Fast Fiction Friday! I’m continuing the Budgie Barnett Fast Fiction Challenge this week with titles “Only In My Heart” and “Bernard and The Butcher”. As I explained, I’ll write fast fiction of exactly 200 words using titles from Barnett’s blog. (Click over to this post for a full explanation.)
She sat on the stone bench and talked, though she was alone. I watched her across the field of tended grass and marble. The April sunshine didn’t reach her patch of ground. She was lost in the dreary winter of her grief.
What she talked about, I wouldn’t hazard a guess. Sometimes she laughed, not happily but bitterly. Sometimes she cried. Sometimes she was so animated, I was concerned she would lose her seat or draw a crowd. But everyone kept a respectful distance from the tiny woman dressed in black.
Finally she rose and said her goodbyes. She patted the cold stone and made her way to me.
“How is Gerald?” I asked as she got in the car.
“Still dead,” she said casually as she put on her seat belt.
“How are you?”
“Still alone.” She folded her hands in her lap and stared blankly out the window, effectively shutting out the rest of the world, and me, her only daughter, with it. I didn’t let her see the tear fall down my cheek.
I sighed and put the car in gear. Twenty years dead and he was still her favorite, her baby. We drove home in silence.
“But I don’t like pork chops.”
“Sure you do, Bernie. Everyone likes a good bit of pork now and then.” He said it in earnest, so I stifled my “mind in the gutter” giggle.
“No, I don’t, Richard. And my name’s ‘Bernard’, not ‘Bernie’. Honestly, I don’t know why I bother coming in here. I could get a better price and less hassle at Harrison’s.”
“Then trot your arse to Harrison’s. It’s no care to me where you choose to buy your meat.” Richard the Butcher slapped the chops back in the case, looking all the world like he cared a great deal.
“Maybe if you had a better attitude to your customers, you wouldn’t be in it to the bank.”
“Maybe if you kept your nose to your own business, your Nancy wouldn’t be off to her sister’s so often.”
I balked, Bernard froze, and Richard blushed.
“I’m sorry Bernie. That was a low blow.”
“It was at that, Richard.”
Silence and tension filled the room to almost unbearable levels until Richard the Butcher finally said, “So, how about a sirloin?”
“Yes, I think that would do. And maybe some lamb for Sunday, if you’ve got a nice rack.”
Be sure to click through the titles to see Budgie’s stories, and give him a comment or tweet if you like what you read. Best wishes!