Stuart stumbled along in a nameless alley somewhere in America’s hinterlands while humming Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin.
As usual, he was as drunk as an English Lord. His dirty white t-shirt was partly covered by an unzippered green hoodie he found in a Salvation Army donor bin. An invisible cloud of cheap whiskey and beer clung to him as he staggered along on the uneven cobblestones. They were still slick from the rain that afternoon, and it took all of Stuart’s weakened will power to keep from repeatedly falling.
The thing about Stuart was he was a broken man. Once he had a family. But his wife and daughter died in a tragic carjacking one day. He went crazy from grief and lost his job, SUV, and house. All he wanted to do was drink alcohol and stay in a perpetual state of stupidity. He dropped out of life. He became such a pathetic figure other homeless people in the neighborhood avoided him. Social workers would give him food and try to get him help, but he refused to go into any programs, or commit to shelter rules. His tall lanky figure was a fixture in the city’s alleys and byways. An old injury to his left foot gave him an odd gait, making him recognizable from afar and in the dusk.
Stuart’s thoughts went no further than begging for money, or stealing from supermarkets and liquor stores. He’d been arrested for countless petty crimes, did county jail time and community service, and was always released to resume his miserable existence. Every day was Blursday for him.
All that changed one Afternoon.
It was two o’clock and the town hall bell chimed precisely on time. Stuart stopped and slowly opened his first bottle of Jim Beam for the day when he saw something that froze him, causing him to drop the precious bottle as he watched something very bad happening.
A man with a gun had stopped a car in the middle of the street and was violently pulling the woman driver out! A little girl screamed “Mommie!“ Something snapped in Stuart’s head and he ran as fast as his bad foot allowed, slamming into the carjacker with all of his force. The gun fell in the ensuing struggle and the woman broke free. The enraged car jacker pulled a knife and stabbed Stuart in the chest! Adrenaline running high, Stuart pulled it out and got the switchblade off his attacker and slashed him across the face with it. Suddenly police appeared and separated them. The car jacker was handcuffed and taken away. The last thing Stuart remembered was trying to staunch the blood flow and passing out.
The next day Stuart had two visitors at the hospital. When he opened his eyes the woman he saved was standing at the side of his bed with her young daughter. He could see the relief in their eyes as they could see he’d be all right.
“My name is Beth and this is my daughter Trina. We’d like to be your friends if that’s okay?“
A tear trickled down one of Stewart’s eyes and he was so choked up it took a minute to reply, “Yeah! That would be more than okay.”
when love turns to ash
it sometimes happens
in a flash
the driver in the crash
saw his entire life go by
in a flash
of a treasure cache
in a flash
he left behind a lot of cash
but his wife gambled it away
in a flash!
they gather under couches and chairs
little balls composed of cat hairs
people everywhere concur
all pet homes have balls of fur
the only way to make them go away
is to vacuum everyday
if you love animals that’s okay
and a very small price to pay
the stirring started when he became a teen
a young buck who fell for a beauty queen
the strange sensation in his groin a mystery
a newly found interest in the female anatomy
but when the day came
to ask the girl for a date
he just couldn’t concentrate
that fateful afternoon
because a shy voice in his head whispered… Too soon.
we sit side by side in a state of serenity
my Iggy and me
he, a small version of a greyhound
with brown eyes that are profound
that look into my soul
his presence does console
we spend comfortable hours silently
contemplating many a mystery
my Iggy and me.
(Editor’s note: apologies to Edgar Allen Poe for this updated adaptation of Annabel Lee)
It was many, and many a month ago
in a city called Miami
there was a woman living there who you may know
by the name of Tammy McGee
and this woman spent her time
loving and being loved by me
I was retired and so was she
living on the beaches of Miami
and we loved one another madly
I, and my Tammy McGee
with a love the world envied
her, and me
and this was the reason
she was killed by a Nazi
on the beaches of Miami
my gorgeous Tammy McGee
Her family came
and bore her away from me,
burying her in secrecy
the relatives were never happy with me
Yes! That is the reason, as all people know,
they took her away from Miami
hiding my beloved Tammy McGee
but our love continues on in eternity
and nothing can take away her love from me
she appears to me every night in my dreams
my darling Tammy McGee
and not a day goes by
when the sun raises high
when I don’t want to die
went the big bullfrog
while sitting on a floating log
in a basso tone
making the lady frogs groan
ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!
the bullfrog sang
before he suddenly sprang
taking everything he had
to land smoothly on a lily pad
ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!
excited girl frogs were arrayed
waiting for the bullfrog’s serenade
ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!
sang the bullfrog under the light of the moon
while his delighted audience tried not too swoon
Flash Fiction 400 -words
Deuce McCutcheon went to her funeral a year ago, but was still having trouble believing she was gone forever. Freyja was the love of his life. She was the first, and only, woman who could see behind the hideous mask of his contorted face, which was a result of a terrible childhood injury.
She never hesitated to kiss his twisted lips in public or private. They were soulmates, spending endless hours talking through sleepless nights. Sharing their dreams and inner desires until exhaustion overtook them both. Their years together flew by like days as the lovers languished in the security of one anothers embrace.
As lovers often do, they talked about life after death and what they would do when the horrible time came when one was left without the other. They weighed in on his Christian Heaven, and her Norwegian Valhalla. They explored the concept of life energy moving from one host to the next. They planned elaborate ways of communicating from one realm or dimension to the survivor’s world.
But nothing worked. Deuce grew more depressed every day. On the anniversary of her death he visited her grave. Pulling out a sprig of sage he lit it and passed the smoke back and forth over her resting place. Next, he pulled out his pipe and packed it with a strain of their favorite cannabis, and puffed on it thoughtfully as he looked at her photo which he brought with him.
A thought entered his grief. Hazy and unformed. He realized that he had saved more than just photos of her. He had saved her old cell phone number. He was fumbling for his old-fashioned flip cell phone when the sun parted the dark clouds that hung over the cemetery.
Opening it, he went straight to his address book. There it was. Freyja’s phone number. The chill seemed to go away and he took his jacket off while staring at the number. He was experiencing a strange sense of peace. He pushed her number…and waited. It rang three times. Then he heard Freyja’s high voice…”I wondered when you would call,” she teased him.
The next day a ground’s keeper discovered Deuce’s body, curled up on a grave. He was still clutching his cell phone. Later when asked about his discovery by a reporter, he said, “You should have seen the smile on that guy’s face!”
100 words –
I’ve heard last words that sear my soul. Cries from dying comrades calling for their mother, as their lifeblood soaked a jungle floor in a meaningless war.
In the movies the hero always says something brave and fine with their last words before closing their eyes and meeting eternity and inspiring the viewer in spite of their grief, that their death wasn’t in vain.
Such noble sentiment seldom occurs in the real world where last words are more likely to be “No!” or, “Too soon!” But to be fair, there is a fair share that say, “I love you too.“
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