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Monthly Archives: August 2016

Short, Short Story

Short, Short Story

The short-haired woman with the cropped salt-and-pepper hair struggled up from her comfortable chair in the living room and shuffled painfully to the front door of the farmhouse. Her short legs and long upper body were strangely out of proportion, as if someone had forgotten to lengthen  her bones when she was growing up.

“Yes?” she inquired, peering shortsightedly at the young man standing quietly at the door.

“Oh, it’s you!” she smiled at the visitor. “Come on in, momma’s waiting for you.”

The livingroom was a shrine to a past era: sepia portraits of long dead ancestors,  dusty, chipped porcelain figurines on the mantelpiece, and faded framed prints on the walls lent an air of genteel decay to the room. It smelled musty in there, of old woman – a mixture of lily-of-the-valley talcum powder and old underwear – and the visitor held his breath for a few seconds, then expelled it in a rush. He hated visiting. It was a chore.

The young man pecked the wrinkled cheek of the older woman whose skin felt like aged soft chamois, and he smiled.

“Edith, how are you?” he said very loudly.

She nodded, “Yes, I am, thank you!”

“Mavis, bring a whiskey!” she commanded her elderly daughter.

“Momma, it’s not yet time to tipple! You know what the doc said!” Her sing-song country accent sounded faintly accusatory.

“Oh hush now, just bring me that drink and bring sonny – what’s yer name, hon? I forgot…”

“It’s Jakey, Edi, Jakey!”

“Bring him a soda.”

Jakey turned to his Mavis who stood hesitantly in the doorway.

“I’ll have a whiskey too,” he said.

The woman disappeared, her thighs making a swishing noise as they rubbed together on the cheap polyester capris. He heard her go into the kitchen and then turned to focus on Edith.

“Have you signed that paper yet, Edi?”

“What was that?” she cupped her hand behind her ear. “What?”

He sighed.

“The deed of transfer, Edi, to put the farm into my name…”

Mavis returned, handed her aged mother a glass, who swigged the drink down in three straight gulps.

“My daddy loved me, y’know,” Edi mumbled. “He didn’t want me handing the land over to Jakey, remember?”

Jakey narrowed his eyes and sipped at his glass delicately, as if he were a southern gentleman calling on his girl.

“Never understood how the brakes failed on that old Buick,” Edi mumbled and then grabbed at her mouth as her dentures slipped.

“Jakey, you shouldn’t wear her out, you know how quickly she tires of company,” Mavis said, exasperated by his persistence.

“When did you die, Jakey? Why do you always come here same time, every day? Is there no rest for you in the place you disappear to every day? You break my heart, you do!” Gram complained, her voice beginning to slur. “If only you hadn’t been so greedy!”

“Momma, daddy died sixty years ago, don’t you remember?”

She turned to look at the young man, but the chair was empty.

“Damn ghosts,” she thought.

 

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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Fiction, Short stories, Uncategorized

 

Too Much!

Too Much!

My head is filled with nonsensical stuff, and I am not alone for our overstuffed brains,   like overstuffed potato skins bursting with dreck,                Overstuffed-Pizza-Potato-Skins           overheated rhetoric is a symptom of the malaise of a society bent on destroying itself through its own stupidity. Yep, me too, I include myself in this bubba.

On Twitter, there is a Science page that I follow, but I am appalled to read what passes as valid science: measuring farts ( yes, really!), people who love chocolate are more intelligent (than what, monkeys?), “Never go to sleep on an argument, the science behind the saying,” (really, you need SCIENCE to explain it?!

It’s come to this:  we have to all join the lowest common denominator in a world full of undereducated people who cannot think for themselves, pass opinions as facts and are a sad elegy to education systems which have become monstrous corporate feeding machines.

Glad I got that off my chest.

I am breathing, breathing, breathing, feeling calm descend on me. It’s just the heat folks. Post menopausal flashes of angst and fury, like a devil whipping up a hot meringue in a furnace of molten vinegar. That’s me, right now.

Then I remembered this beautiful poem by Wordsworth that I used to teach back in the 80’s when life meandered on downstream at a different pace:

The World is Too Much With Us                                                                               wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
To think this poem was written when…around 1802... (yes, I had to Google it, do you think I know everything?) Makes me feel better to know even then people were going stir crazy with mundane nonsense that would make your head spin.
Get back to nature, folks, breathe, nap, eat and enjoy some good wine. The world can take care of itself.
I will pass on my compulsive need to comment on everything to someone else…for the next ten minutes.
Now for some iced coffee, and perhaps, if I am lucky to shut off my brain, a much-needed nap.
renoir

Some brain cooling imagery, thanks, Renoir

 

You ain’t a goin’ Nowhere

You ain’t a goin’ Nowhere

It was hot, a burnished copper, scorching kind of day when the sun blazed  so fiercely it changed the color of the sky.  It was August: the month of lethargy, intense passions and violence.

Cicadas buzzed their song as the midday hour chased folk indoors. The town lay quiet, the empty streets baked as the mirages shimmered above the asphalt.

Sam entered the small coffee shop, breathing in the aroma of fresh brewed java, savoring the icy blast of air that fanned her face. Her cheeks were flushed and she welcomed the sudden chill.

“Can I help you, ma’am?” the barista asked politely. The place was deserted; she was the only one in the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

“Um, so, can I have an espresso, please? And one of those,” she pointed at a chocolate brownie in a glass bell jar. There were many other treats besides the brownies, but Sam played it safe. A brownie was predictable.

“What brings you to our neck of the woods?” the barista inquired, curious.

“Oh, I’m just passing through,” Sam said evasively and tucked a strand of long brown hair behind her ear.

“Well, here you go then, here is your coffee. Cream and sugar are on the counter behind you.”

“Thanks,” Sam said, handing her some cash. She held out her hand for the change and then tipped the barista a dollar who smiled at her and nodded, “Thanks, enjoy your coffee!”

Sam sipped her espresso and toyed with the brownie. She had just put down the cup and it clattered in the saucer as the sound of  multiple gunshots startled her. As if on cue, she grabbed her purse and walked out the door, leaving the half-eaten brownie surrounded by chocolatey crumbs on the white china plate.

She walked swiftly then  checked herself, slowing to an unhurried, seemingly carefree pace to a car parked around the corner just down the block from the restaurant.

“Get in, get in, let’s go!” Wade urged her.

“No, don’t be stupid, they will be chasing after every single car that looks like it is trying to get away from the bank,” she said.

He grunted.

“Did anyone follow you? You know there is only one teller at the bank and she is not the athletic type – she is hardly likely to have followed you around the corner!”  Wade made no reply.

She turned her head to look at him. His short blond hair and sharp features gave him a feral appearance.He grinned, revealing sharp pointy teeth and his narrow lips curled back so that his nostrils flared. Heavy lidded beady eyes stared at her, uncomprehending.

“You shot the bitch, didn’t you?” she paused.

“You fucktard!” she said deliberately, then added, “Take off your shirt, here, put this one on, and let’s go and get a beer. No one will be looking for you at a bar!” She laughed suddenly, a hard bark that matched her determined jawline. He was so stupid, the perfect foil, the perfect tool for her wild scheme.

A faded blue Joe Boxer backpack was on the back seat and he grabbed it, then stuffed the bank notes into plastic grocery bags that she had saved. “Gimme that bag,” she demanded, and pulled the wig off her head and shoved it into the backpack. Rivulets ran down from her temples and she wiped the side of her face with the palm of her hand.

“Are you going to toss this?” he asked.

“Not now, dumbass,” she scoffed.

Sirens were blaring in the distance but Sam ignored the cacophony, driving  slowly away from the sound, two blocks down and then five across. She dumped the backpack in the trash can in the parking lot and they sauntered into the bar, ordered a beer each and sat down in a booth. In the dim light they looked like an ordinary young couple.

“How much?” she asked.

“Dunno, probably a few hundred…”

“You killed a woman for a few hundred?” she said quietly. Her nose ring flashed as it caught the light.

“I had to Sam, she was going to press the button!” he said, his voice panicked.

“Fuck.” Her mind was racing.

“Gimme the gun,” she said, her voice dangerously low.

He passed it under the table. She waited until the bartender went to the back and she got up, stood behind Wade, and said, “So long, moron,” under her breath. He half turned to look at her, and she fired.She walked out, fast, her flip-flops slapping a tattoo on the wooden floor. She glanced back and saw the bartender fumbling with his phone.

Clearly, there was going to be no vacation in Cozumel this year.

 

 

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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