Friday, August 21, 2015

Tiny Mercies

By Bettyann Moore

Rare, progressive and untreatable.

Ardys White repeated the words over and over.

“Rare, progressive and untreatable,” she said, then gave a wry snort. “Reminds me of that old movie with the kid and the scarecrow. “Lions, tigers and … what was that other one?” she mused. “Right, lions, tigers and bears, oh my. Rare, progressive and untreatable, oh my!”

Talking to herself was just something Ardys did. There was no other human in the house, no cat, no dog, and there never would be.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Vikings Aren't Dumb: A Tale of the Afterlife

Image by Sven-Steffen Arndt via Wikimedia Commons

Author Note: This story is the first chapter of a novel. 

I was surprised to wake up in the bathtub because I only took showers. Events would overshadow this first fact of the day, and its significance would only come back to me later. I found myself fully dressed in my only suit, the one that served for weddings, interviews, and funerals. The wedding ring I had buried at the back of a dresser drawer fit loosely on my left hand and an old watch was strapped around my wrist. At least I was dry.

I tried remembering my last thoughts before waking, but everything seemed far away. I wasn’t even sure if I had gone to bed the night before. Was I dreaming? I didn’t think so. Hallucinating? Not likely. I lived a pretty clean life: no drugs, no meat, and hardly ever alcohol. What time was it? My watch said 10:10. Where was my phone?

I got up and stomped my foot farther into my shoe. It wasn’t tied with my slip-proof knot, just a normal shoe knot that I had abandoned at the age of 12. And as I moved around, my underwear was slightly twisted and there were sock wrinkles trapped under my feet. I looked in the mirror, expecting to see a moustache, kitty whiskers, or profanity drawn on with marker. My face was unblemished, apart from the hooked nose that I could blame on no one but my parents. My hair wasn’t even mussed, and the circles under my eyes from too many nights at the office had faded. I had to admit that I looked better than I had in months. I winked at myself in the mirror and opened the bathroom door.

I stumbled and scraped my knuckles on the doorjamb. The cat at my feet had long grey and black fur, and was the size of a small dog. It rolled to its back and looked up at me.

“Darius?” I said. This wasn’t right. Darius had died of leukemia, and was buried in the back yard.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Boy in Love

Image courtesy WikiCommons
Image courtesy WikiCommons

By Bettyann Moore

On the first day of kindergarten, Porpoise McAllister fell in love. That’s to be expected when a boy leaves his mother’s side for the first time, but it wasn’t his teacher, Ms. Pride, he fell for, though plenty of the other boys, and many of the girls, did. And it wasn’t little Jeannie Hesacker, the doe-eyed brunette whose pink fake fur coat hung on the peg next to his. It wasn’t even a boy-crush on Jason Moyer who towered at least a head above the other 5-year-olds and who had “Most Likely to Break Many Hearts” written all over his face.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mainstream Geek

Image by Ron Riccio via Wikimedia Commons

A red-faced girl of no more than four stared at Melvin. In her hand, chocolate ice cream flowed from her cone over her fingers, dripping onto her dad’s Jedi robes. Dad, oblivious to his mounting dry-cleaning bill, held his daughter in one arm and held out his phone with the other, recording the spectacle of Darth Vader and his stormtroopers gyrating to Michael Jackson’s Beat It. Melvin stumbled, and stutter-stepped back into position, knowing that the mistake would not go unnoticed. The girl fixed her gaze on him and pointed. A bead of sweat rolled into his eyes as he spun around, and Mevlin wished for the thousandth time the park would have provided ventilated suits to offset the hot Florida sun. He finished his dance with a heel-stomp a half beat behind the others; the music ended and applause began. Dad put the little girl down and fiddled with his phone. She waved at him, then extended her arm palm out and spread her fingers so that they formed a V between the middle and ring fingers: the Vulcan salute.

Melvin wished, also for the thousandth time, that the park would have provided working blasters. Tourist scum.