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Good To The Last Drop March 18, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Travel & Leisure, Word Play.
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Caroline grabbed The New York Times Sunday edition off the shelf by the register with two hands, amazed at the bulk and weight of a daily periodical.

Grinning at the cashier, she said, “I would hate to be a paperboy for the NYTimes, especially on Sundays.  This paper is massive.”

The cashier just shrugged and accepted payment for the paper in silence.

* * * * *

At home, Caroline fixed a pot of coffee from a just opened can.

As aroma filled the room, she pulled a legal pad towards her and sat at the kitchen table with the Times.

With barely a glance, she turned past the headline stories, and kept flipping pages until she reached the Travel Section.


The feature story, on sights to see in London, boasted a lovely photograph of the London Eye, taken on a picture-perfect day.

Hmm . . . London?  No, too crowded.

She turned another page and saw a full page advertisement for a rock concert to aid victims of natural disasters.  The promoters planned to present a Live Aid fundraiser . . . at sea!

Awesome!  Exactly what I’m looking for . . . a cruise! 

Caroline got a cup of coffee, returned to the ad, and began jotting down the particulars.  The Celtic Cruise would visit ports of call in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England during the day, with motorcoaches provided for the on-land excursions.

Every night, bands would perform, at venues throughout the ship:

Dave Matthews * Natasha Beddingfield *  Alanis Morrisette *  Jimmy Buffett *  Anna Nalick * Matchbox Twenty * Joan Armortrading * Sarah McLachlan * Lorenna McKennitt * Collective Soul . . . 

Passengers would be able to wander from concert to concert each night during the cruise.  Awesome! 

As Caroline read, her grin grew.

Stay in a luxurious Veranda Suite with French doors opening onto a private balcony, and an on-call butler available 24/7.  

Caroline stopped reading and started daydreaming.

Mmm . . . it sounds positively posh!  Perhaps Anna, Sarah, Natasha, and I can play Scrabble or Bridge on the Veranda when they aren’t performing.

Excited, she punched the website address into her computer, keeping her fingers crossed.

When she saw the price tag for the cruise, she gulped . . .  then rationalized the cost since $20,000 would be donated to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.

It’s only money . . . It’s for a good cause . . . You only live once . . . You can’t take it with you . . . . . . . . . . Just Do It!  


Decided, Caroline reserved the last Veranda Suite, charging the 25% down payment to her Discover card, and maxing out her available credit in the process.

She drained the good to the last drop coffee from her mug and waited for the call.

Answering on the first ring,  Caroline smiled, “Hello, Caroline speaking.”

“Ms. Long?”


“This is the Fraud Center from Discover calling.  There has been some unusual activity on your account.”

“Yes, I’ve decided to take a cruise.”

Caroline heard a slow exhale, “Must be some cruise.”

“Oh, that’s just the deposit.”  Caroline laughed, she had ever done anything this extravagant.

“Ms. Long, you’re at your credit limit.  Would you like to speak with someone in Customer Service about increasing your limit?”

“No, I’ll be closing the account soon.”

“Oh, we’re sorry to hear that.  Would you like to speak with someone in Customer Service about . . . ”

“Oh, no, it’s nothing wrong with the account.  It’s just that . . .”  Caroline paused, not certain how much to reveal.

“I can transfer you . . . ”

She forged ahead, “I won’t need the account where I’m going because . . .”

“Discover is now accepted worldwide . . . ”

“. . . I’m dying.”

Dead silence met Caroline’s ears.

Then came a stammered apology, “I’m so sorry . . . really . . . I had no idea.”

“Of course, you didn’t,” Caroline assured the caller.  “It’s fine.  Really it is.  I’ve had a great life.  A wonderful life.  A life filled with moments of spectacular beauty, love, freedom, and happiness.”

“You sound . . . ”

“Happy.  I’m happy.  And since I have no kids, I’ve decided to enjoy the rest of my time here.  I want my life to be . . . Good To The Last Drop!”

“Good for you.  Hence the cruise?”

“Exactly.  This charitable concert cruise is just the thing ~ my first dream was to be a famous rock star.”

“Mine too.  I can play a mean air guitar . . . Shit!  . . . I’m sorry . . . I shouldn’t joke at a time like this . . . ”

“Why not?  There’s no time but the present.  We all gotta go sometime.”


“You sound so calm and peaceful.”

“I am.”

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?”

“Not at all.  Death is just the closing of one door and the opening of another.  I’m curious to see what’s on the other side of the door.”

“Wow!  Way to approach uncertainty . . . with excitement instead of fear.  I’m glad we had a chance to talk today . . .”

“Same here.  You’re actually the first person I’ve told . . . so mum’s the word.”

“Of course.  And have a great trip!”

“Thanks, I will . . . as soon as I get back from the cruise.”

No rules.  Just write!

* * * * *

Prompt:  Can you write a short story of less than a thousand words utilizing the three point (triangle) challenge?  

Every triangle challenge lays out a place, an event, and an item.  In this challenge, the three points are:  The New York Times, the London Eye, and a rock concert.