Original short fiction by Kelseyville High School’s Joseph Gentle.
We were unmasked then and I was at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, waiting for a connecting flight. Jostling through the lunch line, I found a place to sit with my sandwich and hefted up my carry-on bag for a table. The chair beside me was empty, but as I smeared mustard across the soggy bread, three people arrived. One of them, an attractive woman pulling her own small bag, sat down. With her was a woman, younger, I thought, in a wheelchair. She was accompanied by a tall man with sandy hair and wearing a light blue Aloha shirt, who eased her chair forward so that the women were almost touching knees. The wheelchair was sleek and looked new. The women bowed their heads in muted conversation, and I found myself leaning back into my chair, trying to give them space they obviously did not need. They started crying. To read the full story visit @lakecountybloom
She wrote him letters. About the time he read Neruda’s poetry to her when she was ill, the time he ran outside in the rain to fetch the chapstick from her car, the time he brought her daisies after driving to three florists in his search, only to discover they grew wild behind an abandoned farmhouse two miles from their home. She trusted their past. The memories in her letters steadied him, and with her words, his life felt more vibrant. For a year, he returned her letters with postcards, writing nothing except his next address. He moved often, life snaking through back-country roads, as elliptical as her handwriting. Her words would find him wherever he went. A letter had arrived that October morning.
Today, Madeline Sharpton told everyone at school that I had herpes. She’s a mean girl, practically six feet tall, and that tall-ness gives her a weird authority in the world of middle school. All the other students believed her–including my so-called friends. I’m only thirteen, but it must be the worst day in my life forever.
Once I had my hair down to my waist, a gap between my teeth. I believed in the power of music, that it could change the world. My name is Charlotte by the way. My father used to say that I was too big for my britches. Who uses the word “britches” these days? Though Dad said that a long time ago–we’re talking the 70s. I’m an old(er) lady now, and Dad’s long gone.
Rose’s hip stabbed her at seven. She stretched her legs under the quilt, finding a position her pelvis liked, and then she waited for her bladder to wake up and force her out of bed. In her mind she clicked through her schedule for another Monday: KRON news until nine, then New York Crime Sceneon cable 53, then over to cable 56 for its fraternal sibling, Miami Forensics, followed by the Judges: Ray Brown, and Jody. During lunch she’d watch KTVU news, and then another New York Crime Scene on cable 25. In the evening, she switched over to Las Vegas Crime Scene and then, after her nap, the five o’clock KRON news followed by two of the national news broadcasts: ABC and CBS. Rose loved Dan Rather; was heartsick for a week after his retirement. Then dinner and Tuesday’s prime time reality shows beginning with Police Call, over to channel five and Real Life Forensics, followed by Challenge of Fear, which she watched about half of, with sideways glances at the disgusting parts. Her day would end with the eleven o’clock news on KRON, creating a neat KRON symmetry, the channel already set to start the next day.
“Get the woman up. We’re leaving,” Breem growled. Nicolas heard the connection go dead, held the phone out for inspection, and shook his head. “Yeah, Boss, no problem.” With this sudden order from Breem, he rolled over on his bed, kicked at his partner on the other double-sized bed, and looked across the room to […]
“Eric, my friend, how are you?” asked Michael. Michael listened for a few moments to his Belgian friend’s customary monologue of opinions on the state of American politics. Their phone calls, texts, and emails often began this way. Michael was well aware of his friend’s conservative views and would normally and politely let him go […]
“We’ve got the woman,” Breem said into his phone. “Your help in this project was the key I needed,” Walter Breem told his new contact in Lancaster, England. After listening to the caller’s response, he replied, “Yes, I will let Hamish know as well. His network in Leeds put me onto you, but you discovered […]
“Disappointed? Hell, I’m disappointed,” said Ned Bolting. It was 1985, and Huntington Meeks and his good friend Ned walked side by side along a dirt track behind the Meekses’ manor house and beyond the well-manicured gardens. “You were the senior US senator from Alabama, Ned. What brought you to San Francisco? Tell me again. I […]
“Well, get back out there, man,” Breem commanded. Nicolas’s boss, Walter Breem, was still in London, and Nicolas hated it when the old man was in a yelling mood, which was occurring often lately. And he hated England. Nice one day, crappy the next. Even sunny one moment, rainy the next, he thought. He wanted […]
“Is the charge set, George?” shouted Horace. George ran from the oil derrick, down a slight slope, and toward his friend and business partner, Horace Meeks, a sparkling gleam of hope in his eyes. The sun of that warm spring morning in southwestern Oklahoma was just clearing the distant treetops. The year was 1911. In […]
“You are back early, Michael,” said Mrs. Neil. Michael ducked his head through the low doorway and into the kitchen of the Banes-Flatt, where the stalwart owner of the old B and B sipped her morning tea. She sat on a tall wooden chair beside a well-worn butcher block, teacup in hand. A small pot […]
“Mr. Meeks?” Elisabeth asked as she entered the room. Huntington was feeling more than hearing a soft feminine voice. The sound, almost a humming melody, was the low-energy frequency of a familiar voice he could not quite place. He sensed the honeyed tone was not part of the dream he had been experiencing—or its continuation. […]
With a pang of regret, Elisabeth walked up the stairs. Through a fog of alcohol, Elisabeth made the way to her room at the Banes-Flatt B and B after fully reading the distressing email she had received as her evening with Michael was winding down. She had been considering making the evening with him last […]
“Where is Monica?” asked the stern old woman. Elisabeth turned slowly in the direction of the raspy, irritating voice. It was a humid late-summer day in 1978, and Elisabeth wiped the moisture from her brow as she leaned in toward the woman. In a hushed tone, Elisabeth replied, “She is just there, behind her father’s […]
From nowhere, it seemed, Michael Seltzer swore. The green Land Rover bore down upon Michael with a loud rumble. There was no time to understand the events unfolding. Instinct took hold and most likely saved him from an instant, gruesome death. A moment earlier, Michael had stopped within sight of a favored coffee shop. To […]