The swish of the car's tires through the light rain falling into the parking lot served as a reminder to her to bring a laptop sleeve next time. She hunched over her poor machine, hustling through the tightly parked cars to the back corner. Old Blue was faithfully wedged between the dumpster and the building wall, the last available spot during the morning rush. Okay, so it wasn't even technically a spot, but CafeTree's owners were generally too lazy and too swamped to bother calling anyone for a tow. At midnight, the coffee shop was still packed, but her hands were cramping and it was time to call it quits.

She angled her body carefully away from the side of the dumpster on her way to the driver's side door, contorting her body as far from the implied stench as possible while still shielding the laptop from the rain. Fumbling to get her keys out of her bag with her body at such an awkward angle, she tilted too far and lost the power cable off the top of the computer. It clunked down to the concrete, bouncing under the dumpster and into the muck.

Reaching for it was the last thing she remembered . . .

More to come ... I learned my lesson with Distilling Down and have the next chapter ready to go! Many thanks to Project Team Beta for their help and feedback.