Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Three Very Short Stories

The elevator stopped three times on his journey to the lobby.  On the 11th floor a man in an expensive suit winced and blew air from his cheeks while staring down at the floor.  On the 7th a famous musician entered.  He recognized the man first thinking he was a business acquaintance.  He soon realized the man to be Jackson Browne.  The last time he had seen Jackson Browne was when his "Lawyers In Love" video played incessantly on MTV in the late 1980s.  It had been the video playing while he had been caught "dry humping" his classmate's sister in their family rec room.  He still remembered the horrified expression on the brother's face while the Jackson Browne song played from the tinny TV speaker.  It had been the swift end of their fragile friendship.  The elevator stopped again on the 4th floor.  A woman with a toddler got on.  The toddler stared at him the rest of the way to the lobby while he stared at Jackson Browne who stared at the shoes of the man that stared at the floor.  The all exited when they reached the lobby, relieved to be out of the small space together.

When he was seven, he had been knocked unconscious from a rock thrown by an eight year old.  The other boy left him to lay in the dust of the vacant lot.  He woke up in the dusk hours later, dried blood in his ear.  He walked unsteadily home.  He washed his cuts and went to his room, ashamed at having been rendered helpless.  Twenty eight years later he saw the eight year old boy as a man in a restaurant eating dinner with a female companion.  He fantasized about getting a tire iron from his car and bashing him with one forceful swing to the back of the head.  Instead he got in his car and drove home, mentioning it to no one.  He thought about it from time to time though. 


He walked to the harbor to see the clipper ship arrive.  When he arrived in South America two years earlier it seemed a grand adventure.  That initial excitement passed quickly.  Now he felt exiled.  He would sit and watch the ships have their cargo removed, small relics of the life he had left behind placed on the dock.  Crates of biscuits, bitter ale, small jars of marmite.  Everything was different here.  Instead of providing a soothing comfort, these pieces of home just made him more melancholy.  In his chest pocket was the letter he had written shortly after arrival, when he had realized the gross error of leaving her behind.  In it he begged her to reconsider his lack of judgement.  Each day that past made the words inside it less meaningful.  The letter had been stamped and addressed almost a year earlier, the envelope now creased and fading.  He glazed over watching the activity on the dock lost in his thoughts.  He would send the letter next time.  Yes, that would be better.  He walked back up the hill to his home to wait for next time.



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