Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Don't Look Back #38 (7.5)

If it's Wednesday, it's not only Hump Day, it's time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! Every week we bring you our flash fiction, stories from 500 to 1000k, inspired by one of our prompts.

This week, in Don't Look Back, the Thanksgiving celebration continues, but Marshall can't help but wonder if their Internet exposure will bring unintended results. And don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Don't Look Back #38 (7.5)

“Knock, knock, anybody home?” Roy’s voice came to them from the front door. Marshall knew the sheriff wouldn’t wait, but would let himself in. The shout out was just a courtesy to him and Lee.

“Come on in!” Lee hollered back.

“I’ll get those beers now,” Marshall offered, as he slid out of Lee’s arms. No need to ask if Roy wanted one; that was a given. Lee held him close, not releasing him quite yet.

“We can talk more later, if you like?” He gave Marshall a significant look that Marshall understood immediately. They were shelving the subject for now, but it wasn’t off-limits. Nothing between them was.

“Okay,” he agreed, grateful for Lee’s understanding.

Lee searched his eyes, as if looking for confirmation of something, then kissed him softly and swatted his butt. “Okay,” he echoed. Marshall headed to the kitchen. He wanted to take a minute to gather himself before facing Roy. He could hear Roy’s voice as he joined Lee in the family room.
Marshall opened the refrigerator, grabbed three beers, than used his hip to close it again. He’d left room on one shelf for Roy’s pies. The bottles of beer lay flat on another shelf. He’d replenish them as needed.

He wondered if Roy would have any news about his mother. In Marshall’s mind, it was hard to think of her that way. Even as a boy, he’d never called her “Mom” or “Mother”. She’d discouraged the practice, and insisted he refer to her as Rhonda, especially in front of the men she collected, like so many notches on her bed post. Fear of aging, no doubt. Or the desire not to acknowledge that she had a child.

As far as he was concerned, she didn’t.

Just thinking that made him feel better. He didn’t care what she thought of him, and he knew Lee felt the same. Even if she found them—and that was a big if, assuming she even wanted to after eight years—what could she do to them?

“Hey Marshall.” Roy’s voice broke into his reverie. He realized, with a guilty start, he was still holding the beers, his mind on the past.

“Hey, Roy. I was just bringing these in.”

“Let me set these up and I’ll give you a hand. “ Roy held a plastic bag in one hand. Marshall recognized the familiar logo of the grocery store.  He watched Roy open the fridge and slide the entire bag onto the open shelf.

“What kind?” Marshall asked, curious.

“Pumpkin and pecan.” Roy turned, took one of the beers from Marshall. Marshall held onto his own and Lee’s.

“Sounds good.” Marshall followed Roy back into the family room, where Lee waited for them, on the couch. Roy sank set his beer next to it, then sank into his usual spot at the end of the couch, tilting his hat back as he did.

Lee indicated the spot beside him with a nod of his head, reaching for the bottles. He took them as Marshall situated himself next to Lee. Lee’s proximity was always very comforting, but especially so right now. Having Roy close at hand didn’t hurt either.

“You know, I read the damnedest thing on the Internet today.” Roy tilted his bottle back and took a drink before continuing. “Some guy in Hawaii has this restaurant where he serves an alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.”

“An alternative?” Lee looked skeptical. “Like what? Chicken? Duck? Or something worse, like tofu?”

“Dude, how can it be Thanksgiving without turkey?” Marshall quizzically asked.

“Spam,” Roy informed them.

“Spam?” Marshall and Lee spluttered in unison.

“Yep, Spam.” Roy confirmed. “Do you believe that?”

“I don’t,” Lee said. “Never heard of such a thing. What in the world is he thinking?”

“Do a lot of people there go for that?” Marshall asked.

“Apparently it’s a pretty big thing there. Go figure.”

Lee snorted. “I don’t see it ever catching on around here.”

“That’s a fact,” Roy agreed. “Hey, do you remember that time we were up in New York City, that little hole in the wall place we ended up in on Thanksgiving?”

Marshall watched Lee, as he thought back. “You went to New York City?” he asked.

“We did,” Lee answered. “Went a lot of places, searching for you.” He reached for Marshall’s hand, clasped it in his own. A soft shiver stole through Marshall’s frame.

“I do remember that place, yeah,” he addressed Roy’s question. “Don’t remember the name, and it sure wasn’t much to look at, but the food was really good, and they had some of the best stuffing I think I’ve ever had. Do you remember what the cook said he put in it?”

“Can’t say I do, but I know it wasn’t Spam.” Roy grinned broadly, and Lee laughed. Marshall just shook his head.

“Chorizo. That’s what it was,” Lee suddenly remembered. “Damn tasty.”

“Was I in New York City?” Marshall asked. So much of that time was a blur, and he didn’t always know where they were. He did know Rhonda tended to stay to the north and central part of the country, probably afraid if she went too far south, Lee might find them.  She might feed her lovers the bullshit story that Lee was dead, but her actions spoke loudly that she knew the truth. And that she feared the truth.

“We thought you were, but the lead didn’t pan out,” Roy said apologetically. “Turned out to be another boy and his mother. They were on the run too, but for legitimate reasons.”

“Abuse?” Marshall was almost afraid to ask. Roy nodded.

A moment of silence fell among them, broken only by the contented sounds of beer drinking.

“Do you know where she is?” Marshall asked at last. He felt Lee tighten his clasp about his hand.

“Unfortunately, no. She’s a hard woman to track. She doesn’t work, doesn’t set down roots, has nothing in her name.”

Marshall couldn’t contain his shiver.

to be continued

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