Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fairy Tale Fun for #ChickLitLove

By Melissa Amster

Last year, over at my personal blog, I decided to write the first chapter of a fairy tale idea I shared here in January 2014 during our Fairy Tale month. It was for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. (As a bonus, if you click on the link, you can also see Jami's chick lit version of Cinderella.)
For the #ChickLitLove promo, Tracie Banister challenged authors (and anyone else interested) to write the synopsis of a fairy tale as if it were a chick lit novel. Since I already did that here, I'm sharing the first chapter of the story I got out of it at CLC today. I hope to continue with this story at some point, but it's not at the forefront of my mind at the moment. (For some reason, I think Dana Bate could take this and run with it though.)

Chapter One from Just Right:

The Longest Lunch Break

Call me crazy, but I love Mondays. They’re the one day a week that I have a standing lunch date with three of my closest friends at Sutton and Stafford, the investment firm where we work as support staff. We check out the trendiest restaurants Manhattan has to offer and I make notes for my posts in “Just Right,” my restaurant review blog.
I’m in the mood for Thai today, so I hope Jeannie, Stacy, and Cameron will be up for it too. Since it’s a refreshing 60 degrees out, I skip the subway and walk the 30 blocks to the office. (I wear my sneakers and pack the sensible work shoes that pinch my feet.) I pop in my earphones and set my iPod to my classic rock playlist, starting off with “Hold the Line” by Toto. The balmy breeze feels good after a long, insufferable winter.
Several songs later, I arrive at the front lobby of Sutton and Stafford and greet Mervin, the security guard. He seems distracted today for some reason, but I am in a rush to get started on my day so lunch will arrive that much sooner. When I get out at the 10th floor, something doesn’t feel right. It’s almost too quiet. Sheila isn’t at her reception desk, where she normally chats to her friends and paints her nails. Most of the lights are off and there are boxes all over the place. I find Stacy at her desk, staring blankly into a void. “We’re done for, Goldie. Ollie Sutton got involved in a Ponzi scheme and screwed us all over in the process. Everyone has been let go.” She then buries her head in her arms and starts sobbing.
I try to choke back my own tears, but they’re too powerful. I love working here. There are so many perks to the job, like gym membership, a Starbucks on every other floor (including the 10th), iPads for every employee, company parties on a private yacht…just name it, we probably have it as a perk. Besides, I make enough to live comfortably in my own apartment that rivals the one Monica and Rachel lived in on Friends. It terrifies me to think that I could lose all of this. And there’s no way I will go back to Connecticut to live with my parents. I’ve come too far.
All I say to Stacy in response is “I guess our lunch date is off then.” She just cries harder though and I keep her company until Jeannie and Cameron show up. Apparently, I have been the only one in the dark lately. The others somehow saw this coming from a mile away. You’d think someone could have warned me! But no, Ollie knew what he was doing with those investments and he was supposed to double the company’s income in a matter of weeks. Turns out, he’s never going to see that money again. And, of course, this is going to be all over social media and my gossipy sister, Silver (yes, my parents had a weird sense of humor when naming us) will tell my parents in no time. This is going to be a disaster.
I slowly pack up the items from my desk and avoid answering any calls to my desk and cell phones. I take one more spin in the most comfortable desk chair I’ve ever sat in. (It won all sorts of ergonomic awards. I’m not even joking here.) Then I say goodbye to my lunch buddies, promising that we’ll touch base soon via e-mail to network for other jobs.
I’m too upset to enjoy this beautiful spring day and take the subway back to my apartment, hoping I’ll be able to hang onto it as long as possible. After dropping off my stuff, I stop at Lolly’s Diner on West 81st, suddenly realizing that I never had breakfast (I usually get a muffin at Starbucks), and that I’m starving. Another thing I’ll soon have to stop doing if I hope to survive in New York as long as possible…dining out. There goes my blog as a result.
Lolly’s daughter, Cindy, who now owns the diner while still working as a server, recognizes me right away and seats me at my regular booth. “What’ll it be today, Sugar?” (I love how she embodies the classic diner waitress personality.)
“The usual, thanks.” My usual is a short stack of pancakes with blueberry syrup and a side of scrambled eggs with peppers and onions mixed in. And no, I’m not pregnant. (Not that I even have someone to help me get pregnant.)
“Either I’m having déjà vu or it’s Sunday again. You’re never in here during the week.”
“I know. I just lost my job and before you ask, I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Oh, Sugar! Sorry to hear it. Breakfast is on the house today. I’ve got to keep my favorite customer happy.”
“You don’t have to do that. Besides, you already got a good review in my blog already.”
“And look how many customers it has brought in. Why do you think you can’t get your regular booth on Sundays anymore.”
“Hah! Like that many people even read it. The restaurant is a tourist trap since the front was used on Roxie’s, back in the 80s. You have nostalgia and really good food going for you. That Seinfeld restaurant has nothing on this place!”
“Have you looked at the number of followers you have, Sugar? I think tourists come to New York just to try the restaurants you’ve been reviewing. You should forget about investment banking and get a job in the food business. At least monetize your blog for now.”
“What do you know about blogging?”
“I have my sources. And I’ve heard that some newspapers have been asking about you.”
“Really, now?” I look at Cindy skeptically. “You’d think they’d be calling me if they really wanted me.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you start getting some calls soon. Just saying. Anyway, your breakfast is up. I’ll be right back. Need anything to drink?”
“Well, since you’re paying, I wouldn’t mind a tall glass of chocolate milk.”
“You sure you’re not pregnant, Sugar?”
“You crack me up. Now hurry with those eggs and pancakes before they get cold and I have to write a new review.”
“Yes, ma’am!”

As I dig in, I mull over what Cindy said about doing more with my blog to make some money from it. I’ve been doing it as a hobby, but monetizing couldn’t hurt and every little bit I make could keep me in my apartment that much longer. Maybe I could get some free meals out of it too. A girl’s gotta survive in the Big Apple somehow, right? I’ll look for sponsors when I get home. For now, I’m going to enjoy what I’ve written up as the best breakfast in the city…even if you’re not pregnant.

Stop by the blogs participating on the blog hop this week and enter to win some delicious treats!
Monday: Magic Morsels
Tuesday: Sprites


Unknown said...

This is great! Want more!

Janine said...

Fabulous writing

Tracie Banister said...

I already told you how much I enjoyed this the first time I read it! Really hope you write the novel one day as it would combine two of my fave things - fairy tales and the food world!