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All Tied Up.

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” Mom, Mom”?   “You can do it Baby.  Mommy’s busy.”  “But Mahmmmmm” came the whinny voice that always made her roll her eyes.

He sat on the stool with a look of exasperation that only a four year old can have.  The morning had started off well enough, pants on, zipped and buttoned, CHECK..Shirt on with the stickie in the back, CHECK…socks, sorta matching, CHECK…and he had actually found and put on his tennis shoes before she had to send him back to his room to hunt them down..BIG CHECK…

Now came the moment of truth…would he attempt to tie them himself like he had been shown umpteen times or would he continue to sit there with that “look” on his face, chubby arms crossed, jitterbug legs dancing in the wind and laces dangling, taunting.. like snakes in the grass.

She deliberately kept her back to him with one eye on the clock and the other spying on his reflection reversed on the window pane over her sink.  She knew if she turned to look at him she would break out laughing since she knew that any minute now his lower lip would  to protrude as he went thru that cross over between acting like a baby to getting angry at her. His mood would cause him  to either  huff down from the stool or (and what she was hoping against hope for)  he would attempt to tie the damn laces himself..just to show HER.

Four year-olds could be so very unpredictable, which made that age all the more enjoyable, or at least she thought from time to time.  She continued to slowly wash the dishes, placing each one on the rack to dry and hummed along with the radio which made him realize that she was not going to respond any further to his requests for assistance.

Slowly he bent a knee and brought a white tipped shoe up, crossing his little leg.  She could hear him start to say the poem they had practiced so very many times….it was softly uttered as if he didn’t want her to hear…”Build a Tepee, come inside..Close it tight so we can hide”.. His little fingers holding tightly to the strings as if he was afraid they would unravel before his eyes….slowly ever slowly…She found herself whispering  along with him now…she was urging him on from across the kitchen…” Over the mountain, around we go..”  By God he almost had it she thought, trying not to show her excitement….” Here’s my arrow and here’s my BOW.”  and it was done.

He sat there for a minute staring at his shoe.  She couldn’t tell if he was in shock and disbelief that he had done it or if he was trying to figure out what he should do next.  He looked up at her back and opened his mouth as if to speak then shook his head as if deciding that the timing wasn’t quite right.  She on the other hand had a flash of realization as she watched him start the process all over again on the other shoe…today was a character building moment for her little man..today he grew up just a tad and as today he made a big grown-up decision not to leave things undone.

Thinking Ten: Plot Thickens ( Thursday) Something left undone

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Flash Fiction, Southern Humor

 

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End of Day

ImageShe stood there staring at the busted jar and much to her surprise felt tears begin to run down her cheeks.  Flecks of mustard sparkling with flecks of glass dotted her feet making her glad she had worn those flannel PJ bottoms after all.  “Well this really sucks”, she thought then caught herself wondering if she was commenting on her klutziness or her impromptu crying jag.

She seemed frozen to the spot, too upset to move even though the cold breeze of the fridge was starting to bring chill bumps to her arms.  Holding a sad looking week old hot dog (Dinner?)  in one hand, she brought the other up to wipe the falling tears and the running snot simultaneously making a mess of her once perfect makeup.  Not that she cared about that or much of anything at this time of the night.

Toby, her cat, upon hearing  the  opening of the refrigerator and shortly thereafter the crash of the container, instinctively sensing a potential for treats, had wandered in and was dying to weave between her legs. Fortunately the strong acrid smell of the mustard, now spreading nicely into an off-colored golden pond on the tile floor, was keeping him at bay.

She glanced at him between the tears and the hiccups brought on by her crying, and waggled the floppy dog at  him in an effort to shoo him away from the mess. The tantalizing aroma of old meat only continued to hold his stare as well as his unflinching front row seat to this stage play unfurling before his eyes.  There was food here and he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

She gave up on the shooing and scat catting and tossed the dog (so much for dinner)  across the room to at least get him out of harms way.  He sauntered after it in proper cat fashion leaving her frozen in place, afraid to move out in her bare feet thus risking adding blood to the mustardy mess underneath her.

Knowing there was  no one to come to her aid she slowly stepped out of the PJs, allowing them to gently float to the floor covering what she hoped would be most of the larger shards of glass.   Step by backward step she eased from the scene of the crime and came to light on the kitchen stool.  The tears and the hiccups finally abated and fatigue settled over her like a blanket.  Too late to scrounge for anything else to eat, too lazy to clean up the mess and too tired to even think about what set off her emotional roller coaster, she put her head down on the counter top and closed her eyes.  Midnight was almost here , Wednesday was almost over and she was just too tired for more words.

Thinking 10:Words Wednesday:  Mustard, Fridge, Crash.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Flash Fiction, Southern Humor

 

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Another Tiny Gift

Another gift.  It was not that she didn’t appreciate them.  She knew they came from the heart but enough was enough.  Fine feathers, trinkets like ivory, little parcels of surprise.  They all magically appeared beside her bed almost every morning.  She had to rise carefully, watching where she stepped, as sometimes the gifts would  have fallen  from the nightstand where they had been lovingly placed.  Delicate things would smush easily under foot, oh, how she knew that well.

He would sit in the corner chair and watch  her rise with a look of anticipation  on his face.  He always waited patiently  for her to acknowledge the gift that he had brought in the night.  His love was infinite as she had captured his heart from the moment that he had laid eyes on her.  She was his and he was hers and the gifts only stood as a reminder of that committment.

 She could hear his soft hum from the corner of the room and she knew by the sound that indeed he had delivered another gift.  She delicately eased from the bed carefully placing each toe as to not displace any surprise.  She glanced to the nightstand and gasped in awe at his latest present.   She loved him dearly, but she so deeply wished that he hadn’t gone to so much trouble for her.  He really didn’t need to prove anything,  it seemed a minor character flaw, one of self-doubt,  an almost undeniable need of his to bring her tokens of his love . 

Gathering a tissue, she gently wrapped his latest offering.  Walking to the chair, she gave his head a gentle stroke, then placed the latest treasure in a box to be buried out back with the rest…….but after her first cup of coffee.

 Friday’s Foible

Include reference to a minor character flaw or eccentricity, or just use the word Foible. As always you can make this a Free-for-all Friday as well. 

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What can you create in ten minutes?

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Flash Fiction, Southern Humor

 

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Keepsakes.

At dawn the grey clouds allowed for no dancing shadows and a dire mood seemed to be settling in for the rest of the day.  ” How nice and appropriate .” he thought as he dragged himself from between the sheets to schlep to the kitchen for the first shot of caffeine of the day.  The percolator was just finishing up and the smell helped to bring his thoughts into focus after what had been a bustling,  to say the least, night full of activity.

Loading his cup with some  dark liquid along with a punch of sugar for an additional boost , he made his way into the living room and frumped in his Lazy Boy to watch the morning news.  Murder and mayhem seemed to be the norm with a brief touch on fire and brimstone.  The co-hosts of the morning show always seemed to be so very happy about having something traumatic to relay, but then again he reckoned that if there wasn’t much drama happening in the world, they would be out of a job pretty darn quick.  He was glad that he was able to keep folks employed in what was currently considered a very bad economy.  He thought to himself, “they ain’t seen nothing yet”, and took a long draught from his mug, draining his remaining coffee dead empty.

He had been so tired when he got home last night after his shift that he had removed his clothes in stages, leaving little piles leading from the front door to the bedroom and he thought to himself that he really was a slob and no wonder no-one wanted to room with him. Would it be nice to have a room-mate, somebody to help with the rent and food and supplies? Pondering if he should put a personal ad on Craig’s List, he started to the kitchen  to wash and dry out his coffee mug.  On the way to the bedroom, he reached down and picked up his cloak and scythe from the floor and turning out the pockets, he gathered up his souvenirs from the night before.    A ring, a necklace, a pocket watch..he wondered why he kept them, those little pieces of humanity so very useless to their former owners now.

Opening the closet door he hung up his cloak to allow the wrinkles to shake out.  Gathering up a carton from the floor, he gently placed his mementoes from the night before inside, along with the thousands of others he had collected over the years.  He closed the box, put it on the shelf, then turned to head for the bathroom.  He noted that a long scalding shower always seemed to lift his spirits and he felt the dour mood that he loved so well begin to  settle in as time drew near for another night of reaping.

Take it away (Tuesday)

[He/She] closed the box, put it on the shelf, then… 

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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Flash Fiction, Quick Fiction

 

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No Variations, No Exceptions.

It certainly looked busy behind the sliding glass window.  Velvet ropes defined the queue and God forbid that you should not follow that weaving path, even if there was nobody ahead of you.  Eye contact was hardly, if impossible to make and only a nasally, metallic voice, with boredom dripping on every syllable made the line move. “Next”, it  would bark out, as if the person at the head of the line was a mile across the waiting room and not standing directly two feet in front of  it.  Nothing could create  a motivation to accomplish tasks any faster as there were no incentives in place to do it better.  You stood and waited, until they were ready.  Procedures were to be followed, no variations,  no special treatment allowed.

She had been in the line since 4am, waiting her turn to get to the window.  Shuffle, stand, shuffle,stand.  If she could sleep in a vertical position, she would have had a good couple of hours rest, but no, she had never perfected that little trick, so she just waited her turn stoiclly, trying to ignore the pain in her head.

When finally “Next” meant her, she eased to the closest window.  The face on the other side leaned on a tilt, holding the phone in place with a cold shoulder and an uncaring ear.  The face had upon it, a look of total and complete uninterest.  “Uh-hum, uh-hum..sure… yes…that’s what I thought when I saw the date.” said the somewhat disembodied voice.  Since the counter in front of the face held a computer screen with the  waiting womans information printed in a very precise format, things could only be getting ready to go down hill from what was fast becoming a very deep rut in her road.

“Your insurance expired last month.”, the smooth voice stated, showing no empathy.  It waited for some type of response.  The woman began to twist in the wind and started digging through her purse.  ” No, NO,  you’re wrong. I paid that bill.  I have a cancelled check.  It’s here somewhere, give me a minute… I have to see the Doctor.  This pain is killing me and I must have some more meds”.  The face sighed heavily as if it were a personal affront that it was having to actually wait. “You must have insurance, no exceptions, no special treatment permitted” it droned.   Somewhere in the background a clock began ticking.  Time here was accounted for at all costs and while the line moved slowly, it was never allowed to stop for more than a minute.

The face was programmed for little, abet no patience, so the timer made all the decisions necessary for things to run efficiently.  The woman was really in a panic now as she dumped the contents of her purse in the middle of the floor and was frantically digging thru the mess for the cancelled check which would be her only salvation.  Ticket stubs, candy wrappers, pearl handled derringer,  grocery receipts,  hairbrush and a worn and frazzled identity card which had fallen out of her wallet, were all that she was finding.  Good Grief, what in the hell was she going to do?  The pounding in her head was now in sync with the ticking of the timer and the madness of the pain had her grasping at the pistol.

As the timer suddenly stopped with a clang, a low keening noise began to emanate from the woman. “Your place is now to be vacated” stated the face.   “Next” came its command to the queue that had been standing like stones watching the scene play out.   Time for a moment held its breath, as the pounding in the womans head took on a life of its own.  Raising the tiny gun from the mess she had made on the floor,  she fired between what supposedly were the eyes on the face.  Lights began flashing and sirens started to blare and the metallic face shattered into bits of silver electrodes and flecks of plastic shards.  “Hell with your “Next” and hell with your exceptions. Give me my Meds.”..and the line moved on.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Flash Fiction, Science Fiction

 

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Normal being Relative.

Molly was down in the basement.  No phone signal..and slow internet. Wafting aromas from the cafeteria floated by periodically yet in between the good smells she often caught what seemed to be an odor of something long gone bad.  “Rotting trash”, she thought hopefully.  “No, something much worse” she recognized with a sigh.  Molly had smelled that odor before in her own home.  Something evil-like coming up thru the vents in the floor perhaps?  She shuddered.  Buried bodies could be so very problematic.

Staff members came and went, wanting to meet with her to update their annual benefits.  The HR department had stuck her way back in this hole, having to keep everything private with those damn Hippa laws.  Not that she was claustrophobic, she just didn’t like windowless places.  Fluorescent lights casting shadows along the hallway didn’t help the atmosphere either and of course her guilty conscience only amplified the possibilities of just what could be lurking, somewhere..near..perhaps right around the corner?  God, she hated when her imagination started running amok on her.

She believed that the morgue was located in the basement of a hospital, or at least that is what they showed on TV.  “Didn’t freezing bodies eliminate odors?”  she thought. Surely they had a big enough generator here that problematic situations like a brown out would eliminate the need for plastic wrap and duck tape, which she had inadvertently discovered really didn’t work as well as one would think.

She looked at her watch and realized that quitting time was fast approaching and even better it was Friday.  She had plans again this weekend.  First, drinks and good times with  friends down at the new little pub that advertised Happy Hour Specials.  Her cohorts would be there, both ones that she liked and now with the exception of one, the others that she didn’t (those that were not so very nice to her.) 

She knew that talk would be about Harriet, the missing co-worker.  Speculation always ran rampant, especially when alcohol was part of the conversation.  She would sit quietly on the side and smile and nod, agreeing with the general consensus that Harriet had just finally quit on a whim and left town to work with another group.  The fact that she hadn’t told anyone she was leaving surprised no one really, as Harriet was the snotty type who put herself above everyone else and if you weren’t in her “need to know” group, you just didn’t get the skinny of  what she was up to anyway. Needless to say Harriet’s “holier than thou” attitude would not be a problem for anyone anymore. 

The last employee of the day had been a wrap and Molly was packing up her equipment and getting ready to shut off the lights when that foul odor once again drifted in the air.  Molly quickly did a sniff check of her clothes when it finally dawned on her that maybe that new detergent she was using had been unable to remove the unfortunate scent of death from her blouse.  “Maybe more fabric softener the next time would do the trick”, she thought, already planning a next time.  “Clorox was for stains” her mother always told her, “but you really need softener to make you smell pretty.”  She wondered if she should take the time to go home and change before going to the bar.  No she decided, she had another busy night ahead of her, places to go and people to bludgeon.  Tomorrow was Saturday after all and since Saturday was normally laundry day, she would have time to double up on the Clorox and Downey then.

 

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A History of Whoppers

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The rumor had  spread like fine sweet chocolate on her Mamma’s  two layer cake.  It was so smoothly done that sprinkles of truth could be imagined as decorations specifically made to enhance the story.  When something seems so scrumptious, everyone wants to indulge and share and there in lay the problem.  How was she ever going to retract the damage of her delicious sounding rumor?  She hadn’t meant for it to go as far as it did.  Really, she had not.  Unfortunately, as all rumors normally do, this one was developing a life of it’s own; and as lies also tend to do, things were rapidly coming back around and  preparing to bite her in the ass.

She had been raised a good southern girl, fearful of God and her Pappy.  There were few rules in her house other than the ten big ‘uns , which were hard enough for her to handle. Number nine especially tended to be a problem for her, since she was not too good at being able to distinguish between what was bearing false witness and what she considered painting a story which would make her popular.

Her Mamma had always told her, if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.  Unfortunately she didn’t listen to her Mamma and when what had started as just a little  embellishment of a tale regarding Bubba and her sister, Olive Sue and what was supposedly seen by her of them down by Millers Pond; well it  had just developed into one walloping train wreck of a situation.

It seemed very unfortuitous to her that her Pappy had gotten wind of the tale that she, in her own mind, had so innocently  concocted and from what she could somewhat piece together, from her sister, Olive Sue, between the tears and hiccups, Pappy was headed over to Bubba’s house with the shotgun that normally hung over the fireplace (when it wasn’t being used to hunt squirrels).

Things needless to say, weren’t boding too well for Bubba, as her Pappy was a dead-aimin’ son-of-a-gun with that old shotgun and in his mind because of her so called “Saga at Millers’ Pond” was under the impression that there needed to be a wedding held..and soon… Real Soon and Pappy wasn’t one to take no for an answer neither.

Mamma was gonna have a fit when she found out what was going on and because of  somewhat, as Mamma called it, “a history of whoppers that seem to spew from someone in this family who happens to be ten years old”, she knew that the bell was tolling somewhere and it was getting louder and louder ringing out her name.

Reluctantly she took her sister by the hand and  drug her off the porch to head on over to where hopefully there would be only a Mexican standoff occurring and not blood being spilled.  Bubba was known for his running skills but buckshot was always faster.  Maybe Mamma would have gotten wind too of the ill in the wind that was a blowing and would be able to head Pappy off before any harm could be done.  Maybe the gun would jam, maybe Bubba would have the good sense to hide, maybe, maybe,maybe.  Too many maybes.

Anyway she cut it, she had started this mess and in the end would have to fess up.  It wern’t gonna be pretty.

Thinking Ten – Thursday-Spreading the Rumor.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Flash Fiction, humor

 

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