Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Saturday Stories : Denver Cereal (a new serial fiction set in Denver)

I’ve decided to get back to work on a serial fiction located in Denver. The serial starts with a story that I’ve already published as a short story. I’ve re-edited the short story to fit the serial format. The short story was originally created as a “song = fiction” exercise and is loosely based around Garth Brook’s “Friend’s in Low Places.”

I will publish a piece of the serial every day (from this point forward) on my stories blog starting next Monday. You can find a weekly compilation here on this blog on Saturdays.

As always, let me know what you think!

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CHAPTER ONE

In Chapter One, we meet Jill as she gets ready to attend her soul mate, ex-husband’s engagement party.

“You cannot be serious,” Megan said to Jill.

Jill’s hazel eyes shifted to catch Megan’s reflection in the full length mirror. Jill nodded then smiled at Megan’s sour face. Jill zipped the back of her tight black leather skirt and tugged at the starched white shirt. Reaching behind her, Jill took a white vest from Megan.

“Turn around,” Megan said.

Jill turned so that Megan could helped her button the vest.

“It’s tight but….” Megan buttoned the top button in the white shirt.

Jill turned back to the mirror to evaluate. At twenty five years old, post one baby, she was still round and flat in all the right places. Leaning around the Colorado Rockies sticker on the mirror, she checked for mascara smudges.

“You are not going,” Megan said.

“I’m going,” Jill replied.

Jill wandered into her bedroom looking for the matching black pump to the four inch heel she held in her hand. Her head was under the bed when Megan said:

“He only invited you as a courtesy.”

Jill grabbed the pump from under the middle of the bed.

“I have an invitation. I’m going,” Jill said. “I want Trevor Mc Guinsey to see what he’s missing.”

“He’s not going to see any farther than his fiancé’s father’s wallet.”

Before Jill could put the shoes on her feet, Megan snatched them from her hand.

Jill looked Megan in the eye, ”You are not helping, sis.”

“I don’t have any intention of helping my little sister make a complete fool out of herself.”

Turning the shoes back and forth, Megan shook her head at the worn, dry, Salvation Army found shoes. She peered at the point of the heel. At least the plastic wasn’t showing yet.

“Pllleeezzzzeee,” Jill begged.

Megan dropped the shoes in resignation. Why fight it? She could never resist Jill.

“Wear your boots,” Megan said. “If you want my help, don’t just bring the boots. Wear them.”

Jill’s eyes grew wide. She trotted into her bedroom closet and pulled out the boots, those beautiful boots. Holding the boots against her chest, Jill drew in the smell of the butter soft black leather of the thigh-high boots with a five-inch stiletto heel. They smelled like love, luck and happiness.

Trevor bought these boots at the Mile High Flea Market. They were three hundred dollars cash, more money than they had seen in six months, and so worth it. They had a good time in these boots. Trevor used to tell people that Katy was conceived with these boots. They were lucky boots. She used to tease him that they were his ‘get lucky’ boots.

Of course, she was wearing these boots, languishing in post coital bliss, when he told her. Pressing the divorce papers across the crumpled covers, he asked her to sign. He had met a rich girl. She was going to pay for law school at Denver University. He was doing it for Katy. Certainly Jill would understand.

But Jill never understood.

Oh, she signed the papers then scrubbed the remnants of him from her body, her apartment, and her life. When he returned, his things were waiting for him in the hall and the locks had changed. With Jill sobbing on the other side, he screamed, “I don’t love the rich girl” and pounded on the cheap hollow core apartment door for an hour. Trevor only left because the apartment manager said he would call the police.

“Now, how’s that gonna look to the rich girl, Trevor?” The apartment manager sneered.

Tonight, Trevor was officially engaged to the rich girl at a black tie affair.

Returning to the mirror, Jill saw that Megan was right. The boots looked great.

“Let me get the tie.” Megan tied a black bow tie around Jill’s neck. “You have the jacket with tails?”

“Mikey’s bringing it when he picks me up in the limo,” Jill said.

“Do you want me to come?” Megan asked.

“I can do this, Meg,” Jill said. “Steve’s working security. If I need to get out fast, he’ll be there.”

“Mike and Steve are both in on this? What about Candy?”

“She’s working the bar. I’m sorry, sis. They didn’t tell you because they thought you would be mad.”

Megan shook her head. Of course their brothers and sister were in on this. No one but Megan saw that Jill was making a fool out of herself. But Jill always made a fool of herself over Trevor.

“He’s my soul mate,” Jill pleaded when she needed Megan’s signature on their marriage license. Sixteen years old and in love. Now twenty-five years old and heart crushed.

The apartment door opened to their brother Mike. Megan smiled at the worry on his face. At least she wasn’t the only one who was worried. Mike’s face shifted to a smile for Jill.

“Here you go, Jilly,” Mike said. “I brought three.”

One at a time, Jill tried on the black tux jackets with peak lapels and tails. She selected the one Mike thought made her look the sexiest. Jill nodded at herself in the mirror. I can do this.

She clutched Megan in a hug. With tears in her eyes, Megan released Jill.

“Love you, sis,” Megan said then closed the apartment door.

Mike escorted Jill through the crowd of neighbors. Everyone wanted to cheer Jill on today. One last, ‘Make us proud,’ and Mike closed the door to the front seat of the limo. Slipping behind the heel, Mike told her that Steve, their middle brother, said that the guests had all arrived.

Jill would be the last one to show.

With a nod of her head, Mike started the limo. They turned down Thirteenth Avenue to make their way through the slow Friday afternoon traffic. Never one much for conversation, Mike was relieved when Jill turned on the radio. Stoplight to stoplight, they drove in silence to the Seawell ballroom, Denver’s Grand Ballroom, the place where Jill’s soul mate was announcing his step up in life.

When Mike turned onto Speer Boulevard, Jill closed her eyes to review. Her best friend Sandy squeezed her in between paying clients. Talking non-stop about “That Prick Trevor,” Sandy colored, curled and primped Jill’s hair until her hair fell in beautiful honey blonde waves.

She spent an hour at the MAC counter in the Cherry Creek Mall where Heather worked. Heather tried this mascara and that shadow. Careful not to mess her hair, Jill washed her face at least three times before Heather was satisfied with her makeup. Leaving the shop, Heather pressed into Jill’s hand a bottle with the last drops of Heather’s favorite French perfume.

“Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry,” Heather said. “You’ll ruin your make up.”

Jill borrowed the vest and tie from Jack, her next door neighbor. The vest was part of Jack’s uniform as a valet at the Brown Palace. She touched the vest as if to insure it wouldn’t get stained. She promised Jack.

Tanisha arrived at the apartment just before Megan. She assured Jill that the Italian bra and matching panties were on sale. When Jill went to put them on, she saw the tags. A hundred dollars! A piece! On sale!

Knowing she had been caught, Tanisha shrugged, “Once in your life, you deserve something beautiful. Especially today.”

Megan came in when they were hugging and it was back to the business of getting dressed. Her stockings were sheer, black and beautiful. Jill was certain she had never worn such beautiful undergarments.

I wonder what Trev’s gonna…. She bit her lip to keep from finishing the thought. She wasn’t out of the habit of thinking of Trevor as her love, her life. Maybe tonight would do the trick.

Jill jerked to the present when Mike touched her leg.

“You better get in the back, sis,” Mike said. He pulled the limo to the curb at Colfax Boulevard.

Jill went to the back of the limo where she found a single long stem white rose with a red ribbon around it. She caught her brother’s eye in the rear view mirror.

“I thought you could strangle him with the ribbon.”

“Thanks Mikey.”

At least people loved her. All of her low life friends - that’s what Trevor called them now, her low life friends - pulled this off. They waited the tables at the event, tended bar, played in the band, provided security and helped her get ready. They all wanted to show Trevor that he may be moving to an ivory tower, but it’s friends that make a life.

“Ready?” Mike said. He extended a hand to help her out of the back of the limo.

Jill nodded then kissed his cheek.

“Love you, sis,” Mike said. “I’ll be here ‘til it’s over.”

“Oh Mikey, what about work?”

“The boss said that you can have the limo and me all night. He thinks Trevor is a world class jerk.”

“Don’t kiss him again,” their brother Steve said taking her arm. “Remember, high class women don’t fraternize with the help.”

Jill took Steve’s arm. “Please thank Leslie for taking care of Katy tonight.”

“We love her,” Steve said. “It’s easy. Now go in there and make us proud.”

Clutching her long stemmed rose, Jill took the escalator up toward the ball room. Her heart pounded in her chest and her pulse thumped in her ears. If she wasn’t riding an escalators, she would certainly have run back to the limo. I can do this. She reminded herself when she reached the top.

Letting out a breath, Jill waited for security to notice her.

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