Category Archives: Short Stories Spring 2016
Ok, here we are old trusty pad and pen. Where shall we begin? I am born, I grow up, I live, and I die. Every moment lost in the present is a moment gained in the past, forever nibbling away at the future like a worm through an apple, leaving a little trail of remembrances in its wake. Progress is slow and steady, heartbeats mark the passage of time. Thump thump. How can we define the journey of a soul as it accumulates experience and wisdom during its foray into the great unknown?
Memories, moments, fleeting fragments of encapsulated experiences strewn across the floor like puzzle pieces until they make some semblance of sense. Some fit, some do not. Here is where we will try to find our answers. Here we will delve deeply into the duplicitous duality of reality and see what we can see.
“None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.”
~Eugene O’Neil’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night~
Meghan Cochran learned at a very early age that sometimes people are so broken on the inside that they can never be fixed. Maybe someone was responsible for it, or maybe a series of unfortunate events left nasty jagged scars over the soul that never healed properly. But what could a five year old possibly know about life and how it can break a person into pieces? Meghan knew her mother was among those broken human beings and was never allowed to forget it because of people like the chunky, freckle faced first grade bully named Marty Sewell. Read the rest of this entry
Crash! Seven-year-old Henry sat straight up in his bottom bunk, hitting his head off his brother Joe’s bed as he whipped off his covers. “Joe! Look out the window!” They climbed out of their beds and pushed each other toward the second story farm house window where they had to carefully avoid stepping on the shards of glass that littered their cold, hardwood floor.
“It’s time, Ornery. The day we have spent the past three days waiting for is here.” Henry hated being called Ornery, but he knew there was no stopping it because, without question, Joe was in charge; and today, there was no arguing with him. The boys ran around the large farm house gathering their guns (they were half the size of them), ammo, and camo, masks and other protection while listening to the shots explode on the side of the old stone house.
“I’m scared, Joe!” Henry exclaimed in a shy voice.
“Don’t be such a baby. You know what we have to do,” twelve-year-old Joe growled. Read the rest of this entry
How often we create or envision the character of people we have in mind when we don’t really know them. We make them perfect––or we make their imperfections just so. We step back from amazingly written books and watch our favorites step out from the pages and look us in the eye. We do our best to perfect our ability to speed read when they are on the pages, so as to somehow be there with them within the tale. We are made motionless at times when reading their words. We often repeat those very words, softly and quietly on our lips, and try to hear them from the very mouth they were intended to come from. Read the rest of this entry
“You’re ten minutes late, Brady,” Sophia chided, not looking up from her book on French culture.
Brady gave her a goofy grin and sat down across from her. “Well, I lost track of time at band practice. We’re working on a new song and it’s going to be a big hit. Do you want to hear it?” He searched for the track on his phone and started to play it.
“Brady!” Sophia exclaimed, taking his phone and muting the volume. “We’re in a library. People are studying,” she hissed. Brady smiled sheepishly and reached for his phone, but Sophia placed it out of his reach. “No distractions. You asked me to teach you Italian. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’ll be damned if you don’t know at least basic Italian by the end of this session.”
“Fine,” Brady sighed. “Teach me, oh wise one.”
Sitting at the kitchen table, I looked at the phone laying there. Taunting me. I picked it up.
I set it back down. I picked it back up, and turned it over and around a few times in my hands, and then I set it back down again. Face up. The time staring at me. Mocking me.
I was hesitant about what I had to do, obvious by my nervousness. I had to call her and we had to talk about things that no one wants to talk about with people who have dying husbands.
I sat down at the table and looked at the picture I had laid there a few minutes ago. Just a happy picture of a happy couple sitting on a chair holding hands. It was from close to fifteen years ago, when we had all first met. Sometimes I feel like it was yesterday and sometimes I feel like it was so long ago.
Since it was Halloween, Jan decided that the mall, not home, was her destination after work. She was not into trick or treating. Arriving at the mall, she was surprised by the number of vehicles parked in the lot near her usual entrance. When she saw people in costumes she remembered that the mall was hosting a costume contest. She saw a space opening on the far side of the lot against the tree line and pulled in. Exiting her car, she could hear the flowing Hudson River on the other side of the trees.
After a stop at the food court, she headed to one of her favorite department stores where a shoe sale was in progress. Her first “prize” of the evening was a great pair of flats. As she strolled through the mall she saw that both kids and adults were in costumes. Most of the stores were offering treats to them. In a variety of stores she found other bargains—clothes, a kitchen gadget, a new novel and, finally, a great buy on a comforter for her guest bedroom. Read the rest of this entry
It was another busy day in August. The park was always packed this time of the season. Being a supervisor in food service at an amusement park certainly keeps me on my toes; there’s never a dull moment.
I was heading toward the Old Mill ice cream stand, which holds my boss’s office on the second floor and is sort of the headquarters for the department. In front of the building there’s the water wheel by which the stand is named; it churns water endlessly from the small stream surrounding it. I caught sight of a young girl getting a penny from her mother. She tossed it into the water, probably wishing for a pony or ice powers, whatever it is little girls wish for these days.
As I watched the penny fall into the water and make a “plop” sound, I became intensely aware of the running water from the wheel. I realized something very important.
I could really go for a piss.
I am a meager old man to one’s eye. Haven’t held a sword in the better part of ten years, but if it came down to it, I could kill. I was still strong. Odin still favored me. Sometimes I see Odin’s ravens, Huggin and Munnin flying over me, their calls reassuring me that Odin is still keeping his eye on me. I am 52 years old on this snowy Thorstag. I want to fight again with the men of my village. I live in Kallekot, a small village of no more than 200 men, women, and children. The men raid with King Svein Forkbeard Cnut’s men. They always bring back the riches taken from the ignorant Englishmen and women. These Englishmen dare to worship one god and claim he is the victorious, righteous god. This is one reason why we slay them. Slit their throats and cut off their hands, this way they cannot pray to their god. May Thor strike them down. I feel today will finally be the day I will be granted to sail and fight once again with my kin.
Leonard Bishop was the kind of man who throughout his life was commonly referred to as an asshole. This terminology was, in their opinions, well-deserved, and Leonard bore its implications as a badge of honor, smirking whenever someone threw the retort at him (“You’re such an ass!”) and stormed from the scene. It gave him a delightful pleasure to be called an asshole, he enjoyed the double-edged sword the other wielded whenever spouting such profanities. He enjoyed the conflict that came with the word and the stories born from it.
The first time Leonard Bishop had achieved the title of asshole was in middle school. It was either seventh or eighth grade. When asked he could never remember which, and Tina Winter had been the first to grant him the title. He’d been sitting with her at lunch, milk cartons open and fruit rolls being bartered for puddings, when he reached across the table to trade his own snack for another’s, and his arm tipped Tina’s milk into her lap.