Flash Fiction (Song): The Guardian

Hello people! Today is another flash fiction based on a song picked by a member of our blogging group. Today’s song is Alanis Morissette, Guardian.

“Write about Dogma!”

If you haven’t seen the movie, Alanis is God in Dogma. And Alan Rickman is in it too. He is an angel. FYI, angels don’t have junk. It’s a topic covered in the movie.

No.

Thanks for the suggestion though.

Here we go, my song flash fiction for the month. Enjoy!

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I don’t like this part of town. The houses must have been amazing in their prime but the houses are now usually full of transients who have no obligation to keep up appearances and landlords who really don’t care to make more than the minimum investments. It has a run down feeling. An uncared for feeling. A rotten feeling. With a day full of cold wind, gray clouds, and the smell of car exhaust, it was exceptionally rotten.

Parking a few houses down on the street I pulled out my bag and inspected it’s contents out of habit. Presentation material, extra contracts, my calculator, a few pens, business cards, a sticky note pad, and a planner. Today was my only out of office appointment and I was prepared for at least five. Typically a week consisted of ten appointments at most. Bad for business but, good for families who are in need to see someone like me. I flip down the visor and take a quick look at myself, wiping some makeup fall out off my cheek before applying a light lip gloss. Stepping out of the car I smooth down my trench coat and take a large step over the grass patch before reaching the side walk so my heels avoid picking up dirt. A few houses down two older woman sit on their porch and watch me intently, they both wear their hair pulled back, one in a bun, the other in curlers. Gossiping with coffee cups in their hand and wearing lazy comfort clothes. The one with curlers takes a long drag of her cigarette and does not break her stare when I catch hers. I’m sure I look out of place for this neighborhood and really, I look out of place almost every where I go. Important enough to look professional but not professional enough to be important.

My clients house is kept up reasonably. The siding could use a coat of paint and empty planters sit strategically around the porch. The home shows evidence of love but no energy. I knock the front door a young man answers. He is wearing a uniform for the grocery story a few blocks down with a name tag showing his name to be Ka’vonne. His dark eyes judge me quickly and he straightens his stance, lifting his chin up in an attempt to seem bigger but the boy is only a teen and still has a few inches to go to be taller than me even without heels.

“Hi, I have an appointment with Penny?”

“Yeah?” He pushes out his lips and looks me up and down before closing the door all but a small sliver and disappears. It’s only a quick moment before an elderly woman appears with a bright friendly smile on her face but happiness is absent from her eyes.

“Penny Hayworth?” I hold out my hand to her. “I’m Gail from Greer Memorial Gardens. We talked on the phone.”

“Yes, yes sweet darlin’. You just come on right inside. W’all just sit in the dinin’ room if you don’t mind.” I attempt to kick off my shoes as trained but Penny stops me. “Nah darlin’ that ain’t necessary. Floor’s cold.” And cold it was. The whole house smelled of stale air and where the weather didn’t allow a window to be open, stubbornness or money kept the heat from being turned on.

At the dining room table I open my bag and pull out a brochure but hesitate to open it. “I understand you are looking to preplan your husbands burial? Is he here?”

“Nah. He has Alzheimer’s. I lost him yah see?”

“You mentioned something about losing him on the phone but I’m sorry, I didn’t fully understand. Can you explain. He is still alive, yes?”

“Oh.” Penny smiled a little and itched her dark hair in a way the movement gave away it was not her own but rather a carefully styled wig. “I can explain. See my husband is a wanderer. He just gonna walk out of the house and he don’t know where he is and sometimes I ain’t sure he know who he is. I lost him. My neighbors, God bless em, they brought him home. But it just too late ya see? I lost him that day in ways. He ain’t here mentally and I can’t keep pretendin’. I just can’t care for him no more. I’m too old myself. Not only that but I’ve got the grandchildren to care for. Them good kids but I can’t keep up with it all. The grandchildren, I can manage the grandchildren. They smart. They manage themselves. But my Henry, I can’t live with myself if he done hurt himself or I lose him again. He needs nurses. He needs a safe home.”

This is a story I’ve heard before and I nod along as she speaks. I know where the conversation is going.

“We can’t afford care. And I was told about our options.” Penny smiles her empty smile.

I sit back in my chair and open up my brochure of memorials and vaults before reaching over the table and taking Penny by the hand. “I understand. You need to liquidate enough assets to go on medicare for you to afford care for Henry. We do this all the time. But trust me, you aren’t just taking care of him but you are taking care of yourself too. This is for both of you. Trust me when I tell you, you are not alone. And we’ll find something nice for him. A place you can visit to remember all the days when things were a little bit easier.”

Penny smiles. And for the first time during our visit her eyes smile too. “I love him you know. This ain’t easy. Nah. Not at all easy. But, I know what I have to do. Even if it be tough decisions. It’s all for the best.”

“You are doing a great job taking care of him and making sure he is being taken care of.”

“Darlin’ I try.”

And there we sat for hours. Drinking coffee to keep warm, talking about Henry in his prime, and sorting the details of their final resting place. The day came two years later when I saw Penny again but this time she wasn’t coming to see me and I stood in the shadows with the groundsmen. The funeral was small and Penny was the last to leave. I caught her eye only briefly and saw the face of a woman who wasn’t going to give up her guard just yet. Henry might be gone but she will be back and will always be watching to make sure her love rests peacefully even in his grave.

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Please visit Bronwyn Green and Kris Norris for their stories!

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Flash Fiction Photo Prompt: Key Part One

Flash fiction Monday is back in action. Been a while since I’ve participated but now that I’m back in the game let’s see how this all shakes out. Don’t forget to visit the other ladies, as always, and see their awesome take on this months challenge.

Bronwyn Green

Kayleigh Jones

Kelly St. James

Paige Prince

Kris Norris

09-2015 - KeyInHand

She looked an awful like Queen Elizabeth. Meticulously curled white hair, periwinkle colored skirt suit, judgmental resting bitch face. I was so distracted by the loose skin hanging over her disapproving eyes I missed an available parking spot on the street and embarrassingly had to turn around in the middle of the street to get back to the clearly lived in home with the over grown lawn my new landlord was standing in front of.

Kelly smiles. “You’re an idiot.”

“Shut up. You didn’t tell me she was frightening.” I glared at Kelly before adjusting my car in a parallel park more times than would be passable on a driving test.

Opening up the glove compartment Kelly retrieves the envelope she had placed in there before we started our trip three hours ago. “Come on now. You can’t make much of an ass out of yourself now. You already send in your lease and security deposit. Let’s get this over with.”

As we step out of the car the woman politely crosses her hands in front of her, “It is illegal to make an u-turn on this street.”

“Yes. Sorry ma’am. Mrs. Tate?” I ask, my face getting warm.

“Kelly and Amy? I’m sorry but you are a little late though, I understand you were traveling. I have another appointment I need to get to. Inside on the kitchen counter you’ll find some paperwork. I need you to fill it out and give it back to me by the end of the weekend. Just put it in my drop box outside of my office which is the same address you mailed your leases to. You need to fill out on the forms any damage you find in the house. You will be charged for any repairs when you move out unless it had already been mentioned on your move in form. Here are your keys.” Mrs. Tate pulls a key chain with several keys out of her front pocket and hands them to Kelly as Kelly steps forward exchanging the keys for her envelope.

“Here is the co-sign information from my parents that you asked for. They will be paying you directly and this is the first three months in advance.”

Mrs. Tate pulls car keys from her opposite front pocket and a car alarm is disarmed across the road before taking the envelope. “Thank you. Call me with questions.”

Kelly and I decide not to wait and head straight up the porch and try our keys. Without hesitation we run unceremoniously screaming through the house, excited to start our junior year, and first year, off campus with own house to our name. I had only seen pictures of the house from the online ad and the pictures Kelly sent me when she toured through. Trusting her may have been questionable at times but it was a decent place. Old, drafty but the aged hard wood floors, the 80’s style light fixtures, and the olive green and yellow striped wall paper in the kitchen had a bit of charm.

“Check this out!” Kelly calls from the top of the stairs. In her hand is a key much like a skeleton key. “I found this in my room. It was just sitting on the window.”

“Put that on a chain and you can sell it on Etsy. And wait, your room. We didn’t pick rooms yet.”

“Oh. I did. I picked the room with more windows. You get the room with the walk in closet.”

“What if I wanted the bedroom with more windows?”

“Guess you are shit out of luck.” Kelly smiles and tosses the key to me. “All the rooms have new doors so I doubt it works on anything. Might work on the closet in your room though.”

The key felt heavy in my hands and left the metallic feeling of handling old coins. “Having a key to a closet door doesn’t seem very useful since my bedroom already has a lock on it anyway. If I don’t want someone in my closet I’ll just make sure no one can get into my room.”

Kelly laughs, “Maybe it’s not to keep someone out of your closet. Maybe it’s a key to keep whatever is in your closet from getting out.”

Check back later this week and I’ll continue this post. Unfortunately, mother duties call and I don’t think I’ll be able to wrap this up before it gets too late!