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Lucy's Crazy Day Off

Lucy's past catches up to her on a mundane day off.

By S.N. EvansPublished 2 months ago 12 min read
Lucy's Crazy Day Off
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Lucy reviewed her to-do list in her head. Inside the house, she had to do the dishes, do the laundry, make her bed, etc. Outside the house, she needed to get groceries and drop off a package. Her at-home chores took little time to accomplish. Lucy lived alone and was a pretty clean person. Checking that she had everything she needed, including her shopping list, she picked up the package and exited the car. Lucy entered, placed the package and purse into the passenger seat, and started the engine. Three dings, and she looked down at the dash, sighing. The sensors in the tires said her rear left tire was low.

Getting out of the car, she looked down at the tire, kicked it twice for good measure, and heaved a heavy sigh– it was flat. Moving around to open the trunk, she retrieved the jack and tire iron and checked the spare. She had everything she needed to change the tire herself. Wiping her sweaty forehead with the back of her hand, she realized how hot and humid the day was. At least it was her day off, and she had not bothered doing her makeup. Putting the jack up under the car, she began cranking it up and locked it into place.

Frustrated, Lucy attempted to use the tire iron to unscrew the lugnuts, but they wouldn’t budge. Balling up her fists, she kicked the tire iron in the direction it needed to unscrew—moderate success. It was not the conventional way of getting the tire off, but it got the job done. Half of them were gone, and her energy was waning.

“You’re so stubborn,” a familiar male voice said from the sidewalk behind the car.

”You would know, Jack.” Lucy muttered as she paused, turning to hear the sound of paws on the pavement and the jingling of a collar. “Good morning, Rosie, good girl.” She grinned, petting the black and tan corgi, who rushed to the end of her leash to greet Lucy, followed by a gangly man with stubble on his chin.

“Do you Need a hand?” he asked, hooking the hand loop of Rosie’s leash on the pointed corner of the privacy fence surrounding the right side of Lucy’s yard.

“I can manage,” Lucy frowned, looking down at the other half of the lug nuts she needed to remove. She could not let Jack see her desperate state.

Jack leaned against the car and watched her struggle. Rosie whined, and Jack sighed heavily, shrugging his narrow shoulders. “What kind of a neighbor would I be, Lucy, if I just stood around and watched you do all this hard work?” He moved forward, kicked the next lug nut loose, and began removing it.

Jack made quick work of the remaining work, and they both pulled the flat tire away, leaning it against the fence. Lucy made a mental note to take it to the shop later to see if it was salvageable. She needed to finish her remaining tasks before adding new ones. If she added new ones, she would never get to the end. They quickly got the spare tire on, and the lug nuts went back on, which was more manageable than they came off. Jack ensured they were friendly and tight before cranking down the jack and tossing it and the tire iron back into her trunk.

“Thanks,” Lucy muttered sheepishly.

”Thank Rosie. She heard you struggling over here and demanded that we cross the street.”

“Well, thank you, Rosie,” Lucy said, scratching Rosie behind her tall ears, “I miss you, girl.”

“You know,” Jack started rubbing his dirty hands on his jeans, “You could come over and hang out sometime.”

“That’s not a good idea,” Lucy frowned, recalling the last time they had hung out together.

“I promise, no funny business, just friends.” He held his hands up defensively, “I just thought you might want to spend time with Rosie.”

Lucy snorted, “OK, Romeo.” She chuckled, almost giving herself whiplash with how amusing she found his reaction. In this light, she could believe she had been in love with him once. He might not have been much to look at, but he was charming. A slight smile tugged at the edge of his mouth. She shook her head. She did not want to give him false hope, “We’ll see.” She muttered, “I’ve gotta get going. Thank you for your help.”

”Anytime,” He smiled, walking over and taking Rosie’s leash back, “Have a good day.”

Lucy watched as he and Rosie crossed back to the sidewalk on the other side of the road. She had a lot on her mind as she drove into town from her tiny home in the suburbs. It was a short drive, ten minutes on a bad day. Cruising to the town square, she parked her car and saw how busy the post office was, everyone rushing to do their business before noon on a Saturday. Sighing, she exited the vehicle and took the parcel from her passenger seat. Double-checking the address, she nodded to herself that it was right.

Before joining the queue, she took out her key and approached her lockbox. Inside was a package pick-up slip and a couple of bills. Tucking the bills into her purse, she came to stand in line with both her package and pickup slip. Lucy had no idea what she had ordered, but it was too large to place in her lockbox. Curiosity was getting the better of her as she stood behind an older adult wearing a jacket, even though it was so hot outside.

Lucy considered striking up a conversation with the woman in queue ahead of her to pass the time but thought better of it as she saw someone in a dark jacket pass the post office window. Lucy did not get a good look at him, but ever since then, he could not shake the feeling that someone was watching her. Frowning, the hairs on her neck stood up, her arms prickled in goose-flesh. Tucking the package under one arm, she rubbed the other until the goose flesh disappeared. Lucy had no enemies she could think of, so she dismissed it.


Outside, the private investigator snapped pictures of Lucy inside the post office while he went to her car. Opening the door with his handkerchief, he grabbed what he needed before hurriedly closing it again. He had grabbed a soda can. It should be enough to get what his employer wanted. Smiling, he snapped more pictures of her and her car's license. With it, he could find out the girl’s address, and the DNA from the can should be enough to determine a match.

Retreating to a small cafe across the street, he ordered a coffee and settled in. Opening the view screen of his camera, he flipped back through the information he had so far. He made notes on a small pad sitting beside him. This girl, Lucy, seemed to have a good life here in the small town of Ramport. She had a steady job, home, and friends but a distinct lack of family for a small-town resident. She worked odd hours, and he never saw anyone else coming and leaving from her small home— she lived alone.

The man who had helped her change her tire seemed to have been close to her once but now was a stranger. Lucy frequently exchanged packages at the post office, enough to make the investigator curious. He sipped coffee and burned his tongue before setting it back down. The investigator considered what his employer wanted about Lucy and what the older man might do with the information. His job was simple: find the girl and let the older man do with it what he wanted.


Jack wondered if he should tail her. The creepy man across the street had been taking pictures of Lucy all morning. When he approached Lucy to help her change the tire, he wanted to tell her about the weirdo, and he criticized himself for being such a dunce around her. Letting Rosie run out of the backyard, he went outside to his car and backed out of the driveway, hoping he wasn’t too late. He cruised the town looking for Lucy’s car.

Jack watched as the man with the camera trailed Lucy’s car, repeating the details in his head in case the man meant Lucy was ill. Jack found Lucy’s car outside the post office. Pulling in, he watched as she moved up with the queue. The man trailing her car sat in front of the diner across the street. Pulling up beside it, he had one thing on his mind: staying between this creep and Lucy. Entering the cafe, he spied the creep going through his camera at the back of the room.

Walking toward him, Jack sat across from him at the booth, earning a strange look from the man he didn’t know, a private investigator. The private investigator said nothing but put down his camera to look Jack in the eyes.

”Why are you following Lucy? Are you some sort of creep?” Jack questioned.

The private investigator had no idea if he wanted to dignify that question with a response. Sighing heavily, he took another draw from his coffee mug, draining it before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

”I’m doing a job,” He responded, looking Jack up and down, considering his ability to take the younger man in a fight if it came to blows. The PI was not as young as he used to be, but he could still hold his own, “I need to determine her ware about and if she is the person I’m looking for.”

”What makes you so sure it’s Lucy?”

“I’m not,” The PI groaned, “That’s why I’m investigating her. Her whereabouts match the person I’m looking for.”

“You some sort of cop?”

“No, I’m a private investigator. My client wants to know where his daughter is.”

“You’ve got the wrong person. Lucy’s dad is from Kennedy,” Jack responded, scratching his chin.

”Is that what she told you?”

“She has no reason to lie to me.”

“Unless she’s hiding something from you.”

“I’ve known Lucy for a long time.”

The PI offered “Four years, “the same time since my client’s daughter ran away.

“She ran away. That means she doesn’t want found.” Jack frowned, “Even if it is Lucy.”

“It’s my job to. Find the person. What happens after that is out of my hands.”

”What if Lucy had a good reason for leaving? What if this man was abusive? What if he means her harm? By finding her, you’re implicit in whatever happens to her.”

“It’s just a job.”

“Not to me,” Jack stated, suddenly standing, “Who is your client?”

“I can’t name any names.”

“Lucy deserves to know that someone might be looking for her. It’s also quicker to ask than whatever you’re doing.”

The PI sighed, “You’re not going to give this up, are you?”

”The other option is that I call the police and let them have a look through your camera.”


“Not nearly as stubborn as Lucy.” His eyes narrowed, preparing to punch and take the camera if he had to.

“Chill, Romeo,” The PI stated, “I’ll go ask her, but it’s unprofessional.”

”It shouldn’t take more than a name drop.” Jack wondered if she was still at the post office. Both men got up, and the PI paid the waitress at the cafe before leaving.

Jack escorted the man across the street, where the line at the post office had diminished, but Lucy had yet to reach the counter. Pushing their way in, they got a lot of looks from the people who remained in line. Jack came up behind Lucy and tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned, her face moved from curiosity about who it was before hardening at the sight of Jack.

“What do you want?” she asked, watching another person shift up in line. She was getting close to the counter; one more person and she could get what she needed to and leave. She took a deep breath and waited for what Jack said. She looked at the man in the dark coat beside him with slight curiosity.

“We need to talk. This guy’s been tailing you for who-knows-how-long. I caught him going through his camera at the cafe after seeing him taking pictures of us outside your house.” Jack explained rapidly, watching comprehension come across Lucy’s face.

“Why are you following me?” Lucy questioned, reaching to the side of her bag where she had kept her pepper spray.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Lucy. I am a private investigator, James Orion, and my client asked me to find a woman of your description.” Investigator Orion cleared his throat awkwardly. “No offense, but your friend says you’re not the one I want. Pardon me for asking. Do you know a Mr. D.L. Riley?”

Jack and Investigator Orion watched Lucy’s face blanch, “Did he tell you the name of this girl he’s looking for?”

“Judging by your reaction, you already know the name.”

“Jillian Riley,” Lucy sighed, “I know her, but I’m not her.”

”Where do you know her from?” Investigator Orion questioned, pulling out his notepad.

“When we first ran, we had a pact never to tell anyone where each other went. I have no idea where Lucy went after stopping here. She lived with me for a bit. Do you remember that roommate I had two years ago?” Lucy asked Jack.

“Oh, yeah, Missy or something like that?”

“Maisy,” Lucy corrected, “She was going by Maisy Bloom at the time.”

”And you have no idea where she went?”

“Not a clue,” Lucy frowned. She didn’t leave any contact numbers when she left. She packed up her room and drove away.

“This is important. Do you know what vehicle the girl was driving?”

“A nondescript pale yellow sedan— I think it’s been a long time,” Lucy admitted.

Investigator Orion noted it down, “Thank you, Lucy,”

”Don’t return, especially if anyone is looking for me.” Lucy teased, turning back in line.

Jack watched as Investigator Orion put his camera away in his car across the street and looked back and forth from him to Lucy.”What do you think he will do when he finds you’ve sent him on a goose chase?”

”Remain calm. I will be long gone by the time the investigator comes back.” Lucy reassured him, “I’ve stayed here too long.”

“So, you are the girl he’s looking for?”

“Yes, and now I have to keep running.”

“Why are you running?”

“The less you know, the better. Thank you, Jack, for continuing what I said and everything you’ve done for me while I’ve stayed. Give a goodbye scratch and hug to Rosie for me.”

Jack didn’t know what to say as Lucy handed the package to the attendant and passed her the pick-up slip. She brought out a shoebox-sized mottled brown package and handed it over. Lucy thanked her and went back to her car. Setting the package in the passenger seat, she closed the door, walked over, and entered the driver’s side. She wouldn’t have to return home; everything she needed was in the travel bag in the back of her car.

“Lucy, what are you going to do? Where will you go?”

“I have a couple of safe places I can go until things calm down, and I’ll move on.”

Jack felt the remainder of his time with her as it ran through his fingers, too short, “Lucy, I—“

”No, Jack, I can’t love you. My life is too dangerous, even though we tried. You thought I kept too many secrets and broke my heart.” She replied, “I’m content now with life alone.”

Lucy pulled the car door out of his slacked grip, “So, you do love me?”

“Part of me, but I cannot ask you to uproot your life at a moment’s notice to avoid a danger you know nothing about.” She frowned, closed the door, started the car, reversed, and began driving.

As Lucy went, tears flowed freely from her eyes. She could not afford attachments, not when her father would pursue her to the end of the earth. Lucy prayed for Jack, saying he had quickly forgotten her and moved on with his life. Pulling onto the interstate, she wiped her eyes and prepared to drive until she could no longer open her eyes. Then, Lucy crashed at the nearest hotel for a few days under a new name– Janet. She sulked for a while; Janet had just gotten used to the name Lucy— the first time she felt she could have been a Lucy. It had been a heck of a day off.

thrillerShort StoryPsychologicalMystery

About the Creator

S.N. Evans

Christian, Writer of Fiction and Fantasy; human. I have been turning Caffeine into Words since 2007. If you enjoy my work, please consider liking, following, reposting on Social Media, or tipping. <3

God Bless!

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