Short Story Beginnings

Today, I’m offering up a bit of a short story for this Monday…Monday should always include a bit of fiction.

Rufus

It was the night of the mosquito orgy. All buzzing, low sultry lovemaking—too bad it would only end in more mosquitos. Every summer evening, Rufus sat on his porch slapping half-heartedly as the humming rhythm intensified and waned then climaxed again. Any sensible person would have gone inside, moved away, but Rufus didn’t mind. His only concern was sipping his whiskey, Jack Daniels Green Label, the only kind he would ever drink. Curled up at his feet, his coon dog Mutt, the only kind of dog he would ever own. Staring across the knee high grass in front of his trailer, he could see the large farm house where he grew up. His mother rented out his room only. She kept hoping his brother Donny would come back, but Donny had been dead for sixteen years. Snaking through the long hay and unkempt yard, his drive way ended at the beginning of Highway 52, the main road in and out of Junction. No one came up this far to his house. The only visitors out this way came from the Baptist Women’s Alliance to see his ailing mother.

Leaning back in his chair, he stared toward the white clapboard farmhouse and watched the hired painters leave. A few lights flickered on and off, and his mother would have by now settled on the couch. She probably gave those poor guys an earful about her alcoholic son living in the trailer over yonder. Looking down at his whiskey, he remembered that first sip. The bitter burning liquor almost drove him back to being a lifetime teetotaler, but a few more did the trick. Like every man, he needed something to piss the Jesus fire of his mother off. Not that she would notice. These days, she rarely moved far from the farmhouse sofa feigning illness. She didn’t notice the maid Eva who cleaned. She didn’t notice all of the school’s phone calls and messages about Rufus’s absences, his official withdrawal forms, and his constant work on the farm.

Spitting his chewing tobacco into an old coffee can, he watched the lightening bugs in his yard. He never apologizing for being a bad country song cliché. He loved the farm. The cattle, the large plot for his garden, his large blue Ford tractor. He always dated the waitresses at Jenny’s. Perky, small town girls looking for a small town fella, just like Rufus. His broad shoulders, bronze hair, and full teeth smile got him everything from extra tea to an extra piece of chicken. And an extra piece of pie to share later after work complete with whipped topping.

Now, his leathery hands scarred from working the land. His hair streaking silver only garnered the attention of the divorcee crowd with their silicon enhanced cleavage, but he was done chasing after those types. Only one woman ever lived up to his expectations, and she was too busy bothering the Bennett twins or batting her fake eyelashes at Dave Pike. Another sip of whiskey, and he would call it a night. His knees creaked as he stood up, but the rumble of a car wheels and door slamming jolted him from his usual routine. Never one for disruptions, he kept going in the house hoping whoever it was would take the hint that he wasn’t interested.

“You Rufus?” A strong female voice hollered from the gravel drive. He turned to see a short, well-endowed teenager with bronze hair and fiery blue eyes. She stood next to her car in a tank top and jeans complete with pink leather cowboy boots. He stared long at her since she looked just like, but no, not really.

 

What do you think should happen next? Who is the young woman wanting to find Rufus?


The Waiting Room pt 3

This is the final installment of the short story “The Waiting Room.” If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, I have provided the links for you.

Photography by Mark Askins

“Mrs. Smith,” called the middle-aged doctor with thinning hair and a thickening waistline, “I’m Doctor Baker, hmmm, I remember you—your husband came in here for the procedure a few years ago. He handled this like a trooper, now if you will follow me.” Dr. Baker motioned Clara to move into the hallway separating the waiting room from the small nondescript examining rooms. The memory of Ed, the funeral, all the rhetoric flooded her mind. She stood rooted to the dingy carpet as though she stood on the brink of a sheer precipice. Gathering the last vestige of hope and strength, Clara stood next to the doctor and in a voice that was barely above a whisper she uttered the words; she had kept pent up inside, “I don’t want to …”

“ My dear, Mrs. Smith think of the greater good of society, You know the condition that our world is in now. Think of yourself as a pioneer into the beyond…” droned the doctor who was a little bored with this small act of heroism. He politely rattled off the same reasons that Clara had heard before sounding like one of the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon. This was not the first time Dr. Baker had encountered someone who resisted the procedure.

“But I don’t believe that anymore, I was wrong. How can it be for the greater good? Annabel, Jason tell him—I don’t want to,” pleaded the desperate Clara to her disinterested children.

“Mother! The one time society asks that you make a small sacrifice, you pitch a fit. How selfish,” demanded her son Jason.

Clara’s heart filled with shame as she turned to walk down the hall with the doctor who was smiling at his sense of victory over the individual nature of this petite woman. Clara glanced back to see that her daughter and son had returned to their previous activities. Each one mumbled some sort of good-bye as the door separating the waiting room and the hallway shut.