Julie Has a Day

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
“Courage,” she said. “Courage. How can I possibly write a story about courage? I don’t even know the meaning of the word. I’ve never experienced it. This will take some thinking.”

Julie is a writer. Julie is a writer from head to toe. Let’s start at the bottom. Black leather shoes neatly tied in perfect bows. Black slacks, trim at the waist. White blouse, high collar, cameo brooch at the neckline. She had heard this was a poet’s blouse, therefore, she wore one. Curly brown hair, neatly coiffed to the side with a tiny rhinestone bobby pin. Olive green raincoat, cinched at the waist. Black shoulder bag: tablet, notebook, pens neatly tucked in a pocket. Big tortoiseshell glasses, through which she can look at you knowingly or condescendingly, depending on the situation.

Julie was always a writer. As a little girl, she filled every notebook in her home with stories of dragons and fairies and heroic children. When asked what she would be when she grew up, she would not even answer but roll her eyes and hold up her pen.

Julie wasn’t one for contests. She’s not sure why she joined. She wrote because the stories filled her head and wanted out. She wrote for herself, no other. Her characters filled her life with immense joy. Her story entry needed to be completed and entered by the end of the day. Her characters now failed her.

Tap tap tap...Julie walks down the street in her slightly heeled shoes, you know, the kind that make a person sound as if their walk is very deliberate. Tap tap tap tap. She was going somewhere to do something important. Tap, tap, tap.

Tap tap tap...10 o’clock. The streets now filled with pedestrians. An old lady, in a shabby coat, with a little white dog. A young man, in a trim suit, twirling an umbrella. He glanced at Julie and smiled. A street vendor pushed a wagon. Children played hopscotch. Tap tap tap.

As Julie approached the coffee shop, a large dog pranced out onto the sidewalk and sat squarely in the center.

He looked at her.

He bared his teeth.

He growled.

“Oh my,” gasped Julie. “You are a big fella. There, there,” she said, patting him on the top of the head. “Oh, perhaps I have something for you.” She rummaged around in her shoulder bag and pulled out a small paper bag. “All dogs like candy,” she remarked. She tossed a piece to the pooch and it stepped aside.

Patrons in the coffee shop watched this incident and nodded to one another.
“Impressive,” said one.

“Noteworthy,” said another.

“Courageous,” said a third.

She pulled open the door to the coffee shop, bells jangling to announce her arrival. Julie entered the coffee shop as a mother and two children and a stroller bustled out. Splooch! Coffee everywhere. Oh no, all over Julie’s olive green raincoat. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Blotted with sodden napkins. Julie straightened up and smoothed her coat, now stained with a big blotch of coffee. Please, please, just get out of my way, she thought. She sidestepped the stroller and entered the coffee shop. The stroller rolledl out into the street.

The mother screamed.

The patrons gasped.

Julie lunged for the stroller and found herself facing down a city bus. It screeched to a halt as Julie pulled the stroller onto the sidewalk and the grateful mother retrieved it.

Again, the patrons in the coffee shop watched this incident and nodded to one another.

“Remarkable,” said one.

“Dramatic,” said another.

“Courageous,” said a third.

Julie entered the coffee shop once again. She wrestled off her coat and still seated, arranged it over the back of the chair. She sighed. A young waitress in a plaid jumper whisked by and left a cup of coffee on the table.

An enormous cat jumped on the seat across from her. She hadn’t realized that this was one of those cat cafes. She gasped and stared wide-eyed at the cat, who stared back, as cats do. “Hello, Kitty,” Julie said. “Have a seat.”

“Thank you, I will,” the cat responded, “and don’t call me Kitty.”

“Oh, pardon me, wait...you just talked!” Julie spit her coffee back into her cup. “Um...what should I call you?”

“Don’t,” said the cat. “I’ll call you.”

“Ok, then,” Julie responded and took her notebook out of her book bag. She paged through the notebook until she found a blank page. “Don’t mind me,” she said to the nameless cat.

She looked at the page.

She glared at the page.

She turned her head to the side and peered at the page.

“Cat got your tongue?” sneered the cat. “Pardon the expression.”

“Hmm..”groaned Julie. She wrote one word on the page and stopped.

“Courage?” said the cat, “A girl like you knows nothing of courage.”

“How do you know?” said Julie. “You know nothing of me.”

“Oh, but I do. Just look at you, all prim and proper and pretending you are a writer.”

“Pretending! Pretending!” Julie huffed. “Not pretending...I am a writer and you are nothing but a cat!”

“Look at you,” sneered the cat, “you, with your poet’s blouse and your snappy shoes. You are a pretender.”

Julie’s eyes blazed. She looked straight at the cat, pointed at the door, and said, “Out!”



The young waitress in the plaid jumper opened the door and the cat scurried out.

“Kitty,” Julie mumbled.

Again, the patrons in the coffee shop watched this incident and nodded to one another.

“Fearless,” said one.

“Brutal,” said another.

“Courageous,” said a third.

Julie looked down at her notebook. “Wait,” she said. “Did someone say courageous?”

“Twas I,” said the young man in the trim suit with the umbrella. “No one has ever stood up to that cat before. She bullies everyone.”

“Wait. Courageous? How is that courageous? Don’t I have to be afraid, summon the courage, and then act in order to be courageous?” Julie pondered aloud.

“There are many definitions of courage,” said the old lady in the shabby coat with the little white dog.

“Perhaps courage is just doing what you know is right,” Julie said. “Yes, that’s it. I’ve had a rather courageous day.”

“Indeed,” said the young man in the trim suit.

“Absolutely,” said the old lady in the shabby coat.

“Woof,” said the little white dog.

Julie opened her notebook and began to write...