Welcome to Friday Fiction! This is the part of the blog where I post something that is, hopefully, just made up enough to be considered fiction. It’s a chance to flex those creative muscles a bit by finding a quick writing prompt and running with it. This week’s prompt: “Name the top five things on your bucket list.” And here’s how I’ll try and spin that into a story…
“Ugh… not again!” Stephanie yelled as she turned off the car’s CD player. “If I have to hear The Proclaimers sing about how they would walk 500 miles one more time I’m going to jump out of this car while it’s still in motion.”
She then stared ahead as the road stretched in front of them, crossing her arms in frustration as silence quickly filled the tiny Prius.
Brian opened his mouth to speak, but then thought better of it, continuing to drive in silence. But then he decided to speak anyway. “It is a pretty classic song, though.”
Stephanie glared at Brian, as if daring him to make another attempt to see the glass as half full. “Maybe you should have brought more than one CD,” she said, accusingly.
Brian was okay with silence. He did some of his best thinking in silence. But he knew that his bride-to-be couldn’t stand silences that lasted for more than a few minutes. He knew she would either give in and turn the music back on, or she would get vocal about her real complaint: that this road trip was happening at all.
Sure enough, only a mile and a half later, she spoke. “I don’t even know why we couldn’t just fly back to Michigan, anyway.”
“Yeah,” sighed Brian, “you do know why.”
“Right. We couldn’t afford it,” she admitted quietly.
“Besides,” he said as he reached for her hand, “it’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.”
He expected her to roll her eyes at that, which she did. But she had also smiled when he took her hand in his. For Brian, seeing her smile was enough.
“Okay, Mr. Journeyman, we’re not listening to the same twelve songs over and over again and we’re certainly not gonna watch a bunch of nothing roll by quietly. So start thinking of some deep questions that require some deep answers.”
“Is this the part where the engaged couple actually makes an effort to get to know one another?” Brian asked.
“Mmm-hmm…” Stephanie grinned.
“Okay,” he said as he took a deep breath, “What is your favorite type of cookie?”
“That is not a deep question!” Stephanie yelled in a matter-of-fact tone as she lightly slapped Brian’s arm.
He laughed, “It’s so deep. There’s a lot you can tell about a person’s personality by the type of cookie they prefer.”
“Fine. Thin Mints. What does that say about my personality, Journeyman?”
“Hmm? Oh, I have no idea,” Brian said, laughing again. “I was just trying to get away with asking a simple question because I didn’t have anything deep yet.”
“Brian!” she yelled, her voice becoming slightly whiny, “Are you going to take this seriously or not?”
“All right, I’ll take it seriously,” he said, giving in. “What are the top five things on your bucket list?”
“My bucket list?” Stephanie seemed startled by the question. Wasn’t a bucket list something that the elderly and the terminally ill came up with?
“Yeah, you know, all the things you want to do or experience before you die.”
“I know what a bucket list is. I’ve just never put much thought into it before.”
“Well,” said Brian, “now’s your chance.”
Stephanie thought for a minute before she was ready to give her answer. “Play hooky for a day and live it up in Chicago, make an incredible archaeological discovery, become a shrimp boat captain, trick my parents into getting back together, and befriend an alien from outer space.”
For a moment, Brian took his eyes off the road and looked over at his fiancee. “Now who’s not taking this seriously?”
“What are you talking about? You asked a question. I answered it.”
“You do realize that your top five bucket list items are the basic plots to five different movies, right?”
Sheepishly, Stephanie replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Indiana Jones, Forrest Gump, The Parent Trap, E.T.”
“Okay, fine, I stole some ideas from Hollywood,” Stephanie huffed. “I don’t get what the big deal is, Hollywood steals ideas all the time.”
“So I won’t be getting a real answer on this one, huh?”
“Look, I’ve just never given any thought to a bucket list. To me, that’s the kind of thing that you do when you find out you’re about to die.”
“But, Steph, that’s the thing. No one knows when their time’s gonna be up.”
Stephanie wasn’t sure how to respond to that. Then she asked, “Do you know your top five?”
“Yeah, actually,” Brian said, “I do.”
“Let’s hear them, then.”
“Get married. Have a kid or two or three. Visit every Major League ballpark. Get invited to speak at a graduation ceremony. And the last one, well, I’m kind of living it right now.”
“What do you mean?” asked Stephanie.
“Epic road trip with the woman I love,” he said, once more grabbing her hand. But this time, he pulled her hand to his lips and kissed it.
“That’s really sweet,” she said, turning to look at him, “But can you really call this particular road trip ‘epic’?”
“You’re right,” he conceded, “I’ll probably have to cross that off the list some other time. Unless we hear that Proclaimers song about a dozen more times. Then it’s officially epic.”
This has been Friday Fiction. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trip into my imagination. If you liked what you read, let me know in the comments. If you didn’t like it, keep that to yourself. My ego is fragile.