flash fiction

Every Forever Day

Green green fields washin’ over him.  Green leaves, green stems smotherin’ the red fruit.  Spittin’ blood, wipin’ sweat, cadgin’ the life outa him.

“Go boy, you two boxes behind,” say Red.

Hands crampin’, fingers blisterin’, nails splittin’, sun pourin’ down.  Gotta fill them boxes, gotta rid that debt.

“You full up, boy; heft that box,heft it up,” say Red.

Tired’a Red, sick’a Red, wishin’ him dead.

“Here’s one more box, boy.  Fill it afore break and yer back on quota.”

Bendin’, kneelin’, pickin’, back on quota, God knows.

Speaker callin’ break.  Sittin’ back, breathin’ bad air a sip at a time, thinkin’a Jenny.  Soft yellow hair, snub nose, kissin’ lips, too tired for much more.  Stronger’n him, smarter’n him, sweeter’n ten flats of berries.

Kissin’ in the dark ‘tween cabins.

Red buttin’ in.  “You two havin’ a good time?  Your mother know, Artie?”

“Not your business, Red,” say Jenny.

Knows he’ll go away.  Had some doin’s with him before.

“One more kiss and that’s all,” Jenny say.

Lickin’ those lips, tastin’ that juice, livin’ in hope every day, every forever day.


A Caged Bird

A chick on a board.  Rise, drop, hot wheels singin’, the wind in her hair.  Ready for Scarecrow man – break on your board, slide under his skinny arm.  Calls her Sugar, wants her sugar, just like Uncle Boris.  Not about to get it.  Pump, pump, glide down Center Street.  Trash day on Maple.  Keds nailed to the board, still light as air.  Kickflip over the tipped barrel.   Knew she could.  Pump, pump, glide.

Home now, late again.  Pop the board.  Tail a little scuffed, just like hers.  Too much ridin’, maybe.  Uncle Boris cussin’ again.

“Damn, Maya, where you been?  Makin’ me late for work.  You’ll pay for it.  Get to cleanin’ that mess in the yard.  Gonna get rid a that damn dog of yours.”

Tryin’ to hold her; tryin’ to keep her; tryin’ to trash her.  But she’s the caged bird that knows how to fly.  Her wings aren’t clipped and her feet aren’t tied, and her board does the singing.

Listenin’ to Latrice outside Bungalow 2.  “Girl, you look bad.  That old fuck got his hands on you again, coppin’ a feel.  He never gonna quit, you know till he gets what he wants.”

“Uh, huh.  All there is.  And Bosco.”

“And that’s just the beginnin’.  Then he’ll be at you every day.  You come stay with me and Momma.  Say goodbye to that ol’ pervert.”

“Lock my door, can’t get at me.  Keep Bosco in there, too.  Don’t want to mess with Bosco.”

“Cookin’ and cleanin’ for him.  You aint no slave, no pussy woman.  Damn, girl, you aint cooperatin’ surely?”

Rides her board down Center Street, swings ‘round Scarecrow man.  She’s the wild rider jumpin’ the black clouds all about her.   She’s Earth Daughter, a fragrance in the wind.  She’s like a night without stars, dreaming heavy dreams, waking to a day still dark with Uncle Boris.  But there are things he doesn’t know.  Her heart is deep with song, her mind filled with freedom.  She is a rainbow that can’t be clouded up.  She is the hidden star that keeps shining.

And she has a board that sings her songs.