Here’s a challenge. Take the following four lines and do anything you want to with them. Add material before them, add how things are said, turn them into a monologue instead of a dialogue– do absolutely anything you want, just so you embed these words in what you write. This is especially challenging if you try to put the words into a novel or story you are already working on.
It’s been a long time.
Is this it?
I guess it is.
The smell of the brewing coffee permeated every inch of Jack’s Coffee house. It made her want to puke. Why on earth would anyone want to spend fifteen hours in a place that smelled like Juan Valdez’s pantry? She used to love the smell of coffee, but now…
“Is this it?”
Jack shook his head, sipped his Americano, and cleared his throat. “This was it, about two hours ago. I think we’ve missed the window.”
He shrugged and sipped his drink once more.
“Will it happen again or do we have to do that divining thing once more?” She sipped her tea and tried not to notice how it tasted like coffee.
“It should happen again.” He checked his cell phone, which had a special home-made app he had developed for tracking the anomalies. “Fifteen minutes maybe. Should be,” he paused and looked around the room. She looked also, noting the condition of the red velvet on the Victorian chairs next to them, and a man with an orange tuque hunched over a laptop in the corner. The rest of the coffee shop was empty except for the barista, who was paging through a local events magazine.
“There,” Jack pointed with his cup,” next to the milk station.”
She obligingly shifted her chair to the side so that she could watch the spot in the ornate mirror.
All of the furnishings must have been Charlie’s idea. He always did have a thing for Victoriana. How Jack, one of the most intelligent and excentric scientists she’d ever met, ended up with his name on a coffee shop/hangout spot was still surprising. Love will make you do strange things, she supposed. His partner, Charlie, had wanted to be an entrepreneur – so Jack, who made piles of money – bought him a store. Charlie redecorated and fussed over the menu for the first month or two, and then handed it all off to Jack saying that it was too much stress. Oh the stress. Jack accepted it with much more grace that she would have. Then again, Jack accepted a lot of things with more grace than she’d ever possessed.
A movement in the corner of her eye made her blink. She reached out automatically and grasped Jack’s hand.
An almost imperceptible shimmer , like sparkling dust motes caught in a shaft of light, hung in the air near the man with the tuque. Jack got up to investigate. She pulled out her gun, holding it low next to her leg.
The man with the tuque looked up from his computer and said, “Yes?” to Jack, who was waving his phone around trying to take a reading.
“Don’t move,” Jack said distractedly.
The man looked at her, noticed the gun, and said, “What the fuck?” Just as the shimmer turned into a tear and a scaly hand reached out and snatched the man’s hat.
“Shoot it! Shoot it!” Jack yelled.
She shot. She missed. She angled to the right and tried again as the hand reached back out for the frightened man’s face. She pulled the trigger again. The hand disappeared and the rip closed with a strange ping sound.
“Holy fuck!” the man jumped up. “What the hell was that thing?”
Jack turned to her, putting his phone in its holder. “Did you get it?” he asked in a low voice.
“Nothing, sir,” she said to the man. “Yes,” she said to Jack.
“Nothing? You shot at me. Where’s my hat?”
“What hat? Did you see a hat, Jack?” She asked. The man was staring at Jack, so she made her gun disappear.
The man looked around in confusion and spotted the barista. “Hey man, did you see that? She just shot at me.”
The barista looked up from his paper, pulled the ear buds out of his ears, and said, “Huh?” Jack shoot a finger at the barista and he blinked.
“I’m sorry, can I get you a coffee?”
“On the house,” Jack added.
“Uh. Uh, sure.” The barista got the man’s order, and she and Jack made a hasty retreat to his office upstairs.
“You really think you got it?”
“Man, it’s been a long time.”
She nodded again.
“That’s it then.”
“I guess it is.”
But it wasn’t.