Short Stories

by

I un-earthed a few short stories today as I was sorting through some of the stacks of notebooks and folders I have.

Here is one of them:

Sleep

Jennifer slid out of bed quickly before Mark could wake up.  She padded to the bathroom and climbed into the shower.  The hot water woke her quickly and she smiled up into the cascading water thinking about making breakfast for her man.  They had only just moved into the new house after a too short honeymoon; this was their first weekend home together before work started up again.  Jennifer wanted to make sure everything was perfect, she had even done a little furtive grocery shopping when Mark was not looking to make sure she had all the ingredients for his favorite breakfast.

It was still early and the sun was just breaking across the tops of the windows, a pearly soft grey that shot shivers across her arms, rapid goose bumps of anticipation.  She could already see the tree limb where Mark was going to hang a tire swing for the boys, and the corner just adjacent, that would bet he ideal spot for a sandbox, maybe even a teeter totter.   She giggled quietly to herself; maybe she had just better focus on breakfast rather than the non-existent babies she had not born yet.

Jennifer ground up some coffee beans in the hand grinder her grandmother had given her as a wedding gift–the same grinder that her grandmother’s grandmother had passed down when she had gotten wed.  They had been given a lot of high-tech gadgetry by the partners at Mark’s firm, but she wanted to make that first pot of coffee in her new home the old-fashioned way.  As she milled the beans she looked out the kitchen window, the sun rolled across the deep green lawn and there it was, the outlines of her future garden.

Thoughts of crisp summer green beans, warm tomatoes just off the vine with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, corn on the cob with butter, ran through her head.  Saliva pooled in her mouth and she laughed again.  This house was so wonderfully perfect.

Maybe she could even convince her grandfather to let her in on some of the secrets to his vegetable garden.  Jennifer knew that he got most of his seeds from a boutique catalog out of Atlanta, Georgia.  She had to wheedle this information out of him.  Oh, and yes, she must ask for some raspberry canes to cultivate too.  She would have warm sun ripened raspberries with cream, sprinkled with sugar, in a white ceramic bowl, just like the ones she used to pick with her grandmother.

Coffee now gently perking she started sifting some flour to make cinnamon rolls.  Mixing the flour, salt, and water together into a small trough she then kneaded it for just a moment–she did not want tough rolls.  She tuned on the oven to let it preheat and left the dough in a bowl covered with a  damp white kitchen towel to let it rise.

While the dough was rising and the oven heating she mixed together powdered sugar, and microwaved a small dish of butter to mix into the sugar, then she added a splash of cream and some good Bourbon vanilla to make the icing.  She greedily licked the spoon while absent-mindedly looking out the kitchen window again, a smile curving the planes of her face, when Mark slid up behind her.  His hands still cool from sleep slid up underneath her shirt and cupped themselves against her breasts.

She shivered and leaned back into him without saying a word.  His hands quickly warmed to her temperature and their skin became as one.  He nuzzled her neck and slowly turned her around to him.  Jennifer dipped her finger into the bowl of icing and put it to his mouth.  He sucked it off slowly looking into her eyes and then kissed her.  The sweetness overwhelmed her and she stretched up on her tip toes to wrap her arms around his neck.

Mark scooped her up and settled her onto the lip of the porcelain sink.  His hands were moving up the flank of her leg, when she suddenly looked up, startled by the sharp acrid smell of something burning.  “What’s burning?”  She thought with alarm.

“Mark, Mark, wait, something’s burning,” she said, pulling away from his embrace.  She looked at the counter and saw the bowl of dough, she had not put the rolls into the oven yet.

“Mark!  Something is burning!”  She repeated herself and slowly began to wake up, the walls encroaching in, the gray of dawn bleeding into the tiny room they had rented the night before in a single room occupancy “hotel” the night before.

“Mark, god damn it, wake the fuck up, ” she cried, shoving his cold hand off of her thin leg.

Her kit was laid spread out on the wobbly bedside table, the Gideon bible beneath it, smug in its drawer.  “That is odd,” she thought to herself, it should not be there.  They had finished off the score and wrapped her kit back up before nodding into oblivion.

Jennifer suddenly realized that the hot plate was on and there was a can of soup on it whose paper wrapper had caught and was smoldering, sending up curls of smoke into the air.

“Fucking hell, Mark!  What were you thinking, you ass, you could have burned the whole fucking place down!”

Jennifer slid shivering out of bed, unplugged the hot plate and dumped the remnants of some flat Pepsi onto the burning can.  She turned around to crawl back into bed where Mark lay curled, rubber tubing still tied off his right arm, his eyes rolled back into his head.

“Mark,” she whimpered, “Mark?”

The grey light snaked its way across the bed.  She pulled off the tubing, arranged his  arms around her and tried to find some warmth, something of his cinnamon scent to fall back into.

Sleep, she shivered, tremblingly adjusting his stiff shanks against her body, just need to sleep, everything will be all right if she could just fall back asleep.

The End.

 

Not bad.  Not great.  Needs some work, which I can see after typing it in here.  I don’t know where the original is, but I think I may make something of this.  And yes, I will submit it somewhere.

There’s another I found as well, and I really like it, perhaps I shall post it tomorrow.  It feels really wonderful to begin the sorting out process of my work.  I want to get as much of it online as I can and as much into my computer before I go as possible.

And perhaps, just perhaps, get some things published outside of my blog.

Just perhaps.

 

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