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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fiction: Drinks (657 words)

Nathan thought that this might not earn him the father of the year award, or might even be a very strong case of bad parenting, but then again, there was no rule book for dealing with the death of your only daughter and your son’s big sister.

So, while his wife had gone away for a week of silent meditation at her church’s women’s retreat, Nathan brought home a rather impressive bottle of Southern Comfort 100, broke out the shot glasses, and poured a shot for himself and a shot for his son.

“Dad, I…”  Twenty-year-old Alexander looked at the shot wearily.

“It’s not a trick or a test, Lex.  I know that your sister bought you booze, and that you enjoy your parties at school. I also know that this was her favorite drink.  Now, if you don’t want to drink, you don’t have to, but if you want to sit here and do shots with me and talk about your sister, then your mother never has to know.”

Alexander looked back and forth between his father and the shot on the counter for a moment longer.  Then he took the shot in one quick motion and wiped off his mouth with the back of his hand.  He sat down on the stool near the counter next to his father.  “She gave me my first shot that weekend I went out to visit her at college.  I had wanted to pretend like I was already grown up so badly, like I wasn’t the baby of the family, so she poured me one.  It was tequila.  She laughed for weeks at the look on my face after I took that shot.”

Nathan laughed for the first time since he got the news.  It sounded strange to his own ears.  “Yeah. That sounds a lot like something she’d do.”  Nathan stared at the counter in between the bottle and the shot glass in his hand. “Did I ever tell you about the first time your sister had a drink?”

“No,” Alexander grinned, pour himself a second shot, “Is it a good story?”

“Very.” Nathan laughed again.  It still didn’t feel quite right. “She was seventeen, too.  At a sleepover at—oh what’s her name—Alison McRory’s place. She called me. She felt so guilty that she wanted me to come pick her up and ground her right away. She’d had—She…”  Nathan broke off again with a chuckle.  “She’d had half a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. She wasn’t even close to slightly buzzed. But your mother had gotten into her head, and she was so sure she was going to hell for drinking and lying to her parents.”  Nathan looked up at his son, and saw tears welling up in his eyes.  He felt guilty for making his son cry, but at the same time, he knew that this was good for both of us. “I made her promise to be safe, and promise me that she trusted the people in that house she was drinking with. I told her to call me if she felt too sick, or if she thought that someone in the house was going to do something stupid.  And then I gave her my blessing to drink. She wouldn’t go to hell for lying to her parents if her parent knew what was going on.  She had such a hangover the next day. I don’t think she drank again until she got to college.”

Alexander slipped the bottle out of his father’s hands, and poured them both second shots.  “Thank you, Dad. For telling me that.”

“Of course.”  Nathan took the shot his son offered him, and tipped it back. “Tonight’s going to hurt.” He told his son.

“Tomorrow’s headache is going to hurt worse,” Alexander offered, “But I think it will be good to do.”

“I agree.”  One more shot poured for each of them.  “Your turn.  Tell me a story about your sister.”

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Second Semester (250 words)

“Oh, shut up. You know you two are going to end up married.”  Charlene rolled her eyes at Olivia’s pointed turning away from Jack.

“He was a stupid mistake I made because we’re only sixteen, and I’m allowed to make stupid mistakes.” Olivia countered, trying not to turn around and sneak a peek at whether or not her snub had hurt Jack.  “We are broken up, Charlene, and that is that.”

“You want him to be hurt, because he made you feel bad.  He wants you to look at him again so he knows there is hope.  The only stupid mistake the two of you have made recently is letting something as small as this come in between you. If people like you are going to break up for real, if you two are ever going to be truly and properly over, it has to be over something much, much bigger than this.  Or what hope is there for the rest of us?” Charlene picked at a sticker on the inside of Olivia’s locker, exhausted with the whole thing.

Olivia tried to stand firm a little longer, but then she gave Charlene a weak smile. “Really? Do you think we still have a chance?”

Charlene rolled her eyes again, and was pretty sure her face was going to stick that way. “Yes, dumbass.  Now sneak your peak at him so you can see he was hurt by your snub, and let your look linger a little so he’ll have hope.”

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Funeral (266 words)

Alexander had never been happier for his father’s tight grip on his shoulder.  He knew his dad was only doing it to hold himself together, gripping tightly to whatever he could to keep himself from crying.  And Alexander knew that he was probably going to have unintentional bruises on his shoulder when this was all said and done, but he didn’t care.  That reminder that his dad was there too, hurting too, needing something to hold onto, that was all that was holding Alexander together.

And it was only when Alexander’s father let go of his shoulder that he knew it was time to move.  Because he wasn’t listening to anything that the priest said.  It was important to his mother that the church be involved in this funeral, but Alexander knew his sister wouldn’t have wanted a priest anywhere near her burial, and listening to the priest say her name just made Alexander want to punch someone–and he figured that punching a priest was not going to help his mother or father in anyway.

But his dad let go of his shoulder, and Alexander walked forward to lay the rose that his mother had given him earlier onto the wooden casket that his sister would stay inside forever.

He stepped back, and let his father grab his shoulder all over again. The bruises were not going to be pretty. But he needed to be there for his father, just as much as his father needed to be there for him.  If they were going to make it through this, then they had to stick together.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Alone (133 words)

She was always a stranger.  She didn’t really like to make friends, and very occasionally she would be an acquaintance, but most of her life she was a stranger.

And that was the way she liked it.  She could slip in and out of notice whenever she wanted.  She never had people asking her questions, probing into her life, trying to assess her feelings.  She didn’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, or someone hurting hers.  She had talked to someone about it once, and he had said that seemed like an awful lonely existence, but she couldn’t understand what he meant by that.  She had never needed people to keep herself entertained, and she expected that she never would.

So she walked through life as a stranger.  And she was happy.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: 6:43 am on the Blue Line (151 words)

She first noticed him because of the tie.  Bright red against a blue shirt. As stupid as it was, it made her think about Superman’s logo.  It was a good color combination, and it made her smile.  She started to pay a bit closer attention, and found that every time he wore that blue shirt, he always wore the red tie to go with it.

He noticed her because of her heels.  They were always three or four inches high, and yet she managed to move through the subway platforms and grates with ease, never stumbling or tripping even a little bit.  He was impressed by that, because he tended to trip barefooted in his own house, he couldn’t imagine walking on his tip toes all around.

For years, they rode the subway to and from work, quietly watching each other kindly, but never actually daring to say a single word.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Dreams (184 words)

Spring was a beautiful time of year. Jack and Olivia had always thought so, which is why they had decided to get married in spring.  The middle of May to be specific, just as spring was starting make it’s turn into summer.

They had wanted to make it work.  They had tried so hard to reconcile everything, all their dreams and hopes and goals, into a plan that could work for both of them.  They were both willing to give up a lot too, if it meant they could stick together.  But there was no way to balance the scales.  Some things were just too mutually exclusive. And they found that no matter what, one of them would have to be giving up way too much. It just couldn’t happen.  And while it sucked at the time, they were happy in the knowledge that they did make the right choice.

But every year, in the middle of May, just when Spring was starting to make it’s turn into summer, they both took a second to dream and wish that things could have been different.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Lunch with Mom (245 words)

Thomas was excited to see his mother.  He’d been very happy with his married life so far, and spending time with his wife was far more amazing than he could have ever imagined.  But he missed his mom too, and it had been almost three months since they were able to sit down and just talk.

So he was drumming his fingers excitedly on the table on either side of his plate, when he heard a laughing voice behind him. “Some things never change. Do they, Tommy? Stop that rattling before you drive someone crazy.”

“Mom,” He laughed, jumping out of his chair in a way not quite befitting a thirty-one-year-old man. He kissed her softly on the cheek and she gave him a quick hug.  “It is so good to see you.”

“You too, Thomas.” Leslie took her seat on the other side of the table, and Thomas sat down again, only slightly embarrassed of his outburst. “So, how’s married life treating you?  Margaret still happy to be with you?  You two haven’t driven each other crazy yet, have you? ”

“Yeah. I mean, no.   I mean–” Thomas shook his head, “Mom, you always talk me in circles.  Married life is treating me wonderfully. Margaret is still happy to be with me, or she is an excellent liar.  And she certainly hasn’t driven me crazy yet.  I’m happier than I think I’ve ever been.'”

Leslie smiled. “Excellent, Tommy. That was all I wanted to hear.”

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Stories

 

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