Tag Archives: Living room

The Key (Flash Fiction)

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The door slammed making the adrenaline surge up my backbone, gripping me with instant fear. I knew he was in the house. I have to stay quiet or he will find me. I can hear him tromping around in his heavy boots. The cabinets and drawers open and close, as he searches for the key. I have it well hidden. He may find me, but he won’t find the key.

I’m in the clothes hamper in the back part of Mom’s closet. If I can be quiet he won’t find me. I may be seventeen years old, but I’m tiny. My family and friends call me Tinkerbell, or Tink for short. This is one of those times I appreciate being tiny. He wasn’t supposed to be back at the house until evening, so I thought I would be safe to get some of my clothes. Boy, was I wrong. I guess he is desperate to find the key to the safe deposit box.

I hear him in the room going through everything. My mama would be all right now if it hadn’t been for him. If I disappear, the key will go to John Houston at the Daily Journal. If only she hadn’t told him about her journal. This would’ve been much easier. I could’ve turned it over to the authorities and he would be none the wiser. I guess Mom thought she was getting back at him somehow by letting him know he wasn’t getting away with anything.

Last Saturday started out like every other Saturday, with Mom cooking us a great breakfast with all the trimmings. After he left the house, she began to talk to me. My brain couldn’t believe what she told me about Jack, her husband of ten years. I remember very little of my father, so Jack, for all intent and purpose, was my dad, which made all of it harder to accept.

Jack’s having an affair, according to Mom. It’s been going on for almost a year. Mom chooses to overlook it for some reason that I will never know. It may have been because of Jack carrying Mom and me on his insurance.  I’ve heard enough to know how tough it is when you don’t have medical insurance. If she confronted him, I never knew about it. I don’t know if I could accept that behavior.

Mom developed Diabetes about three years ago and used insulin daily. She did a finger stick four times a day. Her sugars were very erratic. The insulin she used changed with every test. She used sixty-four units of NPH insulin every morning and Regular before meals and at bedtime. She adjusted it as needed . She said her sugars were like a bouncing ball, and she never knew what direction it was going to go.

This morning I didn’t go to school. Jack left for work, as usual. Mom was late getting up. She didn’t look like she felt good. She told me she was very nervous on the inside and needed some orange juice before she checked her sugar.

I went back to my room to find clothes to put on. I heard the front door open and Jack yelled at mom letting her know he was home. He went into the kitchen, because I heard them arguing over mom’s journal. “I want that damn key, Janice,” Jack yelled.

Mom yelled back. “You aren’t getting it. I must have protection, and that journal is it. You thought you were so damn smart, but now you know if something happens to me you are dead meat.” I walked down the hall being careful not to make any noise, so I could see and  listen to what was going on.

“You bitch; do you really think that little book will protect you?”

“Sure I do. It tells about your affair. Where you have hidden all of the money you embezzled from the company. It contains all of your dirty little secrets. You take care of me and you stay safe. If not, then you’ll be in prison for the rest of your life. It’s your choice. Leave me alone so I can get me some orange juice to drink. I can feel my blood sugar dropping. You know what is going to happen if I don’t get me some juice.”

A big smile spread across Jack’s face as he said, “Yes, I sure do. In fact, let’s walk to the living room. That might help it drop faster.”

“This is the day you get your payback. You think you can screw with me. You and no one else will get away with blackmailing me. It’s a shame that little crap daughter of yours is in school or I could take care of her at the same time. I will play the loving father until I find that key. Once the key is found, Tink will have an accident.”

I knew I had to find some place to hide. He moved her into the living room so I couldn’t go out the front door. That’s how I ended up in this hamper, barely breathing, unable to move. Mom has a narrow deep closet. Maybe he won’t discover me.
I heard him enter the bedroom and he continued going through the drawers. He came into the closet and searched through the boxes on the shelf. God please put your protection around mama and me. The phone began ringing causing Jack to stop searching. I guess he was trying to decide whether to answer the phone. He didn’t, and within a couple of minutes he was out the door.

I climbed out of the hamper and headed to the living room to check on Mama. She wasn’t breathing well, and didn’t respond. I called 911 knowing I was saving her and me both. Jack is about to answer for his actions.

*******

I wish to thank you for the kind words and support given to me because of my father’s death. I can’t express my gratitude enough.

Feet First (Short Story)

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Here is another one of my short stories that will be in my book called Shirley’s Short’s and Flashes.  Getting this new house done with the remodling is taking a big chunk of my time, so I hope you don’t mind my short stories.  Have a great evening.  Until next time.    Shirley

Feet First

Mrs. Tipton didn’t lock her door, but it wasn’t a problem. No one in the area locked their doors in 1985.  Scipio, Oklahoma wasn’t on a main road; the community sat fifteen miles north of highway 270 on a black top road. You had to be heading there know about the place.

The one-room store was the front room of an old house.  The other five rooms are where Mrs. Tipton lives.  The house had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bathroom.  The old outhouse still stood out by the barn.  It was still used occasionally, if the electricity went out, since it shut off the pump for the water supply.  There was a beautiful red crepe myrtle bush in full bloom at this time of year.  Mrs. Tipton had planted the bush when she and her husband moved into their store/home, in 1930.

Built in 1929 the one-room store and home was clapboard with wood floors, and one room.  The outside front had two rock pillars holding up the covering for the two gas pumps.  The pumps were old enough you still went inside to pay for your gas.

Mrs. Tipton was not much on decorating, but she did believe in living clean and being comfortable.  Handmade quilts were on the chairs and couch.  The quilts had similar colors, but they didn’t match. They suited her taste and lifestyle well.

The quilting frame hung on the living room ceiling until last year.  Over the years, Mrs. Tipton  brought the frame down three times a week, to work on  her projects.  She made many a bed covering over the years, using that frame.  Sometimes her daughter would visit and help her quilt, but most of the time it would be just her.

She used to make butter, and sell it in the store, but she had to get rid of her Jersey cow, because she couldn’t milk her. Selling the cow and removing her quilting frame was emotionally difficult for Mrs. Tipton, but her arthritis was so bad; she couldn’t do the handwork she once did.

Tom, who was Mrs. Tipton’s husband of fifty-two years, died two months ago from a heart attack.  Mrs. Tipton’s world crashed around her after her husband died.  Being a strong countrywoman, with an even stronger faith, she buried her husband, and went back to running the store. Her son and daughter tried to convince her to close the store and move in with one of them.  She refused, and nothing said or done could change her mind.

She’s lived in the clapboard house, and ran the store for over fifty years. She told her children she wouldn’t leave her house until they carried her out feet first. Besides, everyone in town knew her.  If she needed anything, someone would help her.  The place wasn’t even locked up at night, because she felt so secure no one would bother her. In the fifty years of running the store, not a thing had left the store without permission.  She was proud of her little community, and the people who lived there.

When she and her husband first opened the store, they had a booming business. It took to long to get to McAlester by horseback or wagon, so almost all the store purchases made by the people of Scipio was at Tipton’s Grocery.  Over the years, business decreased due to better transportation.  It didn’t make the Tipton’s any difference. Scipio was their home, and they weren’t going anywhere. They just made the best of their situation.

Four months went by, with life as usual.  Mrs. Tipton got up at 6:00 AM every day and turned on the front lights, so everyone knew the store was open.  Every once in a while, someone would come in, and buy a coke and peanuts for the drive into work, or buy gas to get to work. Now bread and milk are sold most of the time. Kids bought lots of candy, and she always gave the “bad for your teeth” lecture, every time they bought it.  The kids thought she was a funny old woman, but everyone loved her.  On a late fall night, two boys drove past the store.  The lights were off, so the boys knew the store was closed for the night. These boys weren’t from Scipio. They’d been driving around, and accidentally found the community. They turned around and drove back by the store a couple of times, trying to decide if they were going to stop, and what they were going to do.  The two boys were high on cocaine, and they didn’t care about anything, except getting money to buy more dope.

They pulled up to the side of the grocery store slowly, with their lights off.  They didn’t want the gravel parking area to alert anyone they were around the house.  The lights being off gave the boys an easy opportunity to walk around and not be seen.  The road didn’t have any traffic on it, so interruptions by traffic wasn’t a problem.  Brain could jimmy a lock, so he went to the front door.  He removed the bell from the screen door, so it wouldn’t make any noise. He tried the doorknob, and to his surprise, the door opened.  He motioned to his friend to follow him, “come on Sam hurry up, and be quiet.  We need to find the cash register.”

“Brian, I don’t think this is a real good idea.  What if we get caught?”

“Shut up, we’re not going to get caught.  Besides I have my insurance with me”

They looked around in the dark for the cash register.  When they found it, and got the drawer opened, it made a loud digging noise. They hurriedly started stuffing the small amount they found into their pockets.  They had to get out of the store, before they were caught.

A light came on, and Mrs. Tipton stepped out into the hall, and called out, “Who’s there?”

Brain pulled a gun from his pocket and shot her.  He had no intention of going to jail. Mrs. Tipton immediately fell to the floor, with her life’s blood running out around her.

The boys, ran from the store, and drove away in their car.  No one knew about the robbery, or the shooting.  At 6:00 AM, the store lights didn’t come on. People drove by, curious about why the lights weren’t on. It was unusual, because they were on every morning, for as long as anyone in the community could remember.

One of the community women entered the store to get milk at 10:00 AM, and noticed the cash register open. She walked around the counter, and spotted Mrs. Tipton on the floor in a pool of blood.  She called 911 from her cell phone.

Tipton’s Grocery closed, and Mrs. Tipton left her home, feet first, just as she wished.

It’s Short Story Day (The Red Shoes)

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This short story is nonfiction, and I didn’t write it for sympathy. I wrote it because I wanted to share a taste of what it’s like to live with the disease of alcoholism. It affects millions every day all over the world.  It’s been around since man began making wine many thousands years ago.

Alcohol is as addictive as the meth being manufactured today, except it’s legal. We all know prohibition didn’t work and as far as I can tell the war on drugs isn’t working either.  What is the answer?

I hope you like my story of  The Red Shoes.

I had reached my limit. Leaving was the only option I had. Standing up from the chair, I looked at mama and walked into my bedroom. Retrieving my coat from the closet, a headscarf and the new pair of red loafers mama bought me when we went to town that morning. I didn’t know what to do, but I couldn’t stay at the house any longer. I may have only been twelve years old, but I knew he would hurt me if I stayed.

There was snow and ice on the back steps. When I stepped out, down I went to the ground. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt in the fall. Picking myself up, I began walking down the road. Where could I go? If I went to Bob and Eva’s, he might find me there. I decided to go to my Uncle Charles’s house, on the mountain. It was about four miles north west of where we lived, up in the hills.

We lived fifteen miles west of McAlester on Highway 270 at a community called Cabiness. We ran a small country grocery store and Texaco gas station, called Blevins Grocery. My parents purchased the place before we left California. Returning to the area where mom and dad were born and raised was important, especially for my mother.

The one room store was actually the front room of the house. It had been converted to a store long before my parents bought it. The house now had one bedroom and kitchen, living room and a closed in back porch with a large window that pulled out and up, and hooked to the ceiling. That’s where mom and dad slept. My room was in the middle of the house without windows. It had two doors, one going to the living room and the other to the back porch.

There was a well and pump house sitting on the west side of the house. That water well was the catalyst for my problem. The well was terrible. The water smelled like sulphur, and tasted rotten. It didn’t furnish enough water to run the household. If you did the dishes, you couldn’t take a shower, or if you flushed the commode you couldn’t do the dishes. It was a constant struggle. I would usually go to Bob and Eva’s house to take my bath and do my homework. I would spend the night there at least once a week.

The store and station opened at 6 am and closed at 9 pm. This particular evening we were slow closing. Dad just returned home from spending time at a bar in McAlester. He was in the living room sitting on the piano bench watching me like a hawk. My cousin rang the bell to let us know someone needed gas. I went out and pumped the gas, and while I was talking to Eva, we decided I would ask mom if I could go home with them to spend the night. I asked mom if I could go home with Bob and Eva, and she agreed. I began to gather my clothes and schoolbooks.

”What are you doing, Shirley”? My dad yelled.

I walked into the living room and told him “I am getting my stuff together to go spend the night with Bob and Eva so I can do my homework and take a bath”.

“You sit down in that chair because you’re not going anywhere.”

“Daddy, mama told me I could go”.

“I don’t give a damn what your mother said, you are not going. You go tell them to go on and then get your butt back in here.”

I walked out to their truck and told them daddy wasn’t going to let me go with them. I was angry, but I knew not to say anything more to dad. When I walked back into the living room, he told me to sit down in the chair. I was angry and hurt. I sat very still and quit, while he tried to pick a fight with me. When I didn’t respond he started yelling at me. There was a pair of pliers sitting on the piano I’d left there earlier in the day from doing something that I don’t remember now. The next thing I knew he picked up the pliers and threw them at my head. God was protecting me because he missed by about one and a half inches, knocking a hole in the wall. That’s when I knew I had to get away from him.

Since I decided to go to my uncle’s house, I began walking down the dirt road behind our house. It would take me up the mountain. I had my headscarf wrapped around my head, and was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I never wore socks, and I didn’t even think about my feet when I left the house. I’d walked about two miles when I stepped in an ice covered hole of water. I knew my feet would freeze if I didn’t do something. I took off my headscarf and using my teeth to start a tear, I managed to rip the scarf in two. I put a half in each one of my new, red shoes to help keep my feet warm. I continued walking down the middle of the road. If a car came down the road, I ran into the woods and hid until it passed. I wasn’t going to let him find me. I didn’t have any intention of ever returning to that house.

I finally made it to the top of the mountain. It was after 11:00 when I knocked on Charles’s door. My Aunt Jerry opened the door after I identified myself.

“What are you doing here this late? Where’s your mama?” Jerry asked.

I told her the story while I sat wrapped in a warm blanket drinking a cup of hot tea. “Jerry, where is Charles? I can’t live there anymore. I want to stay here.”

“Charles hasn’t come in from town. I guess he had a date tonight, but I know you will be able to stay here as long as you need to.”

We heard the truck drive up to the front of the house. Jerry told me to go to the barn and hide in the hay. I took off out the back door towards the barn. I was almost there when Jerry yelled, telling me it wasn’t daddy, and to come back to the house.

When I got back in the house, there sat mama with a neighbor of ours, Donnie Elliott. Mama began to cry. “I tracked you in the snow. I knew you would either come here or go to Bob’s house. I want you to come home.”

“I’m not coming back to that house. I hate him; he is not going to hurt me. I’ve begged you to make him leave, and you wouldn’t, so now I’ve left and I’m not going back. I’m going to stay here, and if I can’t stay here then I’m going to go back to California and stay with Jim and Bobbie.”

“Please, honey, come back home. I promise you, it will be different, and he won’t be there. Come with me now and spend the night with Donnie. You can stay with her until he leaves the house tomorrow.”

Donnie sat there nodding her head up and down as mama talked. I loved my mama, and I couldn’t bear watching her cry and listening to her begging me to come back home.

“All right, mama, I’ll come home if he’s not there.” I got my coat and put on my new red, now wet and covered in mud, shoes. Jerry had given me a pair of socks, so my feet wouldn’t freeze off. Donnie lived about a half mile from us on the dirt road behind the store building. Mama promised me again that daddy would be gone the next morning.

She kept her word, and he was gone. I came home, and I was happy with my life for once. I could bring a girlfriend to the house and not be afraid of what dad would say or do. It was a peaceful time for me. Mom didn’t do so well, but that is another story.

Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible disease. It doesn’t just destroy the one drinking, but his or her family as well. It took many years for me to forgive my father, but I did. He is 85 years old now, and mama is gone. He doesn’t remember a thing about the trauma he caused his family. He and mom reconciled a year later after he had stopped drinking. That lasted a year and then it started over. That doesn’t matter now. He is a good man with a good heart and I can say I love him very much. He is and always will be my daddy. I survived and so did he.