Piscēs I

Part One

It was time.  Noah had begged and pleaded for a dog.  I knew he wasn’t old enough to take care of one.  And I just wasn’t up to the task.  Trying to work, go to college in the evening and taking care of a 5 year old on my own was enough.  Mama’s plate was completely full.

So I compromised.  We were in the pet shop and I was thinking I could get him a lizard, or a gecko or something easy.  And quiet.

We had to struggle through the, “But mama, there are kitties.” and take a left after, “Maaaaaama look, that rat is really cute though and he looks lonely.” Those big brown sad eyes looking up to me begging for me to understand how deep his affection was for every living creature. I sped the walk up to the lizard area. Repeating more times than I would like, “I know baby.  I do, but let’s start small. Even small guys need love too!”

Then he saw them.

The guppies.  There were what seemed like thousands of guppies in 5 aquariums. It was insane to see so many fish in one container. And I couldn’t figure out the reason they were all swimming about so frantically. Quick zig here, another zag there, then back super quickly.  As if every one was in a hurry, but they had no idea what for.  Maybe it was the way the light hit their tails and they sparkled, I don’t know but he stopped dead in his tracks.

“Mama.”

“Yes, sweetheart?”

“What are those?”

To be honest I couldn’t have told you what they were until I read the label and the very forgiving price tag that was written underneath.

“They are Guppies!”  I emphasized the GUP-PIES!!!! because it sounded like puppies.  I’m not proud.

We already had a 10 gallon tank that Eric said he was going to try and start a real salt water aquarium one day. Well, we’ve been divorced 3 years and it is still in my garage, so Score!

I asked an employee to come tell me a bit about the guppies.  Let me know if they were easy to care for. She proceeded to give me the run down. They were essentially beginner fish.  We were beginner pet owners and this sounded right up our alley.  We purchased 8 guppies and an array of aquarium accouterments. In total, we walked out having spent less than $75.00.  It was over my budget but watching my Noah Bug pick out each fish exclaiming, “That one, ooooh no wait, that one. No, he moved.  The Silver one.  That one!”  His finger darting trying to track the exact fish he wanted.  The glee he was exhibiting was worth doubling my pet budget.

We arrived at home thirty minutes after we left the pet store.  I attempted to run into the grocery store to grab bread but my child screamed, “If we leave them in the car they will DIE!!!!!!!” Ok buddy.  But it’s canned soup for dinner, no grilled cheese. He didn’t even seem to hear me.  Once inside I rushed to finish cleaning out the aquarium for a second time, I had already thoroughly cleaned it a week ago, but a quick check for dust, etc wouldn’t take long.  And the water needed to be the right temperature so I got to work immediately.  And also at the urging of one very excited little boy.  “Maaaaaaaam they’re going to die if they stay in these bags. Hurrrry.”

After one solid hour and testing the water twice, we introduced each one in.  One at a time giving them a moment, making sure they were ok with the water temperature. And then it began.

He sat in front of that tank for 3 hours.  I fed him his chicken and stars as he sat crossed legged in front of the glass amazed and still throwing out names for each one. Chuck! That one is Buzz! That red one is Bolt!  The pink one is Dora!  I did notice he traced his finger lightly across the glass, maybe seeing if they would follow.  I know he wanted a dog, but I would hate to have to tell him that fish don’t, “come” when called. Then he used what sliver of a fingernail he had and tapped on the glass in frustration when they weren’t paying attention

Tap, BANG, Tap, BANG, Tap, Tap

“Noah, stop that immediately!” I raised my voice and approached him.  I asked him, why would you do that to your fish?” We were warned by the person at the pet shop never to tap the glass.  She said they have to say it every time.  Beginner fish advice 101 especially for the little ones.  He said, They weren’t watching me so I tapped so they could see me.  I sighed.  I got down to his level.  I told him, “I understand what you mean.  But, remember when we went to the July 4th parade last year and the fire engines went off right by you and you covered your ears? You were very upset by the loud noise and wanted to go home.”

He said, “But that is different, it was just a tap. I explained it was just as loud for the fish with his tap as it was the fire engine was for him. He looked remorseful that he had done it and I reassured him that it was ok.  They are fine.  Just don’t do that to them again.

After that it was finally time for Noah to head to bed.  It had been a long day and I still had two papers due by Sunday night.

I could see he was on his stool brushing his teeth like a big boy as I approached the bathroom from the hall.  Half way down the hall it happened.

It started as a rumble as if a train was going by somewhere in the distance.  Then it picked up forcefulness. It was an earthquake. I ran as fast as I could to Noah, snatched him up like a football covering his head and headed into my closet.

Part II will come within a week or so.
If you are wondering why the hell I’m waxing poetic about guppies this is just the first part to a short story I am writing.  It is a science fiction type piece.  Don’t let the beginning fool you.

Thanks for reading.       🙂

As Always,

Woman on Pause

© 2018 Woman on Pause All Rights Reserved

Incognito – Mondays Finish the Story

Monday 07.27.15

Incognito

He thought he found the perfect hiding spot. He was camouflaged and watching. That was exactly where he needed to be. He couldn’t believe that he was witness to his wife cheating on him. In front of everyone. How could she? They had been together two years now.

And this guy. Oh, THIS guy… He was nothing like Eddie. This guy was suave. He actually sauntered. That was how he stole his purrfect Missy. By ambling around as if he were the only male here.

Well not today my friend. Today he was going to stay incognito until she realiz–

Dinner Time!! Come on Missy… Eddie… and you too Mittens. Come on and eat your dinner sweet baby kitties!!!”

Eddie stood up, straightened and began to walk towards his bowl.  All the while smirking, “Mittens, huh.” 

Word Count 129

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for stopping by and reading my submission for Mondays Finish the Story.  The idea is to write a short fiction story based off of the photo prompt and the first line is already written.

I appreciate any constructive criticism.  And thank you for stopping by!!

You can always add your submission or read others just click the link below.

As Always,

Woman on Pause

Southern Dyscomfort

A Short Story By Woman on Pause

She checked out her cuticles. “Damn, is there ONE decent place in Ft. Polk Louisiana to get my nails done?”

She started to push back her cuticles with her opposite hand. “I really really wish I hadn’t forgotten my book. I would read a fucking VD pamphlet right now if I had it.”

A quick survey of the place showed NO reading materials. The vending machines were bare. Not a soul in the place except Betty, Jeanine, Lois, Edna, and good old Louise.

She loved Louise. Louise was the best in the place. Louise was hard working, did the job, but was gentle and that was the exact combination she needed. There were others lined up but the black stenciled names had long been worn away.

Only in Louisiana did they name their dryers. They were the LARGE commercial variety in a dumpy Laundromat in Leesville. The washers were normal, the kind you would find in your house. But the dryers, oh the dryers… These were front loading, avocado green, mammoths. You could fit two loads into one and cut your time in half.

And Louise was the girl for her. Bette tended to never get hot enough. No matter how many quarters you fed her. The others were ok, but Louise was the belle of the laundry ball.

Since she picked prime time to be here, Wednesday at 7pm, church time for the locals, she was left in peace to listen and wait for the washer click letting her know that it was time to transfer the clothes and that she was only about 45 minutes from getting the hell out of here.

One day she would have a washer and dryer. They wouldn’t be fancy but they would do the trick. And she was always amazed how excited she got to do laundry now that she didn’t have to haul her and her husband’s clothes twice a week to be laundered.

I mean, she just had to walk to the back of the house and start it up. Go watch TV, or cook dinner, or practice fucking Tai Chi. Whatever she wanted!!

That day was to come soon, but for her not soon enough.

CLICK

“Sweet Jesus thank you.” She got up, officially bored out of her mind, and dragged the two green plastic laundry baskets and began the chore of lifting 4 loads of wet laundry and transferring it to the dryer.

Towels, jeans, sheets, sweaters, BDU’s, cook white’s, scrubs, undies, boxers, anything she could find to gather up after work and get clean so she wouldn’t have to come back until at least Saturday.

She sat back down, crossed her legs and began to look at her toes. She needed a pedicure too. That hooker at “Curl up and Dye” cut her cuticles last time. “Not going back there, and I doubt I am welcome since I did kick her in the chin.”

She takes a quick mental inventory of what she has at home to do a quickie pedi.

Her thoughts are broken by the door opening and a man of about thirty walked in. He had dirty brown hair, a red hat, white t-shirt, and an old pair of jeans.

She thought, “Oh good the Maintenance Mr. is here.” See, normally in these places there is a guy. He wears coveralls and makes sure the lint traps are clean, sweeps, makes sure there is no hogging of the washers and most importantly he took good care of Louise. It was dusk, and this was about the time he would be in.

She didn’t see car lights behind her so he must live near by. Typical for this area. Not many folk drive. A good amount walk. Even if it is 107 degrees and it feels like you walk into a hair dryer on Hi when you walk out of the house. They still walk.

This particular place was a quite a find, open till 10pm and off the beaten path. She called it “LAUNDRY GOLD.” She had only been here about 4 times but had already decided this was it for her until they could save up enough for a W&D of their very own.

A packed Laundromat is the kiss of death. You can spend six hours doing five loads and you can kiss that day GOODBYE. She had this down to an art. If you are going to play white trash wifey-poo in “The end of the earth” Louisiana then you better have your smarts about you.

She went back to examining and criticizing her cuticles.

He walked in and went to the back corner where Bette met in the corner with what looked like “Glna” the lettering had worn off, so she hadn’t bothered using it.

And there he stood.

He didn’t go in the back and put on his coveralls. He didn’t grab the broom or check to make sure the Tide, snuggle, and spray and wash were fully stocked in the “Laundro-vend.”

She looked up and glanced at her dryer darling Louise.

He put his hands in his pockets.

And then it came.

The feeling.

She had never felt this before. It was a wave. A scream from the inside of her that said something is very fucking wrong and she didn’t know if she was being silly or just out right paranoid.

“Maybe he is waiting on the wife to lug in the laundry. Or maybe he has a load in one of the washers from earlier in the day”

He just stood.

The feeling began to overtake her stomach. Ate at it so hard she had to bend a little because it was beginning to hurt.

This was 1998 and there were no cell phones. A quick look over her right shoulder showed what she remembered, an “out of order” sign on the one pay phone outside. Her car was still secure and lonesome about 20 feet from where she sat.

He finally spoke. “You seen a red truck?”

“Nah, not since I have been here” she croaked. She all of a sudden realized the feeling that was eating at her had sucked all her saliva from her throat and mouth. It felt like trying to talk with a throat full of sand.

No response. No movement, No flicker of ANYTHING.

*fuck*

This is what repeated in her mind over and over. In her thoughts it was quiet. A whisper. Almost afraid if she thought it too loud he could hear her think it.
She quickly and very unconvincingly thought “He hasn’t done anything. What is wrong with me??”

He scratched his arm.

Her palms were drenched all of a sudden, and her long hair, tied in a bun started to feel like a pile of hot dry hay sitting on top of her head. And she began to sweat profusely.

He adjusted his hat and began to walk towards her.

 

Part II will be posted Tuesday April 26th.  Please check back.

*And yes, already written promise not to leave anyone hanging. 

As always,

Woman on Pause