little challenge

Story-a-day – Day Fourteen

May 23, 2016
This post is part of a series of short stories.
Day Fourteen

JMy dearest Marcos,                                                                                                   May 23

I know it has been far too long since I’ve written, but I assure you you are never more than a blink’s distance from my mind. My days have been long and hard. It is terribly hot here, and dusty. When I see the other girls at the end of the night I don’t even recognize them, their skin black with dirt and sweat, and their hair blown into a dust-filled frenzy. I can only guess I look the same, but we are provided with no mirrors. We have no soap, so we never fully get clean, but depending on where we’re picking, we sometimes jump into a river in the middle of the day which is like heaven on earth. My closest friend’s name is Mary. She is quiet but funny. And the hardest worker here. I am continually surprised that she is able to make light of such a difficult situation, but I am so thankful for it. We pick from about 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. We get some bread and a tomato on our walk out to the field. Lunch is the only decent meal, where we actually get something warm. Usually it’s a broth soup and some potatoes with butter and a small piece of meat. I have lost so much weight you would not recognize me. My skin is very tan, as you might imagine, and my hair is the longest it’s ever been.  I dream of our bath back home, with oodles of perfumy bubbles and soaking til my toes prune. And ham dinners with baked potatoes and sour cream and blackberry pie for dessert. But mostly I dream of you. I dream about walking down Main Street in our Sunday best with you and a bag of popcorn. I dream about laying on a blanket with you in the shade of our oak tree. Yes, shaaade. With two bottles of cold beer and tunafish sandwiches and hardboiled eggs and your mom’s blueberry muffins. Do you dream of me too?

A couple of days ago we learned that one of the girls had lost her baby. None of us knew she was pregnant, but the stress was just too much on her body. She started bleeding right out in the middle of the field, so then she told us what was happening. Mary ran all the way back to the farm for help, but of course it was too late. I broke down and wept in the field. It’s just all too horrible. I didn’t know it would be like this. I know we need the money and I’m thankful I found work, but I don’t know how much more I can take. Most nights I’m asleep before I can say ‘’Thank You, Jesus,’’ but some nights…some nights I lay awake and think about what might happen. How I might lose a limb in one of the threshing machines, or get so dehydrated that I get seriously ill, or how you might find another girl. One who’s close to home. And it’s just all too terrible. I love you, Marcos. I need you to know that. If I didn’t say it enough back home, I’m saying it now. I want to marry you, if you’ll have me. And I want to have your babies. Lots of them. And I’ll get fat and you’ll go bald and we’ll have huge picnics in our backyard with all 75 grandkids, and you’ll tell stories about when I went away to California and how you missed me so much.

Marcos set the letter down before finishing it and wiped away some tears under his glasses. He leaned back in his chair and he looked out the window of his office that overlooked the backyard at the masses of family, standing in quiet circles, all dressed in black, celebrating a life now gone. A quiet knock at the door, ‘’you alright dad?’’ asked one of his sons. He looked up at him, ‘’did I ever tell you about the time mom went to California?’’ ‘’California? I don’t think so.’’ ‘’Go get Jeff and your sisters.’’

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little challenge

Story-a-day – Day Thirteen

May 22, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Thirteen

J Kellogg, Idaho was not known for its nightlife. In fact, if the topic ever came up, most people’s response would probably be, ‘’what nightlife?’’ But if you were a young person and it was a Friday or Saturday night, those merrymaker urges didn’t just go away because you lived in a town of 2,000 people. Sure, there were plenty of house parties, lots of underage drinking, but if an out-of-towner were to ask what there was to do in Kellogg, the local kids would probably point him to the laundromat. Continue Reading

little challenge

Story-a-day – Day Twelve

May 21, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Twelve

‘’Come on in, Pat,’’ the man motioned to the old man waiting in the car. The door to the old white Buick creaked open while Pat crawled out slowly and carefully. He grabbed his cane from between the seats and slid his ochre houndstooth Ben Hogan onto his head. ‘’Mornin’, Jerry.’’ ‘’Mornin’.’’ ‘’Mornin’, Pat,’’ the cook called through the little window as they walked into the diner. ‘’Mornin’, Edie, what’s the word?’’ ‘’Oh you know, just gettin’ the hashbrowns brownin’.’’ ‘’Good plan,’’ Pat chuckled. Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Eleven

May 20, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Eleven

J Dandelion Jones stood atop a mountain top, her arms spread wide above her head, posing like she’d just conquered Everest. ‘’Get down from there!’’ her boss barked. She startled. ‘’You’ve got two, three, four, five, six more boxes to stock. Get to work!’’ She jumped down from the back of the Kodak Swiss Alps display and grabbed a utility knife, slicing the tape across a box of film. Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Ten

May 19, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Today’s story is non-fiction. Just a small collection of stories about my grandpa.

Day Ten

J The earliest memory I have of my grandpa was in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. My dad designed the house and he and his brothers and friends and my grandpa built it. I was about four when they were building the house and this memory took place when we had just hooked up our water. I had a small navy blue Tupperware cup in my hand and I asked my grandpa if I could have a drink of water. Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Nine

May 18, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Nine

J Minnie yanked on the large metal cart, her small frame no contest for this well-stuck monster. ‘’Help ya, ma’am?’’ She looked over at the smiling box boy. She stepped aside. ‘’There ya go. They can be real boogers.’’ ‘’Thank you.’’ She set her oversized purse into the child seat and wheeled into Pep-mart. ‘’Let’s see, what do I need? Oh! Stain remover, that’s right. I’m glad I remembered. I’d never be able to get Luci’s butterscotch pudding out without it. Hmm, for colors…for whites…here we go,’’ she tossed it into the cart. Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Eight

May 17, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Eight

J ‘’I need to make some copies, I’ll be right back,’’ said Mr.Cooper, and shut the door behind him. Front-row Farrah turned around in her seat. She was just itching to pick a fight. She leaned over to what’s-her-name and whispered something and they both giggled demonstratively. Neurosurgeon Nathan piped up, ‘’hey! Whatchoo two laughin’ about?’’ ‘’I’ll tell you at lunch,’’ she teased. Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Seven

May 16, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Seven

J ‘’Meat is murder,’’ she sneered, with her eyes staring firmly forward. ‘’Oh kayyyy, do you see anything on the menu that carries a lesser charge, perhaps a misdemeanor?’’ ‘’Just get me some fries.’’ ‘’Do you want a strawberry shake? You used to love those.’’ ‘’Yeah, when I was seven.’’ ‘’Ok I get it, you’re too cool for shakes. Is there anything else on the menu cool enough for you, or is it gonna be just the fries?’’ ‘’You can get me a Coke,” she said snidely. ‘’Oh, can I now? Continue Reading

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Story-a-day – Day Six

May 15, 2016

This post is part of a series of short stories.

Day Six

J Sandy smoothed out the long grey pant leg on the ironing board in her living room. She straightened the hem and made a perfect seam in the front. She set the iron over it and hit the steam button, pressing back and forth. Her eye got stuck on the zipper, figuratively of course, and her vision began to focus in and out as it sometimes does when we stare at something, and her mind wandered elsewhere. It was a strange memory to return to. College. 25 years previous. Continue Reading