“How long have you been waiting?” – she asked.

His hat perched on his face. His body covered the bench. His eyes shut, possibly in sleep.Β She repeated her question. She hoped he would respond this time. But he didn’t.

She drudged on. “Ex-excuse me sir, but how long have you been waiting here?” She was sure he could hear her. He breathed out in exasperation with each question she put to him.

He knew very well what she wanted. He hadn’t any time for hustlers. He would wait for his train, like he had planned, and he would get on that train, like he had planned. He didn’t need any distractions.

“I’m awfully sorry to disturb you sir, but i wondered if you could help a girl out.”

She sounded pretty. But they all did. They had pretty voices, almost always supplemented by a pretty face. He imagined her face for a split second, She saw his face stretch into a fleeting smile under his hat. It encouraged her.

“I live right down the road. The next train isn’t due for another 20 minutes. There is enough time, sir.”

There was something in the water of this city, the man thought, that made these women of the night so very polite. But he wasn’t going to indulge. Not tonight. It wasn’t a part of his plan. he wanted her to shove off. It didn’t seem like she was going to, however.

“It could be quick…” she pressed on.

He had had enough. In a swift move, he removed his hat from his face, sat up straight and looked at her, ready to tell her off in his harshest voice, when he saw…her bright blue eyes.

His wife had bright blue eyes too.

With an alchemy that reached the seat of his pants, his voice spoke softly, “what’s your name?”

She replied with a smile. He looked at his watch. His wife wasn’t here.

20 minutes was more than enough.


This week’s Trifecta Challenge is to use the third definition of the word “Alchemy” – an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting. The response is to be within 33 and 333 words.

You can read and vote for the entries via the link given above. This week’s entries are judged by the community (that’s you. And also the one behind you).

Thanks for reading! I look forward to your thoughts.


17 thoughts on “20 Minutes

  1. Hi Nandini I enjoyed this, although I feel sorry for his wife. I have seen a few bloggers talking about trifecta but didn’t know what it was. Can anyone have a go?

  2. I also was left feeling really sorry for the wife… and not all characters have to likable, right? Sometimes it’s fun to really dislike a character and root against them. (Maybe I’m hoping karma gets back somehow.) Nice story!

  3. Her eyes reminded him of his wife’s and he went with her anyway? Oh, my! I wonder if the wife has any idea of his ways? The fact he didn’t plan to indulge “tonight” made me think that he has or would in the future.

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