So here’s a light-hearted short, for a change of pace. For the 2020 FlashNano challenge (https://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/ )
I don’t know that he was my first love, but I’m pretty sure I was his. Tall, dark-eyed, dark-haired, with a rambling, knuckle-dragging masculinity, he did capture my attention when he swung by the theater. He grunted a greeting, gazing at me from under his heavy unibrow. He wasn’t much of a one for words, but I could tell his intentions by a certain animal shyness in his demeanor. Maybe I shouldn’t have encouraged him. The fact that he was chained up and behind bars should have given me caution, but sometimes you just have to flaunt respectability and go with your heart. Continue reading
It’s been hot here in the Twin Cities.
Hot and humid.
Hot and humid and COVID.
So much so, that folks are divided on whether to wear masks or not, and what the actual distance of six feet looks like: whether distance is different in an enclosed space versus an open space, whether the current air filtration system is adequate to dispel the exhalations (the coronavirus soup), whether six feet is buffer enough when one is active, whether adding a drink or two to the mix makes for exponential risk… Continue reading
Photo by Linnaea Mallette
Jack stood at the canyon’s edge and switched his phone to selfie mode. Too much face, not enough canyon. “All wrong,” he muttered. “I need maximum impressiveness.”
Phone in hand, he climbed the ledge, mindful of the low safety railing, and turned his back to the canyon. Still too much face. It was then that he noticed the tiny icons on the bottom of his screen. A choice between many figures, or one. He pressed many figures. “Wow! Way more canyon, just enough face.” Continue reading
She’d gotten in near midnight, after her evening shift at the group home. Her own home was a shambles: beer cans and wine bottles, scummy bong water, butts strewn all over the floor, some of them human. They weren’t supposed to be here.
Rodney emerged from the bedroom, a very drunk, half-clothed Britanny hanging off his shoulder, sharing his satiated grin.
“Sheralynn,” Rodney drew up his familiar shield of nonchalance. “I thought you were working a double shift.”
“They sent me home. Likely COVID exposure,” she wiped her brow, unsure if it was fever, or rage. “Everybody out. Now.”
“You sure this is gonna work, Jonas?”
“Have I ever steered you wrong before, Boy?”
Peter muttered, “Only for a higher purpose. Or so you say.”
Jonas grinned, his double row of needle-sharp teeth glinting in the cavern’s incandescence. His hearing was quite acute, even for a centuries-old creature as himself. Continue reading
Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay
Extended version: Take a Chance, Change Your Life
We were never quite clear about how they got into the tool shed, how long they’d been there, or where they came from originally. They’d arrived before we did, and will likely leave long after we’ve gone. If they ever do leave. Continue reading
Jared leaned against the bar, one boot heel hooked on the rail. His spurs lay next to his whiskey, silent as the glass was empty. Time to decide.
He could ride south to his father’s oil refinery. That way lay fine suits, easy money, easier women. His father’d left his family, but he might want to know his son. The resemblance? Startling , if his mother Lula’s cameo locket was any indication. Continue reading
Cheryl stood outside the heavy glass doors of her local public library, stepping to one side and nodding as the Tween pushed through in a rush, tinny post-Disney pop leaking from a pair of bright pink ear buds. Her forceful exit left the door open wide enough for Cheryl to step through without touching anything.
She didn’t want to leave any fingerprints. Continue reading