Adolescent Dot knew more than she was letting on. She’d fooled every psychiatrist they’d sent to draw her out and pin her down. She was a little mixed up, her inner child’s identical twin having been kidnapped by newlyweds who just wanted a baby of their own. Years later she escaped by shapeshifting through an air conditioning vent and hid as a model in a disco art studio. “You’ll never take me alive, ya dirty screw,” she hollered as the Authorities closed in. Her invitation to the family reunion somehow fell between the sofa cushions, which was just as well.
All of a sudden, he kissed me. Square on the mouth. Not a peck, like a joke or a boyish greeting, but deliberate, his hands on the sides of my head. No end-of-party drunk kiss, like he did not know whereof he did. Clearly he’d thought about this. He took his hands away, stepped back and looked me in the eyes, as if to say, “I see you,” before twisting away, his voluminous thrift store cashmere coat sailing behind him, his army surplus boots clomping down the stairs, leaving a puddle of quiet around me that slowly filled in.
(If you’re reading these stories, would you please do me the favor of letting me know. You don’t need to leave a comment, tho that would be lovely, just leave a “like” so I know you’ve been here. Thanks.)
24. Forgive Me
He left before he really knew what he was doing. He hung the plastic, “do not disturb,” sign swinging on the door of the motel room, and left. “Forgive me,” he muttered under his breath, to no one in particular, to the cold January air. Morning light slanted into his eyes as he walked briskly up the concrete sidewalk to the lobby. He squinted hard and tried not to think of her. Twenty minutes later he was sitting in his car. The key was in place, but he couldn’t turn it. He sat still, and thought of her, and cried.
22: Share Your Peanuts
Then it was the end of the world. Fire, brimstone, four horsemen, armageddon outta here, the usual drill. We’ve all been there, am I right? The world ends all the time, it’s not any big deal. Like any other bowl of cherries, the pits need to be burned in order to sprout. It’s a little scary the first time, but as soon as the brand new sun pokes over the brand new horizon, it all comes back, and you get it. You turn to the primate in the seat next to you, and smile knowingly, and you share your peanuts.
21: Nothing Familiar
When he turned the key in the lock, a hollow echo came back at him from somewhere in the dark apartment. He stepped inside, a little hesitant, and closed the door behind him, as if he didn’t ever want it closed. She had been there for so long that everything had taken on meaning based on her. And now she was gone. He shrugged off his coat, dropping it on a chair, and went into the bathroom. He took off his clothes, turned on the shower, very hot, and stood in the rising steam, watching himself vanish in the mirror.
20: Dinner At Steve’s
Dinner at Steve’s was the high point of his week. He slid into a booth, the waitress brought him a beer, and he ordered pork chops. People crowded against the bar, or around the tables that balanced across the floor. It occurred to him that he had never taken her here. It wasn’t the kind of place she would have liked. Or maybe he just wanted to keep one thing for himself, one place she would never touch, so that, in leaving him, she could never leave it. He sipped his beer, and when his chops came, he ate slowly.
My 100 word story, “Ithaca,” was published to the blog The Number 26, comprised of passages about passengers on the number 26 bus line. “Regular passengers, on an ordinary bus, in an average city, on a typical day.” Go and take a look; a lot of good writing going on.