• T. Mark Mangum

Growler Ink

Sally was a half-hour late, which I guess was a half-hour early by her standards. She operated on her own clock, lived in her own world.

Sally was a half-hour late, which I guess was a half-hour early by her standards. She operated on her own clock, lived in her own world. Which explains how she had lost more jobs than she had kept but, had always managed to get by. She was a bit disturbed with herself this day, this time because she wanted this Job. Freeform office setups, flexible work schedules, deadlines but no pressure, no mandatory overtime, and decent pay. She exited her car and began to rush up the sidewalk.

“Miss” …

Sally slowly turned. The Cop had appeared out of nowhere.

“Where were you, I didn’t see you anywhere, and I looked. I am really late, and I can’t find anywhere else to park. Sorry.”

She turned quickly and started back up the sidewalk.

“Why don’t you leave me your keys, that way I won’t have to tow it.”

“Thank, you, and here is my number so you can text me where you left it. Wow, how awesome and nice. Thanks.”

Sally quickly jotted down her number in the note pad “Officer Trowelsted” she read as she handed the note and keys to the Cop. Then turned and hurried up the sidewalk.

Inside the lobby of Growler ink, there were many folks walking about, waiting in line for coffee, lounging, working on couches and sitting chairs that were placed here and there, they had nice decorative throw rugs beneath them with side and coffee tables. She walked to the receptionist's desk and announced herself.

“Good morning, I am Sally Well, here for an appointment with Mr. Wren, I’m a little late.”

The receptionist looked at her computer screen, looked up with a smile, and said.

“Good morning Sally, go ahead and make yourself comfortable, get a coffee or whatever you prefer, Mr. Wren will be down as his schedule adjusts and he can make time to see you.”

“Thank you.”

Sally picked one of the couches in a lounging zone that was empty the rug was a sky-blue background with many circles of various colors, the couch and chairs were grey with a distressed greyish wood coffee and side tables. She sat and relaxed taking a deep breath. Her phone chimed. It was a video message from Officer Trowelsted.

“Sally, I moved your car, it was here, now it is there, you are good to go. Text me when you are done, I will bring your keys to the car for you.”

Sally stared at the video and replayed it. Officer Trowelsted was standing on the sidewalk where she had parked, as he said, “it was here”, he showed her the place she parked, and slowly turned, filmed the sign that said no parking then stepped to the other side of the sign filming her car as he said “now it is here” the side of the roadway, clearly painted with yellow stripes that designating individual parking slots.

“Oh My” she typed into her phone, “thank you so much for that, sorry. I am waiting in the lobby of the Growler Ink building for my appointment if you wanted to bring them to me now.”

“I do love that coffee shop, why don’t you get in line, I will buy us a coffee when I get inside.”

“great I will see you in a bit, but you have to let me buy to say thanks, what do you like to drink.”

“Just a large Black Coffee, room for sugar and cream please.”

“Cool. See you soon.”

Sally got in line smiling and laughing at herself as it moved along, Officer Trowelsted, entered the lobby and walked to joined her in the line as she reached the counter and began to order.

“Ms. Well”, a male voice sounded out loud and stern from across the lobby.

She looked over, a bit startled as Officer Trowelsted got to her starting to say something but noticing the shock, turned, and looked in the same direction. Mr. Wren stood, glancing about the lobby for Ms. Well.

“Shit, sorry.” She said looking up at the tall officer, she had not noticed how tall he was at their earlier exchange.

“No worries, here are your keys, and now I don’t have to wait in line.”

“Thanks, Call or text me any time,” Sally said as she walked toward the receptionist's desk. “Here, sir.” She raised her hand.

“Sally, I am Will Wren, welcome to Growler Ink.” He extended his hand.

“Thank you, sir, I am sorry I was late this morning, parking problems.” She took his hand, shook, and released.

“Call me Will, please. Let us head upstairs. Is that how you know Officer Trowelsted, your parking problem?”

“Yes sir, a funny story if we ever have the time for it.”

“Oh Goody, I do love a good story. After all, that is what we do here, write stories.”

A question to my readers. Which way would you like to see this go?

1. Psyco Stalker Cop.

2. Hallmarky, Happily Ever After

3. Fantastical, Fantasy doorways in the back rooms of Growler Ink created by the writers.

4. The accidental discovery of Boss's illegal drug trade.

Let me know what you think. I will write the one with the most hits.

The Alternative endings I wrote are published and available at the links above.

Growler Ink is published on Medium an online publication. Please consider joining Medium as a paid subscriber. When you read my stories on Medium I get paid.

Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without my written consent.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and Board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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