I have a disturbing story for you today from one of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette‘s guest writers. The magazine is always on the look out for new writing talent. The submission guidelines are easy to follow and every flash fiction story that is accepted for publication is automatically entered into the writing contest which has a $30.00 cash award.
I will work with every writer to help that writer improve his or her writing skills so that not only will the writer feel more confident submitting to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, but that writer will develop the writing skills and confidence to be successful in submitting to other publications, too.
And now for our feature presentation.
“Is he retarded?” Robert asked her one day, while playing possum from the horizontal ladder.
“No!” she exclaimed with exasperation.
“I’m just sayin’,” said Robert, using the expression his older brother often did. He pulled himself up and righted himself then dropped to his feet, facing the other way. Over his shoulder he chimed: “He’s your boyfriend, anyway.”
He broke into a premeditated run on “anyway” as Elsie threw a left hook into the air. She heard him laughing all the way to the merry-go-round.
She walked over to the man on the bench, a smile beatifying the loveliness of her face. She would be a heart-breaker in a few years, thought Peter as he sat on the bench. In a way, she was now.
He let her fly the plane whenever she came over. She knew his name was Peter, she knew he had no kids of his own. She knew he was smart.She didn’t tell anyone any of these things. She knew too he was awkward with other adults; she didn’t know the word awkward yet but grasped the concept. She was smart, too.
“Come on, Elsie.” Her father’s voice fell like a water-balloon of shame into the open space between them, and Elsie, drenched, obeyed, standing up and taking his hand. Peter found himself caught in the accusing spotlight of Daddy’s glare. His smile and eyes widened without his own volition, like a plea, and Mr. Hamilton shook his head and grunted in disgust as he turned away. He led his daughter to their car parked behind the hedges at the edge of the park.
“He never does anything wrong, exactly,” Lucy, their neighbor, assured the exhausted widower she often helped by taking Elsie along with her son Robert to the park in the afternoon while Mr. Hamilton was still at work. “He’s just a little strange.” She shrugged as if to say, what-can-you-do.
“What did I tell you about talking to grown-ups like that,” Mr.Hamilton spoke without inflection as he buckled Elsie in the car.
“Don’t,” she sniffled.
“That’s right.” He placed his hand on her thigh, feeling the tremble starting. “Do I ask much of you, baby?”
“People out there don’t understand anything,” he continued in a monotone, as much to himself as her. “And if they take you away from me, it will be very bad for both of us.” She could feel him begin to tremble next to her as well.
“Yes, Daddy,” she said. But no matter how many times he made her repeat the words, she sounded as though she were miles and miles away.
Grace Jefferson is a complex energy pattern, transiting through plutonian life dynamics with support from Jupiter in Cancer. She is supposedly a resident of Minnesota
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