Running Home

short story, flash fiction, Watching You, screenwriting, Modern PhilosopherIt was pretty much impossible not to notice Missy Price.

She was breathtakingly beautiful, with a lithe runner’s body that was forever in motion.  Her long red hair made her stand out in any crowd, and heads always turned when the nineteen year old passed.

Today was no exception.  The Quad was a buzz of activity as students either hustled to their next exam, or dragged their belongings towards the parking lot to begin the journey home for Summer Break.

Missy sped through the crowd, her hair pulled back in a ponytail that danced in time to her pace.  She knew full well that people would clear a path for her.  She never broke stride, never looked down at her watch to check her pace, and certainly never considered those around her when she was running.

Missy the Missile, as her track coach liked to tell anyone who would listen, only stopped moving when she had reached her intended target.

She ran into her dorm, bolted up the stairs two at a time, and then sprinted down the hall towards her room.  Her breathing never labored, and she didn’t even break a sweat.

Missy finally stopped when she reached her door.  Only then, she checked her watch, and a brilliant smile lit up her gorgeous face.

“Missy.  I’m so glad I caught you before you left for the summer.”

The voice caught her off guard, but Missy would never allow another person to know she’d gotten the jump on her.

“Hey, Professor Saunders,” she replied like she had seen the older woman standing there the whole time.  “I’ve still got one more final tomorrow, and then I am out of here.”

Carla Saunders was a head shorter than her student, and twice as wide.  She smiled awkwardly as she tried to hide how intimated she was by Missy.

“You aced my final,” she finally volunteered to break the silence.  “You’ll be getting an A in the class.”

short story, flash fiction, Watching You, screenwriting, Modern PhilosopherMissy smiled and fished a key out of her pocket.  “I didn’t realize the university required professors to go door to door delivering grades.”

Missy had a knack for taking control of any situation.  She liked to think of it as a gift, but knew it could sometimes be her curse.

“I was hoping we could talk again about the internship…” Saunders’ voice trailed off as if expecting to be cut off or shut down.

Instead, Missy used the key to unlock her dorm room door, and then waved for her professor to follow her into the room.

Now Missy had decided home field advantage, and she was confident that this conversation would go the way she wanted.  Even if Saunders had surprised her.

“We can talk in here, but as I’ve already told you, I’ve made up my mind.”

Missy led the way into the room, which had been stripped down in preparation for its occupants’ fleeing for the summer the next day.

She wandered over to the bed on the right.  Several suitcases were neatly lined up next to it, and a backpack on the pillow boasted a bright green patch that declared “I HIKED MOUNT IKE!” in bold black letters.

Professor Saunders stood next to the roommate’s bed and tried to plead her case.

“This internship is extremely prestigious, and it would open doors that would essentially guarantee you the job of your choice when you graduate.  I can’t wrap my head around the idea that you turned it down.  An entire summer in New York City, working with giants in your chosen field.”

Missy grabbed a Gatorade out of the mini fridge next to her bed, and took a giant sip as Saunders awaited her reply.

“I understand that, Professor, and I am grateful for everything you did to get me the internship, but I have to go home for the summer,” Missy explained with a sigh.  “My family situation is…well, let’s just say it’s complicated and leave it at that.”

short story, flash fiction, Watching You, screenwriting, Modern PhilosopherSaunders threw up her arms in surrender while Missy sat down on her bed, and ran her hand affectionately over the Mount Ike patch on her backpack.

“Perhaps I could talk to your family,” she suggested, clearly not ready to surrender.

“Maybe if I explained the magnitude of this opportunity, and how missing just one summer back home in…”

She looked to Missy for a little help.

“Washington,” Missy answered before taking another sip of Gatorade.

“How missing just one summer back home in Washington could change your life forever.  They would have to understand.  How could they deny you that?”

Missy studied her beleaguered professor as she considered the words she would use to end this conversation and get on with her day.

Missy did not like being told what to do, nor did she like having her time wasted by people who refused to listen once she had made up her mind.  However, she understood the importance of not burning her bridges as people could always be useful down the line.

“I’d love to be able to take this internship, make you proud, and spend the summer chasing my dream,” she explained as an enchanting smile danced across her lips.  “But I was raised to believe that nothing comes before family.  It would be selfish of me to put my needs first when my family has sacrificed so much.  I hope you can respect that.”

Professor Saunders did not seem convinced, but she begrudgingly accepted Missy’s decision and finally went on her way.  Much to Missy’s relief.

Missy’s roommate entered the room seconds later.

“Was that Professor Saunders skulking down the hall?”

Missy nodded and rolled her eyes.

“Let me guess.  She begged and pleaded for you to reconsider the internship, but you gave her that bullshit story about having to go home to help your family.”

“You know me so well,” Missy admitted with a sly grin.

The roommates shared a chuckle.

short story, flash fiction, Watching You, screenwriting, Modern Philosopher“This guy back home must be a major stud if you’re willing to ditch a big time internship for him,” the roommate declared as she  turned on the radio.

Missy did not answer.

She just smiled devilishly at the thought of the aforementioned guy back home, while Sting serenaded her through the radio..

Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace

I dream at night I can only see your face

I look around but it’s you I can’t replace…

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Running Home

  1. The Hook says:

    Absolutely brilliant piece of work, Austin.

  2. Pingback: Don’t Make Me Go Back! | The Return of the Modern Philosopher

  3. markbialczak says:

    Awesome hook, Austin, and I’m not talking about our common friend who also thinks this is a great work and commented above. You bet this pulls me further into hoping to see your upcoming screenplay come to fruition!

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