Archive for July, 2011

31st July
2011
written by amber

Pet Fish Funeral

The kids were devastated, Amee especially. Kurt tried to hide his sadness by lashing out against the younger two: “You overfed him! I told you not to give him so much.”

But I knew it was really my fault. I’d told one of the other waitresses at work about Nemo and she said that fish were too much trouble, what with having to keep the tank clean and filtered, and having to let the chlorine and flouride get out of the tap water before you used it.

“Oh, yeah,” I agreed, but this was news to me. I thought you just got water and put the fish in. Ed at the pet store hadn’t said any different. He was too busy trying to look down the front of my blouse. And I’d liked it, the way he flirted with me.

And I’d liked that I was getting a pet for my kids. The last year’s been really hard on them, and it felt like we were getting back to a normal life, what with a pet for them and a job for me, and our apartment, not exactly a palace but it’s ours.

And now Nemo is dead. He’ll never grow to be six inches long like Ed said he would. The kids have painted an old shoe box and we’re going to bury him under the apple tree at my mother’s house.

It was stupid to get a fish. Maybe I could afford all those filters and things and figure out how to make the water safe for a fish, but it’s too much trouble when I’m working and everything. The Animal Shelter is giving away free kittens. If we never let it go outside, the landlord will never know.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by the title of a piece of spam that I received.

31st July
2011
written by amber

Telepathic Lip Reading

“Don’t just think blue,” Von reminded me, “concentrate on imagining saying blue.”

For weeks, he’d been mapping what my brain waves do when I talk, now we were seeing if visualizing speech without actually speaking would trigger the same brain waves. Well, I guess he knows that they do. He’s the scientist. I’m just the subject.

The pay is good even if the job is boring, I’d tell people if I could tell anyone. But this is a top secret military experiment, so I have to lie and say that I’m receiving a drug trial for my condition. I’m ‘incommunicado’ for these four months.

Except that I’m communicating plenty. Ten hours a day working with Von. And he often visits me in my room in the evening to talk about the results of the day’s tests and his hopes for the future of this technology. He is so much more than a military contractor. Sure, this will become a means for soldiers to communicate by ‘brain waves,’ but there are many civilian applications too.

It’s a long time since I’ve been around anyone this excited about their work, this optimistic about the future. But I know that at my age that’s exactly the sort of people I should be with – fellow students or co-workers in my first job instead of doctors and therapists and my family, all with their long long faces.

Yes, I know I’m more than half in love with Von, but I’m even more in love with the invention he hopes to develop, the helmet which will allow me to communicate after my lips can no longer form words.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by an article in a Discover magazine. Is it science fiction or not?

And I missed publishing it on July 30, as I had to run over to the Black Cat Guest Ranch main lodge for the arrival of some unexpected guests who had been bumped from the hotel they had booked in Hinton.

29th July
2011
written by amber

My Mother

I hate my mother.

My mother is dead.

Well, she’s not truly dead, just missing, but she’s been missing since I was 4 years old and I’m 13 now, so I’m pretty sure she’s dead.

Mawmaw, my granny, she raised me, and don’t you dare tell her that I think my mom’s dead, she’d freak out. When I came to live with her, I had to sleep in a closet, because my mom’s room was exactly the same as it had been when she left home, and it’s exactly the same way still. And I sleep in a corner of the front room now and I’m only allowed to go into my mother’s room if I need to spend some quiet time and think about my mother and the way she would want me to behave.

And I don’t ever think I need that sort of quiet time, but lots of times Mawmaw thinks that I do.

I don’t remember my mother, but I do remember the first few years I was here at Mawmaw’s house. Cry, cry, cry. Crying all the time. And if I wanted to play or something, it was ‘disrespectful.’ I was supposed to cry all the time like she was.

And whatever memory I might have had of my mother – ‘cuz I was 4, you could remember things from that age, right? – were wiped right out by the way she talked about my mom all the time, saying things about the way she was when she was a girl, and showing me pictures of her, saying, “Never forget.” But that made me forget.

And Mawmaw still cries a lot, and she says I’m a cold person ‘cuz I don’t, and I keep trying to remember one little memory of her and me, ‘cuz everyone, not just Mawmaw says she was a real good mother, and she loved me a lot.

But her memory’s gone, just like she is, and she’d better be dead ‘cuz if she isn’t, then I hate her even more than I do now.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

28th July
2011
written by amber

A Parting of Ways

He took her to Banff for their honeymoon. He wanted her to enjoy everything that he loved. They walked five kilometres down the trail to a wilderness campsite. He carried most of the weight. He didn’t want anything to mar this experience for her.

But she complained about sleeping on the hard ground, even though he gave her both sleeping pads. She complained about the mosquitos. She obsessed about bears. The next morning she wanted to go back to town and check into a nice hotel.

He’d wanted her to see the view from the cliffs above the river, so he begged her to go just a little further, promising they’d return to town on a shortcut after that, and he’d carry everything.

But the trail above the river frightened her and she refused to set foot on it.

He was a little annoyed with her by then, and he told her that he wanted to take some photos of the rapids below the highest portion of the cliff. He showed her where the trail forked, showed her an inland trail nowhere near the precipitous drop-off.

“Wait for me where the trails meet,” he told her. A few minutes apart, he reasoned, would cool his unreasonable anger.

He strode along quickly as he readied his camera, changing lenses while he walked. He stepped right over the few pieces of brush laid down to alert hikers that the trail ahead had slumped. He stepped right over the edge of the cliff.

As he plunged, he felt most stricken about the fact that she’d be waiting and waiting for him at the crossroads, growing more and more worried.

She experienced the same thoughts as the bear took her life.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

27th July
2011
written by amber

Gimme Some Lovage

I don’t want no woman to feed me. I don’t need no woman to feed me. I’ll feed myself. I’ve got a garden – peas, corn, squash. The okra didn’t come up. Well, the okra did come up, but it died. I don’t know why.

I got lots of herbs. The house, it belonged to someone else before me. I didn’t know what was gonna grow. I didn’t know what was gonna come up.

Parsley I recognized. I’ve seen it in the grocery store. Chives too I’ve seen before, with their pink flowers.

Something with little leaves and a strong taste. Took it to the market. Thyme, they said. For spaghetti and such like.

Rosemary I got. One restaurant I liked to go to used to stick it in the middle of the mashed potatoes. Never did get that. Was I supposed to eat it?

Can’t afford no restaurant no more. My last album didn’t sell well. The gigs dried up after what happened in Mobile. Misty took everything I had left. The money and my son.

She said he wasn’t my son. She said he wasn’t mine. I never believed that.

The big plant in my garden, my grandmother’s garden, I had no idea what it was. Some kind of flower, I thought, but my auntie told me it was a herb.

Lovage.

Use it in salads. Use it in soups. Tastes like childhood. Tastes like freedom and hope. Tastes like my father saying, “Go ahead, try to pluck that there guitar, son.”

Tastes like what I thought I had.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

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