Short Stories

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You enjoy reading, but nothing too long?  You’re on the right page.  More is on the way, but –for now– sit back for just 500 words (!) This is a “SHORT-SHORT” or “FLASH FICTION” STORY.

FOR THE MUCH LONGER SHORT STORY VERSION, CLICK HERE:  

http://halalpiar.com/the-art-of-grandparenting/

In the meantime, what follows will entertain you with some warm minutes shared by this Grandpa and the 12 year-old love of his life . . .

         SPIT HAPPENS . . .

A Favorite Fictional talley-with-cookie.jpgGrandparent Memory (and photo) by Hal Alpiar

     

     Tear-streaked upturned cheeks twinkle through the dull clutter around them in the room. 

“Ohhhhh, G r a n p a, I just don’t understand.” 

      She gestures out the window to the morning drizzle and fog-smothered dumpster, “Why do you want to live here anyway?  I mean HERE?”    

     He nods and sighs.  A slight Southern accent whispers through the exhale: “Shoooot!”   He smiles and interrogates—“School? Grades? Boyfriends?”—and produces a cookie.

     She nibbles.  Pretending to not notice his exasperation, nor hear his questions, she continues her mission.  “You’re alone, Granpa!  In the middle of like, nowhere.  Nowhere!  (“in this crummy cold, damp, dark, dirt floor trailer, she wants to add).

     He shrugs a hapless, c’est la vié look.  He metronomes his neck left, then right until it cracks.  Her sniffles trigger his deep breathing.  She threads a finger through one of his belt loops and pulls herself closer.      

     “You know you could . . .”  Her voice a tremor: “like, just stay with me and Mom, Grandpa?

     He’s not buying.  She looks to the ceiling for help.  Tears.  She tries again, soft and lispy: “You could, like, have the w h o l e second floor!”  Her eyebrows exude expectation.  He reaches, but his hand goes instead to his beard, to muffle a string of wracking coughs.  Bending forward then back, he recovers.  His other hand grazes her glistening cheek before landing on her shoulder. 

       “Listen, Honey,” his voice raspy but sweet, “you tell Mother that ah truly do

 ‘ppreciates the second floor, but that I reckon too many of mah years already been . . . up in the air!

     He pats her like the neighbor’s sheepdog, then turns and spits off to the side—Hagggggghttu!  He kicks some soil over the spot and swipes his sleeve across his mouth.  “You tell ‘er I said thank you, but that mah dirt floor here works jus’ fine fur me.”

     Ohhhh, Granpa! Her sad face bumps his chest affectionately, wet eyes against his heavy plaid shirt.  She hugs his shaking arm.  Long searching minutes pass.

     “I guess you’re right, Granpa.”  She breaks the silence.  “Mom definitely wouldn’t like you spitting on the floor, even if it was the second floor!”  She grins.  He chuckles, kisses her forehead, then walks her to the door.  Still nibbling the cookie, she hops, waves, throws a kiss and fades into the fog. 

     He returns inside searching for her footprints, missing among his scrambled boot tread marks.

      “Second floor? . . . Ah ain’t even figured out what to do with this here first floor besides weed it, spit on it, and dig it for fishin’ worms!”  He rubs his eyes.  “Did ah jus have this here talk with her or dreamt it?  One thing’s damn sure: that child’s a chip off mah daughter’s block!  Spittin’ on the second floor . . . ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”  His laughter fills the trailer.  And real or dreamt just doesn’t matter.  Her visit filled his heart.     #  #  #

4 comments so far

4 Comments to “Short Stories”

  1. Ken Krafton 07 Mar 2008 at 12:56 am

    Hal,

    You are a master of the short story or article. This one is a beauty and very touching.

    Ken

  2. Lois Andersonon 23 Mar 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Hal,
    A friend of many years forwarded your blog site address to me and am so glad she did. I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I read and appreciate the word pictures you draw in your writing. I love to read and look forward to your novel. – Lois

  3. Rick Johnsonon 29 Jun 2008 at 6:56 am

    Hal,
    A most touching story. Love your blog site. Far more artistic than mine. All the best.
    Rick Johnson

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