Fiction, Melbourne, Opinion, Relationship and marriage, Writing

Packing up

By Emma’s reckoning, she had three minutes.

She didn’t want to be here. Signed up reluctantly at the last minute, when only the latest time slots were available. Now, she had one hundred and eighty seconds, seventy cupcakes and over ninety dollars before she reached the target. It wasn’t going to happen. The place was deserted.

Emma started to pack up.

‘No!’ cried a voice. Emma looked up. Betty was headed her way, frowning with displeasure.

‘Don’t pack up,’ Betty snapped. ‘A group of us were thinking we’d stay open for another hour.’

Emma forced a smile. ‘Great idea,’ she said. ‘But I can’t stay past my allocated slot. I’ve got to head home. We’ve got dinner plans with friends.’

‘But you have to stay. There’s no one else.’

‘So I’ll finish packing up, then.’

‘NO!’ Betty shouted. ‘We absolutely have to reach our target.’

‘Betty, you could fire a gun here and not injure anyone. Face it, you’re going to fall short of your target.’

‘We won’t. We’ve made a call out on all social media. People should start arriving soon.’

Either way, I’m leaving.’

And Emma grabbed her handbag and left. Betty called out expletives as she walked away. Filthy words, some Emma had never heard before. Wasn’t Betty supposed to be an upstanding member of the community? Isn’t that how she got elected? Emma waved her arm high, without turning to look behind her.

‘Bye Betty,’ she whispered. ‘Good luck, you old bat.’ She vowed silently that she’d never be guilted into signing up again. She hated fundraising drives, cake stalls in particular.



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