Making a Sandwich

February 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm (Uncategorized)

This is in response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge “Making a Sandwich”

The goal was to tell a story about someone making a sandwich in a 1000 words or less. This is mine.

 

Shaun was looking for bread when he heard her walk in behind him.  She’d put on weight as she’d gotten older and her footsteps were heavy on the old boards in the house. He opened another cabinet and hoped if he ignored her she would go away. She stood quietly until he found the bread stuffed on top of the refrigerator, obviously thinking he would notice her standing there. He judiciously followed through with his plan, carefully tracing his way through the kitchen so he could keep his back to her. It didn’t work.

“I thought you were supposed to be at work today?”  Her voice was icy and patronizing.
He sighed as he laid out the bread on his plate, carefully arranging the slices parallel to each other. “They let me go home early. I said I wasn’t feeling well.”
“You are always going home early. You go home early and you eat our food and you go down to that dingy basement and play video games with your friends.”
Shaun bent down to look in the fridge pawing through bottles for condiments.
“You wanted me to get a job and I got a job to make you happy. Now that isn’t good enough, what else do you want me to do?” He found a bottle of barbeque sauce wedged in behind a Tupperware container of cantaloupe.
“You work fast food!” Her voice took on a shrill quality as it raised, that’s how he always knew when she was really getting angry. “You call in sick every other day and you’ve gotten three warnings and your supervisor has called me twice to say you smell like pot when you show up to work! Do you think that’s what I wanted? Do you?”
The mustard was almost empty, he shook it hard and determined that would be enough for a sandwich.
“We need more mustard.”
There was silence for a while and Shaun grew nervous. He looked over his shoulder at her, pausing in his task. She stood leaning against the doorframe, arms folded under her breasts the way she always did when she was mad, her face though, her face was going slowly white with anger. Shaun decided that he had said the wrong thing. He busied himself looking for the jalapenos again.
“Scott works his fingers to the bone taking care of us.” Her voice had gone very quiet. She was the eye of the storm, still as a day on the lake while death swirled all around. “We have a mortgage and he doesn’t make as much as he did. The economy isn’t what it used to be. We told you that you could stay here in the basement until you got on your feet. You are so ungrateful; Scott’s been like a father to you…”
“He is not my father! Don’t you say that!” He slammed a bottle of pickles on the counter and threw the fridge door shut. It bounced back open and he had to shut it again more quietly.
“I’m sorry I’m such a burden to you and all. Maybe I’ll go meet some girl and move in with her, would you like that?”
“I didn’t say he was your father. And honestly I wish you would. But you don’t go out and meet girls; I don’t know why not, you are a good looking man. I love you, but you need to move on with your life.” She just sounded tired now. Defeated.
“Of course I don’t meet girls. You think I want to bring anyone back here? Show them I live in your basement? That will go over really well.” He began furiously spreading mayonnaise on his slice of bread.
“It’s time you did. We can’t have you around anymore. Scott’s tired of it. I’m tired of it. You are dragging us down and honestly you’ve outstayed your welcome.”
His hands shook as he layered pastrami and lettuce on his sandwich and carefully patted the last slice of bread on top.
“When do you want me out?”
“Soon, Scott and I have decided we want to try and have a baby together.”
He paused a moment before he finished returning the condiments to the fridge.
“Don’t you think you are a little too old for that?”
“I’m twenty-seven, dad!” Her voice had taken on that high pitched quality again that was so offensive to his ears. “I want you out tomorrow!”
She stormed out of the room, slamming every door behind her she could.
He took a bite of his sandwich and smiled proudly. His little girl was growing up.

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October 20, 2010 at 4:35 am (Uncategorized)

I am Icarus and you are my sun,

My destination and my destroyer.

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napalm

September 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm (Uncategorized)

baby, stick to me, like styrofoam and gasoline

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chain chain chain

July 7, 2010 at 3:08 am (Uncategorized)

I smile as I let your foolishness wash over me, as I finally begin to realize how lucky I was when you always said no.

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protection

March 3, 2010 at 1:17 am (Uncategorized)

“No, no” said my father, as he carefully removed a carving knife from my childish hands, “you aren’t old enough for that yet.” I cried, I wanted to carve beautiful shapes in the wood, wanted to create. I left it where he put it, and I have all my fingers.

“Stop!” cried my father, pulling me from the oncoming traffic, “You must always cross the street with an adult!” I was upset, I wanted to go where I wanted, but I listened, and I am not in a wheelchair.

“Not til you are ready” said my father, when I begged to drive the car, “you are much too young.” I desperately wanted to drive myself, but I listened and I still have my life.

“Not yet” said my Father, as I asked him for a woman, “you aren’t ready.” So I am listening…

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February 5, 2010 at 3:59 am (Uncategorized)

You stained my soul with a touch.

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Merkey Waters

February 2, 2010 at 3:57 am (Life)

Darling, I’m hovering on the precipice and the water sounds like thunder. Come near to me, come closer and kiss me, accept my fate as your own and we will tempt chance together. Lets take the leap, wrap yourself in me and we can dive into the waterfall of fate locked arm in arm, tumbling and spinning together towards the inevitable. Will we be crushed by the power and thunder of the churning falls, beaten together by unmerciful outside forces? Or, maybe, we will surface together, breaking free into the sparkling sun, alive and awash with the joy of adventure, safe at last. Either way, our destiny is entangled.

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randomized thoughts

January 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm (Streams of Consciousness, Thoughts)

The twin dancing demons of insecurity and obsession are soft shoeing on my bed with me. I politely requested for them to stop but they seem intent on ignoring me.

The light twinkles in your eyes like the Sun is trapped within, but it’s not me you’re looking at
Your laugh is like an angel’s, ushering all who hear to heaven, but it’s not me you’re laughing with.

When you reach the escape hatch and can look back on the maze that brought you there, it’s much easier to punish yourself for the wrong turns that looked so right at the time.

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scrape the sky

December 17, 2009 at 5:55 pm (Short Stories) (, , )

The mountain used to be popular destination for hikers, but only for the most serious. Its formidable height and sharp angles made the mountain unsuitable for a family outing or for any but the most sure of foot. Years of erosion and neglect took its toll on the trails and paths. Fences and trail markings had long since fallen into disrepair. This evening in mid-February its frozen peak was as treacherous as it had even been. Night was just beginning to fall stretching the mountains shadow across the countryside below as it slowly blended into the darkening sky. A hand poked its way tenuously over the top, felt for a grip, grasped a root that had managed to grab hold in the rocky surface and a young man pulled his way onto the small flat peak. He cautiously stood on the icy ground, resisting the push of the slicing wind, and surveyed his surroundings. The way he had come up was the only possible access point and all other sides fell away to vertigo inducing drop offs. He paused for a moment, visibly shivering in his small t-shirt, and caught his breath as he surveyed the surrounding countryside. From this height everything looked like an incredibly detailed toy city. The few cars that still drove the streets were faint pin pricks, only discernable from the tiny lights that moved slowly down the winding snake of the road below. Cautiously, careful with his footing, the young man moved over to peer down the sharp side of the cliff and sucked in a breath at the drop. “This is perfect”, he muttered to himself. As if to make sure his eyes didn’t deceive him, he picked up a rock and casually dropped it over the abyss, ears straining to hear the sound that never came. “Oh yes, this is it” he muttered, “this time it will work”.
This one was higher than the others, he knew that much. This was easily the highest he had ever been and that was good, that would surely contribute to his success. He began shaking his arms as he stepped back from the ledge, shaking his legs to get the blood flowing. What if? What if he failed? Doubt had snuck into his mind, forgotten with the thrill of climbing, the sense of adventure, but now, so close to triumph, had taken over his thoughts, damping his enthusiasm. He couldn’t have that. He had to try, he couldn’t sleep at night if he didn’t. Yes, the risk was greater this way, but that also meant the reward was worth pursuing that much more. Besides, it hadn’t worked because the others were too small, this mountain was so high, so majestic, it screamed for adventure and the realization of dreams. He had to know. He took a final step back, inhaled deeply, and ran straight for the edge, each step pushing him closer to the edge. Each step drew him closer to doom, each step drew him closer to glory. He reached the edge and jumped, launching himself into oblivion.
It had worked! Confidence filled him. Finally he had realized his greatest dream. “I’m flying!” He shouted, crowing his triumph and joy to deaf ears of the wind that rushed past, tearing the words from his lips, “I’ve done it! I knew I could!” What if? What if this time was like the others? “No” he whispered as he hung momentarily suspended in time and space, “this time it’s going to be different”. He spread his arms and tried to catch a current of air, tried to catch the wind that screamed past him, and fell.
His body broke on the rocks below, bones snapped, tendons tore and his head bounced violently off the ground. Stillness. The full night came on, and the darkness became complete, cloaking the crevasse in shadow. The dark faded slowly as the sun rose the next morning, slowly burning away the fog and revealing the broken figure of the young man still splayed in the same position he had landed in. He didn’t move, the frost clinging to his t-shirt and hair, but a small wisp of hot breath on cold air misted softly between his blue lips. Two hours after the sunrise he stirred, groaning terribly, and slowly pulled himself hand over hand out of the crevasse and down the mountain.
“You are an idiot”, he mumbled to himself, “You knew it wouldn’t work. It never works”. He dragged his broken arm awkwardly behind him, one arm doing all the work. He paused for a moment brow furrowed, looking thoughtful. “But I did come close. This time was better than the others. I was so close, I could feel it.” He started crawling again, a grimace spreading across his features as the pain shot through his body again. “I know what it is! I just wasn’t high enough, I just need to find a higher mountain!” The pain forgotten, his battered face spread into a wide grin that wanted for more than a few teeth. “And then. Then I will fly.”

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sky writing

December 17, 2009 at 5:51 pm (Streams of Consciousness) (, , )

My plane swims through this thin, wonderful liquid we call air. I feel like I am on a submarine exploring the deep, the cirrus clouds below me look like floating seaweed trailing gossamer tendrils in the invisible current that is wind. I want to swim. I want to exit my submarine and plunge on a scuba expedition to the dark recesses of this ocean floor. Perhaps a civilization has sprung up down there; it’s hard to see, the air moves and dances and distorts the vision. I can make out the outlines of undersea mountains, so high, so inaccessible from the depth we cruise at. I want to leap out and sink down and join this mythical Atlantean civilization, learn their customs and explore their world. I envision stepping out and allowing the current to rip me out, I use an emergency exit to avoid the propellers, to avoid a terrible way to begin an adventure. I could breathe this light liquid, I am sure I could. My weight would pull me downward, suddenly, heartstoppingly, towards the floor of this expansive ocean, tearing the parting words that I had no use for, from my quiet lips. I would slip through the seemingly solid clouds effortlessly, but I would feel refreshed, like I had just stepped into a cold shower. The air would be cold at this depth and warmer as I sank, I would be chilled after slipping through the cloud, but the sun would be soft on my face. Would sinking that quickly hurt me? I know you can get the bends from rising from the depths too quickly but I wonder if the rate of my dive would hurt me in the same way. I can imagine nearing the bottom and seeing wonders that few hoped to see, surveying this undersea world from above. I bet it’s beautiful.

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