Microfiction is a short story – a very short story format. I like them because they are quick to write, edit, and publish. My sister likes them because they force a reader to slow down and savor a very small bite.
The start of the week seems good for microfiction; find a new one here most Mondays.
Here’s a sample:
“Head and Shoulders”
“Y’all scoot on out,” Mama hollered. Reaching for the second to last Twinkie, a substitute for what Willie called death sticks. She sighed and squinted at the note.
“Pyrethrin and permethrin (in a product such as Pronto available for $14.99 at CVS) must be applied in at least two separate doses and combed through thoroughly. Your child has been given a special comb compliments of Putnam County Health Department. Be sure to disinfect all linens and clothing in hot water.”
Kids were chasing the chickens with sticks, and even if Paulette could’ve walked her 350 pound frame down to the CVS, she didn’t have four cents much less fourteen dollars. She had to send in the form saying they had the treatment. She knew they’d tell if she didn’t do it. Brats.
As she tossed the last two wrappers in the trash, bleary eyes floated across dirt scrabble toward the shed.
“C’mere! Jim Bob! Jessi Sue! An’ bring me the can.”
The kids perched on the wicker kitchen chairs, heads over the sink.
“Lean back, ” Mama huffed as she poured some gasoline over their hair. It dribbled down the plastic trailer drain.
“Now, sit there for five minutes an’ don’ move.”
Finding the Twinkie box empty, Mama lit a cigarette.
Leather jackets greet wet spots more readily than sheets at the by-the-hour motel across town. He had his jacket on and the to-go tray lay on the bar, but he ordered another 22-ounce Coors light without looking up from the 72-inch plasma. Thin nostrils exhaled as he muttered to nobody in particular, “the snow- that’s what.” Across town Janet wondered but didn’t care as she folded the sheets.
Alfred was the finest butler in the borough of Huntingdon. Now, only one family there was wealthy enough to afford a butler, but Alfred was it for over forty years. He had served Professor Chambers, his wife – and several mistresses if truth be told – but Alfred was not telling. He was proud of a well-run household, even if it wasn’t his own. Over the two score years of his service there had never been any snafus in the dining or tea schedule at the Chambers residence. Well, there was on the one incident with the weasel and cream, but that didn’t really count.
Stanley has worked in middle management all his life. He doesn’t hate or enjoy his job. Stanley cuts his grass on the weekends, and he drinks one and half light beers on Saturday nights. Stanley once had a dog – his mother’s after she moved to Restful Acres. Rufus was a yappy mutt who never really liked Stanley. One day, Rufus tragically ran into the street and was hit by the neighbor’s teenager. Stanley doesn’t know what Josh did with that $100, but last month Stanley threw out the bag of leftover kibble.
He knew she was lying but decided not to call her on it. He wanted to find out exactly what was happening in Peoria. Not a place one usually wants to go or seems excited to visit, but she had been. She was gone for the long weekend to a training session for the new computer systems that Dr. McDonnell wanted to implement. Office Manager Sheila was getting the direct training from the company, and then in two weeks, she would train the rest of the staff. She was good at her job, but she felt that the staff, most of them part-timers that she referred to as pee-ons, were far below her intellect and work ethic. Of course this wasn’t true, but everyone has their illusions.
Over that weekend, Jeff had gone to Mac’s Bar & Grill to watch the Cubs game with some buddies. After a burger (on an onion roll that he wouldn’t have had if Sheila had been home because she would rant and rave, “My, Gawd, Jeff, I could smell you from a mile away – go get some Listerine,”) and two beers, in walked Evan with a few of his friends. A bit over dressed for a bar, they sat in a far booth and took little notice of the game or people around them.
After his third, Jeff announced he had to “go see a man about a horse” and got up. In the restroom, Evan was washing his hands.
“Nice to see you, doctor.”
“Jeff. Sheila’s husband.”
“She called earlier. Said she’s learning a lot at that seminar. A paperless office – that’ll be cool.”
“Oh. It is. Sheila trained everyone last month. She’s great.”
And that’s when Jeff knew.