Thornton Callaway, III
When Thornton Calloway, III saw Miss Angel
shuffling up the walkway of his new Atlanta home
carrying a bible in one hand
and something sweet
wrapped in tin foil in the other,
he wanted to hide, pretend he wasn't home.
But he couldn't do that;
it would be wrong.
So he welcomed her into his home,
offered her a seat and a drink of iced tea.
It had become a daily ritual
since she had welcomed him to the neighborhood,
with sweet potato pie,
and invited him to her church.
When he said he didn't go to church,
the poor lady nearly fainted.
Now she watches for him
and when he comes home from work,
she visits with a treat and a daily reading
from her bible, which she holds
with shaking hands.
He wants to tell her he's not interested
in either her high calorie treats
or her fire and brimstone warnings.
But it would be wrong
to treat an elderly woman with rudeness.
He imagines reading to her from
the pamphlet he recently received
from the Secular Humanist Society,
but the poor woman looks so frail,
her determination to save his soul so earnest,
he pretends to listen, shares the cake-of-the-day
and thanks her for her kindness.
Not doing so would be wrong.
White Picket Fence
The dark lines under her eyes
resembled gang graffiti on an alley wall.
He saw it and thought it beautiful.
His was the world of pony-tailed cheerleaders
with peach blossom breath.
A world outlined by white picket fences.
But white picket fences
couldn't corral his longings.
He sought the freedom
found in shadows,
where joy and pain
intertwined like lovers in the night.
He embraced her wildness
until she maxed out his ATM
and rode her white horse into the sunset
leaving him in a graffiti-marked alley,
longing for a white picket fence
And a pony-tailed cheerleader.
Just read a sad story
and I have no right
making fun of it
but it made me laugh
in a perverse way.
A twenty-two year old woman
from Paramus, New Jersey,
where some of my wife's family resides,
jumped to her death
from the George Washington Bridge.
See, I told you it was sad
and there's probably something
seriously wrong with me
but I laughed when I read
the end of the story.
The woman left a note,
listing the names of five friends
from work and college
she didn't want attending
Now I know Jersey girls,
this could be my wife's family,
and I know from real experience
that the two things they love most
are drama and holding a grudge.
Wayne Scheer has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. He's published numerous stories, poems and essays in print and online, including Revealing Moments, a collection of flash stories.
Wayne lives in Atlanta with his wife and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.