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Monday, April 20

Green-eyed Boy

"Green-eyed Boy"
Short Fiction - Literary
by Julie Morgan

Have you ever watched a man become a ghost?

It happened last summer. It was a Friday afternoon and I was sitting in the back garden flicking through a magazine and drinking chilled white wine and soda. I felt decadent because I was loafing while elsewhere the workers still beavered away at their desks, when I heard the most dreadful screech and bang followed by... nothing. The noise had fractured the beautiful late summer afternoon and the return of silence should have meant the return of calm, but something wasn’t right. It wasn’t just that the birds hadn’t yet recommenced their chorus, there was something more profound about this silence. It reminded me of a winter’s night following a blizzard, the earth blanketed with snow and the air crisp, clear and still.

When I looked through the front window the man – boy, really – lay still on the tarmac, a ruined motorcycle in the gutter a little further down the road. I don’t know what caused the accident; perhaps he was going too fast or there was something on the road, but I do know that he wasn’t wearing a helmet or leathers, just jeans and a t-shirt.

Perhaps I should frantically have dialled 999, then raced outside with towels and hot water or something, but I didn’t. I picked up the phone and walked out slowly.

He could have been sleeping, his head resting on a scarlet cloak. I stood over him and my shadow fell across his face. His eyes opened, beautiful green eyes, brimming with pain.

Shocked, I stepped back and the sun closed his eyes again; hid, but did not relieve, his agony. I rang the emergency services then, my voice faltering, tripping over the words, trying to find the right ones to say to give the information they needed. The call seemed to take forever. I hoped that the paramedics wouldn’t. That done, I knelt by him, brushed his hair out of his eyes, stroked his cheek, murmured nonsense words about help, recovery and a better tomorrow.

Except he wasn’t going to see tomorrow and we both knew it. He would be lucky to see nightfall.

He opened his eyes again, desperate to tell me something, and I leaned closer to hear. He was cold, he said; he wanted to be held. I didn’t dare to move him. Didn’t dare to cradle his head in my lap as might have happened in a scene from a movie; I’d have only hurt him more. So I stroked his hair, caressed his cheek and murmured nonsense to him. Then, carefully, so very carefully, I lay down, stretched out in the dirt alongside him and put my arm across his body.

Part of me yearned to pull him fiercely to me and roar at the unfairness of so young a life lost. But he’d have paid the price and so I held my tongue, held him so very gently, hoped that he was comforted by my touch and warmed by the sun. I took his hand when he asked me to, again carefully, mindful of the amount of skin missing from his fingers.

He was becoming fainter, more wraith-like, as the seconds slipped away. It was like watching someone walk off into the sun; the further he went, the more indistinct and shimmery he became, until only the light remained.

I grieved more for him than I would for some of my blood relatives, the green-eyed boy who’d come out on a beautiful summer’s afternoon to ride his motorbike, hair flying out behind him, and found pain and death lying in wait around a bend in the road.

Julie Morgan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. She has previously been published on A Twist of Noir, Powder Burn Flash and Darkest Before the Dawn and here on Fictional Musings, Flashes of Speculation and Flash Pan Alley.

Saturday, April 18

Dirty Knees

"Dirty Knees"
Short Fiction - Humor
by George Miller

Peter looked at his watch and smiled. ‘Only forty-five minutes ‘til show time!’ he thought happily. He was a man of simple means and simply pleasures, so being to meet up with the woman of his dreams was something that brought him unlimited pleasure.

He completed the last of his assigned tasks and hurried to the locker room. Chucking his work clothes in the locker as he walked on by, one of his co-workers asked him where the fire was.

“I gotta big date tonight.”
“With who?”
“Marilyn? You lucky dog.” As an afterthought, he added, “Good luck.” but Peter was already out the door and on his way home.

It took him about fifteen minutes to get home. ‘Only got thirty minutes to get ready and be at the special place,’ he thought excitedly. After taking a quick shower and putting some clean clothes on, Peter had only ten minutes to get to where he needed to be.

Sure enough, when he arrived there, Marilyn was already waiting for him. Dressed in a loose fitting tee-shirt, faded jeans and work boots, Marilyn was every yokel’s version of sweet heaven.

While Peter was parking the car, Marilyn put on her hoody and walked over to him. Tapping the back window to get his attention, she leaned in and purred, “Are you ready for me to blow you away?”

Peter pulled at his shirt collar and said, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Well then, get a move on young man. I haven’t got all day. You know where it is?
“Yes ma’am, I sure do."
"Okay then. I’ll meet you there in five,” she said while gently caressing his cheek.

When Peter got there, he saw that Marilyn had her hoody off and her hair in a ponytail. She took him by the hand and sat him on a nearby tree stump. She then removed her t-shirt, stretched her back and purred, “Ready?”
“Well then, let’s get it on.”
He watched her drop to her knees and get right to work. Within a minute, Peter had a warm tingly sensation come over him, as he watched Marilyn perform her magic.

“Oh my, that feels good!” he said while she was getting deeper into her work. “You have such soft hands it feels like an angel touching me.”
Marilyn came up for air and smiled.

Several minutes had passed as Peter sat there enjoying Marilyn’s handiwork. Suddenly he stiffened as the big moment finally arrived. She had definitely brought him to nirvana.
“Oh my God! That was the biggest one ever!”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. Here you go.” said Marilyn as she dropped a ginormous groundhog in his lap. “That’ll be thirty-five dollars please.”

Peter took a look at the groundhog and whistled. “Finally got rid of that bugger. Maybe now my azaleas and petunias will be able to grow in peace. There you go, it was worth every dollar.”
“Thanks,” said Marilyn as she put her tee-shirt back over her sports bra. “Remember to tell your friends about Cedar’s Landscaping Exterminators. We do the best work at the lowest possible prices.”
“I sure will, Ms. Marilyn, I sure will. Thanks again for all your hard work.”
“Anytime, young man, anytime.”