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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

 

The Root Cellar, by Christine Price

Available from Amazon.com, for Kindle or your mobile device!

A fast-paced historical novel that reaches from early 20th Century Russia to the nuclear research facility at Los Alamos, a man’s search for meaning in a world that leads to a profound understanding of his own personal journey through life as a Jew.

Click on link below! Only $2.99!

https://www.amazon.com/Root-Cellar-Christine-Price-ebook/dp/B00VDF8DJ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467985788&sr=8-1&keywords=the+root+cellar+christine+price


 

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Bob and Molly

Bob and Molly

Image result for tobacco field images

Flies buzzed lazily against the sunlit window in the late afternoon heat. The black walnuts and shagbark hickories drooped their branches in defeat; a silent prayer for rain, for relief from the heat wave that had gripped the countryside.

Bob sat on the swing on his porch, hoping the breeze would lift, but the air was still. The smell of tobacco from his neighbor’s fields hung in the humid air.  It made his head pound; the veins in his neck and on his temple beat a tattoo against the rage he felt welling up inside him.

The screen door squeaked open behind him, then banged shut. He could barely be bothered to crank his head around to see who it was. He knew it was Molly. His Molly, who knew trees by their Latin names, and birds and what things to plant and when. The girl he had married a hundred years ago. Molly who had slept by his side every night, who cooked his food, who cleaned the house and who put up with his fractious moods and bitter tongue.

She knew when he muttered and ranted to let him be, but now she came up behind him and gently placed her hand on his shoulder. He felt the warmth of her hand, an unwanted warmth in this heat, but he didn’t shrug it off as he would have done on other occasions when irritation with her gentle ways drove him crazy.

Molly could skin a deer, pluck a goose, wring a chicken’s neck. But those very self same hands could heal a fevered brow, soothe a child’s sorrow and bring comfort to an ailing elderly neighbor. Molly, his Molly, was a saint. How he hated her sometimes. Hated that others needed her and that she put their needs above his.

She had looked like Doris Day when she was eighteen. A freckled blond with a big smile that would melt a man’s heart.

“Sam killed a copperhead this morning,” Molly said, breaking the silence.

“Where?”

“It  crawled out from the woodpile behind the house. Them snakes are a mighty menace,” she said placidly.

He grunted. Sam liked shooting. He was a good old country boy. Still had a decal of the old flag on the back of his truck.

“I’m going to lie down a bit again,” she said.

Bob was silent. Her hand caressed the back of his head and she leaned down and kissed him on the bald spot on the top of his head. She lifted the pistol she had in her right hand, the one she had kept hidden all these years, pressed it against his skull, and fired.

Molly staggered as she turned away, and reached out to steady herself by holding on to the rickety porch door for a second.

“The hospice nurse said she would be by in a bit.” Her voice sounded as if it was coming from far, far away . Talking to herself. “Such a bad habit,” she thought. Bob always made fun of her silly ways.

She stepped back into the house, welcoming the cooler air as the window unit suddenly blasted forth a stream of frigid air. She shivered and lay down on the sofa, pulled the faded blue afghan over her feet. She patted her carefully curled and lacquered hair, proud of the fetching “do” she had managed to achieve in spite of her weakness. Molly ran a tongue over her painted lips. She crossed her hands over her stomach and she smiled wistfully.

She was ready…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images:

Shagbark hickory: http://ortravelexperience.com/oregon-heritage-trees/shagbark-

hickory/#jp-carousel-388

Tobacco field: http://www.tobacconistuniversity.org/curriculum_tobacco_college.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

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