Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

THE TICKET
Friday, November 15, 2019 by DEBRA COLEMAN JETER

 

PLEASE WELCOME

DEBRA COLEMAN JETER

TO

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

EXCERPT FROM THE TICKET

 

“What are you talking about, Pee Wee?”

Something in Dad’s voice, an undercurrent of excitement, catches my attention. I listen closely, even as I draw out bologna, cheese, mustard, and mayo, and balance them gingerly while I push the refrigerator door shut with my foot. Dad can’t stand it if you leave the door open a second longer than you have to. Wastes electricity.

I decide to fry the bologna since I know he likes it that way. I put the skillet on the eye of the stove and drop just the least little dab of bacon grease into it. There’s always a crock of bacon and sausage grease next to the oven to use for seasoning beans and keeping stuff from sticking to the skillet, like when you’re frying potatoes. I don’t much like the smell of grease myself, but it does make things taste better and cook more smoothly.

“Slow down, Pee Wee, and tell it to me outright, straight and simple.” Dad’s body is motionless, and I can tell he’s hanging on every word being said on the other end. “How much?” he asks, in a funny choked sort of voice. Then, after a pause, “Are you sure? Let me write down the details. Hold on a sec.”

Dad fumbles with the phone, his eyes darting around until they meet mine. Despite the thinning hair, he is still a good-looking man, with his lean body, chiseled jawline, and bottle-green eyes. For a second, I can see him darting around the tennis court, making unbelievable shots you’d never expect him to reach. The bologna is spattering flecks of grease in my direction now, so I turn down the heat and take the bologna up before it can burn.

Pretending not to have been listening, I resume the sandwich-making process. Mustard on one side, mayonnaise on the other, bologna, and thin slices of cheese, the way he likes it. I decide to spread a little peanut butter on the meat, being careful not to burn my fingers.

But, out of the corner of my eye, I watch Dad. Frantically, he jerks open a drawer, locates a pen and a scrap of paper, and returns to his conversation. He writes carefully, eyebrows still drawn together in a single line. “I don’t know about that,” he says, the undercurrent of excitement more intense now, though his tone remains even and controlled. “We’ll see. We’ll have to see.”

Pen and paper in hand, he places the receiver gently in its cradle and looks at me. The expression in his eyes tells me he’s in no mood for my tennis tale. So I ask, “What did Pee Wee have to say?”

“He says—he says I’ve won the lottery.”

 

ABOUT THE TICKET AND DEBRA COLEMAN JETER

 

It is 1975, an ordinary year for an ordinary Southern family. Like thousands of other teenagers around the country, Tray longs to be part of the popular set at school. Tray’s mother lies in bed most days with a headache, and her bipolar tendency toward extreme highs or lows veers more and more often toward depression. Tray’s grandmother, who lives with the family, still grieves the loss of her husband. Then something extraordinary happens. A down-and-out friend of the family buys an extra lottery ticket. He gives it to Tray’s dad as a thank-you for driving him to buy the tickets. And what do you know?

Debra Coleman Jeter’s first novel, The Ticket, was a finalist for a Selah Award. Her short story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a competition sponsored by Christian Woman. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and captured several international awards. She loves to be in the water—whether snorkeling, water skiing, boogie boarding, or just floating around—which may explain the setting for her newest series, Sugar Sands. She lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, with her husband, a retired veterinarian.

www.debracolemanjeter.com

https://www.amazon.com/Debra-Coleman-Jeter/e/B00UDTPPC6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

 

 

 

 

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