Brewha or Brouhaha

This is a story I wrote for one of my Goodreads groups, which has monthly writing contests. I participate once in awhile for fun and to keep up on my writing.

The poster provides prompts or words, and the writer comes up with a story in any genre, except erotica, between 750 to 1000 words. This was my September’s Candid Camera Contest 997 word story. 😀

On and off again, Janet Phillips and Bill Cassidy decided to make a go at it one last time. Janet was starting a new job and Bill just bought a new condominium. They thought changes in other facets of their lives might help rejuvenate them.

Janet stopped at her favorite café, Brewha, after her Saturday morning jog eager to sip every caffeinated drop of the Columbian blend. A crescendo of coffees and homemade pastries lured her closer. Today’s specials were a cup of Full City Roast with a muffin, Salted Carmel Latte, and White Chocolate Raspberry Latte. She shook a giggle away, knowing the café serves Salted Carmel Latte year-round.

She stepped up to the counter and received an immediate, “Hey, Janet! How was the run?”

“Great, Jake. I have to take advantage of every sunny morning before the cold season.”

“I hear ya. What can I get ya?”

“I think I’ll try the Full city roast with a chocolate muffin. Who can resist chocolate?”

He pointed towards himself. “My face becomes a connect the dots even from one little bite.”

Janet gave her best ‘understanding’ facial expression with a nod.

Once served and seated, she noticed a camera on the chair next to her. She glanced around before picking it up, and turning it sideways and upside down to see if there was a name—nothing—just a simple black, digital camera. She put it on the table to see if anyone would approach.

Curiosity nibbled at her patience, but not her conscience. That took a hiatus. Janet sipped, gently pushing the camera from side to side, looking around with a smile, and returning her gaze to the mystery behind the lens. Perspiration ran down the side of her face even though the air conditioning was on full blast. The camera slid from one hand to the other. She began an internal conversation with herself, trying to rationalize why she should look at the pictures.

If I looked at them, then I could find out whom it belongs to.

But what about nude photos? You can’t unsee them. They’d be imbedded in your memory, the backs of your eyes, and you’d regret it.

Yes but what if they’re pictures of a murder; I could turn it over to the police. I’d be a hero for helping solve a case.

Please! Who’s going to take pictures of someone they killed, then of themselves, and leave the camera in a public place.

Ah ha! Who WOULD leave a camera in a public place if there were any risqué or compromising photos? NO ONE!

Janet took the camera between her hands, clicked “On”, and—

“More coffee or another muffin?”

She dropped the camera on the table, covered it with one hand, and shook her head. “One’s enough for me, but thanks.”

Jake walked around wiping tables and fixing napkin dispensers. When he finally returned behind the counter, she quickly picked it up, and noticed it shut off.

Was that a sign not to look?

Without thinking more about it, she turned it on and started looking at the pictures one by one.

*click* A close-up of Janet at a Labor Day party. She’s smiling at the camera with a piece of spinach stuck in her tooth.

OMG! I look so drunk and pathetic!

*click* Another picture of her sitting on some unknown male’s lap with a Margarita in her hand.

I definitely don’t need that drink…and I can’t even remember the guy’s name.

Janet rubbed her forehead, looked up to see if anyone was watching her. Who took these pictures of me?

*click* A picture of her passed out in the washroom, her hair draped over the side of the toilet.

Do I have some sick stalker who finds these pictures funny? They’re horrible!

She didn’t remember much of the party, other than the hangover the next day. The party was the day after her and Bill took ‘another break’.

Out of nowhere, Bill plopped down beside her and saw the last picture of her in the washroom.

“Ew! Is that you?”

Janet shut the camera off and folded her hands over it. “I’d like to say it’s my doppelganger, but that wouldn’t be true.”

Bill took the camera and started looking at the others. When he got to the one with the guy, he turned it toward her.

“Anything you’d like to tell me.”

“We were on a break, remember?”

“Yeah, I remember, but I didn’t run out immediately and start hooking up with women.”

“I didn’t either. I don’t even remember the guy’s name.”

“What difference does it make, you were with another guy?”

“I was sitting on his lap.” She took the camera from him, clicked to the one with the spinach on her teeth, and said, “Does this look like someone who was looking to hook up?”

Bill started laughing. The laughter caught on like an uncontrollable cough, and the next thing he knew tears ran down his face. He kept pointing at the picture and laughing.

“Okay, it’s not that funny. You can stop, Bill.”

He tried to reign it in, swiping at his tears, and wiping the sweat from his face. Just when he thought everything was under control, a fit of laughter took flight again.

Janet stood. “Come on, you’re making a scene.”

He pointed at the picture, “nothing compared to this one,” and his howl reverberated throughout the café. Janet left and shortly after Bill came tumbling out.

He caught up to her, put his arm around her shoulders, and said, “Aw, don’t be mad. You know, you could laugh a little more. Laugh at yourself. Or me.”

She pushed his arm off, smiled, and said, “Okay, it’s a bit funny, but who took them?”

Bill pulled her into a bear hug. “Someone who has a sense of humor?” He kissed her cheek. “Who cares? Let’s go get a salad.” His hand covered his mouth as his body trembled from laughter.

Short stories and Humor,