“Light’s out.” Jonathan pointed to the star atop the Christmas tree.
“Don’t say anything about it. Not even when we put up the decorations,” I said. He put his finger down before Aunt Sherry carried a cardboard box up out of the basement. She looked me up and down and then set the box at her feet. She held her arms out as I walked over. Her hug was silent. The little nutcrackers and angels stared up at me from between the holes in the green tape. We stood until she pushed me away with her hands on my shoulders. Half her upper lip didn’t move when she smiled. I rolled my arm backwards to Jonathan and cranked it towards Aunt Sherry. Jonathan came forward, pulled his eyes up, and stretched his lips across his face. She looked at the bag in his left hand. He pulled out a bottle of Four Roses and a block of Brie cheese.
Jerry sat next to Dennis his second day, but just rocked in his plastic blue chair and stared at the triangle on the dry erase board for the eight minutes before the bell. Dennis’s hands were callused and his nails were too short. Jerry was disappointed in his own hands’ lack of character. He asked Dennis if it was okay to sit there. Dennis said he didn’t blame him.
I spill the popcorn after complaining about Berry spilling it last time, which is what I get, he says. I spend too long outside in the hall talking to a man in joggers with a ring on his right ring finger. When I get back with a new tub, I try my best to catch up without Berry’s help. When the movie’s over, I say it was alright. Berry says it was worse than the last one. We get dinner at an all-night cafe on Bardstown Road. Berry asks which beers they have on tap. I ask which hand is the hand you’re supposed to wear a wedding ring on. Berry looks at me with his eyes wide open, his oval mouth at a diagonal, then back at the menu. The waitress smiles and shrugs as she turns away with empty glasses on a stack of brown trays. He tells me she was single, dude. I say I’m not asking about her. Berry looks around the cafe and asks me about different women. By the time we leave the hookah lounge upstairs, he’s under the impression that I like husky girls who punch in place wearing headbands. I run with it for the next ten years.
If you like this short fiction, please consider buying me a $3 coffee.
The rain stopped hitting the tin roof above the garage door. Sean turned off the table saw and wiped the sawdust from his face with his faded red t-shirt. Maggie ran out from under the silver Nissan. She shook the water off of her and sat down on her hind legs. She scratched behind her ears and breathed through her mouth. Sean put his arms out and she ran to him. She hung off his shoulders and licked the wood pieces off his face.
So I’m in Chicago and I wasn’t able to post this Friday because free WiFi is hard. Also, I’m still not satisfied with this story but here it is anyway. I might rewrite it one day. I’m posting it as is because consistency is important, I guess.
Update 4:15 PM 12/12/17: So I’ve had a few days to recover from my trip to Chicago. I got busy with planning my trip and didn’t have the time to give this the story the attention it deserved. I kind of want to give this story a rewrite, so I’m gonna go do that now.
This story was rewritten as “Dialing For A Paycheck” and can be read here.
Kurr sat at his desk between his partners’, Logsdon and Ball. Kurr read reports. He drank coffee while he verified alibis in the reports. He reheated his coffee in the microwave three times that morning while he found business names and homes with the listed addresses on his reports. He sighed as he drank his coffee and typed his progress in the reports. Continue reading