Missing Something – A Blast From The Past

Herb’s blog, Herbdate 22108-679: Originally written and/or posted previously elsewhere on Herbdate: 17879 aka 01/16/2009:

Missing Something

Today’s prompt is from Herb’s book of real-life experiences:

“A wannabe writer with a self-imposed deadline, who usually gets up an hour early just to write, discovers that he is missing an important item.”

“Grumble, mumble, grmmbllr,” the man muttered to himself.  The worst thing was that he’d known it, but had forgotten!  How do you forget something so important?  Well, he, made excuses to himself, he’d had a lot on his mind the previous evening, what with picking up the dog and dropping off one kid for a party and the other one at her piano lesson.  That’s when he should have done it.  He had even been at the grocery store to get change so the piano teacher could be paid.  On top of that, there had been the disturbing phone call from the owner of the house they were buying.  It would eventually be worked out, but all of this had been on his mind and he had forgotten.

He wanted to rip out his hair when he thought about all the opportunities he had.  Oh well.  He shivered as he walked into the cold Colorado morning.  There went his computer time again.  Oh, he might get on again, but not in the peace and quiet of early morning.  The morning was a special time and to watch the sun rise over the eastern plains and turn the mountains a sort of golden-purplish cover, reflecting off the snowy peak discovered by Lieutenant Pike a couple hundred years ago.  To sit on the porch and watch the sunrise was at the least relaxing and usually more than inspirational.  What a beautiful thing, to get that first steaming cup of coffee and wrap your hands around it…

“Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!”  How would he ever put into words the aggravation of going to make a pot of coffee, even filling it with water, only to find that there wasn’t enough coffee to make a pot?  There wasn’t even half a scoop left.  He pounded his fist on the counter, “Aaaarrrrggggghhhh!”  He said at his most eloquent.

He would have to go to the big box store and buy some.  Well, he could just run down to the convenience store.  They had coffee and he could get a cup and come back.  No, because his wife would be getting up in a little while and their coffee sometimes bothered her stomach and besides, she had her own rituals in the morning and why throw them off, too?  This would mean a bad start for both of their days and when you worked together all day long it was important to at least try to get off to the right start.

What about buying a can of coffee there?  After all, it was a convenience store and this would be convenient, but he cringed at the idea of buying a little tiny can with less than a pound in it for the same price as a three-pound can.  It would not take that much longer and he really couldn’t justify the price difference to himself.  There was no snow or ice and it wasn’t even that cold out, he would just have to suck it up and drive a couple more miles.

What about his adoring fans, which waited on his every word with bated breath?  How would they survive without a word from him?  He grinned sardonically to himself.  They would manage without him somehow.  He hated to miss his own goal, his own deadline, though.

He always marveled at the big box store.  Open twenty-four hours for his shopping convenience.  How did they do it?  It had to cost a lot of money even to run the skeleton crew they had.  The prices were almost always low or at least competitive, too.  He entered the big box chain store and grunted something sort of like “hello” back at the person who greeted him.  It always seemed suspicious that someone could be that cheerful at that time of day, but then maybe they had had some coffee already.

Blearily and automatically he took a cart, even though he didn’t need it.  Oh, he had a shopping list, but if he hurried back with just the coffee and could successfully avoid the old family friend that worked this shift so he wouldn’t have to play catch-up, he might salvage enough time to get something started.

He grabbed the coffee and left the cart in the aisle and headed for the checkout.  There were two sets of doors, but the one set is always kept closed during certain hours of operation.  Why this was the end of the store they chose to open a register at so you had to walk all the way down to the one end and have to walk back to exit the other end, he couldn’t understand.  Oh well.  At least he had some coffee.  There were thirty-two lanes and one checkout open, understandable for the time of day it was.

“Good morning sir!”  Maybe big box store gives their employees free coffee?  “That’ll be five dollars and sixty-eight cents.”

“Ugh.”  He said as politely as he could.  “Hey.  Your debit card machine isn’t lit up.”

“No.  It’s broken.”

“You have thirty-two lanes in this store and they pick the one with the broken card reader to open up?”

“I can run it as a credit card for you or there is an ATM.”  She offered, helpfully, she thought.  The last thing he wanted to do was use the stupid ATM.  He would have to pay two dollars to them to use it and another two-fifty to his own bank almost totaling another can of coffee, but she hadn’t thought of that and he was not in an explaining mood.  What would they do if he just started banging his head repeatedly against the card reader?  Knowing the City of Fountain PD he did not want to find out.  He used the card as credit and left, driving carefully because three-fifteen in the morning was the time that the cops would really be watching the roads.

He arrived home uneventfully and opened the coffee.  Ahhhhhhh.  Was there a finer, richer smell anywhere in the universe than a freshly opened can of coffee?  He thought not.  He kick-started the computer while the coffee brewed.  He was late and had been the last couple of mornings.  What would he write about?  What prompt would he use?  Of course!  He put his fingers on the homekeys and began to type.

“Today’s prompt is from Herb’s book of real-life experiences:

‘A wannabe writer with a self-imposed deadline, who usually gets up an hour early just to write, discovers that he is missing an important item.’”


  1. Great post, But Starbucks would have been faster. Also I think for me a better smell than opening a can of coffee might just be Breaking apart a fresh baked roll or loaf of bread. Nothing like it. Now stop reading my rambling and go get some work done.

    Stay well and laugh when you can

      • I think the interest level hangs on character development. If you don’t “know” the characters involved, even big events don’t mean much. Case in point – you hear about a plane crash and feel sad for a bit. However, what happens to your interest in the story if you discover that you knew someone on the plane?

  2. Haven’t been here for a while but great to see that the quality of your writing remains the same: captivating, invigorating and transcendent! Looking forward to reading more as time permits! Blessings to you! 😊🙏💛👊🎉

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