Small Minutes is a short story about a girl who would rather face death than have lunch with her mother.excerpt
In the small minutes of night, I drive past the local graveyard going from my work to my home. I pass the places where the Dead are laid and I hold my breath. The Recently Dead in their wood boxes, the Long Dead awaiting their Next Lives, the Young Dead who cry for a Life Not Lived. And the Lost Souls of the Living.
"You have to hold your breath when you pass a graveyard," my Grandmother used to say. "Or else you'll inhale a spirit and they'll have your life. They'll leave you to wander the graveyard in their stead."
Grandma said it, so I believe it, and as I drive past I hold my breath. I am not willing to give up my body to some wandering soul.
I let my breath go in a puff of exhale, look at the halos that come off the street lights and traffic signals. When I was little I thought the halos were ghosts attracted to humanity like bugs attracted to candle flames. Ghosts losing themselves into the red and yellow, the green and white lights that burn them away like moths.
The Unit - Room 154 is a novel about a dystopian LA where women are stolen from the street to be made into slaves, until one of the thieves falls for what he has stolen.
Bear the Pall is an anthology edited by Sally K Lehman about the loss of parents.
Peace Comes at a Cost is a short about a granddaughter and grandfather in an uncomfortable situation. Published by Lunch Ticketexcerpt
"That nurse-girl stole my check blanks.”
It’s a conversation starter. I just got here, just sat down in the chair that used to be Grandma’s and we needed a place to start.
The nurse comes in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to check on him and get him to bathe. On Fridays, I show up a half hour after the nurse leaves, and he bitches. As he bitches about that “nurse girl” he points to the front door and I can see his arm because he forgot to button his shirt sleeve and his muscles aren’t big enough to keep the material up. His withered arm, like chicken skin that’s been pulled off raw, slaps at the air. He shakes his fist and that skin jiggles and I can’t eat chicken anymore.
I look away, over to the television that’s not on, to the bookcase filled with Reader’s Digest books in rainbow colors, to the robin’s egg blue paint on the walls and the thick brown shag carpet. But his arm stays up, the skin jiggling back and forth at the edges of my sight line.
“She didn’t steal your check blanks, Grandpa,” I say.
“Listen here, missy, they’re gone.”
“I put them in the desk drawer where you always keep them.”
“That’s not where I like them.”
“Yeah, it is.”
He looks over the 1940’s red metal TV tray he likes to eat at, his brittle blue eyes pale imitations of themselves with white cataract lace crocheted across. The old face, deep wrinkled cheeks, and I make myself remember being told that I’m supposed to love and respect this man. And I want to, I really do. It’s just easier to remember when his skin’s not jiggling at me.
How Mom Played Sad is a short, woven story about a mother and daughter. Published by Voicecatcher.excerpt
The sounds of the piano met me at the corner where Kelly Avenue meets East Fourteenth Street, that spot on Kelly where you can still see the river in the distance. Over the tops of the hills that lead up from downtown, up into our cheaper area of town. The river from there always this slice of gray-blue water with lots of white foam from all the rock formations in the river by The Dalles. We always knew north when I was a kid because in Oregon, north is always the Columbia. During my ten years living, it was one of the very few things that was always the same.
I wanted to keep walking, downhill, downtown, down to the river, away from the corner where my part of Fourteenth Street began. My want sat on my shoulders, pushed me down under the straps of my back pack. And I turned left toward our house.
Our Hell is a prose poem. Published by Perceptions : A Magazine of the Arts and Blue Skirt Productions.excerpt
By the beginning of the year we had redefined hell.
Hell is now the white condominium, one away from the golf course, with petunias in the brick flower box by the front door.
We have to believe in this hell. Without a hell there is no heaven. We have to have our religion of please-god-save-our-mother even though there is no longer a god and Mom is going to die.
My sisters and I congregate at our white condo-hell and arrange things.
Who takes care of Mom this day, the next day, three weeks from Tuesday if she’s still alive then? Who calls the doctor or the hospice nurse or the ambulance if she needs to been seen by someone? Who handles the paperwork and the insurance and the will and the ashes if Mom dies right this very second now?
If has become our petition.
Our prayer to the godlessness we’ve founded.
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Small Minutes     Bear the Pall     Peace Comes at a Cost     How Mom Played Sad     Our Hell     Sally K Lehman at Amazon