Skip: A short story

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jack Shade, Nov 12, 2009.

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  1. Adjusting the paisley purse around her arm, she whispered “Ever wonder if time repeats itself? Like…a needle stuck on a record?”

    “Eh?” came the belated response, old rheumy eyes edging in their sockets lazily. “Did you say something?”

    “Time!” she said an octave higher and a few levels louder, “Do you think it repeats itself?” His hearing had been muffled since the winter of ’92 and each passing season seemed to curl more cotton into his eardrum, the deep kind that came with wrinkles.

    “Oh,” he nodded with ascent, “I see.” But he understood no more than Rodney had before Jimmy Death in a lab coat and syringe had sent him to a four-legged beyond. It wasn’t that she hadn’t explained it to him; the poor creature simply had no will to hear. Nowadays it seemed like no one had the time of day to hear her, as though her words moved with the same lethargic pace as she did. Fuck arthritis, but she’d never say it.

    “What do you think the birds thought when the first airplane took flight? Do you think they were scared?”

    “Did we remember our tickets? I think we forgot our tickets.”

    “No I have them,” She soothed with a sigh, “I put them in my purse this morning, remember?” Sometimes she thought she’d catch a glimpse of him looking at her, never enough to turn his head but enough to pretend. Quite alright of course, at least he had the chivalry to act. In the Milwaukee nursing home she’d toured for his sake, the dusty relics simply sat and moldered like aging statues in a forgotten city. He couldn’t be placed there, never there or at least that’s what she told Lizzy. ‘Elizabeth’ she had corrected, making the distinction between daughter and warden with a single word, but she had always been the type to drift.

    “Do you think Frank will pick us up at the terminal?” he asked, but his mouth stumbled over the words he forgot even as he spoke them. One had to wonder what would happen if he was answered, if he could take another step in conversation like old dance steps.

    She remembered his dancing, but not his hair color.

    There would be no Frank at the terminal, estranged son who spun sideways in a Chevy deathtrap one windy November. He hadn’t walked out from the water then, and he wouldn’t now. A good man is hard to find…but luckily Frankie was held by his seat belt and was recovered with the car. And while the good die young, the better seem to only get older…and perish slowly. The jumbo plane paused in its slow turn toward the terminal, tiny men in tinier hats manning a mobile escalator to a side door. It was like a painting she’d once seen, the one with the little women…or had that been a book? Adjusting her vision from the slant on her nose, she squeezed the handles of her purse to ensure they were still there.

    “Looks like rain,” he said with a rasp, bringing the umbrella in his right hand above his head. Some said it was bad luck to open them indoors, but the worst luck was forgetting you did it…or why it was wrong. “Can’t get a cold, I have work in the morning.” He didn’t.

    “Yes dear,” She responded as she had ten minutes ago, “You can’t be sick for the important presentation.” Sometimes she thought she might believe him, that in the morning he would wake up and drive to work in the old Porsche while she watched the children at home. But the Porsche had been sold ten years ago, and the kids were watched by spouses now…as children are oft to do. Little was left of the present and the past leaked into today, maybe he could understand that…hence the umbrella. Stepping into its shadow, she laid one shaking hand on his. It wasn’t much, but the world was ending don’t cha’ know and the small counted for a lot.

    He glanced at her, old sloped mouth curving up to a rare smile. “We’ll get through just fine, we always do.” And she believed him, as she always had.

    The ceiling squawked static followed by a voice slow enough to know it was in no rush to inform. “Flight 347 Tallahassee to Milwaukee now boarding all remaining passengers. Repeat, all remaining passengers to the terminal please.”

    The world shuffled forward around them, but they never moved. Perhaps, she mused, they were sheltered from time under his umbrella and might escape the last step forward.

    But he had not opened his umbrella and the final boarding had not been called.

    Adjusting the paisley purse around her arm, she whispered “Ever wonder if time repeats itself? Like…a needle stuck on a record?”
     
  2. Interesting little creation, Jack! I love it! The writing-style is intriguing and suspenseful!
     
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