The Jacket: Entries, Post Four

Tom….Tom Wojciechowski…Tom…Tom Wojciechowski…

The contest is closed, but the goodness just keeps on rolling here at Peg-o-Leg’s The Jacket writing competition. You know the drill.  If not, look over to the right to read all about what’s going on here.

This is the fourth set of entries to be presented. If you’re like me, you’ve been mesmerized by the writing.   There will be one, last group going up on Friday. Check the page up top to read the entries that have been posted so far.

Thanks to all who have entered. I’ve been having a blast reading these, but the hard part is about to begin – selecting the finalists. I will announce the short list next week and then it will be up to you to vote for the winner.

Be sure to hop on over to these writers’ blogs and say howdy.  And now, the next 4 entries…


Name: Lenore Diane
Comment: Who is Tom Wojciechowski?

Maggie’s phone rang. “Boss,” she heard on the other end. “He disappeared.”

She could feel her face turn red with anger, “What do you mean he disappeared? What happened to the tracking device?”

For months her team had been tracking the forger and jewel thief. He was good, Maggie conceded, but she knew she was better.

“We found the tracking device on the front seat of the car he stole. Oh, and he left you a note.”

“A note?”
Great, Maggie thought to herself. He was mocking her. He knew how much she wanted to nab him. It was a game of cat and mouse, and she knew he loved being the mouse.

“What was the note, Sean?” She asked.

“I’m watching you, too, Maggie. Check your pockets.”

Check your pockets? What did that mean? Instinctively, she reached into the pockets of her jacket. Nothing. Nothing but the tissue she brought from home. Her nose hated pollen season.

She laughed at herself for checking the pockets. “Come back to the office and fill out the report, Sean. I’m heading home.”

“Right Boss.”

She checked the files, glancing for a clue she had overlooked. She was close, and she was getting very good at predicting his moves, though so much about him remained a mystery.

“Who are you Tom Wojciechowski?” She asked aloud to no one.


Driving home, she tried to clear her mind of the case. Tonight was her 15th wedding anniversary, and she and her husband planned a quiet romantic dinner at home to celebrate. Her husband had the patience of Job, always willing to wait for her when work called. As a special agent with the FBI, her work called often.
She walked in the door, greeted with the smell of fresh baked bread and wonderful Italian seasonings. She closed her eyes and inhaled the basil and oregano that permeated throughout the house. Her husband made the best Italian food.

“The house smells fantastic, Doug.” Maggie said, while grabbing her husband from behind.

The two shared a kiss that let each one know the love and passion was still thriving after fifteen years.

Maggie pulled away and sighed. “Let’s just forget dinner and head upstairs.”

Doug smiled. “No way,” he said and winked. “I slaved in the kitchen for hours. You’ll have to wait for the dessert.”

“Oh, before I forget,” he pointed over to a chair by the counter. “When did you get that jacket?”

She looked. She’d never seen the green vintage blazer before now.
“That’s not my jacket.” She said. “Where did you find it?”

“On the back porch.”

Then it hit her, “Did you check the pockets?”

“Yeah. I found a tissue and –

She interrupted him, “A note that read: Who are you Tom Wojciechowski?”

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Sorry, Sweetie.” She said.

“Dinner and dessert has to wait?” He asked.

She kissed him. “Yes. I need to get back to the office.”


Name: Brooke McGillivray

I pulled my aunt towards the clothes rack, “if I had the money I’d snap this right up”.

Exquisite in all its green, plaid gloriousness, the Ailene jacket called to me.

“Sweetie, there’s always lay-a-way”.

For eight weeks I trekked to the store to make my payment.  Finally it was mine.

What fun memories.  My auntie was the queen of lay-a-way and always looked like a million bucks.  It was a no brainer to take her suggestion.

But that was long ago.  This morning I sort and pack, readying for the move to my new home.  A promotion to Director of Human Resources has made this day a reality.

I pick the jacket up from the “give” pile and instinctively check the pockets… I’m a mother of sons, you know.

The moment I touched the folded tissue the rest of the memory surfaced.

The jacket had been paid off not a moment too soon.  I had landed my first job interview.

What to wear… the black sheath and heels, THE jacket with scarf jauntily tied about the neck, the pearl earrings.  My “never be stuck without a tissue mom”, gently folded one into my pocket.  And I was out the door with his name scribbled on a slip of paper.

“Hello, Mr. Wojciechowski”, worried at the pronunciation.

He gave no indication that I’d butchered his name.  In fact, the interview went well.  After waiting in the outer office briefly, I was called back in and offered the job.

As we shook hands, his parting words stunned me, “young lady, be glad this company has nothing to do with fashion design because your jacket’s a real doozy.”

My cheeks flushed hot.  I couldn’t get away fast enough.  Once home, the jacket was packed away.  Eight long weeks of making payments… and only one day to break my little green, plaid heart.  How sad it’s lived in a box all these years.

Ah, but now it’s time to dress for work.

At 10 a.m. Tom Wojciechowski will be in my office for counseling… again.  Another employee has complained of his inappropriate comments.

Will Tom ever learn?  Will more sensitivity training help?  Not likely.  Has Tom used his last chance?  Quite possibly….

…you know, I’m thinking my Ailene jacket is just the ticket for today.


Name: Karaboo

Cleaning out Momma’s house was so much harder than I’d ever imagine.  I knew it would be a dauntless task before I ever began; she was an “organized horder” after all.  Totes upon totes of neatly labeled items of all shapes and sizes loomed before me in the near darkness of the attic.  I cursed the fact that I was an only child, left to the task before me without any help.

I had begged her for years to clean out the space, before the dementia had taken over her mind.  Afterward, when the disease had fully engulfed her mind, it was just a nightmare to even talk about anything up here due to her deteriorating memories.  She would beg for obscure items to be brought to her, lost in the maze of jumbled totes, impossible to find without her memory of where she stored it guiding me.

I opened random totes – 40 year old photos here, dresses two sizes too small there, knick-knacks of every shape and size and material imaginable everywhere.  A box of letters, piles of old bill receipts, and newspaper clippings filled a whole stack of totes – neatly chronicled in date order, no rhyme or reason to why anything was saved that I could detect in the mess.

A tote at the bottom of a pile caught my attention.  Unlike the others, with their mish-mash of colors, this one was clear.  In it was what looked like a single clothing box – curious as the others were stuffed to overflowing.  Several other piles of boxes and totes had tumbled over, burying this lone tote.  It took me almost 30 minutes just to unbury it without more totes falling on top of me.

Finally, it was free.  I felt a chill run down my spine as I opened the tote.  I gently lifted the box out and ran my hand over the top.  Opening the lid of the box, from a long-gone department store, I saw the yellowing tissue paper was wrapped neatly around the garment inside.

Peeling away the paper, the ugliest green blazer I ever saw greeted my trepidation.

I was confused.  Why on earth did Momma treat this hideous thing with so much obvious reverence?  There was nothing else in the box, no letter of explanation, nothing that I could see.  Notorious for hiding things in odd places, I began looking through the pockets.  I found a tissue and a scrap of paper, with a name – Tom Wojciechowski.

My heart stopped.  Could it be?

I never knew the actual name during the previous 50 years of my life; she didn’t start talking about Tom until her mind started to slip.  Momma had never mentioned his entire name, just calling him Tom.  She spoke of him lovingly… longingly… the only name she remembered after everything else was taken from her.

My father.


Name: “Chrystal Wojciechowski”
Comment: No Regrets

My grandmother never went anywhere without a handkerchief somewhere on her – in a pocket, in her purse, tucked in the waistband of a skirt.  “You should always have a hanky, dear.  You never know when you will need it!” she would tell me.  Although I usually carry Kleenex instead of actual hankies, I have adopted her “be prepared” motto.  So when I was getting ready for my blind date one night, I put a clean tissue in the pocket of my favorite green jacket.

My roommate’s brother, Mark, arranged the date. His best friend from college was this guy named Tom – at the time, I could never remember his last name, so I had Mark write it out for me – Wojciechowski – and I tucked the slip of paper in the pocket of my coat too – in case I needed to glance at it before meeting him at the restaurant.

I was finally ready, and with my roommate’s enthusiastic “good luck” ringing in my ears, I headed out, walking briskly the 3 blocks to the agreed upon location.  When I got there, I checked the name again, put the paper back in the pocket and checked my jacket in the coatroom.

Turning around, I bumped into a tall dark-haired man with an impish twinkle in his eye.  “I’m so sorry,” I said.  “My fault,” he replied. “You wouldn’t happen to be Chrystal, would you?”

“Yes, you must be Tom.”  We laughed together and walked to the hostess stand.  “Wo-che-chowski, party of 2,” he told the young girl standing there.  She seated us at a small table near the window, handed us menus, and discretely slipped back to her post at the podium.

We talked and talked – the waiter had to come back twice before we were ready to order.  We exchanged our life stories, found common interests, and shared dreams for the future.  Dessert came, we talked more.  Before we even realized it, 4 hours had passed.  Tom had paid the bill, but we had lingered over coffee longer than we had intended. The restaurant was empty except for a couple of busboys and the manager, who kept looking at his watch.  We finally stood to leave and I realized the coatroom was closed – my green jacket was captive behind a locked door.  Tom offered me his suit jacket, and walked me home, promising to come back tomorrow to get my coat.

We sat up all night, talking more and falling in love with each other.  By the next morning, my green coat was forgotten, and 17 years later, I don’t regret it a bit.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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25 Responses to The Jacket: Entries, Post Four

  1. TotallyTawn says:

    Ohhhh! They are all so good! I can’t wait until Friday!


  2. snhamlett says:

    Wow–these are so great! I kinda want to ask you to hide my story away, I don’t feel like it lives up to the competition at all! 🙂


  3. Off the Wall says:

    Such great entries. Even though I submitted one, I would not be able to pick out the best of the bunch! I am humbled by all the great story writing, and will be sad when the contest ends, I have looked forwrd to reading the entries!


  4. k8edid says:

    These are fabulous….What fun. I wish you would hide, mine, as well.


  5. Margie says:

    I don’t envy your job of choosing the top entries!


  6. Tar-Buns says:

    More great reads. You must be enjoying this competition ever so much!
    I’ll tell Pat the final entries run on Fri 🙂
    Safe travels Fri. See you Sun.!


  7. Pingback: Writing Competition « Who or What Was That?

  8. mahervolous says:

    Great stories from everyone. Good luck to you for selecting the winner.


  9. Such a great response, Peg…
    which is awesome… except that I sure don’t envy the task of having to select finalists! An incredibly difficult task… I don’t think I could do it!


  10. Elyse says:

    So glad I waited to read all of these until after I submitted mine. Ohhh, I don’t envy you, Peg! Good luck!


  11. Lenore Diane says:

    So, are you going to go back to Goodwill and snag something else to spark a story? You have a great group of writers following you. No pressure.


  12. pattisj says:

    Oh, Peg, you have your work cut out for you!


  13. Pingback: The Jacket: A Call To Arms | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

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