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The Stranger - Part 2

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Chiaroscuro avatar Chiaroscuro
Level 58 : Grandmaster Ladybug
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This is my second piece of writing for my Writing Extravaganza, Again event. In this event, nine writers will take turns each writing one part of nine separate stories. Enjoy!



Unknown caller.

You set down the phone. You don’t have time for unknown callers. Probably a telemarketer or something—any way, if it’s important, then they will leave a message.

The sound of the phone fades. You take a deep breath and return to your coffee. This cup smells different to what you are used to. Perhaps you forgot to clean the coffee maker well enough after last batch.

🔊 😣

The phone rings again. You pick it up. No sense in keeping the other person waiting—very few telemarketers ever call twice.

Hello?

Is this Dinosaur Cookie?

Yes, this is she, you reply. You don’t recognize the voice on the other side of the line. Where did you get my contact information?

Hello Dinosaur, this is Jeanne Park from the University, calling in regards to the research position you applied for.

Hello, Jeanne. Have you come to a decision about the position?

Yes, Dinosaur, she said with some repressed excitement, as if she were getting to present a child with a puppy for their birthday. She paused. We’re pleased to offer you the position starting this upcoming fall, she said, joy spilling over.

Thank you, I look forward to the opportunity, you reply.

We’ll send you the information about your onboarding process shortly, so keep an eye out for that, Jeanne said. You thank her and hang up the phone. You still haven’t had your coffee yet.

You start to get a headache. You think to yourself that you should think about kicking your caffeine habits. It is becoming difficult to enjoy your mornings now.

11:35 🚗

You push the keyboard away to the back of the desk. You notice some crumbs on the desk. You don’t usually eat at the desk. You think of nothing of it, though. You brush them off the desk and push the chair back to stand up and stretch your legs.

You are scheduled for a visit to the dentist’s office. Routine dental cleaning. You make sure that you have everything you need—phone, wallet, keys. You say goodbye to your cat as you walk out the door. She sits on the windowsill lazily, looking out. She probably doesn’t understand where you’re going.

The drive gives you some time to think. You’ll need to put in your two weeks at your current job before you can go off to the university. Hopefully, you’ll be able to head into the office by that point. You owe it to your boss. She has been kind to you, and to just leave so suddenly would be improper.

The rest of the drive is ordinary. There is plenty of parking at the dentist’s office. That is unusual.

12:00 👩‍⚕️

Dinosaur, the receptionist calls out for you. We’re ready for you, she says.

You follow the dental hygienist to the back of the office and seat yourself in the chair. The hygienist sits herself opposite you with some effort. She is an older woman, with frail hands and a thin body that looked like she would blow over in a gentle breeze.

How have you been? she asks, thumbing through her table of dental tools.

Acceptable, you reply. Making do with what we can. You force a smile.

She is not paying attention to your answer. Alright, she says, open up and let me have a look at those teeth. She sticks a mirror attached to a thin metal rod in your mouth, rotating it gently as she taps your teeth with another tool.

Have you been flossing? she asks.

Occasionally.

This is a half-truth. In fact, it is an occasion if you do floss.

The look on the hygienist’s face reveals that she called your bluff. But she is too polite, so she just nods along and reminds you to brush more often.

You don’t remember the rest of the visit. You have no interest in the small talk that hygienists make when they have tools in your mouth. They have no interest either.

12:45 🥪

Normally, you don’t go out for lunch. It would be a waste to go home and dig leftovers out of the fridge, anyway, when you were already driving past restaurants.

The door opens with a light chime as you enter the sandwich shop. The cashier looks up from her phone expectantly, but there is a clear look of disappointment on her face when she sees you. She was expecting someone else.

You walk up to the counter. We have a new deal this week on turkey avocado subs, the cashier recites. You like turkey and you like avocado. You order the sandwich and stand back and wait as the cashier walks over to the deli bar and begins loading ingredients onto the sandwich.

You hear the door ding behind you. The cashier’s face lights up at the sight of the person walking in the door.

Dinosaur? you hear from behind you.

Author's Notes
This was an interesting write for me because DinowCookie used a very innovative way to write, which was using emojis. I've never tried to use emojis or even really pictures to tell a story (excluding Vignette #16) so it was a good challenge to try to tackle that. I hope I did it justice.

I also tried to do a sort of Cormac McCarthy-style writing where I removed quotation marks from the dialogue. I think it gives the writing a sort of sameness that compliments the curt, unenthusiastic style of prose.
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