The sky is mottled with pregnant clouds

A short poem.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

The sky is mottled with pregnant clouds
Contractions of wind huff harder and harder
Trees protest throwing down leaves
And still I stay outside

A cricket plays a solo
A neighbor laughs
My hair blows over my eyes
And still I stay outside

The cup of tea has lost its steam
My skin tightens into untouched dunes
My fingers tighten while they tap
And still I stay outside

Bukowski’s liquor breath escapes his jowls
Love is a Dog from Hell flutters and howls
My little dog scurries from door to lap
And still I stay outside

Cold, Chase, Prevent

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
words/phrase provided by https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator

Without thinking she sneezed. A wave of terror washed over her body. The four-foot high cubicles, once feeling oppressive, were not hight enough anymore.

Though she didn’t move, Sara knew her colleagues were beginning to stand up in their cubicles, like Meerkats on the plain, suddenly aware of the threat of danger.

It wasn’t a cold, it couldn’t be. She had gotten the flu vaccine two weeks earlier than doctors recommended.

Reaching for a tissue, Sara noticed that the office had gone quiet. All but the hum of the water cooler and the clock ticking above the exit door. No one typed or shifted in their seats and definitely no one coughed.

Another wave of fear washed over her at the thought that she might be discovered because she remained the only one in her seat.

Through the tissue in her garbage, Sara slowly stood up, changing her eyebrows, mouth and chin to appear concerned.

“Was that you, Sara?”

It was Janine. Of course this bitch would ask me that, but she works in the cubicle on the other side of Greg.

Shit. Greg. he was out sick with something. Sara would be blamed for sure. Unless…

“No. I heard it from you. Weren’t you looking for something in Greg’s cubicle earlier?”

Sara needed to get ahead of this. Pin Janine and when the others gave chase, make her exit.

“Yeah,” continued Sara. “I know it was you because I got the flu vaccine and last week I heard you talking with Greg about not ever getting the flu vaccine. Something about autism.”

I could see more and more of my co-workers popping up. One walked to the emergency exit and propped open the door with a rubber wedge. Another colleague made his way to the emergency kit, not filled with bandages or Neosporin but with a plastic bubble to house the sick.

“I’m not sick. I didn’t sneeze. I heard you sneeze, Sara. You sneezed,” said Janine.

“You’re sounding quite defensive,” I said.

Then our regional manager, Dave, chimed in.

“Yeah Janine, me thinks the lady doth protest too much.” Dave looked around to see if anyone laughed but now was not the time.

The team moved toward Janine while she protested. Sara backed toward the open exit.

I might get away with this, thought Sara.

Just before reaching the exit, Sara heard Owen shout.

“Hey! There’s a used tissue in Sara’s waste bin.”

Sara thought quickly.

“Oh my god, Janine tried to frame Sara. Let’s get her.” Sara said, ducking through the exit while the group rushed at Janine.