Just thought it'd be fun to write a short story based on one word. If you choose to write one also, please post it in the comments! I'd love to see what you come up with! The word is observations.
Shane twisted his body against the uncomfortable faux leather, running his fingers up and down over the brass beading that decorated the undercarriage of his armchair . This place needed a make-over. The dry-wall had been patched and re-painted in numerous areas, but the touch-up paint appeared to be eggshell whereas the original was satin. The mismatched furniture was probably dumped here by faculty members who did not want it in their own respective offices, choosing instead to leave it in one of the oldest buildings on campus, imbuing the entire lobby with the faint smell of mildew.
Sighing, he turned to stare at the other unhappy occupants of the room, knowing he'd be sitting there at least another twenty minutes. This lobby was notorious for being the most dreaded waiting room on campus, where students hovered in nervous anticipation of being ushered into the exam rooms and faculty offices upstairs, the hushed hallways lined with paper signs taped to the walls that directed any lost students to their immediate doom. There were only three possible reasons a student came to this building: they had a test, they needed advise, or they were being disciplined. A girl was sleeping on one of the three sofas randomly splayed about the lobby, her head turned into the cushions. She had nice legs, but she kept sighing as if having an exasperating dream. He found it thoroughly annoying.
Across the room, a young cadet sprawled lazily in his own armchair, his blue striped pants and shiny black dress shoes reminiscent of a high school band uniform. He rested his cell phone on top of his shaved head, staring listlessly at the obscure carpet design. Come to think of it, it did resemble one of those Magic Eye stereograms, an optical illusion that covered 236 square feet. Shane blinked. If he stared at it too long, he might go crazy. He'd be remembered as the one and only junior who could see 3D dolphins in the carpet at Blaise Hall.
Assuming he wasn't kicked out of school for writing that offensive blog post. Who knew the Dean of Student Affairs hired students to surf the web and turn in any unsuspecting authors of distasteful, albeit truthful, stories about the university? The irony of a journalism major being suspended for writing personal observations on a personal blog was not lost on Shane. He should have known better. Even though he didn't believe his post fell into the category of a defamatory article, being neither false nor malicious, apparently the school board disagreed.
Adjacent to the lobby was a crowded office where two receptionists and a secretary were known to huddle behind desks that left little to no room for movement. He couldn't see directly into the room from where he was sitting, but he could hear the giddy secretary delightedly relating the news that her sister-in-law was pregnant. She kept repeating the same boring story to anyone who would listen, her voice rising an octave each time she reached the part about not being "allowed to tell the family because it's daddy's birthday and they wanted to surprise him at dinner!"
"Shhhh," the other two receptionists chided, but in a "you're-so-sweet" kind of way that made their shushing almost complimentary. It didn't matter. The secretary's voice would just work itself back up to an unnatural decibel once she got to the bit about her little nephew saying that he hoped they would name the baby Hayden.
"And I keep telling him, but your name is Hayden! You can't have two Hayden's in the same family! Even though, if you think about it, once his parents get old and forgetful they'll call them both Herman Magoota or something anyway."
Shane pulled out a yellow legal pad and pen and began jotting down what he liked to call "observations," but what most people would recognize as criticism. You couldn't make this stuff up.
"Just like my dad did. We were all either Herman or Henrietta. Or Frank McGilicuddy. Don't know why." The secretary laughed as if to say, "What, that? That's perfectly normal!"
Shane wrote the words odd woman and obnoxious voice and underlined them twice. Then he scratched a long thin line through everything he'd just written and sighed. Maybe he'd picked the wrong major. He should just get a good old English degree. That way, he could write non-fiction and call it fiction, and nobody would be offended. Or if they were, it wouldn't matter.