Mandy stood by her mother at the kitchen sink. Her mother was clucking almost as much as one of the nearly ninety hens on the farm.
“Here’s another freckled egg,” Muriel said. “Put it in with the others for your Aunt Anna.”
Mandy took the egg from her mother and dried it. Before placing it in the little basket meant for her aunt, she held and pondered it, looking at the dark red spots that mottled the light brown shell.
“Why do you give the freckled eggs to Aunt Anna and Uncle Eddy?”
Mandy noted her mother’s tiny pause; it happened more and more when Uncle Eddy’s name was mentioned. “Because your aunt grew up on this farm with your daddy and knows there ain’t nothing wrong with a freckled egg. City-bred people will think it’s bad and won’t buy it.”
The kitchen door banged shut as Mandy’s father came in. “That’s right,” Billy told his daughter. “Same reason we can’t sell you,” he said.
doesn’t quite touch
church parking lot
“Work harder or die!” the foreman shouted, waving his well-used pistol. “There are plenty more where you came from. And you three over there — yes, you! You’re on half rations because you’re behind everyone else.”
All heads in the dark factory turned quickly back to the line and weary, gnarled hands tried to work more quickly.
“We’ll die in this place,” one whispered to another.
“Maybe not,” his friend said. “I managed to get some help in the print shop. Even as we work, our plea is going out into the world.”
Bob threw his head back and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Vicky asked.
Bob handed her the tiny slip of paper and she read it to the group at the table.
“ ‘Help! I’m being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.’ ”
from a knot of trees
on the country road
heron takes flight
Ardelia, yellow rose in hand, walked slowly toward the precipice. Her silken dress trailed carelessly through the thinning grass and pointed to the manor house behind her.
She stopped near the edge and looked over. She shifted a couple of feet to the left and was satisfied. This was the spot.
Ardelia gazed across the lush valley so far below and away from her. This was land her marriage to Cedric had added to the family’s fortune only two years earlier. She literally could not see to the other side of the holding, not even from her great height.
She looked down again at the cruel crags that would tear at a person’s limbs en route to the creek below. She took a long moment to peer down into the chasm, to make certain she was doing the right thing. Then she resigned herself to it.
A quick underhanded toss and the rose flew upward ever so briefly before turning and falling toward the bottom.
A waste of a perfectly good rose, she huffed to herself. But this little ritual was expected of her on the anniversary of Cedric’s death and she couldn’t very well return to the manor house with the flower.
Ardelia watched the rose take nearly the same path as her husband had when she pushed him over the edge; that moment of victory had cost little more effort than it had taken to throw the flower. When it was out of sight she turned and strode back home. There was a tenant’s foreclosure to see to and she was eager to get at it.
I knock down
a small wasp nest –
the storm hits
“Here is a live satellite image of Hurricane Maera,” newscaster Tim Milloud said. “You can see how huge it is as it approaches the Florida peninsula. This monster is pushing the limits of what it means to be a Category 5 storm.”
“It certainly is, Tim,” said his colleague, Ellora Colonomous. “Hurricane Maera has shredded the Caribbean and the death toll is expected to be nothing short of horrific. The evacuation of Florida and all of America’s southern coastal regions is still ongoing and many people say they are headed as far inland as Iowa to try to escape Maera’s wrath.”
“We’ve still got a crew in Miami,” Milloud said. “Let’s go to Arlin Armon for a live report. Arlin?”
over sandwiches —