Archive for the ‘Friday Fictioneers’ Category

Sometimes Daddy resembled a ghost, slotting in and out the door.
Not wanting to be seen.
Other times he was all noise and hustle, bragging about being a man.
Thumping his chest.
Worst times he was a thick-bladed knife, slicing Momma and me with hateful words
until we were ten different kinds of shredded.
Most times he was more snap and shine than sharpness.

Finally, Momma went all crazy. Drew a blade of her own.
Sold Daddy’s car. Changed the locks
and threw his ratty old shoes out the door.
Set em on fire.

We got nothing but peaceful times now.

 

 

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Paper Dreams

Posted: January 9, 2019 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday/Friday is here again. Thanks, Rochelle, for posting such a pretty picture provided by Priya Bajpal. My stab at writing a 100-word story follows.

photo by Priya Bajpal

They suggested Anya write wishes on paper and put them in a jar
saying this small action would provide hope.
Selecting the color and texture of the paper
was more difficult than knowing her wishes.
Food. Water. Freedom from pain.
Small comforts. Clean sheets. Crisp gowns.

Every day Anya slipped a wish into her crystalline jar
then nestled a polished shell on top
because Father told her shells carried
luck within their curls and swales.

Skeleton thin, and calling
for water, water, water,
Mother died writhing in pain.
Anya dropped a match in the center of her wishes.

 

I figured Bernard had nothing to do in this run-down out-of-sorts neighborhood
but sit on the wall, head down, fingers tapping.
Probably sex messaging.
Ruining his life one blip at a time.
Sad, he was a good-looking boy
but I had no time for a fellow digging his own grave.
I had plans.

2008 Bernard disappeared.
Likely ran away or was stabbed in a fight.
I no longer have the energy to wonder.
Too busy fending off my husband’s fists,
scrapping with my kids.

Still, there’s time to read this morning’s headline.
“Bernard Phillips Named New School Principal”

Well, I’ll be damned.

 

An Exceptional Child

Posted: December 12, 2018 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , ,

Throughout the year, people noticed changes in the sky. Venus went missing. Then mars. Soon Neptune disappeared. Scientists met. Threw out ideas: Changes in atmospheric conditions? Shift in the earth’s rotation? Thickening of moon dust?

Mrs. Peterson was thrilled when Jimmy began spending more time in the garage, hunched over his computer, wires dangling from rafters, tape stuck here and there. Positive that he would provide the answer she let him be until a bolt of lightning shot through the roof and curiosity took over. What she saw through the window was astonishing.

“Oh, Jimmy, you must put them back!”

 

Time was, Rita loved the clickity-clackity of steel wheels on metal rails,
the long, low sound of a whistle at midnight and noon.

For many, the coal-oil scent of trains,
the sight of rails disappearing over the horizon
quickened the heart, caused feet to roam.
Not for Rita. She spread roots and settled.

Then the hoot of the whistle turned to squealing brakes.
Metal grinding on metal replaced the rhythmic clickity-clack
and an iron-scent of blood filled the air.

How many times had she told little Tom, “Keep your coins in your pocket.”?
She hefted her suitcase and locked the door.

 

When we heard Yankees shootin pigs over to the Baggerly farm
us kids took to hollerin like the devil was at the back door.
Mama? She straightened her spine and instructed the boys to gather up Daddy’s oil cans.
Told us girls to tie sugar, salt, and flour in paraffin paper and cram the packets inside them cans.
Meanwhile, she poked chickens in flour sacks; hid em in the woods.
When the Yanks arrived, saw oil cans lined up in Mama’s kitchen
and pine pitch stuck in her honey-blonde hair, they declared her crazy and backed out the door.

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Each of us knows exactly what to do
when the village men are absent
and danger looms
within or without

Mother tutored me
Grandmother tutored her
The rules
set for three millennia
never change

Each carved symbol bespeaks a specific danger
Only we women know the meaning
Our shelters have been torched
Children have pox
Wolves plundered the winter store of venison

Much pride lies in the ease of our communication
No drums
No spurred horses
No rending of garments
Simply a red mark scratched upon a symbol

Then, Our Raven
takes wing
knowing
precisely
which flight-path is required