Tag Archives: short story

McGee and the Garden Hose

February 6, 2013

On the day James McGee decided to end his life, his wife had called him an asshole. “You’ll never be happy, Jimmy,” said Helen.

They sat at opposite ends of the kitchen table, middle-aged opponents squared off on a suburban battlefield. McGee planned to endure today’s skirmish as he had countless others, through a tactic of silent indifference.

While she talked, he watched over her shoulder. Next door, Amundsen mowed his grass again. The precise crisscrosses of his neighbor’s lawn offended him, as did the well-trimmed bushes and flowers. The landscape was an annoying quasar in McGee’s dark universe.

“Why does Dave need to cut his grass three times a week?” he said.

Helen fiddled with a dishtowel. She’d given up cigarettes five years ago, and her hands had been busy since. Her ragged fingernails teased out a thread along the towel’s edge, then deposited it on a growing pile in the center of the table.
“Don’t change the subject,” she said.

His headache set in. Jim’s Helenache, laughed the men at the office where Jim worked. “I’m happy,” he said.

Read the rest: http://www.literaryorphans.org/playdb/?page_id=390

On the Shore of Lake Wissota

January 29, 2013

The sign over the cash register read 15 Items or Less. Warren stuffed Mrs. Kennedy’s boxes of Smack Ramen, cherry Jell-O, and licorice whips into the sack, counting each one. At twenty-nine, he opened his mouth to tell the old bat to get in the other lane.

Janelle shushed him as she ran the cash register. Then she smiled sweetly at Ms. Kennedy and said, “That’ll be $25.19.”

The old bat dragged a wrinkled twenty, five ones, and nineteen pennies from her change purse. Janelle scooped the money off the counter, winking at Warren. He started to smile, but then the boss suddenly showed up.

Dave tapped Janelle on the shoulder. “I need you in my office. Close up.” He scowled at Warren. “Lane Five. Get going, old man.”

Sighing, Warren clocked out at 9:45. His back ached and he was cold. He was too old to be a grocery store bagger, also assigned to the famous “other duties as required.” He had mopped the produce section, cleaned the toilets, and restocked the dairy case. He could no longer make a fist, and he struggled with his jacket as he walked to the loading dock.

He looked over his shoulder to see Dave lifting one edge of the blinds covering the window of his small office, staring out at Warren as he passed. Janelle’s head was a dark shadow behind the glass. He lifted his hand like a claw and waved but Dave turned away. The blinds dropped with what was probably a muffled clatter, even though Warren couldn’t hear it through the glass.

Read the rest: http://www.thehorrorzine.com/Fiction/Feb2013/KipHanson/Kip.html

On the Interstate

December 15, 2012

yellow mama

Despite the blizzard, Will accelerated down the icy ramp. He grabbed fourth gear, too soon; beneath him the big diesel shuddered and groaned. Thirty, thirty-five, now forty, the transmission whined in protest. He ignored the truck’s mechanical complaints and slid into fifth.  The Kenworth lumbered onto the deserted Interstate, the last cold light of February shining on Will’s brow.

The pavement was glass. He regretted now not replacing that left rear tire back in Bismarck. He could feel it back there: slipping, grabbing, slipping, each icy bite making the truck groan and yaw in a great quarrel of reverberating sheet metal.

Beyond the heaving mounds of troglodytic ice and snow crowding the highway’s narrow shoulders, visibility was but a few hundred feet; beyond that, the landscape revealed naught but an obscure pall of white gusting across the ghosts of desolate farm fields, the dirt and snow painting hazy zebra stripes down the silent rows of October’s forgotten cornstalks.

Read the rest at Yellow Mama: http://blackpetalsks.tripod.com/yellowmama/id913.html

“C’mon, Johnny, run. Get up here, douchebag.”

Johnny sprinted after the westbound Union Pacific, stumbling over the small rocks and blackened scree bordering the tracks. The engine was a distant rumble ahead, rising in pitch, and Johnny knew he would soon be left behind; worse, he would be prone to terrific ridicule from his twin brother later that night. He tripped and nearly fell, but with a final gasping effort reached out to catch his brother’s hand. Charlie swung him up to the rail, clapping him on the back once his grip was secure. Together, they climbed to the top of the car.

Despite the heat of the Arizona sun overhead, the air blowing past was chill, and the boys sprawled out upon the roof of the container, glad for its metallic warmth and enjoying the delicious feel of the air streaming over their bodies. On the horizon, a monstrous serpent crept across the desert landscape – Interstate 10, stretching from Jacksonville, Florida to nearby LA. And there in the middle loomed the tunnel, a black, yawning hole bored through and under the long spine of desert rock on which the freeway ran.

Read the rest at A Twist of Noir http://a-twist-of-noir.blogspot.com/2012/05/interlude-stories-kip-hanson.html

Little Flower

April 8, 2010

It was the fat girl who started it, the blonde girl two doors down. She was nothing more than a dumb guera, yet the girl’s parents had lovingly named her Holly twenty-two years before. Flor woke to hear the guera stupidly pounding on the walls, kicking at the door, until after fifteen minutes or so vigilant Cal took notice. He came, lurching down the stairs and up the hallway and the guera screamed at him. Cal took her up the stairs, slammed the door, and moments later came the muffled sound of a gunshot. Cal was short like that sometimes.

There’d been seven of them. At night they called out to each other, when the lights went out and they lay in the dark, the only illumination that of a small nightlight. Jimmy had come up with this brainstorm after one of the girls had screamed and thrashed about so much in the dark that she’d hurt herself, and Cal had been forced to take care of her. Jimmy had also come up with the great idea to pump in music – love songs mostly, sappy stuff like Jim Croce and Neil Diamond. It played all day long until the girls went crazy from hearing it, until finally the fluorescents overhead went dim and the nightlights came on and then all was quiet again for another worried night.

My first “real” story, published by A Twist of Noir. Read the rest here: http://a-twist-of-noir.blogspot.com/search/label/Kip%20Hanson