NOTE: 10/8/13 I RECENTLY TOOK THIS VERY SHORT STORY AND TURNED IT INTO A NOVELETTE UNDER THE SAME NAME. FIND IT ON AMAZON AT:
It’s January and time to go through all the old paperwork and empty out folders and drawers. While I was doing just that, I found this short-story from my college days and wanted to share it with you. I really had to laugh. It’s a romance with a dog! Even back then. Imagine that. Enjoy, but don’t expect too much. (lol)
“When I get my hands on Linda, I’m going to kill her!” Karen clenched and unclenched her fists and let out a huge sigh.
How could she let her friend talk her into selling these stupid housecleaning products? No one sells door-to-door anymore. Well, except maybe the Avon lady. Karen smiled. So the economy was really bad. She could make more money flipping burgers for minimum wage than this degrading job. Oh, the rude people she’d dealt with over the last two days. But finding a summer job until college started in the fall proved almost impossible. Still, she’d like to ring Linda’s neck. Door-to-door. She scoffed. What was I thinking? So I’m a neat freak, and I love to clean. That doesn’t make me a great salesperson.
She hopped out of her VW Beetle and grabbed the box of cleaning supplies from the backseat. Trepidation filled her. She hadn’t sold one product yet. She straightened her back and approached the cottage-style home with fortitude. Taking a deep breath, she rang the doorbell. A huge commotion of yelling and barking ensued inside. She felt her confidence slipping away.
The front door flew open and a shaggy English Sheep dog bolted directly at her. Karen jumped aside to avoid a collision. The dog bolted toward the street and then took off on a full run.
A five-o-clock shadowed man ran after the dog to the end of the sidewalk, stopped and flung his arms in the air, frantically calling. “Wally! Get back here. Wally. Come back, old boy.”
Wally scrambled down the street and took a left.
Karen smiled. Despite the man’s attractive features and physique, his clothes looked as “shaggy” as his dog’s hairy hide. His jeans were frayed around the pockets, knees and bottoms, and his teal T-shirt bore at least a dozen stains. He ran a hand through his unruly reddish waves and then scratched his stubbled chin, staring after his dog.
He grumbled and turned in her direction. “Oh, oh, oh. I’m sorry. Go on in and get started.”
“Excuse me?” she said.
“Go on in,” he said, waving toward the house.
“Get that, would you? I’ve got to round up Wally.” He walked away with determination in his stride.
Karen reluctantly headed inside the man’s house. Despite the fine furnishings, she couldn’t help but notice the humungous clutter…and awful smell. She serpentined her way through the mess to the ringing phone.
“Hello?” she said hesitantly.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have the wrong number. I was calling my son, Dan, at 555-3355,” the woman said.
“Uh…uh…does he have a dog named Wally?” Karen asked.
“Well, yes. Yes, he does.”
Dan came through the door carrying Wally in his arms. He slammed the door with his foot and then dumped Wally on the carpet. Wally trotted over to his empty dog dish in the kitchen and knocked it upside down with a swat of his paw. Dan entered the kitchen area and pulled an empty dog food bag from a lower cupboard.
“Hello?” the woman on the phone questioned.
“Oh, hold on.” Karen held the phone out to Dan.
“Who is it?” he asked, dropping the empty bag on the floor.
“Hells, bells. Mom.” He grabbed for the phone. “Hi, Mom…yes…yes…fine. How are you? No, of course not. She’s the…the…” He looked Karen up and down and then spotted the box of cleaning supplies she’d left on the coffee table. “Cleaning lady. You know. From one of those services. You know me. I’m always working.”
This man didn’t need her adding to his confusion right now. Karen crossed over to the coffee table and reached for her box. Dan’s hand came around her waist, and he turned her around to face him. A crooked smile curled his lips. He held up one finger, signaling her to wait.
Karen felt a slight tingle zip up her spine at his close proximity. He really was quite attractive in a primal sort of way. She noticed the half-finished landscape on an easel in the other room. From what she could see, the mountain scene was breath-taking. However, paint splatters riddled the room and carpet. He wasn’t exactly the tidiest person she’d ever met. But creative people weren’t always neat or organized. Creativity lent itself to passion and enthusiasm. And, from what she could see, this man exuded passion. Oh my, what am I thinking?
His expression sobered. “What? You’re already in town. Well, no…yes. Of course. Yeah. Sure it’ll be fine.” Either his teal shirt suddenly reflected on his face, or Dan had turned a pale green. “Bye now,” he said weakly and then gulped.
Karen tried for the box once again, but he stopped her.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I’m not from a cleaning service, and I can see you’re much too busy for me to demonstrate these cleaning products.”
“Are you kidding? Demonstrate away.” He waved a hand in every direction.
She picked up her box. “I’ll show myself out.”
“But…but I need you! I told my mom you were the cleaning lady and just look at this place. She’ll be here in less than an hour to stay for the weekend. She’ll wonder what I was doing with a cleaning woman in my house and my house looking like a total disaster.”
“Then I suggest you get started on this pig’s-sty. I’m sorry. I’ve interrupted you as it is.”
Wally grabbed the kitchen tablecloth in his teeth and ripped everything off the table. Plates and glasses shattered to the floor. A wooden bowl of fruit bounced and apples, oranges and bananas scattered in every direction.
“Good luck with everything,” Karen called as she beat it to the door.
“I’m right in the middle of a commissioned art piece,” he yelled after her. “I’m willing to pay top dollar. I need you in my life.”
Karen slammed the door behind her and smiled. She wasn’t sure which attracted her the most: the sound of that top dollar or the words, “I need you in my life.”
Could she…should she…would she throw caution to the wind and find out just how much Dan needed her?
She found herself ringing the bell again. A huge commotion of yelling and barking ensued. The door flew open and Wally took off down the street.
Dan smiled. “You’re the kind of cleaning lady I’d like my mom to meet.”
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet romance, comedy, suspense…and dogs!
Fly into a good book at: www.dragonflyromance.com