1. – the act of procrastinating; putting off or delaying or defering an action to a later time
the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time
2. – slowness as a consequence of not getting around to it
I just got off my submission to Lulu’s 600 word or less short story contest before the midnight deadline. Here it is –
William was home the day the fire broke out inapartment 3B. He was working at his computer when he smelled smoke drifting in from the hallway.
The thought that a fire had broken out next door didn’t surprise him, but nevertheless it chilled him to the bone. The people who lived in 3B were messy people. Drug addicts. Always bringing in junk off the street.
“I think the meth lab next door is on fire,” William posted on the political discussion board where he’d chatted most of the morning. “I guess I should call 911.”
“And here I thought you lived amongst the 1 percenters,” replied Buddha’s Left Hand.
William and his mother did live in a nice building. Most of the other residents on the third floor were professionals. William’s mother was an insurance adjuster who commuted to the city 4 days a week. He wished it was her day to work at home. She would know what to do.
Several minutes passed before the first smoke detector went off. That was probably a good thing. Otherwise William would have never heard the baby crying.
After getting off the phone with the 911 operator, William tried his mother’s cell phone. He left her a voice mail then went to see about the baby.
Before he opened the door to the hall, William checked to see if it was hot. Every year Fireman Mike from the local fire house had come to school and let kids climb on the back of the truck. Fireman Mike let William wear his hat.
William left his apartment and walked as quickly as he could through the thickening smoke. It seemed to him that the smoke was not coming fromapartment 3B. It was coming from somewhere down the hall, perhaps the elevator. His eyes burned from smoke and sweat. Breathing was painful.
With conditions in the hallway deteriorating, William tried the door handle and found it unlocked. A few minutes later, he was inside the apartment. He could hear the baby crying from the back room, but before he could reach her, he had to push furniture and other objects out of his way.
“Where is your mother, little one?” William asked as he lifted the onesie-clad toddler into his arms.
An explosion in the hallway blew open the front door, bringing a rush of heat and flames into the living room. Fortunately, the fire escape ran right past the bedroom window. Looking down, William spotted a man two floors below already making his way to the street.
“Hey,” William called. “Come back up here and get this baby!”
William recognized the man as he transferred the toddler into his arms. His name was Matt, a personal trainer who lived on the 5th floor. It was too smoky inside the apartment for Matt to get a good look at William but he took the baby with no questions asked.
Moments later, Matt and the baby were safely away from the window when another explosion blasted apartment 3B into oblivion.
“Terrible way to die,” Fireman Mike said to Matt, who’d just finished giving an interview to a local reporter. “But I guess it’s better than dying of smoke inhalation. We never would have gotten him out in time.”
“Why do you say that?” Matt asked.
“You don’t know about William?” the fireman asked.
Matt shook his head.
“William weighed over seven hundred pounds.”