The Challenge: The Alphabet Game

Write a complete story in 26 sentences, each sentence beginning with a sequential letter of the alphabet. In other words, the first sentence starts with A, the second with B, the third with C and so on.

The Story: Dodging Carol

Afternoons at Erickson & Erick were accented by the steady tick of the clock on the white wall. Burnt popcorn odors hung in the air over our cubicles, alerting the entire staff of an afternoon snack. Carol stood by the doorway to my desk shoveling handfuls of yellow clouds into her mouth between her breathy sentences. Droning on about her weekend in St. Jo, thrifting with her mother, she somehow worked her way around to asking me whether I was free that Saturday to join her on one of these trips. Empathetically, I looked up from my desk.

“Fuck no.”

“Gosh,” she replied, tearing up. “How can you be so mean?”

“I’m sorry, Carol… I didn’t mean it.” Just why couldn’t I have the courage to finally tell her off? Kitten heels at my door every damn day, right after lunch. Leading her on was a mistake. My friends thought it would be funny if I accepted one date. Now she thought we were in a relationship.

“Okay,” she said. “Please just don’t talk to me like that anymore. Quality girls don’t just accept any treatment. Read that in a magazine.”

“Sure,” I lightly nodded and turned away. Three popcorn breath-bites later, she left. Unsettled by the interaction and worried she might call HR, I left early. Veering through the lanes down 71 didn’t get me home any earlier, though. Weekday afternoon traffic was piling up, as usual. Xanthic, musty taxis accented the line of otherwise neutral cars. Yellow cabs popping out of the lanes like the popcorn between Carol’s teeth. “Zero-sum game,” I thought, happy to have left the office.