Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sophie pedals through the park, just as the sun begins to set. As dusk sinks in and the depressing fog that always seems to cover the town appears, the badly paved path in front of her gets harder to see. Sophie curses herself for trying out her latest health kick, and doesn’t see the large, inconveniently placed rock in her way. Sophie yelps as she becomes airborne for at least 5 seconds before slamming into an overgrown, patch of grass. Standing, as she brushes herself off, she looks up directly into a pair of black eyes.
"Your great good fortune, true, it was your ruin." The voice belonging to the eyes screeches in Sophie’s face. A young boy Sophie hadn’t noticed yanks the arm of the old man, who seems to be blind, back over to a raggedy blue blanket in the distance. Sophie stares at the odd pair as they slink away into the fog. But the crazy old man’s words ring in her ears. As she picks up her bike and starts walking it back home, she hears the faint bells of St. Cecilia’s that haven’t stopped ringing since this afternoon. This town was starting to get even more weird.
Sophie leaves Quik Feet after dropping off the now scratched and dirt covered rental bike. She takes one last look at the eerie park across the street and starts to walk back to The Victorian at a brisk pace- still uneasy about her earlier encounter with the old man. As she passes Howell Park she notices a few orange peels scattered in front of the entrance. They hadn’t been there just 15 minutes ago when Sophie had left. Curious, she starts to wander back into the park. With the exception of one flickering lamp, it is pitch black.
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” she thought to herself and turns around to leave. As she does, the light of the moon hits something to her right, catching her eye. A woman dressed in various hues of red strides past the park entrances and something dangles from her neck. Sophie, an expert in jewelry of all kinds, squints for a closer look. A tooth. Sophie’s eyes widen at the gruesome object. She shakes her head and exits the park. The woman stops all of a sudden. She turns and looks back at Sophie.
“ ‘Scuse me,” she calls. “Which way to The Victorian?” Sophie looks at the woman, suddenly very nervous.
“Uh, I’m not quite sure,” she stammers and quickens her pace home.
Back on the third floor, Sophie’s heart rate finally slows down. She bends down to unlock her door when a gust of cold December air blows in through an open window. The sweet, sticky smell of oranges wafts in front of Sophie and she freezes. Turning to look down the hall, she sees Hal South closing his door in 309. Sophie quickly gets in her apartment, closes the door and locks it. Twice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

“I’d like my old room back please.” Sophie said as she plopped down a year’s rent on Ellen Davis’s desk and watched Munny pang scurry off with a water bottle and a huge grin. Ellen looked at the wad of cash, counted it silently in her head and reached for the room key. She gave Sophie a scornful look and handed it over.
“Do you have any Voss back there?” Sophie asked, peeking over Ellen’s desk. Ellen blocked her view and gave Sophie a look she’d seen plenty of times. “Right, well, can you have Harvey bring my stuff up to my room? I rented a truck to bring it all over.”
“Harvey’s busy.” Ellen said firmly.
“Yeah, building your shrine,” Sophie thought and walked out to her car. “I should have a party.” She said out loud. A party would be the perfect thing to take people’s minds off the water issue. Who needs water when there’s alcohol anyway? Sophie began planning the guest list in her head and she carried her things inside The Victorian.
“Thank you,” She said to whoever held the door open for her. She looked back. Anthony Moretti. She’d never thought much of him, he was always so quiet. Sophie got his attention as he walked towards the elevator.
“Hey! Anthony!” she called and waved. “What are you doing this Saturday?” Before he could answer, she went on. “Great! I’m having a party. 8 pm, 305, see you then!” The elevator doors closed as he was opening his mouth to reply. Sophie headed back to get more stuff and smiled to herself. She was excited to have a little fun.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sophie tapped her freshly bit fingernails anxiously against the greasy glass display case at Lance’s Pawn shop. Checking her surroundings for the 4th time that minute, she exhaled as Lance wobbled in from the back. He had his monocular in one hand and Sophie’s gold ring in the other.
“Finally,” Sophie thought and waited to hear what Lance had to say.
“It’s beautiful, at least 20 karats. And the diamonds are in pristine condition considering how old it is.” Lance’s eye twinkled, he wanted it. Sophie knew he would try to give her as little as possible for the ring, he drove a hard bargain. “I’ll give you 6,000 for it,” Lance smiled, showing several gold teeth and the others rotten. Sophie snorted. She knew the ring was worth more than double that, and with the sentimental value it held, she wasn’t willing to settle.
“12k or no deal,” She said. Lance’s smile turned to a frown as he opened the cash register, he could tell by her demanding tone that Sophie wasn’t going to be an easy .
“I can do 10,” he grunted. And began to to bag the cash. Sophie took one last look at the ring she’d had for so long. She snatched the bag and walked out the door before Lance could see the tears forming in her eyes.
Sophie looked in the bag as she stepped onto Blackbird Boulevard. As she did a quick count of the last of her money, she gets the wind knocked out of her.
“The hell…” She says and looks up or rather down at the short, chubby women in front of her. Her hair was a mess, she had a pen tucked behind her ear. She had a looked up in awe at Sophie, nearly a foot taller than her, and yanked out another pen from her back pocket.
“A reporter,” Sophie thought and rolled her eyes. The reporter began asking something but Sophie was already clacking down Blackbird to City Hall where her car was parked. The stout women sprinted to keep up.
“You’re Sophie Stone, aren’t you?” She questioned. Sophie checked for cars before waltzing across the street. The woman nervously trailed behind, already out of breath.
“I’m from Southern Living. We’re doing a piece on the town- it’s making a comeback.” Sophie couldn’t help but laugh as she reached for her keys.
“Is it?” She giggled and looked around the town over her Kate Spade sunglasses. The reported nodded enthusiastically as Sophie unlocked her car. A yellow glare caught her eye. She held her breath and glanced down at the front right tire.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” She yelled and stomped her foot. “Great, just freaking great.” She turned around to find the parking attendant, the mousy reporter at her hip. The attendant came waddling up, weighed down by keys and at least 50 extra pounds.
“This parking is for City Hall only ma’am.” He squinted up at Sophie and struggled to catch his breath. The reporter began scribbling on a notebook.
“What are you writing? Stop writing,” Sophie snapped. “There’s no parking at Lance’s, where was I supposed to park?”
“I don’t make the rules ma’am. That’ll be $100.” He held out a dirty hand. Sophie exhaled sharply and pulled out a crisp hundred dollar bill from the sack she’d just gotten. She handed it to him and he pocketed it and bent down to take off the boot. The reported straightened her glasses and turned to Sophie.
“So, um, Ms. Stone, I’d love to ask you a few quick questions.” She said. “Don’t you live at the Victorian? We’d love a tour of your room.” Sophie opened her car door, knocking the poor off balance. She turned the car on and the A/C at full blast. The reporter continued though, Sophie had to give her props for her perseverance. “Or maybe, your favorite place to eat around here…” She trailed off. Sophie gave her one last look and said, “Honey, this town isn’t making a comeback, there’s nothing to come back to.” With that she slammed the door and sped off, leaving the shaken newsie and hefty meter maid in the dry, September heat.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sophie rolled her eyes as the power shuts off for the 5th time that week. Sighing, she slammed the door closed to the apartment door littered with red eviction notices. As she carried the last of her things to her car, she heard the complaints of her noisy neighbors and tried to drown out their annoying whines with the clicking of her heels and clacking of her overflowing suitcase.
Ellen Davis, immersed in the chaos of the blackout, didn’t see her as she headed out to Simone Boulevard. Ellen had always hated Sophie since she moved in two years ago. Maybe it was her insane parties that went all night or that she hadn’t paid her rent in the last three months. That wasn’t her fault though- it was her dad’s for cutting her off. All because of her last trip to Bora Bora. The plane ride back got a little wild and the pilot was having too much fun and maybe a little too much drink. Luckily no one got hurt in the emergency crash landing- but her dad was not happy about the tarnish of the Stone family name.
“Get a job,” he had barked at her after she asked how she was supposed to go to Paris next month with her friends or afford the new designer clothes that would be released after fashion week. She begged and pleaded but her dad stayed firm and indefinitely froze all 12 of her credit cards. Now she was left with the $1,000 in her personal bank account. Luckily Doug’s Bar down the road was hiring and she quickly got the job, probably not because she was at all experienced, but because of the tight skirt and low cut top she had worn to the interview. All the creeps in this town had always irked her, but now she had to use their perverse nature to her advantage.

As the reality that she now had nowhere to live sunk in, Sophie got lightheaded and leaned against her 2016 Land Rover. She crammed the rest of her crap in her car and headed over to Doug’s, where she was already 20 minutes late for her shift.