Second Chances (Short Fiction)

This post is part of the Absolute Write Water Cooler’s February Blog chain, which can be seen here. The prompt this month was Second Chances, which leads me to imagine the short little scene that plays out below.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments and by sharing the posts on your favorite social networks if you like it!



Second Chances:

The bus shook slightly as it took the turn and Robert’s stomach did a turn with it, rolling and gurgling at the motion. Some days were still like this, an endless struggle between himself and his body. He clinched even tighter to the manilla envelope between his fingers, wishing he had not taken a seat by the back of the bus near the wheel wells.

Robert looked around the bus, looking for watchful eyes that might have seen his reaction to the turn, but none of the other passengers seemed to have noticed. Robert had no idea why he felt that people were watching him all the time, it seemed to be an extension of the shame he felt being a recently clean cocaine addict, as if the mark he placed on his body and soul was visible. It had been a month since he had stopped using, but it had only been a little less then a week since Robert had stopped using Amantadine, a drug that was supposed to help with the cravings, and did to an extent, but he had felt that at some point he had to fly solo. The bus jumped again and while doing the now routine glance around his surroundings, Robert noticed her. She had red hair and had her nose planted deep in a book, reading intently. She was amazingly beautiful and Robert had to almost pull his eyes off her, although even after his eyes had moved he still felt her presence on the bus, buzzing like a broken light.

When the next bump came, Robert had enough of being directly under the bus’s back wheels and started to move towards the front of the bus, holding himself up by the metal poles with one hand while the other clutched at the manilla envelope. As he was trying to reach for the next handhold the bus hit a pot hole and Robert lost his grip on the envelope. He stifled a cry as he watched it slide down the middle of the bus interior. He was imagining what he would do if the envelope got damaged or even worse, slipped out the gap between the buses doors and the floor and out into the streets when a black high heeled shoe stopped it from going any further.

It was the red haired beauty, her book laying open in front of her on her knee while she kept her foot on the envelope. Whether it was concern over the envelope’s safety or the fact that fate had just happened to have the most attractive woman Robert had ever seen in his life save the envelope from certain doom, Robert could only mumble a barely audible “Thanks.”

“You’re very welcome, but if I were you I’d try not to get up and move around on the bus after it hits 78th Place, all the recent construction around here has made the road like something out a post apocalyptic movie.”

Robert retrieved the envelope and steadied himself where he stood holding the closest support hole, lest another bump sent him flying down the aisle.

“Thanks for the tip” Robert said. “Can I sit down?”

Red hair smiled. “You’d better, before they drop the next nuke.”

Robert smiled back and sat down, the closeness to the woman was both nerve wracking and tempting. “My names Robert.”

“Mines Barbara. May I ask what you do Robert when your not playing Frisbee with envelopes?”

Robert Took a glance around him, thinking of a plausible answer. What he did hope to be doing was in the manilla envelope, but it was not something he felt entirely comfortable talking about yet, not till he was sure. What he had did before, scrounging for money and stealing to sustain his drug habit, he could not say.

“Well, I write.” Robert took a glance out the window. “I mean, I will be writing, hopefully I’ll be writing if all goes well today. In a way you just saved my life, my whole immediate future is in the envelope you saved.”

Barbara smiled as she looked down at the watch on her wrist. “Well, that beats a record,” She said, raising her eyebrows. “I’ve never saved a life this early before, usually I wait till after lunch.”

A hearty laughter came from somewhere near Robert’s stomach which was so busy laughing it forgot to go into it’s lurching routine as the bus hit another bump in the road.

“Well I’m glad your pleased Robert the Writer, it’s not often I get to see a writer laugh, usually it’s the dagger eyes that I get.”

“Oh, and why is that?”

“I’m the submissions editor for Powerhouse Publishing, well one of them anyway, the junior one.”

Robert’s face must have looked like he felt as Barbara quickly looked a bit concerned and flustered. “I’m sorry Robert, is that where you are headed this morning?”

“Yeah, although now I feel like I should not have mentioned it.”

“Not at all Robert the Writer, must be pretty important for you to brave the usual intriguing stenches of the Buses on route seven.” Barbara said as Robert’s composure returned.

“However, this also means we have to get off at the next stop, so hold on tight, most of these guys can drive, but stopping is another matter.”

The rows of skyscrapers spiraled into the sky above their heads as they watched the bus roll off into the distance. Barbara turned to Robert and pointed at the double revolving doors that lead into the building.

“You go up five floors, and turn left.”

“Thanks,” Robert said, glancing up at the fifth floor with new apprehension.

“I’d follow you in, but I have to go around the corner to the coffee place or I’m the one that will need saving before noon.”

“All right, thanks again, it was nice to meet you Barbara.”

Barbara smiled again and pointed up the street.

“The museum is about four blocks that way. Today they close early but they should be open beyond noon at least. I go there when the buses are behind, that way I don’t have to sit in back, the back of the bus can be bumpy at times.”

“So I’ve noticed, but why would I go to the museum at all?”

Nodding her head a couple times, Barbara pointed at the envelope in Robert’s hands. “ Now I know why your submitting here, we only do no non-fiction, you don’t seem to have much imagination”


“I am telling you about the museum’s hours so you can meet me back here at these doors at noon to take me to lunch Robert the Writer.”

With another smile and a flourish Barbara disappeared around the corner to get her coffee. Robert stood for a few moments in the sun, feeling that the day had all of a sudden got a little brighter and that the future had just grown a bit more promising.


Here are the rest of the folks that are participating in this months blog chain. Be sure to see what their ‘Second Chances’ were:

Participants and posts:
Turndog-Millionaire – (link to this month’s post)
orion_mk3 – (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – (link to this month’s post)
magicmint – (link to this month’s post)
Tomspy77 – (link to this month’s post)
MamaStrong – (link to this month’s post)
in_one – (link to this month’s post)
LilGreenBookworm – (link to this month’s post)
LiterateParakeet – (link to this month’s post)
Diana_Rajchel – (link to this month’s post)
sambgood – (link to this month’s post)
Bogna – (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – (link to this month’s post)
kiwiviktor81 – (link to this month’s post)
AFord – (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – (link to this month’s post)
These Mean Streets – (link to this month’s post)
areteus – (link to this month’s post)
Domoviye – (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – (link to this month’s post)
julzperri – (link to this month’s post)
Nissie – (link to this month’s post)

26 Responses to Second Chances (Short Fiction)

  1. I love the beginning of this. The description and intro into Robert is great

    A nice short, and a great second chance for Robert. You can’t beat a foxy redhead

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  2. ralfast says:

    I like her. A redhead in charge. 😀

  3. Man, I thought she was going to go get coffee and then when he was taken into the reception area to meet with whomever…it would be her! lol

    Silly me. 🙂

    Nicely done.

    • tomspy77 says:

      You know, that had not occurred to me but if it went further (It was pushing it word count wise and had to be pared down to be in the blog chain), this would have been an excellent ‘next move’!

      Which translated means I wish I had thought of it! 😉

      Thanks for the kind words!

  4. Charity says:

    Ah, a redhead who likes to read…I can relate. 🙂 I’m not quite that “take charge” though. Good story!

  5. Alan says:

    Thanks for an enjoyable and interesting read. Excellent dialog/interaction between your characters (was thinking of what Hollywood types would be playing Robert and Barbara if your book hits the big screen). Again, double thumbs up!

    • tomspy77 says:


      Thanks or the compliments.

      It is not part of a book really, just something I thought of for the blog chain, but I have thought about what happens both before and after this little scene, I guess once you create something you can’t help bu continue to wonder where those creations go and what they do!

      Thanks for commenting and glad you liked it.

  6. JulzPerri says:

    I’m impressed! I loved it. I felt like the redhead’s early dialogue was a bit stiff, but perhaps that’s just me – it seemed to make more sense as her personality shined through later on.

    Great writing 😀

    • tomspy77 says:

      Thanks for the comments.

      Really fiction is something I have not done as much as some freelance non fiction work, but glad to know you warmed to it as well as giving me something to look into improving.


      • Dan Clarke says:

        Some of the dialogue was stiff, but with a second draft a little bit more light talking, it could look really good.
        If you want to practice your fiction writing, you wouldn’t go wrong making this into a longish short story, or even a short novella.

      • tomspy77 says:

        Wow! Pretty cool comments there, thanks for the tip.

        I actually have a short SF/Horror story I am about to finish up and then will try working with that.

        But both comments on the ‘stiff’ dialogue and on expanding this work make me want to fix the dialouge issues and also think about what Barbara and Robert might have done at lunch and beyond.

  7. alexp01 says:

    Nice story! A quick bit of pedantry: “under the buses back wheels” really ought to be “under the bus’s back wheels” 😀

  8. tomspy77 says:


    I will fix that glaring error straight away, thanks for the heads up.

  9. […] blog chain; Turndog-Millionaire –  orion_mk3 — Ralph Pines — magicmint — Tomspy77 — LilGreenBookworm — LiterateParakeet — AFord — writingismypassion — […]

  10. […] (link to this month’s post) Tomspy77 – (link to this month’s post) LilGreenBookworm – (link to this […]

  11. […] (link to this month’s post) Tomspy77 – (link to this month’s post) LilGreenBookworm – (link to this […]

  12. Randi Lee says:

    This is really well done! Thanks for the interesting read 🙂 Write on!


  13. Just Me says:

    The potential conflict is intriguing…..she is the junior ed of subs, so I’m presuming it would be she who reviews his submission? I like the way she calls him “Robert the Writer” three times, as if to commit him to memory….as though she’s hinting to us (the readers!) that she plans on thinking about him later. It’s a very enticing foreshadowing technique.

    More please. 🙂

    • Hey JM.

      This is old as sin, but I do admit every once in awhile I think about what happened next in this story.

      Way too busy with Nanowrimo right now through the end of the month to add to this but you know what?

      I just might because now I KNOW I will be thinking about what happens next.

      So it may be a case of ask and you shall receive?

      Thanks again for all the kind comments and the like JM.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: