Harry and Sarah

A Dark Job

What will come of this? Something to build a story on. Sci-fi. Harry always took his coffee with cream and sugar. So what?

Sarah finished her black coffee as she always did—while still hot, before stepping out. Out into the cold night, she walked on leaden feet. Feet that felt only dread. Dread that Harry wouldn’t be back this time.

Time was, he’d go on a mission for a few days and return home. Home where the heart is, bringing small trinkets, worthless souvenirs. Souvenirs that she treasured not for their intrinsic value but for his love. Love that still smoldered after all the years. Years spent in end of the galaxy shacks but sometimes in luxurious penthouses. Penthouses paid for deeds he wouldn’t talk about except in sleep. Sleep that brought dreams better called nightmares.

He’d never been gone more than a week. Two weeks had passed since that call. It left him shaking his head, yelling no into the phone until going out into the barren wasteland—out of earshot. He sometimes talked about the jobs. Others, he told her little. She knew he didn’t want this one—a soul-blackening mission his time no doubt.

Ashen-faced when he left, Harry spoke softly, “I’ll be back soon as I can, Sarah,” looking away, “I—have to meet up with some other contractors that you don’t want to know about, out on the rim.”“Do you have to go on this assignment? I heard you yelling no,” Harry.

“Well, I’d rather not, but it’ll be OK,” he said, “I’ve been on worse—not recently, but this one’s worth ten regular runs.” Harry’s smile lasted but a moment as he headed off to grab his gear. He came back with his big duffel and carrying the heavy weapons case.

“You’re leaving right now? Why don’t you wait until tomorrow?

“I can’t—the job won’t wait. Don’t worry,” he said, giving her a nearly rib-crushing hug and a hard kiss before skipping down the stairs.

The icy wind blew cut through her coat, chilling her to the bone. Come back Harry! She had to get out. Out to the pub where she could be around people. People who worked in the mines, at the spaceport or—well, on jobs like Harry did. Did they know anything? Anything they could say would be better than staying home alone. Alone with her worries.

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6 thoughts on “Harry and Sarah

  1. This is excellent, John. I feel like you should take this and run with it. Is this an excerpt, or are you leaving your readers right here to imagine? I want to know more about Harry’s work. (Sorry, I didn’t see the heading until just now.) I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t had a chance to look at what you sent me before. I am interested; it’s just that I can hardly manage my life. 😎 Anyway, I promise to take a look if this was it because now I’m engaged.

    Even though I never saw the film, I know there is a movie called When Harry Met Sally. Purely coincidental?

    1. Thanks Pete!

      Last first–totally coincidental. Funny movie, though.

      It’s just another story starter. I’m great at doing scenes (IMHO) that could be used as hooks or somewhere else. It’s the plot line and more that sometimes is a hold up. But I have a bunch of these that I tinker with to make into short stories–some might warrant a novella or novel treatment.

      This one, incidentally, uses “trainstorming” a portmanteau word that my writer friend from Toronto, https://dgkayewriter.com/ got me started on. End a sentence with a word and start the next with the same word–over and over. It’s good for writers block or just something to get a story moving.

  2. Hi John
    I’m engaged in that story, I want to know if Harry came back. That portmanteau/trainstorming is something I’ve never heard of; interesting technique. I hope all is well.

    1. Thanks Susan! Yes, we are doing well indeed. With the governor”s order of phase one lifting shutdowns, some retail stores opened yesterday here. I could talk to a couple shopowners–through a mask.

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