My short story about moral conflict in a rural fire department is available on Amazon.com for Kindle.
I can feel the end of the writing portion of my short-piece collection looming so the dreaded format and art journey is around the bend. This being the case, I'll be removing or blocking posts that will appear in the collection. This move is a must due to publishing costs and the need to entice folks to buy the new book. I cannot thank all of you enough for reading my work. I will continue writing blog posts after the new book is up for sale and hope to keep you guys entertained.
Wes could feel his heartbeat in his gums pushing his teeth around.
The others stood watching the sky. The sound of the jet engines distorted by distance and Doppler consumed every ear and the heads tilted, faces grimaced, eyes squinted. One of the captains came sidestepping from his tent with his face instantly arrayed in the same upward manner. Wes imagined them all a strange grove of trees searching the haze for direct light. The wind shifted and pushed the smell of the fires in the barracks over him. The captain had made his way to Wes’ side and gave him a concerned glance. Not ours is it? the captain said in his crooked accent, moving his flattened hand to his brow in a vain attempt to defeat the light shattered by the low clouds and smoke. That’s a bomber, captain, definitely not ours. Should we be concerned? If we were the target, we wouldn’t have time to be concerned. The capital? Probly. The captain yelled out for his assistant to radio the remnants of command still bunkered in the city. Captain, Wes pushed himself to his feet, revealing the crusty body of black blood in which he’d been sitting for almost an hour, we should get these men into the forest. I have orders to hold the camp, Barton, we have to stay. With what, captain? And they both scanned the grove of standing bodies, the dust and smoke lifting around them in dramatic swirls and ribbons. I have orders, Barton. The same dolts who gave you the order to move on the village? Wes reached for his pack and rifle then handed the weapon to the captain. Here, Cestmir, you’ll need this... unfortunately, you’ll also need ammo, can’t help you there. Barton? Then Wes dragged his dead foot through the wreckage of the trucks and disappeared into the trees.
Stay with us, she said, her eyes smiling through the space between the books and the shelf.
We both want you to stay. My hand began shaking and the book fell open on tiles beneath me, Mao’s thin eyes staring up from the page at the space between the books and the shelf where Jen had vanished. Last night happened, didn’t it? she said, materializing behind me, her hand creeping around my waist like a snake, fingers flicking my belt loops. There are worse things than being alone, my father’s voice sounded off from some dusty crawlspace in the back of my mind and I thought of Hector out on the water somewhere, jacking off to her picture in the darkened hull of that boat. What about your husband, Jen? What about him? her voice was gone, replaced with the one she used on the phone with her landlord and the girls at the store. I can’t stay, Jen. Her hand came to rest at the button on my jeans just inches above my rebellious hard-on. You’re a piece of shit, she whispered. And now we both stink, I said but she wasn’t there to hear me.
So after that fiasco, I’m now reminiscing with a woman I don’t know and with whom I have no discernible connection.
She drinks mimosas for two hours spinning a yarn of events spanning a 2001prom to a terroristic threat arrest only 3 months ago. In rhythmic succession, she removes four bobby pins from her hair, checks her appearance in the reflection on her cigarette case and unbuttons the next two buttons on her blouse. I can see the seam riding the curve of her bra. I estimate her breasts a full size smaller than the garment conveys. Her tongue touches her lips at the end of coy questions or overstated references to her independence as a woman. I ask her if she drove and might I catch a ride uptown? We share a moment where we might both offer the fact that she is too drunk to work a wheel but it passes in the westward path of the vibratory jangle of her keychain as she extracts it, her arm a tiny silly crane lifting the spangle and chrome initials from a lizard-skinned vessel filled with makeup and crepe gum wrappers. In the parking lot she disarms the alarm and winks, works the keys into my hand and slips into the passenger seat of the BMW with a clumsy landing. Her house is huge and elegant but no more huge or elegant than any of the others.
Chrysalis, a growing collection of very short fiction.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.