Short Stories

THE WEP CHALLENGE, JUNE 2019, CAGED BIRDS DON'T SING By Pat Garcia

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Kathie Mae sat and stared at her surroundings; everything was in place just like he liked it.

The cream coloured sofa just at the right angle, three meters away but right in front of the large floor to ceiling window that faced the street before their house. The window sparkled. The brightness from the sun shining heftily through it. The mahogany wood piano, opened, displaying its ivory black and white keys, and a portrait of her hanging over it, singing.

 

Kathie Mae looked at the portrait and examined the eyes of the woman she no longer knew. Yes, the eyes in the picture were brighter, livelier, and mischievous filled with hope and the desire to conquer the world. Where had all that gone?

 

The clock ticked away the minutes; her heartbeat quickened with every passing minute.

Soon he would be home.  In an hour or two, Kathie Mae would have to stop her wandering mind from going back to the past.  

Whoever thought that having everything that money could buy meant fulfilment had to be gravely disturbed she thought and heard Louisa knock softly on the living room door.

“Come in, Louisa.”

“I don’t mean to disturb you, but I’ll be leaving soon. Is there anything else you want me to do?”

“No,” Kathie Mae said and gave her a hollow smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “What are you going to do this weekend, Louisa?”

“I’m going to do what I do here every day,” Louisa said. “I’m going to clean my house.”

Kathie Mae chuckled. She’d talked to Cesare about reducing Louisa’s days to three times a week, but he’d insisted that she had to come every day except Sunday. When he returned home, he wanted to see an orderly, well-kept house without any clutter. That when she’d begun to notice that well-kept meant everything including her.

“Well, take some time to enjoy your Sunday, Louisa. Everybody needs rest.”

“I will.  If I had a husband like yours, I’d be in Heaven,” Louisa said. “It would be so nice to wake up and not have to do anything.”

Kathie Mae shuddered at Louisa’s words. The woman didn’t know what she was asking for.

Would she really like living in a cage?  The changes Kathie Mae had had to undergo bombarded her mind.

 

 

Black men love long hair, white men love afros, but what about what women like. Were there no women in the world outside of the Stepford Wives?  

Cesare had told her to get rid of her coils. Why were they so distasteful and unruly for him? Afro, he’d shouted, Afro!  An Afro was what Cesare expected her to wear. Little by little, he’d whittled away at her until she’d become the pretty hull that he wanted her to be.

Soon, she didn’t recognise who she was. When she looked into her mirror, she saw Cesare’s creation. The one he wanted to come home too. She’d managed to save only a tiny small piece of who she was hidden deep inside her and would visit whenever she could.

 

 

“Are you alright, Ms. Kathie Mae?” Louisa asked, frowning.

She had drifted so deep into the small piece of herself that she’d forgotten that Louisa was standing before her.

“Yes…Louisa. I’m sorry…No need to tell Mr. Domenico…about this. I…was just thinking about what you said,” Kathie Mae said.

“Okay, I won’t mention it this time, but I don’t want you to slip away like that. You scared me. Mr. Domenico said it’s dangerous when you slip away.”

“I’m alright, Louisa. I didn’t slip away. I was just thinking about what you said, ”Kathie Mae repeated even though she didn’t remember what Louisa had said.

“Good, then I would like to leave early if it is alright with you,” Louisa said.

“Sure, why don’t you do that,” Kathie Mae said, “I’m waiting on Cesare to come home just as he wants me too.”

“When are you going to sing again?” Louisa asked.

“Sing? Oh yes…I did sing once, didn’t I.”

“Why don’t you know, Ms. Kathie Mae?”  Louisa asked. “You sing so beautifully, with heart and soul.”

“One day…Louisa…one day, I’ll tell you all about it,” Kathie Mae said. “Now go home.”

 

 

Kathie Mae heard the front door close and listened as Louisa turned the key in the lock.

She walked to the living room window and stood so Louisa could see that she was in the house. A fake smile on her face, Kathie Mae waved at Louisa. “

Caged birds don’t sing, Louisa. “They dressed as puppets without souls. Caged birds don’t sing,” Kathie Mae murmured while waving to Louisa.

 

Kathie Mae went back to the sofa to sit before the window, so Cesare could see her when he came home and looked at the window from the sidewalk.  He would wave. She would wave back. He would walk up the steps and open the door to the cage and say darling before he locked the cage for the weekend.

Caged Birds don’t sing.

 

Shalom aleichem,

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Pat G


The Seventy-Nine Words Story Challenge

 

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Hello Everyone,

I don’t know when it happen, but I remember reading the MONDAY FUNNIES, one morning and bursting out with laughter.  I was hooked on the funnies. Laughter is not typical for me before eleven a.m. If you ask the people very close to me, they will tell you, Pat is usually unapproachable before eleven. 

Honestly, as a writer, I find myself experiencing highs and lows.   It’s a writer madness that takes hold and motivates me to write what I see as I write about the world I  live in during the early morning hours.

Thus, Chris Graham’s, CHRIS THE STORY READING APE’S BLOG has become a necessity in my life. It touches the humor within me, and laughter comes bubbling out.

Recently, Andrew Joyce, an author, sent out a dare, a seventy-nine-words dare to writers and it has been running on Chris’s blog as the Seventy-Nine Words Story Challenge.  Each week, stories are chosen as the best submitted. This week, one of my stories  from The Child and The Prophet (a W.I.P.) was among the ones chosen and to be very honest with you that makes me happy.

To read my story and the stories of the other participants, please go to the link below. It’s only 79 words and drop a line on Chris’s blog and let him know you were there and me too, of course.

 http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2015/10/18/more-new-79-words-story-challenge-entrants/

  Photo on 14-10-15 at 09.35 #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shalom,

Pat Garcia


Turn The Light On, A Short Story Excerpt By Pat Garcia

Spectacular settings morocco2The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner

Riding horses in a back pasture, gone wild.  Woods.  Inside, on a hill, a house as black as dinosaur bones.  Grass grows up through the driveway’s broken asphalt, but there is a car.  This is the house of the oldest Judge in the world.  The Judge has company.

           John Gardner’s Prologue to The Sunlight Dialogues immediately drew me in.  His first sentence, “Riding horses in a back pasture, gone wild” caught me up and I saw  land no longer cultivated. His description, “grass grows up through the driveway,” gave me a picture of a driveway beaten down by weeds, and I laughed when he wrote, “but there is a car.”

 


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My  setting from Turn The Light On,  WC:854 FCA 

Puffy, dark clouds clustered together hiding the moon when Della opened the door to her apartment.  She placed her keys on the large wooden key holder that hung on the left side of the wall without thinking about turning on her lights.  Even though it was early October, it was extremely warm and she kicked off her shoes and carried them in her hands. That the hallway was dark didn’t bother her; she walked down it as lightning blitz across the sky; her shoes in one hand; her purse strap hanging over her shoulder.

Approaching her kitchen door, she stopped and noticed that the wind coming through her opened kitchen window had blown her letters that were on the kitchen table to the floor; the pictures and what-nots hanging on the wall were rattling their dissatisfaction, so she entered and closed the window and hurriedly picked up the fallen letters and laid them back on the table before going to her living room.

In her living room, the wind was tossing the thin translucent drapes hanging from the drapery rods high, lifting and tying them as it blew them in different directions.  Her repressed anger matched the approaching storm, and she hurled her shoes off into the darkness; her purse followed.  She heard the content fall to the carpet but didn’t make any effort to turn the light on to gather them.  Confused and hurting, she walked to the large window to look up at the dark, angry sky.

Suddenly, she sensed a presence, and goose bumps broke out on her arms. She felt she was no longer alone.

 You're here; somewhere, in my living room, she thought. It’s got to be you.

 Infuriated at him for daring to enter her apartment; for leading her on for one whole year; in her anger, her stubborn spirit reared its head.

Two can play your game; I’ll just let you wait until I get ready to confront you.  She stood before the huge glass window and the wind tossed the sheer drapes to and fro trying to envelope her; she felt no fear. 

I was right then. You're back in town, so, why weren't you at the restaurant? 

A feeling of relief ran through her body, and tears gathered in her eyes, and she brushed them away with her hands as they ran down her face. She had missed him––her stranger without a name. He had never left her for two months.  She shuddered at the intimacy, at the emotional entwinement to a stranger, an assassin she didn't even know by name––her stranger.

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He sat in the darkest corner of her living room, watching her. Observing her brought healing to his war-ridden soul.  He desired to reach out and enfold her in his arms, but he didn't. Instead, he sat; basking in the tranquility her presence gave him.  This was the intimacy  he had been searching for, and he relished the fact that she was his.  Like a mammoth in heat, within him raged a pressing need to cover her with his body as he lay in her arms.

Her tears forced him to act.  As the lightening flashed across the room, he saw her brushing tears away from her cheeks. He’d never seen her cry, and surprisingly, it pained him.  What little emotional balance he had left disappeared; he wanted to comfort her.

"Did you enjoy your meal?" 

"No.” She said.

"Why not?"

 “Why weren't you there?" she asked.

 "I had to de-brief."

"Oh. When did you land?"

"Four hours ago."

"Have you eaten?"

"No. I was waiting for you so we could eat together."

"I'm tired. I’ve had a long day."

"Why?" he asked, even though, he knew from CeCe, her live-in maid, that she’d been horrified at his occupation.

"Because I found out what you were. The newsflash this morning accidentally caught my attention, and I recognized you."

"How?"

"By your eyes," she almost screamed.

"Which means?"

"I've been walking around in a daze, asking myself how I could let myself play such a stupid game and get emotionally attach to a trained killer."

"You haven't been playing a game."

"What is it then, if not a game?"

"It's a courtship that’s about to end.”

Her heart began to beat swiftly; they were surrounded by darkness; she couldn’t see his face; she had no idea what he meant.

So, it's over, she thought and a sadness of great dimension overcame her and poked at her heart.

"Why is it about to end?" She asked, quietly.

"I need you."

"Oh, I see," she said, and joy banished away the sadness. "So, you want to sleep with me? Is that the reason you've followed me a whole year and showered me with gifts?"

"I do admit I want you in my bed on a permanent basis."

"And what if I don't want to sleep in your bed on a permanent basis? Would you force me?"

"No, I've never had to force anyone, and I won't have to force you either."

"At least you don't lack self-confidence,"  she said with a trace of sarcasm.

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Photo on 26-05-15 at 09.23 #3

Shalom,

Pat Garcia