Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fourth Time’s a Charm

First date

We wait for a server to bring our coconut cream pie. His favorite. I hate coconut. Those little white clumps get stuck in my teeth, and I turn into a tongue contortionist trying to extricate the intruders. I’m not keen on sharing a dessert on the first date either, but I won’t say anything. I don’t get asked out very often. My friend Connie says it's because I dress frumpy, not that guys are lined up at her door like she's some sleeping princess.

He reaches across the table, captures my hands in his, and tells me I’m beautiful. Warmth spreads across my cheeks. I'm too nervous to tell him he's handsome in return. Instead, I try not to stare at the dab of catsup on his chin.

Second date

We hold hands walking out of the theater.

“Did you like the movie?” he asks.

I say sure and think, not really. He explains how this version of RoboCop is different from the first. He reminds me of the movie's main character. I smile and nod, ask if we can get some ice cream.

“Okay,” he says. “I hope they have peppermint.” Rocky Road's my favorite.

Third date

He escorts me to the front door of my building. I ask, for the first time, if he’d like to come in. I don't tell him no man's been in my apartment since Bennie broke up with me and moved to California eight months ago.

He says he has to be up early.

It’s nine o’clock on a Friday night.

He kisses me on the cheek. I grab his power tie, pull him to me, kiss him on the lips, and press my body softly against his. He smiles, misses the first step, grabs the railing with both hands, and tells me to have a good night. Frustrated, I go inside and drink a beer.

Fourth date

The coconut cream pie sits between us. He doesn’t seem to notice I haven’t eaten any.

“Do you like my dress?” I ask. It’s the classic little black dress, only in dark green. The hem rides to mid-thigh when I sit. The tops of my breasts peak out of the v-cut neckline.

“Sure. What’s not to like?”

I learn toward him. “Besides my heels, it’s all I have on.” I smile. He sits up, fork suspended. “I’ll prove it once we’re in the taxi.”

He leans back, almost tips his chair over. He’s become a mime, and I don’t understand anything he says.

I look back at the table as I reach for the door. Give him one more chance. A piece of pie slides down his tie like a kayak going over a waterfall in slow motion.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Evening Under the Moon

The prompt words for today's 5 to 50/55 challenge in bold.

The gap in their ages no deterrent to them dancing an erotic ballet under a sky sprinkled with wispy clouds, the duo moved to the rhythm of lust. Psychological barriers overcome, friends befriended or unfriended, naysayers ignored, they worshiped only each other. The one question remaining was which one of them the puppies would favor. (55 words)

Sunday, March 30, 2014


This week's prompt words in bold.


His opaque gaze drifted to the empty armchair, the one that she’d occupied since their children’s childhood, the one she preferred to any theater seat, the one purchased at Sears and Roebuck when it still offered its large, printed catalog, the one she’d reupholstered twice, the one where she fell asleep for the last time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


by Jim Harrington
First published at MicroHorror

I zipped my backpack and set it on the floor when Mom entered the kitchen. She wore a short, terrycloth robe and her hair was wet. I was pretty sure she’d shaved her legs, too. After she poured her coffee, I told her I was sick and unable to go to school.

“Do you have a test? Do you have to read something in front of the class? Is someone bullying you?” I answered no to all of her questions. “You don’t have a fever. Your skin color is good. You’re not throwing up. Are you having your period?” The rapid fire questions were typical of Mom when she was agitated. I shook my head. “Then there’s no reason why you can’t go to school.” She threw her hands in the air, splashing coffee on her robe, and strode out of the kitchen. “Be ready in five, young lady. You don’t want to be late again,” she said from half way up the stairs.

You would think Mom would have different questions by now. I tried--unsuccessfully--staying home the first Monday of the last three months. The first Monday was when Daddy flew to Des Moines to his company’s headquarters for some stupid sales meetings. It was also one of Uncle Jack’s days off from work. He wasn’t my uncle, really. He was our neighbor, and he was having an affair with Mom. I knew this because I ran home from school one day instead of eating lunch and peeked into a window. They were naked. Mom was bent over the kitchen table. Uncle Jack was standing behind her, swaying back and forth, his wanker (that’s what my friend Sara calls it) sliding in and out of Mom. My parents didn’t think I knew about sex because I was only in eighth grade, but I’d seen pictures on the Internet. Besides, Sara and I tried it with a cucumber once. We didn’t like it at first. 

I told Mom I knew about her and Uncle Jack, that I’d seen them. She slapped my face and sent me to my room. That was two months ago. I thought if she knew I knew she’d stop. She didn’t. So today it was my turn to be the adult and end the affair. Sara said I should tell Daddy. I couldn’t do that. It would break his heart.

I opened my backpack, made sure Daddy's gun was still there, and zipped the bag shut.

“It’s okay, Mom. I’ll walk to school.”

“Are you sure, sweetie? I don’t want you to be late.”

“And I know why,” I mumbled.

“What? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I have plenty of time. See you this afternoon.”

I heard her voice, but not what she said. I was already out the door.

At the end of the driveway, I turned right and headed for school. Uncle Jack was sweeping off his porch, probably waiting for me to leave. I smiled and waved, certain Mom hadn’t told him I knew about them. “Have a nice day. See you later,” I said. He smiled and waved back.

I walked two blocks and sat on the bus stop bench. I figured twenty minutes would be enough time for me to wait. I rubbed the backpack, felt the gun. 

Daddy will be so proud of me.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

She Thinks Juan is my Gay Lover

Today's prompt words in bold.

She Thinks Juan is my Gay Lover

My aunt yells at me through a stuck window of her third floor apartment while I wait for a taxi. What a fruitcake. Or is that fruitcakette? She thinks I’m having an affair with “that yellow skinned Spanish guy.” He’s not my lover, nor Spanish. He’s the psychiatrist I’m hoping will sign her commitment papers. (55 words)