Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing


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Not So Excellent – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

He sat at his desk, studying a map on which some tiny figurines had been strategically set. With a chuckle, he moved one figurine off the map and moved another figurine so that it replaced it. Then he leaned back in his seat and grinned as he put his hands together in front of his face and tapped his forefingers together. “Excellent,” he muttered. He closed his eyes to savor the moment.

A knock on his door interrupted him. “Come,” he called, sitting up straight.

The door opened and a uniformed young man entered. “Sir,” he said with a brisk salute. “We’ve just been notified that he’s been captured and placed in a holding cell, as you requested.”

“Excellent, excellent. You may go now. I’ll let you know when I am ready to go see him.”

“Very good, sir.” The young man bowed and left.

Leaning back in his chair, he grinned. “Excellent, indeed. With his capture, my plan for world domination is one step closer to fruition.”

He sat up and punched a button on his desk. On the computer monitor to his right, a live video feed popped up, showing the prison area. He punched another button and the video zoomed in on a cell where a man in a torn suit paced back and forth. An armed guard stood next to the cell.

He cackled, then got up from his chair and did a little dance. Then he walked over to the mini bar and fixed a drink. He took a sip and returned to his desk. He raised his glass to the video of the prisoner in a salute, laughed, and took another sip. Then he turned his attention back to the map on the desk.

After studying the map for a few minutes, he leaned back in his chair and took another sip of his drink. He grinned and turned his attention back to the video feed of the prisoner. The glass slipped from his hand as he screamed, “No! Impossible!”

In the video, the guard lay unconscious in the cell. There was no sign of the prisoner.

He slammed a button on his desk. A moment later, the young uniformed man entered, and before the young man could say anything, he yelled, “Don’t just stand there! The prisoner has escaped! Find him! Now!”

Startled, the young man bowed and hurried from the room.

With a furious growl, he swept the map and figurines from the desk. “Dammit!” he cried. “Evans! You haven’t won yet!”

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This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “cel”:

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Bored Game – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

“I’m bored,” complained Nick with a sigh as he slumped in his chair.

“How about we play a game, then?” suggested Jan as she came into the room with some snacks from the kitchen.

“What sort of game?” Nick replied sullenly.

“Well, we can make room on the coffee table and play a board game.”

Nick shrugged. “I guess we can do that.”

They cleared the coffee table and Jan set up a board game. However, it wasn’t long before Nick was complaining again.

As he noticed he was trailing far behind Jan in the game, he huffed and slumped back in his chair. “This is boring! You call this a board game? Ha! It’s more like a bored game!”

Jan frowned. “Fine! Stay bored then!” And with a huff she stalked from the room.

Nick stared after her for a moment, then turned and looked out the window. “I’m bored,” he muttered to himself.


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “board/bored”:


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The Key – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

She sat in the chair and stared at the fire crackling in the fireplace. A letter lay in her lap. Slowly, a tear trickled down her cheek.

Memories of her argument with Mitch replayed in her mind as she watched the flames dance. The scene of her best friend – her only friend – storming out the door repeated itself, and she felt tears hit her hand.

She picked up the letter she’d found slipped under her front door not long after Mitch had left, and read it again.

“I hate seeing you so alone. I hate seeing how unhappy you are, though you try to hide it. I know you’re afraid of being hurt, but you need to stop shutting people out. You need to unlock your heart and let people in, Anya. I can help you, if you will let me. Let me be the key that unlocks your heart.”

The letter wasn’t signed, but she recognized the handwriting.

She grasped the letter and inwardly berated herself for being such a fool. She’d had no idea how Mitch had truly felt about her. And she knew he was right about everything – about hiding being unhappy and about shutting people out. She’d been pushing people away for so long, afraid to let anyone get close to her, but she couldn’t continue to do that now.

Mitch had already unlocked her heart.

Anya jumped from her chair and ran out of the house, letter in hand, to find Mitch.


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “key”:


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I’ll Remember It – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

Jen sat at the table in the little coffee shop, her laptop sitting open in front of her, the colorful ribbons of its screensaver dancing across the monitor. She sipped her cappuccino as she watched the people sitting around her for a minute. Then she sat the mug down and tapped a key on the laptop to wake it up.

She opened a Word document and sat staring at it, her fingers poised to write something. But her fingers never moved. She just stared at the blank document and the blinking cursor patiently waiting for her.

She sat like that for a few minutes until she finally released a groan, slid her hands from the laptop and slumped back in her chair.

Her friend Riley came into the coffee shop at just that moment and spotted her. She called out to Jen and joined her at table.

“What’s up?” Riley asked. “You sounded so chipper on the phone the morning. Now you look…defeated.”

“I could just kick myself,” Jen muttered.

Riley raised a questioning eyebrow.

Jen sat up and grabbed her cappuccino. “I told you woke up with a great story idea, right?” Riley nodded and Jen took a sip before continuing. “Well, I was rushing around this morning, and I didn’t bother to make a note of the idea. I thought it was such a great idea that I’d be sure to remember it.”

Jen paused and Riley picked up the tale. “And when you got here and tried to start writing, you couldn’t remember the idea.”

Jen nodded.

Riley gave her head a small shake. “That’s why I keep telling you to make a note when you have a good idea, Jen. We’re just lying to ourselves if we think we don’t need to write it down.” Jen heaved a sigh and Riley continued. “But don’t feel so bad, Jen. It happens to us all. Even me. That’s why I keep reminding you.”

Jen gave her a small smile. “Thanks, Riley. Keep on reminding me, will you?” She raised her hand to signal to a waitress as she asked Riley, “Can I get you a cappuccino?”

(This meme is from Pinterest)

This relatable post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “make a note”:


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Is Your Cat Plotting To Kill You? – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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“How do you tell if your cat is plotting to kill you?” Sherri asked Mitch as she set her cup down on the coffee table.

Mitch gave her a quizzical look from the recliner across the table from her seat on the couch. “What do you mean?” he asked before taking a sip of coffee.

Behind the couch, a black and white cat crouched unseen and listened silently.

“Well, it’s just, you know. Things. Things Tux has been doing lately.”

Mitch set the coffee cup on the table. He thought she was probably overreacting, being a new cat owner and all, but he felt he should humor her, so he asked, “Like what?”

“Well, he always seems to be underfoot. I have to constantly watch where I’m walking for fear of tripping over him. Even on the stairs. I can be walking down the stairs when suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, he’ll be crouched on step, almost like he was trying to trip me.”

Behind the couch, the cat’s ears perked up and he turned his head slightly towards the spot where Sherri’s voice was coming from.

“Cats being underfoot is pretty normal, Sherri. Is that all he’s doing?”

Sherri shook her head. “I’ll wake up at night, suddenly unable to breathe, and find Tux has draped himself over my face.”

Behind the couch, Tux’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t like what he was hearing from Sherri.

“I’ve heard of some cats doing that, Sherri. They’ll lay there or near your head, or even on your chest. They like to feel your pulse. It’s comforting to them. It’s nothing to get too concerned over. Is there anything else?”

“Well, actually, …”

Tux didn’t wait to hear whatever else Sherri related. He padded quietly out of the room and into the spare bedroom. Crawling under the bed, he dragged out a book he had carefully hidden. “How can she be on to me already?” he muttered as he licked a paw and started turning pages. “I can’t believe it! I wonder what the book recommends I should do now…”

(images are from Pinterest)

(And I recommend the How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You book, by The Oatmeal. It’s hilarious :D)


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “how”:

https://lindaghill.com/2022/04/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-9-2022/


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Good Fortune – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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Frank pushed aside his empty plate of Chinese food and opened his fortune cookie. He didn’t know why he bothered with it. He didn’t really like the cookies, and he thought the fortunes in them were just silly. He only read them for the chuckles they gave him. Like horoscopes, he didn’t believe them.

“Good fortune will shine on you,” he read on the little slip of paper that was tucked inside the cookie.

Short and simple, he thought. And at least is sounds more like an actual fortune this time and not some knock-off of a Chinese proverb or something.

Still, he scoffed at the cookie’s fortune. “Good fortune will shine on me,” he muttered. “Yeah, right. Not with my luck.”

Frank left the restaurant and headed home. As he walked along the sidewalk in front of an apartment building, he spotted a $5 bill on the ground. He stopped and bent down to pick it up. A moment later, a brick fell from one of the apartment’s balconies , hitting the ground right where he would have been if he hadn’t stopped.

Frank jumped back and stared at the brick. His mind raced as he tried to calm his heartbeat. It had to be a coincidence, he thought. There’s no way that fortune cookie could be right.

When he finally calmed down, Frank continued his walk. A couple of moments later, his cell phone chimed. He looked at it and found a text message letting him know he’d been offered the job he’d interviewed for and had really been wanting.

Frank stared at it, disbelieving. “No way,” he muttered. “That cookie’s fortune couldn’t be real…”

Flustered, Frank walked on down the sidewalk to his apartment building. When he stepped out of the elevator and headed for his apartment door, he spotted a pretty girl unlocking the door of the apartment next to his. He didn’t recognize her. Then he noticed a couple of moving boxes next to her and realized she was moving in.

He stepped up and introduced himself, and offered to help her carry the boxes in. She gave him a warm smiled as she accepted his help, telling him how grateful she was for his offer because she was new in town and had no one to help her.

As he help her and they chatted, Frank noticed they had a lot in common, and he felt they were really hitting it off. When she smiled at him as he set a box down, he began to think maybe there had been something to that fortune cookie after all.


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “fortune”:

https://lindaghill.com/2022/02/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-12-2022/


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Surprise – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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“What’s up?” Jerry asked as he sat down at the table across from David. “You sounded anxious on the phone.”

David took a big drink of his beer and stared at the table top as he collected his thoughts. Two empty beer steins sat on the table beside him. Around him, bar patrons laughed and chatted, and David wished he could stop worrying and join them. 

“Denise has been acting weird lately,” David finally said.

“Weird how?”

“I don’t know. She’s kind of evasive, I guess. She cancels dates suddenly. And she seems distracted sometimes when we’re talking. And I’ve overheard her on some odd phone calls. When I ask her about them, she just gives vague answers or changes the topic. I wish I knew what was going on. Things are usually so black and white with her. She’s always been like an open book. There’s nothing gray about her. So it’s not like her to be so mysterious.”

Jerry started to answer, but David cut him off. “I know what you’re going to say, Jerry, and I promise you that’s not it. She’d never do that. We’re totally committed to each other.”

Jerry started to say something, but David again cut him off. “You know what I need to do, Jerry?” He leaned back in his seat and rubbed his templed. “I need to use my little gray cells to try to figure out what’s going on with her.” He started to hum to himself as he continued to rub his temples.

Jerry watched him for a moment and slowly shook his head. He debated whether or not to tell David. He’d made a promise to keep it a secret, but he’d had no idea Denise’s plan would affect David like this. And though it’d only be for one more day, he wasn’t sure if David could take it any more if he didn’t tell him. After a moment, he decided.

With a sigh, Jerry placed a newspaper on the table in front of David. “Hey, Poirot,”  he said. “The answer’s right here in black and white.”

David sat up and blinked. “Huh?” he mumbled. “Where?”

Jerry pointed to the newspaper. “Right here. See?”

David stared at the newspaper in confusion. “I don’t see it.”

Jerry shook his head and pointed again. “Here. See the date?”

“Yeah. So? What about it?”

Jerry rolled his eyes and wondered how an Agatha Christie fan could be so dense. “It’s today’s date. What’s tomorrow?”

David blinked his eyes as he thought about it. When he finally figured it out, his jaw dropped. “You mean…”

Jerry nodded. “Right. She’s been planning a surprise birthday party for you, you dope.”

 


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “black, gray and white”:

https://lindaghill.com/2021/11/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-20-2021/


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Camera Shy – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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Katie was new at the shelter and being shown around by her manager, Jill. They had just finished touring the kitten room and were heading towards the back when they came to a open doorway. Katie paused to look inside. 

The room was brightly lit and at the back was a table with a white backdrop. A tall young man stood in front of the table with a camera. Crouched on the table was a black cat that didn’t look all that pleased to be there, especially with the Santa hat on.

“What’s going on?” Katie asked

The man snapped a picture then turned to her, taking her by surprise momentarily with his good looks and bright blue eyes. “I’m taking pictures for the website,” he told her. “We’re trying to get some festive photos of some of our less adoptable animals to help find them homes.”

Katie stepped inside, with Jill right behind her. “Great idea. That cat doesn’t look too happy, though.”

“Yeah. He can be a bit of a grouch, and camera shy. But he’s a black cat, so we really need to get him up on the site. They’re not as adoptable because of silly superstitions, and his color makes it harder to get good photos. He’s the first one I’m doing. He’s been here a long time and I’d love to get a good photo of him and help him find a home. Despite his grouchiness, he is a really great cat and deservers a forever home.”

“Have you tried getting him to play while getting a photo? Something to distract him and show off his personality?”

“You know, that’s a good idea. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before. Maybe you could give me a hand? You could play with him while I take the picture.”

“I’d love to. Just don’t get me in the picture, please. I’m a little camera shy, as well, and don’t like having my picture taken.”

“Really?” he replied with a spark of humor in his eyes. “A pretty girl like you doesn’t like having her picture taken?”

She gave him a small, teasing smile. “Surprisingly, yes.”

“That’s a shame because I think it might be good to have you in the photo with him. Besides showing his playful side, it’d show he’s not afraid of people, too, and that might help draw attention to him.”

Katie hesistated but Jill chimed in with, “I think that’s a great idea, Matt!”

“How about it?” Matt asked. “Will you do it? To help the cat?”

After a moment’s consideration, Katie nodded. “To help the cat.”

Jill grabbed a string toy from her pocket and handed it to Katie. 

Katied walked over to the table and positioned herself beside it. Matt readied his digital camera while Katie began whispering to the black cat and dangling a string beside it. She played with the string, making it move enticingly along the tabletop. The cat watched it, then began to play with it, batting at it then chasing after it as Katie moved it around. Katie smiled as the cat played.

As she drew it up in the air, the cat reached up after it, and Katie laughed. Matt snapped a picture of her and the cat.

“That was great!” Matt said. “Want to see?”

Katie gave the cat a treat and pocketed the string, then went over to Matt. He showed her the picture on camera’s view screen. “I think it turned out great,” he said. “Don’t you?”

Katie had to agree, it was a good photo, showing the cat being playful and not afraid at all. And she didn’t look all that bad in photo, either, as she’d been afraid of. “Yes, I think it will look great on the website.”

“Would you like to stay and help me take photos with some of the other animals?”

Katie hesistated. She’d actually had fun with the photo shoot and she’d like to help out more of the animals. She also found herself wanting to spend a little more time with good-looking Matt and get know him a little better. But she hadn’t finished her tour of the shelter yet.

She turned to Jill to ask her if it be okay, but before she could say anything, Jill said, “Go ahead, Katie. Helping the animals is more important than finishing your tour. We can do that later.”

Then Jill gave her a knowing wink and left.

Katie turned to Matt. “Well, then. I guess we have some work to do. I’m Katie, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Katie,” Matt said with a smile. “I’m Matt. Let’s get started, then.”

Katie smiled. “Yes, let’s.”


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “cam”:

https://lindaghill.com/2021/11/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-13-2021/

 


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Boo Who – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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The small group of 5 children sat on the floor in the dark living room. One of them held a lit flashlight below his face so it gave him a spooky appearance while he told the others his ghost story.

“And as she turned to look, she saw the bloody hook!” Mike exclaimed as he finished his story.

Three of other kids let out small cries of fear. The other commented, “That wasn’t all that scary, Mike.”

“Really, Dennis?” Mike replied, lowering his flashlight to shine on Dennis. “Then why are you trembling? And why did your voice sound a little high pitched?”

Dennis frowned. “My turn for a story,” he said. “Give me that.”

Mike reached over to hand him the flashlight when he saw movement behind he couch. He froze and gasped. 

“What’s wrong?” Dennis asked.

Mike pointed with a trembling finger. Dennis and the others turned to look.

Behind the couch stood a tall, cloaked figure. Its arms began to wave and it started to make moaning noises. Then it started to move around the couch and towards them. The children all stood up and started screaming and backing away.

As it neared the children, the figure suddenly removed the cloak and cried out, ‘BOO!”

The other children screamed, but Mike recovered his wits enough to shine his flashlight on the figure. He rolled his eyes. “Mom….” he sighed with embarrassment.

His mom chuckled. “Happy Halloween, kids.”


This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “boo”:

https://lindaghill.com/2021/10/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-30-2021/

 


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The Yarn Fought Back- Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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“And then I saw it,” said Mickey, his golden eyes wide as saucers and his tail swishing back and forth. “The biggest ball of yarn you’ve ever seen!”

Lily and Pepper leaned forward eagerly, their ears perked. “Wow!” exclaimed Lily. “What did you do, Grampa?”

“I didn’t know what to make of it at first,” Mickey continued. “I’d never seen a ball of yarn that big before. I crept up on it cautiously, not sure what to expect from it. But it just sat there, unmoving, as if tempting me to do attack it.”

Lily and Pepper nodded excitedly. “And then what Grampa?” asked Pepper anxiously.

“I crept closer and closer, inching my way to the ball of yarn, waiting for it to do something, but it didn’t. Finally, I gave into the temptation and pounced on it! We went rolling around the floor as I kicked it and clawed at it, an occasional growl or yowl escaping from my throat. But my enemy wasn’t as weak and cowardly as I’d thought. The ball of yarn fought back! As we battled across the floor, I found myself becoming entangled in its strands. Then, before I knew what had happened, I’d become encased in it, only my head being free!”

Lily and Pepper gasped. “Oh, no!” they cried. “How did you get free?”

Just then the kittens’ mother came into the room and walked up to them. Misty eyed Mickey and sighed. “Telling them one of your old yarns again, Dad?” She shook her head and faced the kittens. “Come along, you two. It’s time for bed.”

“Aww,” they said as they followed their mother out of the room.


(image from Pinterest)

This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “yarn”:

https://lindaghill.com/2021/06/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-5-2021/