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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Lionel Walfish


Droughts come in all areas of life, from earth to love. Sometimes they end at the same time.


Flash Fiction

Nicholas Cochran




Justin Rush peered into a brownish swirling mass. He struggled for some idea of what was causing this freaky billowing cloud of locust-packed dirt to blow up the road toward his farm, endangering his brand new Ford F-150 Raptor, a gift from his late Grandfather, Lou.

Justin was a rangy man of twenty-two, with black hair and blue eyes he inherited via his Black Irish grandmother of County Cork. Broad in the shoulders and narrow in the hips, Justin limped slightly.

The gravel road split between the Rush and Madison ranches at a sharp right turn. A right turn would lead the ballooning murk three miles to the east, where Holly Madison and her parents tended a herd of skinny goats and skinnier cattle. Holly, a tall twenty-one year-old brunette, show-cased a wicked western figure. Justin pretended she was Jane Russell in The Outlaw”, a film he bought with his meager resources about five years ago after watching the film at Dan’s Film Club in Horse Whisper City.

Holly’s real name was Hollister. Her father met her mother in Hollister, California, forty years ago. He encouraged Holly to use ‘Holly’ so people would not fall into a state of gender or geographic confusion. Holly was home today. Justin imagined she was looking at the flinty brilliance of the flat blue sky; the Big Sky of Montana. He wondered if she was aware of the immense roiling mass heading her way. She would be terrified if she were watching.

Justin and Holly were childhood chums until she went to college in Missoula, where she was studying aeronautical engineering and nuclear physics. Justin barely recognized her when she returned at Christmas. She was glamorous. He told her so right out. She thanked him warmly, but didn’t blush, a sign Justin took to mean she was complimented on her beauty before—quite a few times, Justin correctly surmised. Two days ago, Holly came home for the summer. Five minutes ago, Justin called Holly and she invited him over.

Justin whistled while he rounded up a clean pair of jeans as well as a pressed jean jacket that neatly fit his six-three frame. He put on his favorite belt he won for all–around best performance at the Spring Rodeo.

Justin Rush lived on drought land for seven of his twenty-two years. He barely remembered what a storm cloud looked like, let alone a downpour. He took to reading about droughts and watching movies where it rained for days— weeks. He saw “Noah” six times and thoroughly enjoyed “Water World”. Then he saw “The Grapes of Wrath” and became depressed all over again.

The massive murky morass abruptly took a right, which was to the left as Justin faced. This meant whatever it was would spare the Rush ranch, but was bad news for Holly’s home. Justin ran to the sitting room to snatch the huge Bushnell binoculars off the cow-horn rack. He raced back to the front porch, zeroed in the binos, and immediately picked up the mammoth blackish-brown disturbance speeding down the road toward Holly. Rapidly, in the wake of the artificial storm, came dirt, some gravel, and a hell of a lot of locusts. Justin dove inside and slammed the door. He removed the locusts from the hallway and returned to the bay window to observe a familiar scene: a drought-ridden front pasture.  

He swung the binos in a quick movement to the left. The locust cloud was separating from the dust cloud and heading north. The dust cloud began to settle. The creator of all this farmland mess stopped some sort of yellow contraption right outside Holly’s door.

Justin dropped the binos on the cowhide divan, raced to his shiny black Raptor, flipped the ignition, and floored it. The Ford roared. A large number of locusts abandoned ship. Justin knew every yard of gravel to Holly’s front door, where he executed a perfect four-wheel slide to the bottom step of the porch stairs.

Holly came out in a red dancing dress with a light blue scarf on her head and bounced down the porch steps toward the two contraptions. 

Justin looked over at the other ‘contraption’ driver. He was about Justin’s size, wearing a red Ferrari polo shirt and black slacks. His hair was a blond crew cut. He took off his sunglasses and came over to Justin with outstretched hand. “Hi Justin; I’m Mike; heard a lot about you; from guess who?” Mike had a great smile. They shook hands.

“This yours?” Justin motioned to the yellow sculpture on wheels. “Naaah. My dad’s a car dealer. He has Ferraris,” nodding, “and these Lamborghinis; for all the instant oil-lease millionaires—and a few cattlemen as well. She is a beauty. I thought I’d tool over and check up on Holly.”

Justin could only wag his head very slowly as he examined all the quality detail of the yellow Italian speedster. Mike looked closely at Justin’s ride, admiring all that power under a silver and black skin that could go fast on and off the roads.

At the same instant, the two men remembered Holly and turned to face her. They pulled in their stomachs, puffed out their chests, and waited.

“Thanks for coming by, Mike, but I have a date with Justin. See you in September?”

Mike widened his smile and nodded. “Sure thing, Holly. Enjoy the summer. You too, Justin. Good to meet you.” Mike waved, folded into the Lambo, and flew away down the gravel overlaid-with-dust road.

Justin fastened his seatbelt and beamed at Holly. She took his hand and squeezed it. They smiled at each other, drew closer, and entered a long spine-tingling kiss.

For no particular reason, Justin looked up through the top of the windshield. Drops of rain bounced off the glass onto the longsuffering cracked earth. He widened his smile at Holly. She squeezed back harder.




Submitted: November 28, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Lionel Walfish

What a way with words you have Nicholas!
(It's like sitting back and watching a good film. You put it all there in front of us.!)

Mon, November 28th, 2016 10:01pm


Very pleased that you liked the tale.
As always, your motivating words are the 'spur'.
Very best wishes for the Holiday Season. And when can I expect another gem from you?

Tue, November 29th, 2016 11:43am


Nice touch with the rain at the end. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thu, December 1st, 2016 5:40pm


Hi hb,
Very pleased that you liked the story.
And, again, thanks for taking your valuable time to both read and comment on my work.
Happy Holiday Season and,

Sat, December 3rd, 2016 5:50pm

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