This is the first story I've written using the Story A Day prompts. The idea is to write one story a day, but I'm finding that to be a little difficult. This one took me two days. That's okay. I'll do what I can, and the rest of the prompts I will use later.
I had a tough time with the end of this story. It didn't quite wrap up the way I wanted it to. Trying to write a story a day is challenging, but that's what writing is all about. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.
The prompt for this story was: "It’s Cinquo De Mayo and everyone loves a party! Except when they don’t.
Cinco de Fail
By Karen Lockinger Greenberg
The streamers were up, the table cloths were on the table, the plates and cups and napkins were lined up in perfect little rows. In just a few minutes the food would come out, and the office would shut down for the night. The Cinco de Mayo celebration would be the celebration of all celebrations; Maggie could just feel it.
Being new to the company, Maggie always tried to make holidays special. On birthdays, each person got a special gift, hand-picked by Maggie, and a card signed by the rest of the staff. Maggie was sure to decorate the office for the minor holidays and was aware of any special religious celebrations. No one was left out, and everyone loved a good reason to party. The staff at Bunko Publishing was like family.
Alice had joined the group eight months when she had moved to the United States from Poland. All alone the States, she was hoping to make friends soon. She had attended all of the previous birthday parties in the office and was anxious awaiting her own. It would be so fun to share her special day with her colleagues. One day they would also be her friends. They didn’t have these big shindigs at the workplace in Poland. There she did her work and went home.
The clock above the reception desk finally indicated quitting time at 5 PM, and everyone started shutting down their computers and punching out for the day. Alice had just a few more entries to finish, and she wanted to make sure she was ready to start fresh in the morning. She was the last to complete her tasks and get to the break room, but that was perfect. Then she would really be surprised.
Surprised she was. There were no “Happy Birthday” banners. There was no cake with silly balloons or flowers decorating it, with her name prominently displayed. What was the crazy thing hanging from the ceiling with a baseball bat next to it?
Alice quietly entered the room and found a vacant chair. She sat down and quiet surveyed the buffet table. Burritos, tacos, and tostadas were abundant. This was not the food Alice was hoping for. She had really been dreaming of food from home- Polish sausage with cheese stuffed pierogi on the side, and a poppy seed roll for dessert. At the very least Maggie could have had Rueben sandwiches brought in from the deli down the street. Alice hung her head sadly, fighting back the tears.
“Hey lady!” Maggie exclaimed. “Happy Cinco de Mayo! Let’s fiesta.” When Maggie finally took a moment to look at Alice, she realized Alice wasn’t smiling. “What’s going on Alice? Are you okay?”
Alice slowly looked up, blinking away the tears. “I’m from Poland,” she said. “Not Mexico.”
“I don’t understand,” Maggie said.
“It’s my birthday today,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, no,” Maggie replied. “I’m so sorry Alice. I am so, so sorry. I must have missed it on my calendar. I’ll make it up to you. I promise!”
“Don’t worry about it,” Alice said.
As she left the office she decided to go to the Polish bakery down the road. Alice got herself a slice of chocolate raspberry torte that looked heavenly. She said a little prayer of gratitude for another year of life, and took her first bite. Then she pulled out her cell phone and dialed.
“Yes, I’d like to purchase a one-way ticket to Krakow, Poland, please. I’m going home.”