The Singing Trees -Flash Fiction for 3/28/14

This week’s story was inspired by Donald Harington’s novel, The Choiring of the Trees. Harington, who died in 2009, is one of the foremost writers from my home state of Arkansas. Entertainment Weekly called him, “America’s greatest unknown writer.” Born and raised in Little Rock, Harington lost his hearing at the age of 12 from meningitis. Being deaf did not keep him from becoming a professor of art history and he taught at universities in New York, New England and South Dakota before returning to his alma mater, The University of Arkansas, and teaching for 22 years until his retirement. He is best known for his novels of Ozark life, set in the fictional town of Stay More. His most popular novel is The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks.

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Photo copyright John Nixon

Photo copyright John Nixon

 

The Singing Trees

 

Alone in the writhen forest on a wild windy day, the zephyr whistling through the twisted limbs sings a song that sounds hauntingly familiar. The rattling leaves reverberate like snare drums and the creaking branches sing backup. I lie down under the misshapen growth and listen to the choiring air, the tune on the tip of memory, and fall asleep to the arboreal lullaby. I awake at dusk, the wind has died, but the tree music magically plays on and I finally recognize the melody and sing along, “Alas my love, you do me wrong to cast me out discourteously.”

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Fire and Ice – Flash Fiction For 3/7/14

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Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Robert Frost
Photo copyright Danny Bowman

Photo copyright Danny Bowman

Fire and Ice

The man and woman on the survival reality show trekked across the immense Icelandic tundra, shivering and hungry.

“I’m sorry I let you talk me into this. I’ve never been so miserable,” said the woman.

The director smiled, pleased.

“Argue some more,” he said. “We need conflict.”

“You’ve always been weak,” said the man. “Stop whining.”

The camera crew needed to reset the shot, so they paused. Suddenly there was a rumble and the nearby mountain exploded and fire and flying rock filled the sky.

“Are you getting this?” the director shouted to his crew just before they all died.

Recipe For Murder – Flash Fiction For 2/14/14

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Photo Copyright Janet Webb

Photo Copyright Janet Webb

Want to avoid the hassle of Valentine’s Day with someone you no longer love? Want to be free of an unwanted relationship? Maybe you’ve found a new valentine and are ready to move on? Concoct this appealing, but deadly beverage. Start with eight ounces of hearty sangria. Jazz it up by adding chunks of fresh strawberries, peach and pineapple. Add one tablespoon of anti-freeze and stir in thoroughly. Serve chilled. Repeat daily for about a week. After a few days, you’ll notice redness around the eyes and blue patches on the face. Get ready for the best Valentine’s Day ever!

A House Divided – Flash Fiction For 2/7/14

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Photo copyright Dawn M. Miller

Photo copyright Dawn M. Miller

A House Divided

A serious young guy was running the yard sale. I asked him about a table of old lamps.
“I collected those, but my ex liked modern. I like antique.”
“Is that why you broke up,” I joked. He didn’t smile.
“It was a lot more than that. She liked carpet. I like wood floors. She liked granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. I like retro. She liked uncluttered. I like clutter. Now that she’s gone, I’m selling everything and moving away.”
“That’s too bad. So you divorced over home decor?”
“We didn’t divorce. She liked knives. I like guns.”

Frost Was Wrong – Flash Fiction For 1/17/14

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Photo Copyright Erin Leary

Photo Copyright Erin Leary

Frost Was Wrong

The river used to flow through my meadow. I let my neighbor water his herd there. Then the river channel shifted onto his land. I drove the cattle to the river, like always, but a fence blocked our path to the water. The cattle were thirsty. They lowed and gazed longingly across the fence at the water, not understanding what had happened. I angrily drove the tractor into the rails between two posts and they cracked, splintered and fell to the ground. The cows trotted through the opening and slaked their thirst contentedly. Sometimes, good fences don’t make good neighbors.

House For Sale – Flash Fiction For 1/10/14

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Photo Copyright Dawn Q. Landau

Photo Copyright Dawn Q. Landau

For Sale: Charming seafront cottage. Vintage charm and only steps from the water. Unfurnished. One br, no bath. Approx. 150 sq. ft. Private stairway to the beach. Large skylight. Elevated ocean view. Breezy, bright and well ventilated. Open concept floor plan. Vintage style with traditional architecture. Rock solid foundation. Unspoiled, beautiful setting with no nearby neighbors. Zero utility bills. Perfect second home, weekend or vacation destination. All natural heating and cooling systems. Boat launching possibility. Needs minor repairs and improvements. Yard requires little or no maintenance. Fish right outside your door. Oceanfront living at a rock bottom price.

Clean Freak – Flash Fiction For 12/13/13

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Photo Copyright Adam Ickes

Photo Copyright Adam Ickes

Clean Freak

Fastidious to a fault, Alicia had a thing about wearing shoes into the house. Everyone was required to leave footwear outside. It got worse. The furniture was swaddled with wrap. Disinfectant saturated the air. Microbe zapping lights radiated 24/7.

Alicia washed her hands a hundred times a day. She wouldn’t touch doorknobs, eating utensils, bed clothes, knobs, faucets, or anything in the bathroom. She wore rubber gloves, a face mask, and goggles over her eyes. For years, she’d successfully survived inside against the germ infested outdoors.

When an infra-red lamp set the place ablaze, she stayed. Fire is very cleansing.