Thursday, April 20, 2006

Story update/Good news

Just posting an update - My April Fool's day themed story won second place on the contest - posted on - here is the winning story for all you fans of mine (few that I have - lol)

The Proposal

Ribbit. Ribbit.
Stella looked around but couldn't locate the sound. Henry suppressed a chuckle.
Henry had made reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town. Stella sat there all dressed up, about to burst at the seams from what promised to be the best birthday ever. Not her usual joke-filled day. The evening was supposed to be romantic but the frogs were ruining that. Why couldn't Stella have a normal, romantic birthday with the love of her life?
Henry was the most straight-laced person she had known in her life, although a bit gullible and on the receiving end of a prank. Stella was thankful for this because having a birthday on April Fools' Day meant Stella had received every practical joke ever thought of as a gift; none from Henry over the years as his gifts were the most sincere. This year, though, Stella was hoping for a simple, romantic dinner. This was a special birthday for her - her twenty-fifth. Henry had gone through lots of planning to mark a quarter of a century for Stella.
After five years of being together as a couple, Stella just knew this nice, quiet evening would be special.
Ribbit. Ribbit. The frogs kept going, like the Energizer Bunny.
"Aren't you going to order something?" Henry asked.
"I've not much of an appetite. These frogs are driving me crazy. You do hear them, don't you?"
Henry shook his head. Stella looked at him as if he had just slapped her. "Henry, surely you hear them croaking every few minutes during the music. It's like the restaurant has piped in the frogs just for me. Let's go somewhere else."
"No, it's okay. Maybe you are the only one hearing them because it's your birthday."
"Not a chance. I'm going to ask the maitre'd to turn off the music. Surely, there are other people here who hear those silly frogs too."
Stella motioned for the maitre'd. "Please sir, tell me you hear the frogs over the music."
"No, Mademoiselle. I only hear the wonderful music that plays every night," he replied in his French accent, which matched the ambience of the restaurant.
"Will you please just turn off the music then? I'm hearing frogs and I don't like them. It's ruining my night."
"If we turn off the music for you, then all the other patrons will not enjoy the atmosphere and romance we provide."
"Fine. Just give me some frog legs for an appetizer." Maybe that'll shut them up.
Henry held Stella's hand, trying to calm her down. "Stella, hon. Let's calm down about the frogs. Try not to think of them. Remember we're here celebrating your birthday, not the jokes you usually get. Besides, I've something to ask you."
"I'll try to put those frogs out of my mind but they're aggravating. And you know how much I dislike them. But for you, I will try."
Ribbit. Ribbit.
Henry pulled a small box from his pocket. "Stella, we've been together a while now. I want to ask you something important."
Stella gulped.
"Stel, hon. I really love you and think we are meant to be together. Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be down on one knee when I ask you." Henry came around to Stella and kneeled, taking her hand. "Will you marry me?"
Stella nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, yes, yes. I've waited so long for this." Stella opened the engagement ring box only to find a piece of paper rolled up in the slot where the ring should have been. She unrolled it and read what Henry had neatly printed on the front, "NOT". What is this? He asks me to marry him and then says NOT. "Um, Henry, is this some kind of joke?"
"Did you read the back of it?"
Stella turned the paper over and read "April Fools'" and looked very confused. "So does this mean that the proposal was a joke or that just not having the ring is the joke?" Stella was about in tears, feeling rejected. She continued seething silently, turned to Henry and said, "I can't believe you have been involved in any practical jokes today, since you've not participated before."
"Actually, the empty box was the joke. Your mother helped me plan that part. I really do want you to marry me. Here's the ring for real."
Stella gazed at the ring. It was beautiful. Oh, how she wanted to trust Henry right now, but after his little joke, Stella found it hard to believe him. The ring could be fake, too. "So, they say that the less real a ring is the more beautiful it is. True? I'm not sure I should accept this ring now, knowing my mother's in on the jokes tonight. You know she's the queen of jokes around our house. Every year, she bests herself . No one can beat her jokes."
Ribbit. Ribbit.
"The only joke this time was the note in the box. The ring is real and I don't know anything about other jokes. The note joke was to get you a little flabbergasted."
"Just a little? Those damned frogs are still driving me nuts. And then the ring. Yep, flabbergasted is about right."
After dinner, Stella and Henry stared into each other's eyes. The waiters and waitresses started the restaurant's version of "Happy Birthday" from the kitchen. Stella thought the singing was too far away to be geared toward her. She sighed in relief until the cake with the many candles ended up in front of her. Stella's cheeks burned from being the center of attention. As the song ended, she blew out the candles. Several times. The candles wouldn't go out. She must have blown ten times before everyone said "Happy April Fools' Birthday" to her. She laughed and pulled all the candles from the cake, dunking them in her water to put them out.
"So, whose idea was this, yours or my mother's?" Stella glared at Henry.
Ribbit. Ribbit.
"Honestly, Stel, hon. I had nothing to do with the candles. I did, however, inform the maitre'd when I made our reservations that it was your birthday and that I wanted you to have a special cake since you have the worst day for a birthday. Maybe it was the chef's idea to do this."
"Not likely. They don't know me and this smells rotten. Smells of my mom, like when she put some dye in my shampoo. That was a nightmare. Picture day. And I had to go to school with purple hair." Stella shook her long, curly, auburn hair.
Henry smiled. "True. I haven't been a joker but your mother made this so much fun and knowing I was proposing to you, she had to get you somehow. It's been great so far not being the butt of everyone else's practical jokes."
"So, is this it? Everything that is meant to be played on me? I mean, this seems to be the most jokes I've had on me at once. Three by the same person. So anything else I should know about?"
Henry shrugged.
"Well, since the cake and ring are done, I say let's get out of here before anything else happens that would totally embarrass me."
"Okay. Hope you aren't too upset about the jokes we played on you."
"No, I'm not upset. It's expected, especially knowing my mother is involved. These were mild compared to some of the things she's done in the past, like the year we went to dinner and she had the cook add some gummy worms to my hamburger. That was gross and disgusting, having the whole restaurant staring at me and laughing."
The maitre'd whispered to Stella as they reached the door, "By the way, we piped the frogs in just for you. Your mother called and said you loved frogs sooo much. Hope you enjoyed your April Fools' birthday gift from the restaurant."
Stella laughed. Now she knew it was a joke set up just for her. "So how did you keep the other patrons from complaining?"
"We let them know when they were seated to just ignore the frogs during the music since it was a special treat for a special customer."
Stella nodded. Another joke by her mother, knowing how much she detested frogs which was in part due to high school biology class and Johnny Jones. After the group had dissected the frog, Johnny decided to put the frog down Stella's shirt. Yep, another birthday joke. Stella shuddered.
Henry guided Stella out the door, steering her toward the car. Stella stepped back seeing a flash of white coming toward her. "Is that Martina Navratilova? No way. Can't be. Martina here?"
Henry nodded and continued advancing toward the car.
"Evening, Stella." Martina greeted her. "I've been told in order to marry Henry, you have to beat me in a game of tennis."
"What? I don't know how to play tennis. No way can I beat you." Stella turned toward Henry, begging with her eyes to end the madness. Henry wasn't there.
Stella ran to the car, jumping in as fast as she could. "Come on, Henry. Let's get out of here. This day just keeps getting weirder."
Henry cranked the car and drove Stella home. Stella embarked on a new joke with Henry's help.

"Hello, Mother. We're home."
"Great. How was dinner?"
"You probably know dinner was a bust with all the jokes. I can't even believe you got Henry to partake in them. You had me pretty upset tonight."
"Jokes aside, did you have a nice dinner?"
"I didn't even get to eat dinner. What with those stupid frogs croaking during the time we were in the restaurant and the empty engagement ring box. I guess it's not meant to be for me to have a nice, quiet birthday as long as you're around."
"Stel, hon. You know I love you very much. I'm only trying to bring joy to you, a few smiles along the way."
"Fine. Just so you know, I turned Henry's proposal down. I couldn't accept due to the fact that I wasn't sure what was real and what wasn't."
Stella's mom stood there, unable to speak.
"What's the matter, Mom? Cat got your tongue?"
"No, no. That's not right. You aren't saying no to Henry because of me, are you?"
"Not at all. I just didn't think I should marry Henry since I'm not in love with him. I've been seeing the new garbage man lately and feel I should at least give him a chance. So, Henry is out of here for now. Bye-bye. Gone."
"Stella, you've got to be kidding. No way are you throwing away five years as well as a good man. Come on, dear. Let's talk about this and make sure you aren't throwing away something you've wanted for a long time."
"Mom, it's over. There isn't anything to talk about." Stella turned away from Henry who was still standing in the doorway. "Oh, by the way, April Fools'. I got you good. You should've seen your face."

hope you enjoy - E :)