flash fiction

A Light in the Dark

Pickin’, pickin’, green plants bustin’ with red fruit, every forever day.

Spittin’ blood, wipin’ sweat, cadgin’ the life outa him.

Master Red houndin’ him.  “Go boy, you two boxes behind.”

No schoolin’ today, no schoolin’ tomorrow, schoolin’ a dream gone by.

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

“Don’t go bruisin’ that fruit, boy.  You be payin’ at the dock.  Heft that box; it be full up.  Here’s another,” say Red.  “Fill it afore break and yer back on quota.”

Tired’a Red, always wantin’ more.  Sick’a Red, wishin’ him dead.

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

Speaker callin’ break.  Sittin’ back, breathin’ bad air, 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.

Night comin’ on.  Kissin’ Jenny in the dark.

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

“Not your business, Red,” Jenny say.   Waves him away.   Had some doin’s with him before.

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

Another day just the same.  Out before sunup, back after dark.  Washin’ in the trough, diggin’ at the nails, scrubbin’ the sweated clothes, thinner every wash.

Grandma Zamora, a light in the dark, settin’ table, keepin’ him alive.  Meetin’ Jenny, one more kiss.

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


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