I am constantly receiving feedback from people who want to know why I ended a story a certain way and then telling me that I should have _________ (fill in the blank). Many asked me if I would mind if they wrote an ending to the story. This happened so many times that I decided to hold
The Just Plain Bob Annual Invitational
The idea was that I would write a story and then let those who so desired write and submit their own ending. They could take the story anywhere they wanted it to go.
Last year I wrote the first story for the Invitational, "What to Do About Edie" and the results were disappointing to say the least. Only two people took up the challenge - two out of the hundreds that always complained. I began to think that I didn't give them enough to work with so this year I loaded the story with things that can be played with.
I said in the intro to "Edie" that I planned on doing the Invitational annually every October and the month is now upon us so I am announcing
The Second Annual Just Plain Bob Invitational
Come on, step up and take the challenge. Give this story the ending that YOU think it should have. The only rule is that you have to identify the story and then put your name on it. Examples might be "Rob's Choices Invitational" by YYYY, or "JPB Invitational Challenge" by XXXXX.
And now --
Just Plain Bob's Start
I had just gone to the keg to refill my plastic cup when I saw her slip out the door to the back patio. Normally I wouldn't have thought anything about it since we were at a party and everybody was circulating and socializing and the patio is where you would normally go for a breath of fresh air. No, it wasn't her going out that caught my eye, it was the furtive way she looked when she did it. You know the look; like you are going to do something you shouldn't and you are hoping no one notices -- a sort of 'pre-guilty' look?
I topped off my cup, took a sip and headed for the front door. I walked around to the back and peeked around the corner. There was no one on the patio so I walked across it toward the garage and peeked around the corner and there she was. She was kissing Tim Malloy and Tim had one hand up under her blouse and on her left tit and she was pressed up against him with her left leg lifted and alongside his leg as she rubbed it with her cunt. I sipped my beer as I watched that kiss that seemed to go on and on and then I turned and went back to the house. I finished my beer, tossed the cup in the trash can next to the keg and then went on home to my apartment.
I was reviewing my Business Law III assignment when my cell phone chirped. I answered it and it was her.
"Where are you?
"You are at home? You just went off and left me here?"
"That pretty much sums it up."
"Everyone else is gone. How am I supposed to get home?"
"I see a couple of options open. You could walk or maybe even hitch-hike. You could call a cab if you have enough to pay the fare. You could ask Harry to run you home, but he usually gets so bombed at his parties that you probably wouldn't want to risk riding with him."
"You aren't going to come get me?"
"Nope. Don't think so. Goodnight Maggie."
I disconnected, turned the phone off and got back to my Business Law assignment.
When I woke up in the morning Maggie's side of the bed was empty which was no great surprise. She had the temper that was usually associated with redheads and not knowing that I'd seen her with Tim she was pissed at me and her attitude would be "Walk off and leave me? Well I'll show you!" and she would stay gone at least until supper time. She would show up expecting me to be contrite only she was going to be in for a surprise because I wasn't going to be there.
My first class wasn't until ten and by nine-fifteen I had everything I wanted out of the apartment loaded in my car. I drove to the campus, hit the bursar's office and checked on the possibility of a dorm being available. I lucked out and there was a room available so I took care of the formalities and then headed off to my first class.
After my last class I drove over to McKenna Hall and checked in. The dorm captain walked me to the room, knocked on the door, waited a moment and then used a key to let us in. My new roommate wasn't there so as I moved my stuff in the dorm captain explained the rules to me, told me where everything was and then left me to finish my unpacking.
I was just about done when a very talk black man walked into the room, took one look at me and said:
"What the fuck you doing in my room honky?"
"I'm your new roommate nigger."
"I don't like that word."
"I don't much care for honky."
He gave me a mean look and then went over to his desk, put down his books and started to strip. He got down to his shorts, put on a pair of flip-flops, got a towel and a shaving kit and headed for the door. I went back to my unpacking and he opened the door and then said:
"Hey, white boy; if you don't shower early they usually run out of hot water by nine."
"Thanks Sambo" I said without turning around and then he was gone. Ten minutes later he was back and I was sitting at my desk reviewing the Managerial Economics material I would need to know if Rayburn hit us the next day with one of his infamous pop quizzes. The guy looked at me and said, "Sambo?"
"What can I say? Honky gets you nigger, white boy gets you Sambo. Rob gets you whatever you would prefer to be called."
"I answer to Sam."
"Okay Sam; as I said, I'm Rob."
"You a transfer student?"
"Nope. Just split up with the wife and I'm letting her have the apartment. I was going to look for another smaller one, but then I thought I would see if I could get in a dorm instead. Frankly, I'm surprised I was able to get in."
"You can thank me for that. Every roommate they gave me was white and I'm not all that easy to get along with if you are white."
"Are we going to have trouble?"
"Don't much look like it. The others would cringe when I would walk into the room. And go after me the way you did? None of them had the stones."
"Just why were you so hard to get along with?"
"I guess at 6'5'' and 220 I intimidated them. They probably didn't have much experience with my kind and they were scared of me. It showed and that pissed me off so I treated them like wimps until they finally asked for a room change."
Just then my phone chirped and I looked at my watch. It was six-thirty, normally dinner time, so the call was probably from Maggie. I took the phone out and looked at the display and sure enough that is who it was. I hit the button and said:
"Where are you?"
"None of your things are here Rob. What is going on?"
"I've moved out Maggie. Like I just said, I'm gone."
"This isn't funny Rob; where are you?"
"I know it isn't funny Maggie, but I've moved out and I'm not telling you where I am. As for the question you haven't asked yet Maggie, the "why", just think on it Maggie. Think real hard and maybe you can figure it out. Goodbye Maggie."
I disconnected and it chirped again almost immediately. The display said it was Maggie again so I turned the phone off and spent the evening getting acquainted with my new roomie.
The next morning I turned my cell phone back on and saw that I had eleven voicemails. I knew that most of them would be Maggie so I deleted them all and headed off for my first class of the day. If I knew Maggie and her flaming redheaded temper -- and I did -- she would have worked herself into another, "Well I'll show him" mood by the time she had sent out all the voicemails and she would sit back and make no further effort to contact me. She would sit tight for a day or two and wait for me to come crawling back home. By the end of the second day with no word for me she would start calling again and sometime during the third day she would come looking for me. She knew my class schedule, what part of the library I favored when I went there to study and she knew what time I took my noon meal at the school cafeteria. I would not be all that hard to find and it didn't matter because I was going to have to talk to her sooner or later, it was just that later suited me better than sooner. The more time I put between seeing her with Malloy and talking to her the calmer I would be. Plus, it would give me time to send a message; a message that when it got to Maggie might make her think twice about exploding on me when we did get together to talk.
As I walked from my dorm to my first class of the day my mind was not on Rayburn's possible pop quiz, but on my marriage. I fell in love with Maggie the first time I laid eyes on her. I had come home from school one day to see a Mayflower moving van parked in front of the house across the street. The house had been up for sale for about six months and it seemed like some one had finally bought it or was renting it.
I was standing on the sidewalk watching when a girl came out of the house. She was about my age (eleven), had red hair worn up in a pony-tail and when she saw me she smiled and waved at me before picking up a box and carrying it into the house. Just that quick Margaret Elaine Callahan captured my heart.
Fate, being the cold hearted bitch that she was, saw to it that Maggie didn't feel the same. For the next three years I watched as Maggie went from boyfriend to boyfriend. Every time I would ask her out she would say:
.... There is more of this story ...