Flash Me Archives
By Isabella Erlenmeyer
There was a sea of rye with a dimple to a side, a shallow depression—like the dent a smile would leave on a happy baby’s cheek—filled with brackish water, its margins a blur or cottonwoods. Lionel Davies relaxed his gaze into a horizon of wheat fields punctuated by shadows and peered at the brush strokes. In the brownish haze surrounding the water edges, the paint seemed to ripple.
It had become a raw, blustery day, down Walton Bay. Heavy clouds, smudged like thumbprints, moved in after an almost perfect dawn. There was a taste of cooler weather working its way up from the valley and grimy skies pressing down, as if to bow the reeds into submission. A field of tall flowers tosses everywhere in a gale, but the stronger rushes lean with the wind to recover and stand erect at every renewal of the storm...more
“Reckon weather’ll hold?”
Reverend Bray reamed his ear. Once finished, he peered at his fingertip before answering. “I suppose so. I’m not an oracle, you know?”
Maynard Dunbar, squire of Drefelin, chuckled, not without malice. “That’s not what I hear. They say you forecasted the contest winner.”
“It was an easy one. Young Matthias may not have the strongest build, but his arm is steady as a rock; anyone could see that.” Reverend Bray rubbed the finger under his arm.
“Archery needs strength, besides a balanced arm.” He must be digging at his ear all day, Maynard thought, checking a large yellowish stain under the Reverend’s arm. He’d never noticed such a habit before. Most unusual....more
Because there were so many of us (five total: three girls and two boys), it was rare that my mother would take us shopping with her, especially to a place as titillating to kid hands as the mall. During those once-in-a-blue-moon shopping excursions, our names were temporarily replaced with monikers like, “Don't Touch That,” “Oh My God, Don't Put That In Your Mouth,” and “Have You Lost Your Mind?” My brother, Buddy, – aka “Keep Your Hands Out Of Your Pants” - lived in shaking terror of the day my mother would announce that we were to get in the car, sit down and shut up because she needed a new bra. Buddy feared the lingerie section of Sears like inmates fear a midnight shank....more
Amelia leaned forward and rested her fevered brow on the desk’s edge as Eartha Kitt’s tortured voice echoed in the background.
...everywhere, rough concrete walls, damp, as if weeping with insufferable sadness. Irregular pillars—crowned with rusted and gnarled steel bars—jutted from the ruins like avid fingers. Weeds forced their way out among the rubble in a bid to lick the scant sunlight seeping through low clouds. The bleak landscape seemed to beg mercy from the heavens...
Brenda paused; Mr. Hansa definitely knew how to paint depression. After inserting a bookmark, she closed the volume. Loud Silences by Thomas W. Hansa. I wonder what the “W” stands for, Brenda pondered. Walter? Winston? No, not Winston, perhaps Wendell or William....more
The night was done for.
Richard eyed the rain—falling in thick sheets against the windows—glanced at the lonely customer slouched against the bar and continued polishing the glassware, raising a goblet to the light to check its transparency or remove a stray fluff.
When it started raining around six, Richard had assumed patrons from the hotel across the street would not risk a crossing. As usual, he was right. Not a single soul had entered The Grange for over three hours.
Once he finished the wineglasses, Richard tackled the tumblers. After twenty years behind the counter, he knew that a sparkling glass was the trademark of a good bartender and he was proud of his chosen profession.
A good bartender; a rarity; a dying trade. ...more
Jeremy Cobbledick peered through a slit between the frilly curtains and the window frame.
A man progressed up the lane with short steps and a bizarre limp—a broken slant. With each stride he wobbled, and seemed to forgo his center of gravity, soon to regain the vertical on the next step.
Jeremy had spotted him earlier, chatting with Mrs. Winterbottom, further down the lane. At first, he took him to be an insurance salesman or a roving preacher, but that was before the hag pointed toward his cottage. He could be from the bank, Jeremy ventured with a sinking feeling. He mentally ticked off his credit cards. No, Wells Fargo had already cancelled the cards. Foreclosure was more likely; Jeremy had defaulted four mortgage payments. The stranger could be from the court and try to serve another subpoena. Of course, these were risky suppositions and there was a slight chance the man sought somebody else.
Mrs. Winterbottom started the day with liquid breakfast—100 proof...more
I had a window cleaner once. A real window cleaner who carried his own ladder and bucket, and climbed said ladder at what ever the angle or height of the house. He also whistled so you could choose not to be in, or draw the curtains hurriedly depending on circumstances. In every sense, this man was a paragon, and more - a bibliophile.
One summer’s day, squeezed between two rosebushes, he accosted me like an ancient mariner in search of an albatross:...more
“Would you like a cup of tea?”