Friday Fictioneers

Maybe I Always Knew

rainy-night

He’s not coming out. Not tonight, anyway.

I must have known. I think I did, anyway. It’s such a cliché. Late nights. Straight to voicemail.

I haven’t told anyone. Not my sister, not my mom. What would they say? Tell me that they saw it right away, that they saw what kind of man I was marrying? Did they?

Holy crap. It’s raining buckets now. I couldn’t drive through this even if I wanted to.

The windows are fogging. I wonder if this looks suspicious. A rainy motel parking lot, the windows steamed solid.

A man alone in a car.

 

 

Friday Fictioneeers

Big Enough For Flying

carousel-ted-strutz

Every year the prize-winning hog just gets bigger. At last year’s State Fair, he weighed over 1900 pounds. It is always the same hog, Junior. Lying next to him is Queenie, younger and a few hundred pounds smaller. Waiting in the wings, you might say, since one day Junior will die and it will be Queenie’s turn.

I squeeze Michael’s little hand.

“Am I big enough for flying yet, daddy?”

“Not yet, son. Next year, probably.”

It wasn’t a promise, exactly. Maybe I could figure a way to get him out next summer. Maybe his mother would allow that, at least.

 

Friday Fictoneers

Every City Is The Same

mouse-on-the-prowl

“No, I don’t feel like it. You guys go on without me.”

She picked up the remote and accidentally unmuted the TV. The sound was sudden, deafening.

HEMORRHOID REMEDIES, THEN YOU …”

She fumbled the phone while she thumbed the remote.

“Sorry. No, just the TV. Hotel TVs are always so loud.”

She nodded as she watched her reflection in the window. The pale light on the yellow bedspread wasn’t doing her any favors.

“No, I’m still here. Yeah, probably order room service. You guys go on and have fun. I’ll see you in the lobby at eight. There’s a Starbucks.”

 

Friday Fictioneers, 100 words to write a story

 

Isle of Dogs

trg3

Most disagreements boil down to simple differences of opinion or taste. Perhaps manners. When it’s over, you will remain friends.

With Ky, arguments always went too far. It was life-and-death with him, everything a struggle. Being his friend was a trying experience.

As is so often the case, this weakness was also his greatest strength. Unquestioning loyalty to  friends, tenacity  to the point of self-sacrifice. Sometimes you hear a mate say he would die for you, but it’s just an expression. In Ky’s case, it was true. He would never leave you, though you might sometimes wish otherwise.

 

An entry for Friday Fictioneers. The title comes from an East End London neighborhood where the going is tough.

This Passes for Wisdom

david-stewart2

“What do you want?”

His eyes crinkled above the grizzled beard. “Another of them beers, for starters.”

I pulled a can from the six-pack and handed it to him. He sipped, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, set the beer on the tarp.

He peered into the sky. “Looks like we’re just about through with the rain, anyway.”

I jotted this down. “Did you learn a lot about the weather during your time in the jungle?”

“Weather is part of life.”

“So what is it you want?” I asked again.

“That’s never mattered. It’s what you do.”

 

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields hosts Friday Fictioneers, stories of 100 words or less.

 

Black Water

jp3

Bob was seven years sober
when he drifted out onto the lake,
thought about turning his boat over.

Seemed like a good idea
and he didn’t feel like waiting
for a better one.

I drift now over his  same lake,
once a river canyon now dammed
by industry and the needs of leisure.

My skiff floats free above
black moss skeletons of trees rooted in stone,
their branched arms waving dead in the cold dark water.

 

 

 

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

bay-windows

“This was it?”

“Yes. The fourth floor. You cannot count the times your grandmother would carry the bags up those stairs. Hundreds. Thousands.”

The girl looked up the block. A group of Puerto Rican teenagers sat on a stoop, boys and girls both wearing the same white t-shirts and baggy khaki pants. A boom box thundered out Latin pop, broken and distorted as it echoed off the high walls of the neighborhood.

The old man saw her face, its alarm tinged with disgust.

“A different neighborhood then. We called it our shtetl.

She did not ask him for a translation.

Down and Down and Down

claire-fuller-9

We went down the steel stairs, down and down.

“With these levers, you can control the whole hospital.” He burst out with a braying laugh. “I’m  kidding. I have no idea what they do. In here, now.”

He opened a door leading off the corridor. The room was dark and clean-smelling.

“Can we turn on the lights?” I said. “How can I see it in the dark?”

I heard him turn the lock, put the keys in his pocket. “You don’t need to see it.”

“I really want to.”

Later I saw that what I wanted was never part of it.

 

 

Out With the Old

demolition-4

“Well, I sure ain’t sorry to see it go.” The old man sipped his beer, wiped his mouth on his jacket sleeve. “Even if they just put up something worse. Which they will.”

 

Jessup moved his knight. “Ha! Bet you didn’t see that.”

 

He ignored the board. “That goddamned mural always reminded me they never did fix the lights in the stairwell. Spend the city improvement money on a goddamn seascape.”

 

“Quit your bitching and move, old man.”

 

The old man took the knight without comment.

 

“Shit!” said Jessup.

 

“See what you miss when you don’t keep your eyes open?”

 

Last Night’s Tornado

moths

Shards of glass and ribs of jagged metal, splintered two-by-fours, sheets of galvanized roofing from a barn twenty miles away. Wreckage as far as you could see in any direction.

“Look at the trees,” she said, sweeping the vista of twisted stumps and branches with her hand.

“Yet the McDonald’s is unscathed,” I said. “Wonderful.”

We picked our way through what was left of our neighborhood. Some of the houses were utterly destroyed while others had been left untouched. One brick house looked fine until you noticed its roof was missing, everything inside sucked out and scattered by the terrible winds.