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‘Bite-size Fiction’ Category

  1. The Secret to Success

    August 18, 2013 by Diane

    Casual homeless fashion look grunge shoes

    Now if you ask me, and since you’re listening I’ll tell you, if you want to succeed in life, if you want to be someone in those slippers, here’s what you do. You get out of bed and straighten your spine, right off. Walk tall. Bones up. And you skip the coffee with the shot of bourbon in it. You give that bourbon to someone who can’t straighten up. You go for the power greens instead. Popeye stuff is what I call it. You get that first serving of veg-et-a-bles in you, whirl it around in a smoothie with some skimmed cow and some of that curdled stuff, that pro-bi-o-tic, and a banana to give it some heft and maybe a handful of frozen strawberries because you need five servings of fruits, and you whirl all that together and you drink it down. Add a shot of castor oil. Maybe a spoonful of sawdust for fiber.

    And then you do push ups.

    Hey, where you going? I’m not done here.

    I haven’t got to the part where you jog five miles. Uphill. And then you sit down and write a check for the mortgage payment. Tee hee hee.

    Ah, go on.

    You’ll never make it in this world.

    Now you take me, I’m all set up here. I’ve got a brand new refrigerator box. It’s got four sides, hardly dented. I can slide my feet right in with my head out the opening like this…see, fresh air. All the air I need.

    And all the time in the world to breathe it.

  2. A Fine Day

    August 9, 2013 by Diane

    Traditional old mail box on the wooden wall

    Nobody writes letters anymore. It’s all emails.

    Back in the day, mailmen carried letters from loved ones, envelopes bearing the slanted blue penmanship of a mother, a lover, a soldier, a childhood friend. That letter traveled, from the curled meaty edge of the writer’s palm to the inner confines of the envelope, passing from mailman to mailbox or handed over with a greeting. Good morning, Mrs. Whitney, I’ve got the letter you were waiting for, here in my pouch.

    Bert remembers those days as he drinks coffee at his metal kitchen table, as he goes out into the dark morning hours, drives to the post office, and stands sorting the mail, trading quips about the weather, the latest political scandal, the collapse of the economy—important stuff. And then he fills his truck with the stuff that is unimportant: the bills, the circulars, the empty promises from political candidates. It’s a fine day when he sorts a handwritten letter, something he pauses to run his dry palm over. Ah, this will bring a smile to Mrs. Whitney’s morning.

    And every day he whistles. He whistles when he swings out of his truck and hefts the leather pouch onto his shoulder and walks his route instead of driving. He whistles because if he can’t bring the news they long for, at least he can deliver a moment of hope, of joy.

    “Good morning,” he hollers, lifting his heavy arm and flicking a wave. His bouncy stride says: all is well. “Good morning to you!” Someone cares, he is saying. “How’s that rheumatism, Mrs. Whitney?” Mrs. Whitney is twisted over, waiting outside her door, making the effort to stand.

    “No letters,” he says, knowing it’s not a letter that brings her out of doors, and it’s not the weather, “but isn’t it a fine, fine day?”

  3. The Jesus Chair

    July 26, 2013 by Diane

    Vintage beige color chair with carved legs

    I put that chair out at night. You know the one, the Jesus chair? The straight-backed chair from mama’s set of four that I kept after she passed, the only good chair left in the bunch? That one. I set it out next to the bed for Jesus to sit in. I read about that somewhere. Norman Vincent Peale, I think. Some woman put a chair next to the bed and asked Jesus to sit in it and watch over her at night. So that’s what I did. When things got so bad, when anxiety had me by the throat because I was waiting for those test results, those results to find out if my heart was going to keep on beating another fifty years, or ten, or five, or one, one year, maybe six months. Maybe a week. Maybe a week was all I had left, and that chair with Jesus in it would keep me safe so I could sleep through the night and leave off worrying. I was choking with the worry.

    So I put out that chair, and when I woke up in the morning, Manny was sitting in it. He was sitting there in his ratty old bathrobe, snoring. My heart swelled, it overflowed seeing my man sitting there watching over me all night just in case Jesus didn’t show up. That’s the kind of man he is. He’d sit in that Jesus chair all night if that’s what it took to make me happy. You can see why I married the lug.

    It did my heart good, seeing Manny sitting in the Jesus chair. All that worry just flew away, like those dark crows that gather in the tall pine trees and shadow the lawn when they flap over. All that worry just disappeared, and I knew that whatever the doctor told me, my heart was strong. I would be fine, just fine, no matter what those results said.