Sometimes, an idea arrives out of the blue and if I’m lucky, Iffy takes it and runs. This is 2020 and with year-end looming, folks are looking back. It makes sense that the last #1lineWed prompt for this year would be **HINDSIGHT**. I made a mental note Monday to check my WIPs for something that would fit. Then, as I turned out the lights and settled in for late-night TV and snoozing, a line hit me. I was smart enough to get up, turn on the light, and write it down. The first line of today’s snippet is what I wrote. Yesterday, I typed it out and then, after a few minutes, I started typing. This is what came out. I don’t know who she is. I don’t know who he is. But they have a story and eventually, they’ll introduce themselves to me and I’ll tell it. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later. 😉
Looking back, I should have seen what was coming. You know what they say about 20/20 hindsight, right? Yeah, I thought I did too. That’s before I was blindsided. I sipped from the glass of ice water the waitress set in front of me when I first sat down. How could I have been so wrong? How could I have been so stupid?
I wasn’t naive. I’d dated at lot. And my job demanded focus, attention to detail, and a certain amount of ambition. I was good at my job. Or had been. It wasn’t my job anymore. Glancing at my watch, I calculated the time. I’d been fired exactly three hours, twenty-two minutes and thirteen seconds ago. And the man I’d been sleeping with, the man I was in love with and who I thought loved me had engineered the whole debacle. He’d gotten a promotion while security showed me to the door.
“Can I get you a drink, hon?”
I glanced up at the waitress. She rocked back on her heels, turned and headed to the bar. I took another sip of the water. I felt lopsided, the weight in my right pocket dragging me off kilter. Moments later, a shot glass landed on the table with a loud thud, along with a bottle, a salt shaker, and a plate of lime wedges.
“On the house.” The voice was dark and deep and compelled me to raise my head. I couldn’t breathe until he ordered me to do so. “Take a breath, babe.”
He pulled out a chair, sat, and poured tequila into the shot glass. My hand reached out of its own accord, and before I knew what I was doing, I’d tossed it down. I coughed after swallowing, choking, my eyes watering. The man offered me the salt shaker and the limes. I ignored them as I kept coughing. He poured another shot.
“That’s not going to help,” I finally managed to say, as I reached for the ice water. I managed to drink about half the glass though it didn’t do much to quench the burn in my throat.
“Bad day?” the man asked.
“You could say that,” I mumbled, refusing to meet his gaze. I wondered what he’d see in my eyes, if he would know what I planned. When I continued to ignore the shot, he reached for it and knocked it back, swallowing it down like it was water.
Neither of us spoke for almost an hour. He was patient. I was…numb. I finally pushed back from the table and fumbled in my purse for my wallet. The waitress had been kind and I’d occupied a table on a busy night. I pulled out a twenty for a tip and left it on the table. Without speaking, I headed toward the exit. I made it about four steps before I slammed into something hot and hard. Before I could react, he’d removed the pistol from my jacket pocket and shoved it into his belt.
“That’s not the way, babe,” he murmured.
I glowered up at him. “Give it back.”
“Then I’ll find another way to kill him.”
The man smiled at me. “Good to know.”
And there it is, the last prompt of 2020. What about you writers? Have any to share in hindsight? And readers, hard question–looking back at 2020, what would you do different? Here’s hoping for a much better 2021!