Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No Danger

This short-short story is about living alone in a rural area, far from hearing ears should one be in danger, loving the seclusion but nervous of any approaching strangers. The dialogue in this story is a dance of words between an intruder who says she is searching for her lost dog and the owner of the property who doesn't want to show her fear but is wary of the intruder's intentions. The owner's dog, once a good watch dog but now old and deaf, sleeps through the conversation despite the owner's prodding foot. "A million mosquitoes are crawling in the woman's hair and she slaps at them with no effect. I feel sorry for her and think of inviting her into the protection of the porch. Then, a recent report of a robber who took advantage of someone's kindness flashes through my mind and I withdraw my hand from the cool iron of the door latch...'I'll call if I see him.' I want to terminate the visit. She turns away and disappears into the shaded driveway. Five minutes later my dog wakes up and sniffs the air. She barks once, a sharp warning bark, then sighs and goes back to sleep. I think of what my life would be like without her. 'Good dog.' "

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Another short-short story based on a memory from over 50 years ago, a time when I was only 17 and just beginning to step out on a life away from home and a job where I lived in residence with other women. At that time, when I was leaving the proverbial nest and beginning on a nursing career. I had thought I would go into teaching but found that the pre-university courses at high school were too much for me. I left school abruptly and didn't know what to do with my life. My sister-in-law was a nurse and she suggested that I might like to try nursing and with her help I entered into life as a nurse with the thought of going on to train as a registered nurse when I was 18. The Sanatorium was a T.B. hospital where all the patients had tuberculosis in some form or other. As I was under 18 I worked in the children's ward where there were no infectious cases--the children had bone or glandular T.B. I had suffered from T.B. of the neck glands when I was younger caused by drinking unpasteurized milk so I already had resistance to T.B. anyway. The Sanatorium was out in the country, at least a mile away from where the bus that brought me from my days off with my brother and sister-in-law dropped me. This particular story tells of a day in late fall when I had miscalculated the hours of daylight. I arrived at the end of the road when it was getting dark with no lights on this country road. Susan's young imagination takes over and the snort and great shape of a cow in a farmer's field becomes a monster in her mind. "The final curve of the road came at last and, beneath the shining light, the Sanatorium's iron gates stood open in welcome. The path to the nurses' residence was well lit by tall lamps hovering over the walkway." This story does not end here but one more paragraph takes the reader into pure fiction giving a surprise and not so pleasant ending.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Teapot

The Teapot is a postcard story in Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. It takes a look at Marilyn's new found freedom after being divorced by Sam after 25 years of marriage. Sam thought he was getting the best of the deal but he missed Marilyn and the life he had with her, the life he gave up so quickly and without thought for Marilyn's feelings. "Marilyn opened the front door just as Sam had his hand up to ring the chimes. 'Hello, Sam. Bye, Sam.' She pushed a black and white teapot, shaped like a cow, into his hands. 'Take this out of my way, would you Sam? I've got no use for it. Give it to Cora, I'm sure she'll love it.'...Sam watched her drive away like a sad puppy looking through the window as his people went off on a trip." The teapot, a gift given by Sam to Marilyn on her 45th birthday, is a symbol of how little this man knew or understood about his wife or his marriage to her, and how much Marilyn had gained in her life after Sam divorced her.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dust of Days

This is the first of 24 short stories in Part Three of Welsh Cakes: Book of Short Stories. This section consists of Postcard and Short-short stories. Dust of Days was written originally for my local writer's group, and the title was taken from a phrase in a book I was reading at the time. The story begins: "The dust of days settled on everything. The land was dry. There had been no rain for months. I wandered from room to room, carrying the duster in my hand. It was a useless task, this dusting. All it did was move the dust into the air only to fall, a moment later, onto another surface." The story finishes: "Released, in an hour of rain, was the long pent up energy of the dust of days."