Double Cousin: An Unfinished Short Story

Hey guys let me know what you think of this short story I’ve been working on. I would love to hear your feedback!


Kim arrived late for the first day of her second month at Wenchell’s. The office had been moved three times in the first month. The first was out of the company trailer that was temporary do to work being completed after the remodel of the downtown furniture store. It was decided that the repurposed office suite was warmer then designed and everyone mooed and moaned down the hallway. The second exodus, or the grand return from exile, came when the twenty-something landlord graciously installed an a/c unit suitable for humans.

Her desk was a mess of new pens, old receipts, and sticky notes appearing to be in no natural array. She was gifted in getting things done but did not appear to be so to the custodian. The one artefact in her office was a rickety old high-back roller chair circa 1927. A Dragnet had not graced the developing community of Howsthat since the Cold War of 84. It really should have been named “the chilli wars” being that the only explosives were hasty made batches of chilli between rival drive-ins.

Kim was a Childress. An only child of a second-generation hotdog restaurant owner. Coneys weren’t the family’s only heritage. A long line of other wieners populated the family tree in Howsthat Wisconsin. When filming stopped at Arthur’s Restaurant in the 80s, the small suburb of Milwaukee became a famous destination for fans of Arthur Fonzerelli and every other Cunningham. Howsthat was an unassuming dairy town before Warner Brothers made a dirt storm of electrical wire, extra large video cameras, and tan legs with car phones demanding diesel before 5 AM at the town’s only filling station.

Arthur Childress never sued when “Arthur’s Restaurant” appeared overnight in Midsummer 1977. Howsthat knew no strangers and the only other “Arthur” in town was a drunk living off of the people’s good will. A distant relative of Henry Winkler bought the restaurant one summer after filming stopped. Thad “Winkler”, or Thaddeus Neverleft, as he was known legally, claimed a second generation removal from Henry Winkler’s direct lineage. He went so far in court as to patent the term “double cousin” and won! It seems as if that is the only thing he has kept to his name.

One bad business decision led to another but Thad was tenacious in restaurant start-ups. The only problem was Thad’s proclivity in serial quitting. For every one that materialised into a short lived business venture, there were thousands of enthusiastic espresso conversations with burgeoning venture capitalists.

Kim regretted agreeing to be Thad Junior’s date to the 1990 senior prom. There are only so many streets in Howsthat which made it a near impossibility to avoid anyone. Thad Jr. still lived at home and had amassed an impressive collection of plastic license plate protectors from every state except Ohio.

When Kim came into her new office on Monday morning, her favourite chair was missing. There were no signs of forced entry so she thought Carla might have needed it again to reach the only thermostat on the third floor. She usually left a sticky note if something had been borrowed. After leafing through the first pile, Kim’s detective instincts accelerated. The only other reasonable culprit was Jerry, “the friendly boss.”

Jerry could be found faithfully barefoot and stoic. He had never told a lie and knew about every misplaced piece of paper, Diet Pepsi, or a yoga mat which had been deliberately placed in his office, the hallway, and breakroom. Every 20 minutes Jerry dropped like a cell phone call on Mother’s Day to stretch and meditate. He genuinely was the world’s friendliest boss, at least in Howsthat.

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