Golden

I remember meeting her. She was a bubble of golden light, bouncing around my friend’s home. She was there as a ‘Girl Friday’ doing various chores and errands for my sick friend. She sang, she smiled, she was cheerful. She was the best medicine a sick person could have in her home.

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That Laugh

I could hear that laugh in my office, which was across the hall and down two doors from his office. Loud, braying, and annoying was that laugh. It got worse late in the afternoon when he took a Valium. You could always tell when he took his Valium. At least I could close my office door. It was hilarious how many office doors closed late in the afternoon.

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The Best Thing

The car seems to know the way to the lab where they draw blood out of my arm by itself. People are quiet there, hoping things will go quickly and they can get on with their day. Everyone stares at their phone and waits to hear their number called. When I finally get called to the back, I realize the best thing about summer is you already have on a short sleeved shirt if you need your blood drained away. Makes it so much easier, doesn’t it?

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Bubblegum

Bubblegum Alley

As soon as the music started, I tapped my foot happily to the beat. “Bah,” he said. “Mere bubblegum pop. Turn on something worth hearing.”

“But I like this,” I said. “It’s happy.”

“It’s simplistic drivel. I won’t allow it in my head.”

I turned it off, but I always remember this as the moment I stopped respecting my dad.

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Autograph

She told a story about a flirty, teasing autograph she received from the author of a book. It brought back memories of my favorite autograph. It was from a singer at a jazz concert. She signed her CD cover with “You were great last night.” I thought that was . . .

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Mac and Cheese

Sam didn’t talk about his childhood much, so when he shared a story, I let him talk as long as he wanted. His dad’s girlfriend, he claimed, made the world worst mac and cheese. It was watery and there wasn’t enough cheese. What cheese there was wasn’t right somehow. Sam explained . . .

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Put That Thing Away

Little Tommy had a knack for picking up things around the house that he wasn’t supposed to touch. I could hear his mother through the thin walls of our apartment building saying, “Put that thing away,” frequently during the day. I grew curious about all the forbidden things inside their apartment that tempted Tommy to touch. I tried peeking in the window when they were away. I saw . . .

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On the Table

Jared dropped keys and sunglasses on the table as he raced toward the bathroom. That Chinese food from the food truck did something horrible to him. He puked up his guts, then laid on the floor moaning. Something was taped to the underside of the toilet tank. He slid closer to peer at it. A fat envelope. It looked like it held a big wad of cash.

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Strike Out

2016 1st Place Winner

Tara stepped off the edge and rappelled into the cave. The light on her helmet sketched a faint path through the rocks. This trip into the cave was Tara’s last chance to prove her case about what had become of Steve. If she struck out this time, the Captain made it clear she would be pulled from the search. She knew in her bones she was right. She moved slowly, running her light left and right into the nooks and folds of the rock.

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The Movers

We were the movers. A ragtag group of family and friends, a couple of  pickup trucks, and not enough time. I had the easy parts like wiping off the dust and bringing in the pizza. Moving yourself is hard work. Even if other people move you it’s hard work. What if every home was furnished and all you had to take from place to place was your clothes and your toothbrush. I’d live on that planet.

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