Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #5

Another Wednesday means more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of writers who enjoy writing flash fiction. The challenge is to write between 500 and 1000 words and to use one of the prompts given to the group. Some people find this hard to do, but for the rest of it, it's fun! So join us while we have some fun, and I hope you like our flash fiction!

Last week, Marshall and Lee had a rather steamy scene, so let's cool down a bit this week with a little bit of information about where they live and such. Don't worry, more sex is ahead, I promise! Warning: This story is for mature audiences only and contains adult themes that some people might find disturbing. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #5

Burnham, Texas wasn’t much to look at, at least not from an outsider’s perspective. It wasn’t exactly located on the road to anywhere, and it held no locations of cultural or other kind of interest that might draw a tourist’s attention. No gourmet restaurants, no museums. Not even a single famous grave.

The entire population of the community hovered somewhere right around the hundred person mark, living in convenient proximity to one another. There was a small business district, if you wanted to call it that, consisting of a diner, a gas station that also rented videos, a small grocery store, and a hair salon that cared for the tonsorial needs of all—men and women alike.

Most of the residents worked outside of Burnham in nearby Tucker Falls, which boasted a population of almost ten thousand people, and offered way more than Burnham ever could in the way of nightlife. Whatever your pleasure might be, you could find it there somewhere. Some of it less out in the open than others.

Burnham also had a resident sheriff but not a jail. The budget only stretched so far, and everyone figured having a sheriff was a good thing, no need to house the criminal element too. Besides, the office was a fairly recent development. Prior to the arrival of Roy Landry some seven years before, they’d done without, and suffered at the hands of unruly teens and thrill-seeking miscreants who got lost heading down to Mexico and ended up in Burnham instead.

Roy Landry put an end to all that nonsense. Before he’d even taken office, he put his foot down, all over the lawbreakers that dared to trespass on his territory. Word quickly spread that this guy was no one to mess with, and life in Burnham turned right peaceable, and the people were quick to show their appreciation with an offer of employment and a house to call his own. Roy accepted both.

Marshall and Lee lived on the outskirts of Burnham, in what was once a working farmhouse. Originally white, the exterior had weathered down to bare wood, and the barn had fallen down long ago, the unused fields filled with wildflowers and snakes instead of crops. But it was home, their home. It also housed their business—LMC Industries. The name was an amalgamation of their first names, Lee and Marshall, along with their surname of Clinton.

Lee had early on discovered an affinity for computer repair. He could fix any system that was ever made. No matter what condition he got it in, he could put it together as good as new. And he could assemble brand new components to any specification that was called for. Marshall took after him, except his specialty was software and programming. Together, they were an unbeatable combination. Lee did the warranty repair for several large computer companies. They sent him their more hopeless cases and he made them right. Marshall created games that were the delight of hard-core gamers across the country, as well as less fun applications in various fields. He loved the freedom it gave them to be able to work at home, together.

Life was good.

Marshall’s computer had been built by Lee, and had everything he could possibly want—fastest co-processors, largest RAM, and most incredible graphics, which was essential for the games he created, which tended to be graphic intense. Two 30” flat screen monitors sat side by side on his desk. Lee had a long state of the art work bench, with a multitude of drawers, that sat in the same room. They spent hours together, working in companionable silence, content not to speak.

They never actually saw any of the customers they serviced. Drop-offs and pick-ups were handled through delivery services, and it wasn’t unusual for them to receive multiple deliveries in a single day.  They only had a couple of “immediate” neighbors—immediate being a relative term—Joe Garcia, the retired postman, a widower whose land abutted theirs  to the east, and the Fergusons, Craig and Sarah, the childless married couple who owned the house across the road. Lee and Marshall were on good terms with both neighbors. On occasions when they weren’t home, their neighbors would sign for any packages and hold them for the pair.

Night life in Burnham was pretty well non-existent. There was no central gathering area, unless you counted the diner—Milly’s Place—and people did meet there, but that was mostly for eating purposes. Folks met socially in one another’s homes to watch football, in season, arguing the merits of their favorite teams. There were a fair number of Cowboy fans in Burnham, but there were a few who rooted for the Broncos. Led to rather lively discussions at times, and an occasional fistfight. Card games were not uncommon—mostly poker, but some folks were into bridge or canasta.

For anything more than that, the residents drove the distance to Tucker Falls. Marshall and Lee were among that number. There was a certain club where they would go to unwind, called Partners, and it catered to a particular sort of clientele—mostly men. The music was largely County-Western, but not exclusively so. There were over fifty types of cold beer to choose from, a decent-sized dance floor, plenty of tables of varying sizes to fit every social need, and assorted games from darts to table bowling to fussball.
At Partners, Marshall and Lee could relax together and cut loose—dance, drink, hang out with other men. No one to censure or pass judgment. They were accepted at face value for who they were.

On those rare occasions when even Tucker Falls couldn’t satisfy a particular itch, they’d close the shop for a couple of days and head up to San Antonio. That served a double purpose—besides being able to unwind, they could search some of the electronics wholesalers for spare parts. You never knew what you might find at a good price.

to be continued

Now go check out the other Briefers!

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