Monthly Archives: August 2008

“Sudden Comfort”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Sudden Comfort



          Madness had come on gradually.

          There’s no accounting for really bad taste, she would say to her silent self, look at the slug I married.

          You don’t mean that he’d say, with his sad eyes.

          She’d smile…for his sake. But for her the mornings were tough, all that fresh energy, the sea around them choppy, storm warnings, flags flapping, and the growl of Italian motorcycles on distant roads brought sudden hope and then a cascade of cold fear sickened her, like the silvery sickly white skins of salmon swimming upstream to mate and die.

          That’s what he called life, she’d remind herself, standing on the porch and staring out at the dark green sea, a bruise against her retinas. And then that set off the unhappiness, oh, the blues came flowing in, like a tide filled with bizarre creatures –nature’s bounty—it never stopped and gripping the stairs, she made her way timorously into sanctuaries around the house where she could find some peace, escaping the fear, the haunting shadow of the death pre-lived, all these years, shadowing each day, blessed sleep a failed escape, and the grinding poverty of a life of fear…and slowly, the mistakes, the embarrassments, the whole sad business winding down…

          And then like a miracle the light on the page of print changed colors, yellow, golden, violet…and pink the color of life; and someone steady came home midday, someone who would make coffee…dark and rich with a jolt of caffeine, and out there cruising along the mountain road, the one that skirts the mountain with the old folks home surmounting the white stone village sparkling below, the peninsula shrouded in misty wraiths, yes, there it was…the prodigal friend, the burble of his tinny Vespa cycle, more and more, almost always, a sudden comfort.




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“Fraud”–flash fiction, Difficult People




          You lying, cheating fraud you. You know every well you’ve cheated in your heart. You will always lust after beautiful young women. He tried to think…sacrifice your lust. Give it up. Suffer. Tell the truth. You just wanna fuck her. Just fuck. No family, no commitment. Just fuck. Call me when you’re horny, when you want a big one hard, from behind, on top, in a chair…missionary too and sidesaddle, side by side. That’s about the limit of my Kama sutra gymnastics. I don’t want marriage, kids…all those joys, I grant you, but the horrible heartache as well. Oh the pain of bearing and carrying on the desire. Nice if you can handle the pain…but two such families in one lifetime or at the same time! No! Madness.

          He couldn’t keep focused on his manuscript. The cabin felt like an overheated prison; solitary confinement. He tossed aside his pen and went for a walk, down the road to the village. There fell to, smoking a fine cigar and watching a VFW baseball game, chatting with this or that citizen as the Village Green team battled back against the superior record team from the west, over the covered bridge.

Tied, lost the tie, came back, got ahead, tied again in the ninth and went to the bottom of the 10th when the left fielder hit a line drive deep down the 3rd base line slipping by the outfielder…and came home with the ball tailing.

Afterwards, he marched off to a fish dinner at the hall and later that night sang songs and fell asleep after two cognacs. Lust postponed—nay, sacrificed.



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“Old Love”–flash fiction, Difficult People

Old Love



          “Mother, you gonna shut those windows?”

          “Daddy, I thought you did.”

          “No, I’m not feeling good. Went straight to bed.”

          “Sorry, dear. I’ll close’m but you sure about that rain. I thought the man said the folks on the coast.”

          “We’re on the coast.”

          “Well, I don’t think fifteen miles would qualify as on the coast. Maybe kinda near…”

          “Now, everybody knows we like most folks live within a hundred and fifty miles of a large body of water, fresh or salt.”

          “One hundred fifty miles is quite a ways inland.”

          “My point exactly. We’re really quite near the coast. You gonna shut those windows?”

          “I’m indecisive, hon.”

          “I’m asking you, begging you. Close those windows. My head’s splitting, Mother.”

          “Well, Daddy, life’s hard, as the Buddha said.”

          “Don’t start the sermon on the mount!”

          “That’s Jesus, dear.”

          “I know who it is. He never got married but if he had, he’d have been crying out like he was on a cross. Father, why have they forsaken me?”

          “He might just have shut the windows himself.”

          “Yeah, you’re right so get out of my way. I’ll do it.”

          “No, we live more or less near the coast…might rain in.”

          “Bless you, Mother, I’m dead to the world here.”

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