Dr. Ricardo Abramowitz, DDS, rather enjoyed the view from his office window. He had long admired the view of the calm water, the prickly pines in the middle ground, and the low-slung mountains beyond. The clutter in the foreground wore on him: the stilted vacation houses, the candy shop, the gawker-laden cruise ships, all of it.
His patient sat up to spit in the small sink, and something caught Dr. Abramowitz’s eye through the glass. It was a girl, young enough to be his granddaughter, sunning herself on a porch. She was topless, and her impossibly large breasts glistened in the sun.
Even now, even after so very many years have passed, so long after the fact, I can still recall how that fence branched out before me on that isolated stretch of road. I can still recall how I abandoned my broken down car, how I made my way obediently home while admiring the details of the rough hewn boards, and how I found myself disappointed in the obscurity up ahead.
Nothing else: not your hand on my shoulder, not you tearing my dress, not you ripping me open. Only that fence disappearing into fog.
So, what does this fence remind you of? Let’s hear it over at the Friday Fictioneers’ linkup!
The children leveraged the bench outside and their tiptoes to see the baker at work. They enjoyed watching the thick coils of icing emerge from the zealous tip of his pastry bag and every week they imagined taking turns letting the baker fill their mouths with gooey sweetness.
Of course that dream was never fulfilled, particularly because today the baker lay face-down next to his latest confection, a triple-tiered wedding cake. Gobs of white icing turned slowly pink as they mixed with the growing pool of blood seeping out from underneath his squashed belly.
Fortuitously, the window sill shielded the youngsters’ view.
Friday night I had a craving for music and headed over to a little blues bar I know. I pushed through the smoke tendrils and oozing music and took a seat behind a gorgeous blonde in a backless dress. I signaled to the waitress for a whiskey and settled in. The music was good, the view better. I loosened my tie, sat back, and followed the velvet texture, the curves and hollows, the rifts and swellings. As the golden strands caught in the dim light and set after set unfurled, I found my composure.
As she stood among the living room displays at Ikea staring at an old-fashioned diving helmet on a shelf, Becca had a memory. It arrived unformed, in an odd stream of shapes and colors. Here the shocking red of the barricades, there a vertical expanse of yellow wood, in the corner pink stripes on little girl legs.
The muted walls faded into invisibility. Looking at several sofas at once, Becca felt pink stripes at her throat and panic clogging her chest.
Becca grabbed her sister’s hand. “Let’s get out of here,” she whispered to avoid attracting attention.
Juan Carlos tried to lose his dead wife in Barcelona. Days he spent wandering tight cobblestoned streets, staring at the blaming sun. When he stumbled across the wedding party under a canopy of streamers, the bride young and glistening like a confection, the groom stiff with nerves, he fell to his knees on uneven ground.
The priest, partaking of a glass of sangria and wishing his newest conquests well after performing for them, saw Juan Carlos whispering and stooped down.
Five past five, Sam literally ran into Whole Paycheck. She hated this store’s guts but time was against her. She dashed to the freezer aisle, gagged at the sacks of gluten-FREE bread with REAL chia seeds, continued along, glancing at her hair in the glass – it looked infinitely fuckable in this light, she thought – and she pulled open the glass door and yanked out the only pizza that looked vaguely edible. Too late, Sam saw the toddler racing towards her. Too late, she tried to close the door, only managing to smash the kid in the face.
My 100-word tale that began with a grocery store, hair, and pizza, plus some weird fake-looking lighting. Come on, you can do better.
He piggybacked both kids out of the pine forest, gnarled trees crouched like animals. He wiped his sweaty eyes on the baby’s head and panted in the thick air. He tiptoed past the wild goats so as not to alarm the children and tried not to panic when the horned beasts followed lazily behind. He lugged the kids past the last few straggly trees, relieved to see the parking lot a few yards ahead. He stumbled out onto the burning black lava field and into the excrutiating heartbreak one finds only when truly lost.
Great Grandpa Yonie taught Gretchen to play mah jong and he taught her to find pictures in things but he never loved her. He liked her well enough, Gretchen knew, but she was never his favorite. “Your cousin Sam, now he’s a mensch,” Yonie liked to say whenever she stumbled over her tiles.
Years later, when Gretchen searched for Sam at the address Aunt Rachel had frantically scribbled on a scrap of paper, she noticed the interlocking stars on the grate. Stars of David, Gretchen could practically hear Yonie’s gravelly voice in her ear. A chill washed over her.
Mike stood and watched them play from the boardwalk, the hot, rough wooden slats making his wound ache. He peered at them, admiring them despite the sun in his eyes.
Mike darted up the hot sand and scooped his baby daughter into his arms. He dashed into the soapy tide just far enough to wet his feet and soak her small body. His deep laughter drowned out her squeals.
Mike stood aching on the boardwalk and watched the scene before him, the young father dipping his laughing baby into the sea, and he wished he could wash away the years.
100 words for this week’s Friday Fictioneer’s challege. Why don’t you go ahead and give it a try?