Tugging at Your Heart Strings

Disney Wonder cruise ship sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to the Port of San Francisco

As you may have learned in my previous post, I got Romance for a genre in the latest round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge, which is kind of my thing. Our assigned object was a map, our assigned location was a tugboat, and we had 48 hours to write a 1,000-word story; I was like, I got this, and I cranked out what follows. I was pretty happy with the way I worked the map into the story, but as I was snipping my first draft down to size (and rushing the ending), I realized that the tugboat was more “this thing that exists” than any kind of true “location,” so I went back to the drawing board. The second story was a smash (in my own mind — results for this round are a week or so away yet), but I kind of like these guys — if you’ve read my stuff, you know this isn’t my first redheaded Romeo — so I’m sharing their story just because, as the guy who wrote it for them, I feel like it’s kind of my job. Enjoy what my “Documents” file calls

Tugboat Romance A

“A tug?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“What do you mean, ‘they’re sending a tug?’ I’ve docked this beast in Mazatlan a hundred times. I was here last week.”

“Yes, Captain. I remember. Welcome back. Order of the Port Authority, I’m afraid. Please standby; the tug’s on its way.”

Annoying. Andreas wasn’t the Captain of the Cavalcade, but he was the Second Mate, which often seemed to be a euphemism for Jackass Who Steers the Boat Into Port When the Captain’s Too Drunk to Do It. They did keep calling him Captain; maybe that’s why they were sending the tug.

There was nothing for it but to wait. He was dying to drop anchor and get back to sulking in his room, but there was plenty of time for that. There was no question Keith was the man of his dreams. The question that did nag, of course, was, Then why did you sail away from him, you fool? Continue reading

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