DONNA DeLORETTO BRENNAN
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY
EXCERPT FROM: “My Good Son”, the first of six stories in Forget the Mess—It’s time for a story!
“We’re home, Ma.”
I look out the car window but don’t see any houses I recognize. The man who was driving the car—the same one who just called me, “Ma,”—gets out, walks to the passenger side, and opens my door.
“Come on, Ma. I’ll show you where you’ll be staying.”
He doesn’t look threatening; just tired. I get out of the car and let him help me up the front walk, even though I’m perfectly capable of walking by myself. The house in front of us is nothing special—blue and big. It doesn’t even have a porch—just a front stoop. If this were my house it would have a porch.
A woman steps out the front door and waves. She’s wearing a smile that’s way too tight to be sincere. “Hi, Mom. We have your room ready for you.”
How can they have my room ready when I don’t live here? At least, I don’t think I do.
I let the man help me up the front stoop and into the house. The woman follows behind and shuts the door.
We walk through a large living room and down a short hallway toward the back of the house.
“Here we go, Ma.” The man opens a door. “This will be your room until your place is fixed up.”
There’s a large bed against one wall, and two dressers. I don’t know what else to do, so I smile and nod my head. The woman leads me into a connected bathroom and points out the tub-and-shower combo. As if this would be reason enough for me to want to stay.
We exit the bathroom; a teenage girl stands glowering next to the bed. The woman rushes over to her and they talk in hushed tones. I try to ignore them, but some of their comments are so loud that even smiling at the man and nodding my head doesn’t shut out their conversation.
The girl hisses some words, but I only make out “. . . how long?” and “my room.”
The woman says something about a fire and glances at me. She turns back to the girl. “We talked about this.”
The girl crosses her arms and stomps out of the room, almost bumping into a teenage boy on his way in. He wears an expression of mild disinterest. “Hi, Gram.”
I have no idea whom he’s talking to, though he does look vaguely familiar. I study his face and frame. That stance of superiority, that glaze of perpetual boredom. He reminds me of someone. But whom? He comes over and gives me an awkward hug while the woman and man nod approvingly. They remind me of those bobbing head dolls some folks used to stick in the back window of their cars.
“How was practice?” the man asks the boy.
“Rough. Coach says we lost our last game because we’re too soft, so he’s trying to toughen us up.”
This conversation doesn’t pertain to me at all. I wander over to the closet and look inside. These clothes would never fit me. And even if they did, I wouldn’t wear them.
The woman follows me and shuts the closet door. “Corrine still has to get the rest of her things out of the closet, but the dressers are empty. You can put your stuff in there.”
I don’t know what stuff she’s talking about; I didn’t bring any stuff.
She’s wearing that fake smile again. “Joey will stop by your place tomorrow, when the contractor is there, and pick up some of your clothes. In the meantime . . .” she grabs a Target bag from next to the bed, “. . .there are a few things in here you might like.”
She holds out the bag. I don’t know what else to do so I take it. It’s big but not that heavy. I walk over to the bed and lay it down on the blue, black, and white bedspread.
I study the pattern. “Are those skulls?”
The man glances at the bedcover then turns to the woman. His voice is sharp. “Dina, I thought you were going to change that.”
“I didn’t have time. I couldn’t leave work before two—”
“You were supposed to leave at noon.”
“Yeah, well my boss didn’t like that idea.”
I tune them out and leave the bedroom to explore the rest of the house. I’m not sure why they brought me here. They’ll probably tell me when they get around to it. Maybe after they finish fighting.
The living room is adorned with two matching sofas—one big, one small—in a warm brown hue. They look inviting, but I need to check out the rest of this place. The giant flat TV on the wall holds no interest for me right now—maybe later when my shows are on.
The dining room table is filled with clutter—piles of papers, books, and a few boxes. Two desks, a sewing machine, and several large bins line the wall, crowding out a sideboard and china closet. This must be their junk room.
The next room, the kitchen, is huge. Six wooden chairs surround the matching table. A microwave, coffeemaker, and toaster oven are the sole occupants of the spacious blue-green speckled granite counter tops. In fact, the only thing that looks out of place in this room—besides me—is a large red and black duffel bag on the floor near the side door.
I run my hand across the smooth glass panel of the stovetop. I’ve seen stoves like this, but I’ve never used one before. At least I don’t think I have. Instead of burners, there are white circles on an otherwise black stovetop.
“Mom! Get away from the stove.”
I jump and turn to see the woman rushing toward me. “I wasn’t going to break it.”
She takes hold of my arm and slowly pulls me toward the table. “I know.” Her voice is only slightly calmer than a moment ago. “But we agreed that if you were going to stay here you wouldn’t do any cooking. If you need something, you let me or somebody else know.”
ABOUT FORGET THE MESS-IT’S TIME FOR A STORY!
A collection of six stories intended to entertain and encourage.
My Good Son – The son she remembers is missing; and who is this man calling her “Ma”?
Pretense – Sister-relationships can be complicated, especially if you’re afraid to tell the truth.
Another Day – Clara looks for a way—and a reason—to keep going.
Spectator – When watching other people’s lives is more interesting than living your own, maybe you need to take some action.
Taking Care of His Wife – Brad promised to take care of Megan forever—but he never said exactly how he would do that.
Love Your Frenemies – When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he couldn’t have meant Gina’s neighbor, Anna.
Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story is available in paperback form at Amazon. A kindle version will be available soon.
ABOUT DONNA DeLORETTO BRENNAN
Donna DeLoretto Brennan was a technical writer for over ten years before becoming a computer programmer. Since leaving the corporate world after her twins were born, she’s had short stories, interviews, and nonfiction articles published online and in print magazines. She’s spoken at writing conferences and other events.
She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG). She’s served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several terms as Conference Chair. She’s always looking for opportunities to encourage others and to share what she’s learned.
Donna’s website is www.DegunkingLife.com.
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