Paper Quarter – Flash fiction

If they wouldn’t come to him, he’d go to them.

Sneaking out of the home wasn’t difficult once you worked up the courage to try it.

There was bus stop down the street. Harold had never ridden the bus before, but he couldn’t think of another way. When the bus stopped, he climbed on. “How much is it to ride?” he asked the driver.

“For seniors it’s 75 cents,” the driver said.

Harold dug into his pocket. He had a $1 bill and two quarters. He handed the driver the bill.

The driver pointed to a slot in the post next to him. “You put bills in there.”

Harold fed the dollar into the slot. A paper card popped out of the post. “How do I get my change?” he asked.

The driver handed him the paper card.

Harold knit his brow. “This is a quarter?”

“It’s good for 25 cents toward your next ride,” the driver explained.

“Oh.” It seemed like they were into him for a quarter now, but the driver looked impatient so Harold didn’t complain.  He put the card into his pocket with his two real quarters. The bus jolted ahead. He fell into an empty seat.

Riders pulled the overhead cord when they wanted the bus to stop. Harold wanted Lexington Avenue, but didn’t know what stop preceded it. Nervous, he pulled the cord too soon. It wasn’t the right stop, but everyone saw him pull the cord. He got off and walked the extra blocks.

He climbed the steps of the porch and put his finger on the doorbell. He didn’t push the button.

This was a mistake. Their first thoughts would be to take him back. Sharon wouldn’t see her father; she’d see an escapee. It would be harder to sneak out again.

Why did he even come here?

Through the front window Harold noticed movement.  Leaning against the window frame, he peered in.

Joey sat on the carpet, playing with his trucks in the sunshine. Harold leaned and grinned as the boy tottered around on the floor, lost in his own imagination.

The toddler looked up, finding the face in the window. Harold smiled and waved. Joey waved back.

“I love you, Joey,” Harold mouthed.

Joey’s eyes lit up. “I love you, Grampa!”

Joey jumped up and ran deeper into the house, yelling to his parents that Grampa was here. Harold shuffled down the steps and hurried away. Fortunately, nobody believed children or old people.

Entering the bus, Harold slid his paper quarter into the slot. He dropped his two real quarters into the well. As they clinked onto other quarters, he found a seat.

It was satisfying to hear the clink of real quarters, and to get rid of the fake quarter they’d saddled him with. He had no more money, but at least nobody was into him for 25 cents anymore. He’d sneak back into his room with everything square, confident he’d gotten his money’s worth from the trip.

*****

Nook downloads of my books are still FREE for a limited time. Click HERE for more info and thanks for reading!

It’s my party and I’ll Palooza if I want to

Welcome to NookBookPalooza

I’m probably way behind the times on the whole Palooza thing. Everything fun, with multiple entries is supposed to be some kind of Palooza, right? Oh, that was in 2005? Well, that’s still progress for me as I am usually 20 to 30 years behind the rest of civilization.

Anyway I’m sticking with NookBookPalooza because it has a nice ring to it and I don’t feel like spending the time thinking up something more hip and modern.

For my NookBookPalooza I am making the Nook versions of all my books free. It’s only three books, but I haven’t found any rules stating that’s not enough items to constitute a Palooza, so you can see I am well within the law.

That’s right, for a limited time, Nook downloads of the following titles will be free.

Click on a cover for more information about that book.

Take me to the free Nook Download.
Take me to the free Nook Download.
Take me to the free Nook Download.

I’m not sure how long this will last; we’ll see how it goes. That’s why I’m using the legal term “for a limited time” rather than giving an end date. I learned this trick from fast food restaurants test marketing their new sow belly sandwiches.

Why not Kindle too?

I would love to do this for Kindle editions too, but Amazon is less flexible about free stuff. I could only make Kindle books free for five days at a time, and then only if I didn’t make ebook versions available anywhere else, like for Nook. I can make Nook editions free for as long as I want, with no strings attached. Hence, there will be no KindlePalooza at this time.

This Amazon business is unfortunate, as I know many more people who download to Kindle than who download to Nook. Nonetheless, I am not letting this disappointment put a dent into my Palooza. The show must go on!

So go ahead and download a free book or three, cause tonight we’re gonna Palooza like it’s 1999! (A 1999 that comes with modern ebook technology.) But hurry, because, as they say on the sow belly sandwich commercials, this promotion is subject to end without notice.