Amber Lights

“Do people ever go shopping specifically to buy gloves, or are they a secondary item, something you only pick up if you’re buying a coat or sweater?” Goat asked the bartender. She didn’t know.

“I need a pair of gloves,” he said.

“Oh,” she said, setting a full bottle down and whisking the empty to somewhere under the bar. “We have a lost and found. If you want to rifle?”

Goat sipped his beer.

“No, I don’t think I’d like wearing another man’s gloves,” he said. “Be like fucking his wife.”

The bartender shrugged.

“Think the game’s started,” she said.

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Bewildered

He said something, either witty or cutting. She hadn’t heard the words, but could tell because the left corner of his mouth curled up, expecting laughter. All she could do was stare at his lips. Stained purple.

“I guess you had to be there,” he said.

“Where’s this?”

“Never mind,” he said. “What do you think of the wine.”

She noticed she hadn’t touched the glass, so she lifted it and drank a little.

“It’s fine.”

“Fine?”

“I don’t drink much. I don’t know.”

Instead of saying anything, he flipped open the menu, dragged his finger down over the prices.

Prompt courtesy of the Daily Post.

2.27

The poet, fat, drunk, wearing only his underwear, sat at the piano and demanded his teacup filled with wine. Someone handed him a tumbler of something and he drank it. He started plinking and plunking at the keys.

“Voice of a generation,” he said, “Voice of the country’s voiceless.”

The crowd listened at first, then turned.

“Try it in another key, Tchaikovsky,” someone else yelled. The poet stopped and elbowed the person to his left, who’d just set another glass of something on the instrument, asking what key he’d just played.

“E, maybe? Minor?” they said, shrugging and hurrying away.

Timber

Fingers still smelling like egg salad, Ed walked out of the garage, an ax on his left shoulder, and a chainsaw in his right hand.

“Ed? What are you doing?” his sister-in-law hollered from the kitchen window. He ignored her, taking his jacket off and hanging it over the rusted swing set’s cross bar. The chainsaw bit into the tree. Stalled. Ed wrenched it free and got it going again. Sweat beaded on his cheeks, and pooled under his collar.

It fell sooner than he expected. The world went quiet. Ed watched small, pink hands pack dirt around the seedling.

Prompt courtesy of the Friday Fictioneers.

Commonly Green

Papa sat at the kitchen table snapping pea pods and drinking beer.

“That neighbour boy is retarded, isn’t he?”

Momma stopped stirring her pot, and told him he shouldn’t say such things. He opened his mouth to argue, but tossed a handful of the fresh peas instead. He handed me his empty can.

“Get me another, will you, scout?”

I took and walked outside, to the back porch, where he kept them in a cooler. Momma didn’t want them in the house. The ice had half-way melted, and the cold water stung my skin when I plunged my hand in.

Olfactory

There was no reason for the subway car to smell of crushed ferns and pine sap, but it did. The man seated next to me, folded down his newspaper and leaned over.

“Smells like my childhood,” he said.

“Mine too.”

“Did you grow up around here?” he asked, as he folded his paper and stood slightly, to slide it between his thigh and the seat.

“A ways north,” I said. “You?”

“Out east,” he said. The subway stopped in the middle of the tunnel, the lights went off. The odor grew stronger, cloyed at our throats. “Think we’re dead, maybe?”

Stifle

The shooting in the hallway deafened Kearns, so he didn’t hear the approaching sirens. But he knew they were coming. The nearest apartment’s door swung open after he kicked it three times. There wasn’t a fire escape at the window. He went two apartments over, shouldered another door open, and climbed out the window.

Red and blue flashing lights bounced off the buildings and alley walls.

Kearns dropped the last ten feet from the ladder, landing badly on his left leg. He bit down hard to keep from screaming. He limped away, keeping low, and looking for any way out.

Prompt courtesy of the Daily Post.