Children, Coincidences, and Chaos

Submitted for Contest #44 in response to: Write a story that starts with someone returning from a trip.... view prompt

44 comments

He heaves, folding his newspaper and throwing it on the ground. The taxi driver carelessly turns on the radio the man specifically said not to put on. He felt like he was running out of breath. β€œRoll the windows down, will ya?” Chase mutters. The hot air was stiff and thick.

The taxi driver pays no attention to him. He hummed to the music very loudly as if that could make the traffic ease. β€œYou’re jus’ too peevish,” the driver murmurs. β€œAin’t got nothin’ to worry about. The air iz fine.”

Chase sighs. β€œWhat are taxi drivers for, then?” he asks himself. β€œTo torture them in their vehicles?” Of course, the driver kept humming obliviously, or ignorantly. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter.

Chase had a wife at home, who was doubtlessly going to yell at him for being late. β€œNine o’clock sharp,” he told Phyllis a week ago. He checks his watch. Wayyyy past nine.

β€œCan this go any faster?” Chase asks, his voice snippy. β€œI just got here from Texas, and I really need to go home. I haven’t got any sleep and I would be satisfied when I get my first chance in bed.”

The driver snorts. β€œSay that to the vehicle. I ain’t nothing but a man who works all day n’ night. Sucks fo’ me. Shouldn’t be complaining, you’re gunna get home real soon.” He turns the radio off, both of them silent. Only the taxi speaks with its wheels.

Even though the driver acts cranky and slightly tetchy, Chase felt a pang of guilt swim inside of him. He was going to get home from Texas, but the driver would be working all day, every day. β€œSorry,” he apologized. β€œDidn’t mean to—”

β€œAye, that’s what they all say.” The driver waves his hand, softening.

The traffic had finally stopped, and they both relaxed. The driver put on quieter music that soothed Chase. Maybe that’s why he put it on. Not to soothe Chase, but to pacify himself.

β€œWell, here’s yo stop,” the driver says, breaking the silence besides the music that he just turned off. β€œProlly never gunna see ya again. Now, get on that bed like ya said ya will. I’mma get back on these wheels.”

Chase thanks him and pays, and the driver raises an eyebrow. β€œYa paid me an extra nickel.”

β€œYou deserve it, you really do.”

The driver doesn’t smile, but he doesn’t frown either. β€œI ain’t gunna accept the nickel.”

Chase’s face fell. β€œYou deserve it,” he insists.

β€œNah. I got more than ya think. Ya deserve it more than I do.” He waits for Chase to put out his hand again, so he forces himself to. He drops the nickel on Chase’s hand and salutes. β€œAye. Betta’ get goin’, or else imma lose ma job.”

β€œSee you, then.”

β€œYe.” He closes the car door, and Chase watches until the driver’s car was completely out of sight. Then he walks in, preparing for the yelling to start.


β€œDamn, you finally here!” Phyllis mutters as Chase walks inside. β€œDamn, you know it’s ten, right? What’s your damn watch for, then, if you ain’t gonna keep your promise?”

β€œTraffic.”

β€œAye, you ain’t in no mood to talk. What’s up with you?”

He noticed that Phyllis has almost the same accent as the taxi driver. He never thought he’d say this, but he actually missed him.

β€œI rode a taxi.”

She was suspicious, now. She jerks her head at him. β€œAnd the driver was a girl, ain’t she?”

β€œHonestly, Phyllis, you’re getting on my nerves. The driver was quite pleasant. And he was a man,” he adds before Phyllis exploded.

Phyllis didn’t look away, and she changes the subject. β€œI am inviting my family over for my birthday,” she says. β€œYou will invite yours too. Please.”

β€œI don’t have a family.”

She snorts. β€œSuit yourself. My brother and my nieces are comin’ over.”

β€œThat’s all?”

β€œDon’t expect a party. I’ll be the one cleanin’ up everywhere, then.”

He just nods.


The doorbell rings. Chase flies to the door, peeking into the small hole cautiously. Then he grasps the handle and opens it, and finds an unsmiling man.

β€œWhatcha doin’ here?” the man snaps, leaving Chase in confusion. β€œDon’t tell me. Ya live here?” He sounded surprised.

Chase presses his lips together and nods. β€œYes, I do. Do I know you?”

He widens his eyes as if Chase was an idiot. He felt like one. β€œYa forget so easily. I was yo taxi, remember? Young people these days.” He shakes his head and begins to scurry off. β€œI prolly got the wrong address.”

β€œWait!” Chase shouts, making the man jump. β€œAre you here to see Phyllis Oakley?”

The man was frozen. β€œHow do ya know?” He turns around, his face wild.

β€œI’m her husband.”


Phyllis stares in awe. β€œSo ya were his taxi driver,” she says to her brother, Phillip.

β€œYe I was. Can’t believe the coincidence, can ya?”

β€œNope. Not at all.”

Chase says, β€œI should’ve realized how you both had those accents.”

β€œWell, lotta peeps got β€˜em,” Phyllis points out.

β€œTrue.”

The doorbell rings again. β€œMust be the children. Open up, Phil.” He obliges, getting up from his seat and peeking through the hole. β€œYep, it the children, ain’t it?”

Phil nods. β€œGot β€˜em.” He opens the door.

β€œPhil, are these your children?” Chase asks. He watches the young girl sneeze into her teddy bear, making a mental note not to touch it. And not to touch the book On the Road, because the girl put her teddy bear on it.

Philip barks, β€œIz Philip to ya. Only Phyllis calls me that.” Then he adds, β€œYes, this iz Caty. Other one is Pop.”

β€œPop?”

β€œPoppy, Pop for short.” He rubs his eyes and lays his hand on an armrest. Don’t touch that either, Chase.

β€œHow’d they get here?”

Phyllis answers it. β€œMy, ya got lotta questions. His wife dropped them off. Ya don’t expect them to walk here alone, do ya?” She chuckles, and so does Philip.

β€œCaty and Pop are some cuties.”

β€œThey some cuties, all right. Pop is eight, other one is five. Caty has none manners,” Phil says as he watches Caty rip a page out of a book. β€œNone manners.”

Chase gently takes the book out of her hands. β€œNo more, sweetie.” Caty shrugs and gets sudden interest with her bear.

β€œWell, I thought this get-together would be some fun, but really it has been none fun without any cake,” Phyllis declares. Phil rolls his eyes.

β€œYa ain’t ten, Phy.”

β€œI can be ten when I wanna,” she snaps. β€œStop playing mother. It ain’t hurt to be a child. It only hurts when you can’t.”

Chase shakes his head as Phyllis and Philip get into a full-blown fight, while Poppy drops all the books out of the shelf, while Caty tries to reach her teddy bear out of the bathroom faucet. But it doesn’t hurt to be a child again.


I can be ten when I wanna. It ain’t hurt to be a child. It only hurts when you can’t.

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44 comments

Ollie Octopus
15:56 Jun 03, 2020

Amazing story Kendra! Stay safe and keep on writing:)

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Thanks! You stay safe too! I will definitely keep on writing! 😊

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Ollie Octopus
21:40 Jun 03, 2020

:)

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Sandeep T
04:31 Jun 02, 2020

Ahh it's cool, I was just beginning to be a part of their little party and the story's done already. I was waiting for some element. It's good nonetheless, I just shared what I felt 😁, good luck

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Always welcome any feedback! I think I was just worked up on my beginnings and the ending just gets confusing or even cut off, along with the different events in the story. Thanks, glad to have feedback for this. Good luck to you too! πŸ˜„

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Nirosha P
08:09 Jul 23, 2020

Amazing story! I just felt it lacked some content. Other than that a nice story! :)

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Benny Njuguna
15:58 Jul 01, 2020

The accent, it's interesting. Other than coming across it on television. The joy of arriving late at home, while the wife is waiting! It's a good read.

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L. j. Aubrey
23:05 Jun 18, 2020

I love how you consistantly use the accents. I quickly got pulled in.

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Thank you a whole lot! Glad you liked it :)

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K.c. Dunford
03:38 Jun 11, 2020

Very interesting story! Great job! I like your style so wanted to let you know about a free writing contest that I am hosting now until the end of June. The winning story will be published by High Dive Publishing and both first and second place will receive some amazing prizes. Visit https://kcdunfordbooks.wixsite.com/contest if you’re interested! I hope you will submit! I’d love to see more of your work.

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Elsa jude Gazzea
09:08 Jun 10, 2020

Great story. Love your accents and dialogue! I would love it if you could check out my stories too!!! XElsa

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Thank you, I appreciate it! Yes, I will check out your stories sometime, can't wait! :D

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Steve Stigler
01:13 Jun 09, 2020

You did a great job keeping my attention - thanks for an interesting story!

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Solstice Poon
16:20 Jun 08, 2020

Whoa, this is a really nice story! It's also quite a powerful ending, although it doesn't have much to do with the start of the story or the ending. Do you think you could give some feedback on my story? It's called "Bittersweet". I'd really appreciate it!

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Thank you!! I'll be there as soon as possible. Can't wait to check out your story!

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Solstice Poon
16:39 Jun 08, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Yep! Anytime! I'll be there soon :)

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Sarah Greenwood
12:16 Jun 08, 2020

I just joined Reedsy. Really enjoyed your story. I will check out your others. Thanks for the read πŸ‘πŸΌ

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Thanks so much for reading! Glad you enjoyed πŸ’–

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Grace Jarvis
22:10 Jun 07, 2020

Could you check out my stories and provide feedback?

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Charlie Murphy
16:38 Jun 07, 2020

Great story! I was surprised it ended so suddenly. I liked the accents and the surprise guest. :}

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Yeah, my ending sometimes gets a bit rushed. I'll have to work on it. Thanks :)

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Dhananjay Sharma
06:47 Jun 07, 2020

Just wonderful. I hope you will express your thoughts about my stories.

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Thank you! I will read your stories too, for sure!

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P. Jean
18:27 Jun 05, 2020

Interesting! Lots of dialog! Moves it along! Thumbs up!

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Vrishni Maharaj
11:30 Jun 04, 2020

Lovely work! I really enjoyed this

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Nichole White
15:35 Jun 03, 2020

Great job Kendra, I really Loved this book!

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Corey Melin
03:05 Jun 03, 2020

Enjoyed the read. I can relate to some of it. Write on!

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Love the alliteration usage in the title, very well written with an engaging plot. Sincerely, A.

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Agnes Ajadi
21:17 Jun 02, 2020

Nice job!

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Ollie Octopus
21:05 Jun 02, 2020

This story was amazing! Keep writing and stay safe:) -Ollie

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Thanks! You stay safe too! πŸ’•

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