“Mom!  Mom!  MOM!!”

“What, Mattie?  I’m right here!”

“Mom, can me and Jeffie  go swimming in his pool this morning?  His mom said!  Can we?  Please? “

“Matt.  ‘May Jeffie and I. . .’ sighed Maisie.  She wondered how many thousands of times she had made a similar corrections as her children grew up. Well, this was the last one.  Patience.

“Yeah, that.  So, ca—may we?  Boy, that sounds weird!”

“Yes, you may, if Jeffie’s mom will be there with you.  We’ll talk about it when she comes to pick you up.”

The doorbell rang, and it wasn’t long before Matthew was waving to her from the back seat as Jeffie’s mom drove him away for the day to play with his best friend.

“Silence.  Just a couple of quick chores, and then I can sit down and get to work.”

Maisie flew through the house, setting things to rights, throwing a load of laundry into the washer, setting out a package of chicken breasts for a stir-fry for supper.

Finally, she filled Bob’s water and food bowls, and her long-time companion rose slowly from his rug, stretching and sighing. He shook as only a dog can shake, smiled up at Maisie, ignored his food and water, and ambled off to the study where he knew she would spend the morning. When Maisie got there, Bob was already stretched out on his  favorite bed, slapping his tail against the floor as she pulled her chair up to her computer desk. 

After changing the ink cartridge in her printer, Maisie glanced over at him. “Well, Bob, time for you to nap and me to work. You sure do have a nice life, you know?”

Bob smiled again, closed his eyes, and snored rhythmically to the tap of her computer keys.


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