Even though it’s Tuesday, I’m posting the following story as part of fellow author and blogger Stevie Turner’s Friday Write feature. This work of flash fiction appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders. I was inspired to write it after someone told me she’d actually overheard a stranger say the story’s first lines into his cell phone.
HUNTING OUT OF SEASON
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
“Next time you don’t pick up the phone, I’ll beat the shit out of you!” His words were loud and clear through my sister’s cell when she answered his call.
I pulled the rental car to the side of the road. Turning to her, I said, “Give me that phone.”
She complied, her hand trembling, nearly dropping the device. “Not any more, buddy,” I told him. “Not if I have any say in the matter.”
The call was disconnected. “He thinks he called a wrong number,” I said. “He’ll call back.”
Sure enough, the phone rang, and his name came up on the screen. “Hi, Mike,” I said.
“Who the hell’s this?”
“Oh, you don’t remember me from your wedding a few months ago? I’m Debbie’s big brother Rick, six-feet tall, muscular. I had a bad feeling about you. So, I wasn’t surprised when Debbie called me yesterday after not speaking to anyone in our family for three months and begged me to fly all the way out to this god-forsaken state of Arizona to rescue her. She didn’t tell you she’d invited me for a visit? That was smart. You would have beaten the shit out of her then and made her tell me not to come.”
After a pause, he said, “Of course I wouldn’t have done that. I know who you are. We talked about going hunting in October when the season opens. Maybe Debbie and I will come this fall, and we can do that.”
“Look, we’ve have some disagreements…”
“Disagreements? You call a broken arm and bruises all over my sister’s body mere disagreements? I don’t think so, buddy.”
“I told her I was sorry. Sometimes, I lose control when I get angry. I’m trying not to…”
“Yeah, right. That’s what they all say. Forget it! I’m taking her back to Wyoming. If you come after her, you’ll be in big trouble because you’ll be hunting out of season. As a matter of fact, there is no hunting season for the type of game you’re after.”
I ended the call and handed the phone back to Debbie. “Can you believe he said he wanted to come up to Wyoming and go hunting with me?”
She managed a weak smile, as she slipped the phone into her purse. “You’re good.”
“So are you, Sis.” I resisted the urge to pat the shoulder of her broken left arm. “Let’s get out of here.”
As I put the car in gear, she fanned her face. “God, I hate Arizona summers. Why did I ever leave Wyoming?”
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?