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For Sale or Rent
Seeking: Fur with a heartbeat
With moist breath
And an inability to speak
For: Absorption of tears and wailing
Contact: Joni under the birch tree
Price: Negotiable OBO
Urgent. Reply ASAP
JONI IS REALLY SAD
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” said Joni, laughing loudly enough to be heard by the woman and man sitting on a sofa at the far end of the room. “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” The child smiled broadly so that, when she stopped laughing, they would still notice how happy she was.
Twenty or more children stood in rows on a raised platform at the east end of a long room. When the front row had undergone adequate scrutiny, as indicated by nods from the woman and man on the sofa, three teachers stepped up onto the stage and directed the children in the front row to return to the back while the second row stepped forward. Wave upon wave, the rows of children rhythmically replaced themselves.
“If Momma ain’t happy….”
(A really short story by Frank Montagnino)
It was a bleak day; a gray day, the kind of day that if you didn’t have to go to work you’d just pull up the covers and stay in bed. But you wouldn’t enjoy that either, Joni thought.
She looked out the grimy window of her dreary room at the barren harvested field beyond the motel’s parking lot. “Empty,” she muttered to herself. As empty as her life since Roger had pulled up stakes and left her all alone on the outskirts of this Godforsaken, down-at-the-heels farm town.
Urban Fantasy Author, Liz Schulte is our first entry in our “Show not Tell” Challenge. What was the challenge? Show this: “Joanie/Joni is really sad.”
The curtains were pulled tight and the wood blinds closed. There was still too much light. Joanie’s feet shuffled across the bedroom floor pushing cold, wet tissues out of the way. With a sniffle, she wiped beneath her nose and knocked away another errant tear with the back of her hand—there seemed to be no end to them. No matter what she did, she couldn’t piece herself back together.
She sank into bed, pulling the plush, warm cover over her head. Finally it was dark enough to remember or forget, but she hadn’t made up her mind which one she’d do yet. Both choices were equally devastating. A shaky breath escaped her tight chest as a new round of tears spilled down her cheeks.
She wasn’t just bent, she was broken.
Gerardo Mena, poet, veteran, reads from the heart
Several Members are represented in Compass Flower Press new anthology called, Uncertain Promise