September 22, 2008

Monday Writing Prompt

You and a friend have just finished a lovely meal at your favorite restaurant. But things take a turn when you notice that the waiter has scribbled an unexpected—and startling—message on your bill. Write this scene.

"I'll get the bill this time," I said, reaching for the bill the waiter lay on the table between us.

"Are you sure? I think you got it last time." Tam reached for the bill but pulled her hand away when she saw what was written on the bottom.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

I looked down at the bill and noticed a sticky note that said, "I'm you're husband's son. Call me at 555-1234."

"Oh, my God. What on earth?" I looked toward the cash register but the waiter was gone. When I looked back at Tam her face had turned the color of a winter sky.

"What's going on, Tam? Who was that?" I asked.

"Why are you asking me? Ed doesn't have a son." She reached for her purse and I saw her hands were shaking. "Maybe Nick has a son you don't know anything about," she said.

"Well, I doubt it. Nick told me years ago about an abortion, but that certainly isn't his son. Besides you look like you've seen a ghost." I pulled the sticky note from the bill and handed it to Tam.

"I don't want that. I'm telling you Ed does not have any children. He would have told me." She stood up and headed toward the door.

I put the note in my pocket and paid for our meal. When I got to the car Tam had calmed down and smiled at me as she got in the passenger seat. I let the subject drop and we made plans for next week as I let her out at her driveway.

When I got home I pulled the note from my pocket and dialed the number. "Hello," a young man answered.

I hesitated but finally said, "Uhm. Yes. You left a note on my table at Bledsoe's tonight. What's going on?"

"My father is Ed McMillan. Are you his wife?"

"No. I'm her friend. What are you trying to pull. Ed doesn't have any children," I said.

"Yes, ma'am he does. I'm the product of an experiment he and his wife conducted a few years ago in Washington. He was the sperm donor and she was the scientist on the project. When the backer found out what they'd done they tried to abort me but it was too late. I was found by a custodian and she raised me as her own."

I realized I was holding my breath and let it out slowly. "That's impossible. Tam isn't a scientist. She's a clothing designer. You must be mistaken." Or crazy, I thought.

"I'm not mistaken. Or crazy either. My mother told me all about it. Ask your friend." He hung up and I called Tam right away. I couldn't believe what this guy was telling me.

"Tam, the guy at the restaurant? He just gave me the strangest story," I said.

"I told you to forget about that guy, Char. He's obviously some weirdo," she answered.

"Well, that's probably true. But I couldn't help myself. I was too curious to let it drop." I laughed and said, "He says he's the product of some experiment and that Ed is his father. And you're a scientist who thought up the project. How ridiculous is that?"

"Like I said, he's some weirdo. Now just forget about it, Char." Tam's voice had gone ice cold. I couldn't believe my best friend would lie to me but there was definitely something strange going on.

"Ok. Ok. I just thought you should know in case he goes to the media with it," I said. "Well, good night, Tam. I'll see you next week." I hung up the phone and went to bed.

The headline in the morning paper caught my attention. Local Waiter Found dead; Top Designer Accused of Murder.

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