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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tunnel vision view of vintage madness.

Submitted: April 13, 2017

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Submitted: April 13, 2017



 Staring at the kitchen floor, she just stands there. The oven door stood open heating the kitchen on a late September evening. Carol absently wipes at the sweat dotting her forehead with a snowflake printed hotpad. Her kids, Roman and Shannon would be home soon and Carol was looking at her family’s main course for dinner on the parkay pattern linoleum. Her grandmother's recipe. Shattered Pyrex. Unsalvageable.


She could always hear Hamilton’s keys long before he reached her corridor. She panicked and slipped away again only to come to as his rasping tongue drug wet and slow up the left side of her neck, over her jaw bone and across her cheek to her forehead. His voice then trembled in her ear

“I wanna lick your disease, Sweetheart.”


“Can you feel that, Bitch?!”

Hamilton was on top of her but Jeanie couldn’t feel anything.

Jeanie was a quadriplegic and Jeanie was insane.


Albert, exhausted, leaned backward  against the stainless steel deep-sink. He pulled the letter out of his front pocket, reaching behind his rubber apron. He unfolded and folded it again for at least the sixth time today. There was nobody around now. The last meal was served an hour ago. The cafeteria tables folded and stowed, garbage taken to the dumpster and all the plates and cookware washed. Now, sitting on a four gallon bucket of pickle chips, he read his letter again. It was from his boy Hector in Omaha. It had been eleven years since he had ran off with THOSE people. The emotions came like a flood. Albert just let himself go.


Roman could hardly see the sky through the canopy of trees as he lay on his back in the tall golden grass, seemingly surveying the mossy limbs. In left arm was his best girl. It had been a day to remember for sure. A light breeze slightly lifted her fresh smelling hair across his nose tickling it a bit. He smiled and brushed her hair back as he rolled to his side laying the most gentle kiss on her blood spotted corpse.


After chow on Tuesday nights the men on cell block B enjoyed Movie Night. It was “Cool Hand Luke” night...again.

Of course this was back when movies were projected and a darkened room was needed. This particular room was the former home to the prison’s old printing shop. A room that had washout drains dotting the blonde hardwood and concrete reinforced pillars under it’s false floor to support the heavy printing machines of a long past age and technology.


“Will you kindly shut the fuck up!” Billy yelled over his shoulder at his fellow inmates. The room was loud with laughter and interjections.

“Oh God, here it comes!”


“I love this bit!”

Strother Martin’s reedy voice came over the speakers just then and the room went quiet.


“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach…”


The room erupted again with laughter, foot stomping and back slapping.


“So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it…” Strother’s voice went on.


The guards in the back of the room just shook their heads at each other. CO Perky asks CO Mack

“Hey, what is it with prison movies and inmates, Huh?”

Mack, being older and wiser enlightens his young protege. He says

“Every movie has a hero, right? So if it’s a movie about prison then a con must be that hero. They wanna identify with him. And especially if he escapes.”

Perky just shrugs at this.

A half an hour later, after Newman’s character escaped and was found in a church, Cool Hand Luke dies again in a smoke filled room on a silver screen before an audience of now quiet inmates. The laughter all out of them. A sadness hangs in the room like the Lucky Strikes cloud they were all breathing. The inmates less animated now stood and slowly started folding their chairs. Perky does a head count and comes up one short.

Mack yells


The inmates fall out laughing again.

Not one floor board looking disturbed.

Billy was gone.

...again. Lost to the Nebraskan night.


Hector was running behind. He hit the Home Depot already on his way to get the kids from school. Mrs. Brown, Jenny’s teacher, caught him as he held the seat forward so that his little princess could climb into the back seat of his new '68 Rivy.

“If I could just have a minute?” she said and continued on for another five about blah blah blah.

Hector nodded and smiled in all the right places and mentally undressing her all while thinking about how he was supposed to get all his errands done and have the house prepared before the ceremony on time.

“That’s fine, Mrs. Brown. We’ll have to explore those ideas more fully at next Tuesday’s PTA meeting.” he said, putting his car in Drive and rolling slowly away from her.

Back on the road he was going over tonight’s ceremony in his head, knowing he was gonna forget something. Don’t forget this and don’t forget that was his wife’s voice inside his head. Two more kids to pick up and three more stops after dropping them off at grandma’s for the night.

‘Gotta remember to get something nice for my mom.’ he thought.

His mom understood how important tonight was for her boy. She was so proud.

Hector dropped the kids off, his mom blowing kisses and wishing him good look for tonight as he rolled out of her driveway.

Windows down and enjoying late March weather, he couldn’t help but smile. He’d been waiting so long for this night. It was gonna be the best Ostara celebration yet. Hector went over his mental list, who would be there, amount of hor d’oeuvres, bottles of champagne. Oh and he almost forgot “The Visqueen!”

He laughed out loud at that. Could ya just imagine a Human Sacrifice in one’s den WITHOUT plastic coverings?


Shannon was tired of being a tree. Ms. Bleuth found this out the hard way. Ms. Bleuth was cowering in a corner of “The Quiet Room” with only a scholastic copy of Hamlet between herself and an irate sixth grader with a double action .38 revolver. Shannon didn’t wanna be a tree, a cloud, a rock or a friggin’ Christmas Lobster. Shannon wanted to be The Princess! Ms. Bleuth tried to reason with her. Only a muffled “POP” was heard outside the quiet room.


Finding himself in his own driveway, car running but in park, Phil has no memory of leaving work, entering or exiting the freeway, his route through the outer suburbs or even the right turn into his cul-de-sac. What Phil did recall was being “Pink-Slipped” after ten years with the firm. He waved to his neighbor, Hamilton, who also was returning from work.

‘I’d like to trade places with him right now.’ Phil thought, closing the car door. He caught a familiar aroma in the air and happily realized it was Granny’s hot dish Carol was making tonight. Suddenly Phil felt like things were gonna be alright. Nothing was unsalvageable.

© Copyright 2018 R.Guy Barringer. All rights reserved.

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