Death Stoppers Anthology

Excerpt From Story Play Day

Paul squinted at the light boring through the blinds, and hastily pulled the covers over his face.

“Damn sun,” he muttered as the haze started to lift from his mind.

He turned over and looked at the alarm clock. Only five hours had passed since he collapsed into bed, exhausted from a long night at the office.

He thought briefly about trying to go back to sleep but decided it was hopeless. Besides, today was Valentines Day, and he still had some things to do before meeting Maureen.

“At least it’s a Saturday,” he told himself as he headed to the bathroom. This was one day he refused to think about work.

He looked in the mirror and swore. The dark circles were still there, along with the sagging belly. The seventy hour weeks with no exercise had finally caught up to him; he was only thirty-two, but he appeared to be in his fifties.

After a long, hot shower and a hefty cup of coffee, he started to feel normal again. The phone rang as he was pouring his usual morning cereal.

“Hi, Paul!” Maureen’s cheerful voice greeted him. “I didn’t wake you, did I?”

He shook his head, stupidly realizing that he wasn’t as awake as he thought. “No, I’m up,” he said more bluntly than he intended.

“I was wondering,” Maureen said and paused, apparently considering the tone of his voice. “Can we meet for lunch a little earlier?”

“How much earlier?” He began calculating how long it would take to run his errands and buy a card and flowers.

“Is eleven okay?” Maureen asked tentatively. It was already nearly eight o’clock.

“Sure.” It would be close, but this was one appointment he didn’t want to miss.

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