Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jennie’s Christmas Miracle……. Flash Fiction

I met him in line at the grocery store. Do-rag, jean jacket, beard, little Jon Lennon glasses, silver thumb ring. Not my type at all. He was buying tons of flour, bananas, zucchinis; obviously someone was going to be baking up a storm. Turned out it was him. When he noticed me behind him he flashed a beatific smile that would have had any casting director searching for a believable Jesus signing him on the dotted line.
The smile was what did it. Well, that and the stop motion flash of images of us tangled up together under a sweat soaked sheet that accompanied his handshake. And it wasn't just me. The cashier actually had to poke him on the shoulder to give him his change.
When we clonked back to earth, he helped me unload my cart and waited until I paid. He wrote his address on the back of his card and told me that if I wanted to come over the next day to sample his breads he'd love to have me.
I spent a sleepless night weighing the pros and cons.
When I rang his bell the next day I was shaking head to foot. I almost fled when I heard footsteps coming to the door. But then I straightened my spine and stood my ground. The door opened and let out heat, Sinatra and the wonderful smell of freshly baked zucchini bread. I was pulled into the apartment by that heavenly mixture and by the little white haired woman who opened the door. She smiled, took my coat, suggested I leave my boots by the door and ushered me toward the kitchen.
Marcus was barefoot, bending down to adjust something inside the open oven door. He lit up when he saw me. My mind registered a soft white Mexican style shirt and jeans slung low on slim hips in the instant before he crossed the room to engulf me in the best hug I've ever had. He kissed my neck and told me that he was so happy I'd come. His mother came back from wherever she'd taken my coat with a baby on her hip. The baby immediately launched himself at me and I explained that they'd been doing that to me my whole life. Nina, Marcus's mother, said that was because babies could see my heart light.
The rest of the evening was a blur. About twenty people showed up in the next few hours. Most were family, some were friends. I know I ate a lot, laughed so much my face hurt and drank about ten gallons of hot sweet tea. Marcus kept bringing me fresh cups and he took each opportunity to hug or kiss me hello and goodbye as he left and reentered the room.
Eventually everybody went home; Marcus's mom, his brothers, his sister Gina, her baby and her husband, all the guys who worked with Marcus in his custom bike shop and his best friend Jeff from grade school.
All that was left was us, Sinatra and a whirring dishwasher. We sat snuggled together on his couch and gazed at his Christmas tree. He kissed me down the side of my neck and up the side of my face, eventually making his way to my mouth. After a good long time he pulled back and thanked me for spending the evening with him. Then he asked me if I was tired and needed to go home or if I would consider staying for a while.
I never left.
That was twelve years ago and every year we recreate our grocery store meeting. Then we go home and bask in our tree to celebrate the day we met. But these days it's a day that has to do double duty because it's also our wedding anniversary.
I used to be one of those Scroogy people who didn't believe in Christmas miracles and who would never even have thought about letting down my guard and taking advantage of one of those just gotta have it impulse items in the grocery store check out line.
But now? I'm a convert. I take a moment every time I transfer my items from cart to conveyer belt to bend a discreet knee and thank the gods of grocery for all that they have provided. And once a year I drop a few crumbs of Marcus's special Christmas zucchini bread in offering. Because you never know; they might be vengeful gods. And I don't want to lose what I've found. I'm proof positive that zucchini bread can make everything better.
Especially when you top it off with a hot buttered man……seasoned of course, to taste.



Karen from Mentor said...

Happy Holidays Everybody!!

J. M. Strother said...

Lovely piece, Karen. Zucchini bread does indeed fix many things - I can see why she fell for him.

Loved this bit:
just gotta have it impulse items in the grocery store check out line.

Well, loved the whole thing actually, but that line really struck me. :)

Marisa Birns said...

Hot, spicy, and delicious story! Sigh. No Marcus types in local grocery store. Alas.

Kris said...

Inviting a girl over "to sample his breads"?!? LOL! There's a come-on I hadn't heard before! After that I was half expecting a yeast infection to become part of the plot!

Very intertaining! Merry Christmas back at'cha!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story, I love it! Positive and warm vibes, bringing a smile. Thank you Karen.

KjM said...

Oh, there is all sorts to like about this. It's like being wrapped in one of this hugs Marcus seems to specialize in.

Let's hear it for stop-motion images! {big grin}

Happy Holidays right back acha, Karen.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to find a Marcus under my tree this year.

And I love this story. The "sample my breads" bit made me giggle too, but then I have a gutter mind. :)

Hope you have lots of hugs for the holidays. Here's mine. *hug*

Harry said...

That's some impulse item! Charming, sweet & funny Karen. Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary!

Karen from Mentor said...

Merry Christmas Harry. :0)

And hee about the anniversary. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just write what we want and then get it?
*Immediately starts writing a story about winning the lottery*

I'm with Gracie, I'd LOVE to have a Marcus under my tree. Wonder if Jennie would go for a time share plan?

*starts a letter as a back up plan...*

"Dear Santa....."

Karen from Mentor said...

Am a big big fan of stop motion photography Kevin. *grins back at you*
*tangent upon tangent alert*
And of those old stop action movies. Love when you can see the thumb prints in the clay. Also a big fan of thumbs. I like the opposable kind for preference. Oh hey, somehow in my head those tangents all blended together and came back full circle.

Karen from Mentor said...

The "sample my bread" and "he would love to have me" were my favorite bits in the piece Gracie. Had a feeling you'd enjoy them too.
*grins hugely at you*
Thank you for the hug. It warmed the cockles of my heart.

*feels all warm and fuzzy*

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh my good lord Kris. A yeast infection? That's too funny. Would have never gone there in my extrapolating, but now I can't see how it wasn't an obvious path.
Sometimes I guess you just need a flashlight.... or a reindeer. I'll just call you rudolph this week.

Enjoy waking up at 4:00am on Saturday with munchkins jumping on your bed my friend.
Big Hugs!!

Karen from Mentor said...

jon, so nice to see you in my space. Happy I made you smile. *big grin*

Karen from Mentor said...

Marisa my love, I'll send you this new thing that I invented. You put it on your shopping cart and it attracts men. It's like those things that they use to repel deers on the highway, but in reverse.

[long about 3am I'll think of a good name for it. or I'll just wait til Laura comes in, she'll probably have one]

*smooches Marisa*

Karen from Mentor said...

That was the goal Marion. Warmth for Christmas. So happy you stopped in to enjoy it.

I got a kick out of your photos of the holiday celebration near you. Especially the little Dickens style rat wearing a top hat.

At first I worried about how they got the hat to stay on. Then I just decided that it's all done with mirrors. [what a relief]

Harry said...

Ha! Well I guess it was pretty believable. I saw the title again on my Blog List and this time I noticed "Jennie's"....Doh! (I was wondering about the scarcity of a biker who listens to Sinatra ;)

Karen from Mentor said...

I loved that the story felt true to you. I think that's one of the nicest compliments for a writer to receive.
*feels delighted*

Monica Marier said...

Great Christmas story. I love how safe everything felt despite the fear of the unknown. If you hadn't told it just right, Marcus could have been a creepy strangely magnetic creature, instead he was warm and famillar and benevolent and the story was more enjoyable for that. Expertly done and a sweet ending. (now I want zucchini bread.)

Laurita said...

Well, now. This was a delicious little holiday treat. Much better than a gingerbread man. I like how sneak in those little phrases to turn up the heat like "he'd love to have me." Yikes!

I really, really enjoyed this.

Eric J. Krause said...

Very sweet story. Perfect for the holidays!

Anonymous said...

This is such a perfect Christmas miracle, life could hardly live up to it ;)
Love your flash honey, even if you did eat one too many Christmas cookies :P

Merry Christmas hugs to you!

Cat Connor said...

Merry Christmas Karen!! xxx

Julie (Okami) said...


ganymeder said...

What a great story! Very sweet and full of holiday cheer, and of course hot buttered man. :)

Jodi MacArthur said...

Delight to raed! I've never been a scker for romnce but I lve yuors, Karen. I wish this was true. I can smell tht yumy zuccini braed in a wrm lving home. Mrry Chrstmas!

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

That story – and that GUY – was more delicious than any gingerbread/egg nog combo. Tasty work, Karen.

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Cathy. As Mon said, it was a journey into a safe, warm fantasy. I don't do Romance that often as Jodi knows, much to the sadness of Estrella, who'd like to see me do more of it..... but every so often I get the urge to pull at those old heart strings. And if I can make Laurita say "yikes" and even please Eric, Cat, Cathy and Julie on the way, it was totally worth tarnishing my horror rep for a tiny moment.

I think I'm going to try working with "The Universe gives you what you want" theory by standing out in the woods and reading this tale aloud so I can see if some of the Marcus magic rubs off on me.

*looks gleeful*

Thanks everybody for taking the time to stop in and leave me a kind word. As always, you guys make my day.

netta said...

I know I'm late to the party.

I really admire people who can do good romance, and this was great. In my romance, someone inevitably ends up dead and bloody, with some guts thrown in for good measure. *sigh*

Very nice, Karen. Estrella's correct -- you SHOULD do this more often.


ganymeder said...

Sweet and sexy. Nice one!