Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #5(2.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Ryan is in New Orleans to meet the band who has hired him to chronicle their first tour, Salvation. He thinks this may be his last chance to make something of his writing. He is met at the airport by twins, Aiden and Abby. But all is not as it seems and Ryan may be in for a big surprise. Find out what's up in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #5 (2.3)

“These all the same?” Abby gave her brother a questioning look as she reached for the drinks. Aiden nodded .  She set one of the mugs in front of Ryan, while Aiden distributed everything else.

“Three salted caramel macchiato,” he said. “And three authentic New Orleans beignets. I was looking at the menu, wondering what would be the ultimate New Orleans experience and I almost decided to get the chicory, but the girl who was waiting on me said it’s kind of bitter, and something of an acquired taste, especially if you’re not used to it, so I thought we could try these instead?” Pausing to take a breath at last, he looked to his sister, as if seeking her approval. She nodded and he smiled.

This one’s a talker, Ryan made a mental note.

Normally, Ryan took his coffee black, but under the circumstances he wasn’t about to complain. He could make the most of any situation, if he had to.  “Thank you,” he said, not wanting to appear ungrateful, before adding, “I take it the two of  you aren’t from around here?”

“Nope, strictly tourists.”  Aiden dropped the empty tray onto a nearby table then flopped into the chair beside Abby. Side by side, Ryan could appreciate their resemblance even more. They both possessed the same high cheekbones, the same porcelain skin that only served to bring out the utter blueness of their eyes. Masculine and feminine—these twins blurred conventional gender lines in a way that Ryan found to be breathtaking.  He forced himself to look away from them, reminding himself that staring might be considered rude.

“We’ve always wanted to see the city, just never had the chance,” Abby said. “We got lucky that Salvation’s starting their tour in Louisiana. We’re using New Orleans as our base of operations when we can.” N’awlins rolled off her tongue as though she were a native.

“You mean that house you were talking about?” Ryan asked. “The one that belongs to one of your fans?” Lifting his macchiano gingerly, he took a cautious sip. The creamy froth on top was criss-crossed with caramel lines and glistening sea salt. What he really wanted lay somewhere below that. He had to tilt the glass to reach the coffee beneath, let it run down his throat in a warm cascade.  The taste was better than he’d expected. Just sweet enough without being too sweet.

“Cameron’s house, yeah. We’ll  still probably end up in a motel or two along the way, for some of the farther out gigs. It’ll be fun.”

Ryan wondered what Aiden’s definition of fun was. In his experience, most motels had little to offer in the way of entertainment, and were often definitely short on the amenities .  As he listened to the siblings, it belatedly occurred to him he’d never thought to ask for a copy of the band’s itinerary. Knowing where they were going might be important information to have. He’d promised Cassie he would keep in touch with her. Postcards would be a way of showing her something of the places he was getting to see as well as letting her know he hadn’t forgotten her. Assuming he had time for any sightseeing. Guess he’d find out what the band did in their leisure time, then decide if he wanted to follow suit or not.

“So where do you come from?” Ryan asked. “If you don’t mind my asking, I mean. I’m not trying to be nosy or anything—”

“Just doing your job,” Abby finished for him. “We understand, don’t worry. That’s what you’re here to do, we get it. If there’s anything we don’t want to talk about, trust me, we won’t. So feel free to ask away. Aiden and I come from sunny California. ”

Good to know.

Ryan remembered Abby’s hint about a notebook. He’d brought one with him, his fallback position for times when he might not want to use his laptop, although he’d brought that too. Never leave home without it was his motto. Although nothing could compete with the sheer simplicity of pen and paper. His handwriting skills, however, left something to be desired, and had atrophied to the point where Cassie claimed it resembled chicken scratch. Luckily, he could still decipher it himself.

Why hadn’t he brought it on the plane with him, instead of stuffing it into his luggage? He hadn’t anticipated needed it before he had a chance to unpack. This was all so new to him. For the hundredth time, he wondered why him. What made him the right man for this job? Surely not the novels that had barely seen the light of day and received mixed reviews at best?

Digging into his suitcase here and now was probably not a good idea. He’d have to trust to his memory, at least for now. He patted one pocket of his jacket. Nope, didn’t even have a pen. What kind of writer was he?

The unsuccessful kind.   
“California,” he repeated, realizing belatedly he was becoming lost in his own head…again. He was almost afraid to meet the twins’ eyes, afraid he’d already made a bad impression. But when he lifted his gaze, he found they weren’t looking at him, but at something behind him.

“Didn’t expect to see you here,” Aiden was saying, while Abby took a bite of beignet and said nothing. “How’d you get here? Cameron?”

Who was here? Another member of the band? Ryan turned toward the newcomer. The light from  the concourse momentarily blinded him. All he could make out was a silhouette.

“No, I took a cab. I decided I just couldn’t wait any longer, so here I am.”

That voice. So familiar and yet so strange.

As Ryan’s eyes adjusted, the man’s features came into focus.  Crystal blue eyes of infinite depth.

Ryan’s own eyes grew wide in shock.

Could it be…. Was this… But how….

“Ben?” he asked in shocked disbelief just before the world began to fade.

to be continued

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #4 (2.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

In the wake of Ryan's father's death, he leaves to begin a brand new job with a band called Salvation, as their biographer. Will this be his way to get back into the publishing world? Maybe this is his last chance. See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #4 (2.2)

The coffee shop was blessedly quiet when they entered.  As early as it was, the aroma of fresh java filled the air, no doubt meant as an enticement to passing travelers to stop and smell the coffee. And then, hopefully, buy a cup.

“Grab a table, I’ll get our drinks.” Aiden nodded toward one just inside the doorway then hurried off before Ryan could get a word in edgewise, or ask a question, such as what they do they have. Guess he’d find out.

Abby laughed. “You get used to it.” She slid into one of the square-cut café chairs in one elegant movement, her skirt moving easily with her. “When my brother has ideas, he acts on them. And when he wants coffee…” She gave an elegant shrug.

Ryan took a seat across from her and glanced around.  To their right, a polished wood bar curved along the side of the restaurant that overlooked the concourse, lined with the same chairs, the red-and-purple striped padded backs in contrast to the pale pastels of the seats. On the other side of the shop, behind a black granite-topped counter, stood two young ladies in identical purple shirts, the coffee company logo emblazoned on one breast. Violet bags of coffee filled the shelves in front of the counter, while on either side, glass cases displayed an assortment of delectable pastries. The décor here was very unlike that of the coffee shops he was used to in St. Louis, which tended to be more wood and less chrome. But those familiar haunts were increasingly going out of business, one by one, either bought out by a larger chain or simply closed due to lack of business. This place screamed modern as well as successful, which made sense, considering where it was located, in the busy concourse in the heart of a busy airport in a city that was known for its love of celebrations.

Ryan shrugged off his thoughts and diverted his attention back to Abby. She lounged comfortably in her chair, completely at ease, unlike him. Through the glass-topped table, he could see her long legs were crossed gracefully at the ankles beneath her floor-length skirt, as she regarded him. Poetry in motion was the clichéd phrase that came to mind. He had the impression in looking at her that she was younger than he was, yet there was something in her eyes, something that gave her the look and feel of an old soul. And wasn’t he being overly dramatic. Again. Story of his life.  Always reading into things.  “You’re twins, right?” he asked.

“From birth,” she confirmed with a wink. “Aiden arrived first, so technically he’s my older brother. But, as he likes to remind me, only by a few minutes.”

“I thought so. I mean, there’s such a strong resemblance between you,” Ryan commented. “Especially for being fraternal twins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen—”

“Identical.” Abby uncrossed her leg and leaned toward him, her eyes boring into his. “Not fraternal. We’re as alike as the proverbial peas in the pod.”

Ryan’s grasp of science might not be the best, but even he knew twins of the opposite sex had to be fraternal, never identical, the result of two eggs rather than one split egg.  But he wasn’t about to challenge her statement, either. Although he was supposed to write about the band, right? He assumed that meant everything. Maybe there were subjects that were off-limits? Hopefully, somebody would set some ground rules before he made a fool of himself by asking the wrong questions.

“Oh,” was all he managed to get out, for lack of anything wittier coming to mind. He wasn’t surprised when she laughed at him.

“Come on,” she coaxed him. “Tell me what’s the first thing you’re thinking now.”

Before he could apply a filter to his forthright tongue, Ryan blurted out, “You don’t look like any drag queen I’ve ever seen.” Oh damn, of all the stupid things to say. Ryan’s cheeks flamed as he wondered how really stupid he sounded right this minute, and had he just jumped to an unwarranted conclusion.

“Because I’m not a drag queen, honey.” Abby didn’t sounded upset or angry, fortunately. That would be a bad way to start out his new job. Was she used to this kind of reaction, maybe? But then if she wasn’t a drag queen, what was…

The idea flashed into his brain the moment she spoke the word.

“Transgender. I hope you have a notebook, Ryan. You’ll need a scorecard to keep track of the players with this group.”

Her tone was light, but again he sensed something deeper, darker there. This time he was sure it wasn’t his imagination running away with him. But he wasn’t about to press for answers. Not like this. Certainly not on his first day. He had the feeling she would tell him whenever she was ready. Hopefully.

Before he could say anything else stupid, Aiden’s return put a momentary stop to their conversation. Abby turned toward her brother, reaching for the tray in his hand, and the moment had passed.

to be continued

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: May 15, 2018

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

In last week's chapter of In Pieces, Ryan returned home for his father's funeral, on his way to start a new job. His stepmother, Cassie, offered him a place to live if he wanted to stay in St. Louis, but he had to go. Today he arrives at his destination - New Orleans, to meet the band he is going to accompany on their US tour, Salvation. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #4 (2.1)

Louis Armstrong Airport was a busy place, even early in the morning. The flight from St. Louis to New Orleans had taken less than two hours. Cassie had insisted on driving Ryan to Lambert Airport, despite his protestations that he could Uber the short trip. He promised he would send emails and texts as often as he could, depending on how busy this rock group kept him.

He made his way through Concourse B, where Southwest Airlines was located, scouting the crowd for a placard with his name. He didn’t know who would pick him up. The band’s manager, whose name slipped his mind at the moment, had said someone would be there, but gave him no other information. She herself was not going to be accompanying them on the tour. Not this time.

Until they’d contacted him, Ryan had never even heard of Salvation. Which made their offer of employment all the more baffling. As outlined in the offer letter, his job was to travel with the band and write an account of the tour, complete with photographs.  All expenses paid, plus a salary.

Ryan was hardly in a position to turn down such a great opportunity, especially if doing so could put him on the literary map again. He was only twenty-eight, but he was already a has-been as far as the publishing world was concerned. Five years had passed since he’d had a new release, and his last novel had been received with less-than-enthusiastic reviews and very dismal sales. Even the small houses didn’t want to deal with him anymore. Authors were a dime a dozen, and Ryan was yesterday’s news. This gig might be his last chance to succeed in his chosen field.  If he failed again…. That didn’t really bear thinking about.

Out of curiosity, he’d looked the band up on the Internet, but information regarding them wasn’t exactly plentiful. Apparently the type of music they played was known as church metal, whatever that was. Not that it mattered. Beggars couldn’t exactly afford to be choosy. Liking their music wasn’t a requirement for employment, although it would make sitting through their concerts more tolerable if he could listen to them without cringing. If push came to shove, though, and they were truly atrocious, he could always invest in a good set of ear plugs.

 In the few photographs he’d found online—they didn’t seem to have a website to call their own— he’d noticed the band members were more than passing fond of make-up, and they liked to wear religious costumes. So, how religious were they? And was this how they dressed in their everyday lives? Assuming they even had such things?

Ryan Fremont.

He almost walked past the couple with the sign. He remember seeing a picture of the girl—apparently the only female member of the group—in which she was dressed as a nun. He had no idea which member of the group the guy was. He was casually dressed in a pair of jeans and a Rolling Stones T-shirt, a far cry from their concert attire.

Ryan pivoted toward them, and took a deep breath. This was really happening, wasn’t it? He worked to quell his unexpected attack of nerves. There was nothing to be nervous about. This was just a job, nothing more.  “Hi, I’m Ryan Fremont,” he offered his name. Up close, he noticed the girl was really pretty. When she shook her head, waves of dark curls cascaded down her back, and she nervously licked her lips, her sapphire eyes regarding him intently.

“Hey, you made it!” her companion said. He had the same dark hair she had, which fell to his shoulders, but his eyes were the same deep blue. They were almost mirror images of one another. Ryan immediately pegged them as fraternal twins. “I’m Aiden, and this is Abby.” He gestured toward the girl at his side.

“Nice to meet you,” Ryan said, relaxing slightly. They seemed nice, no need to panic. He glanced around, wondering if the other band members were here as well.

“Nope, just us,” Aiden said, as if reading Ryan’s mind. “We just got into town ourselves, so everyone’s getting settled in the house.”

“You have a house?” Ryan was surprised. He’d assumed they were staying in hotel rooms. Salvation must be doing well for itself if they could afford more than a hotel room.

“It’s not ours,” Abby said. “We’re just using it. It’s someone’s vacation home, actually.”

Abby’s voice was low and melodious. She probably had a great singing range. He wondered if she sang lead, but then remembered the lead singer was the one who dressed as a priest. Abby played drums.

“Why don’t we grab your stuff from the carousel and get going?” Aiden suggested. “We can get acquainted on the ride.  I’m sure you have questions you’re dying to ask.”

“Actually, yes, I do.” Ryan appreciated the other man’s honesty. It wouldn’t hurt to start getting a feel for the members of the band, since they would were the subjects of his book after all.

“Good. Carousel’s over here. I noticed a coffee place right on the concourse. Want to grab some of their famous New Orleans coffee and talk?”

“I could use some coffee,” Ryan admitted. He wouldn’t mind trying something different, and this was as good a place as any to start. As he followed Aiden and Abby toward the luggage carousel, he couldn’t help but notice their fingers twined as they held hands. The sight only made Ryan’s heart ache a little more.

to be continued

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #2 (1.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Last week I started a new story, In Pieces, and we met Ryan Fremont - first as a young boy, then as a young man at his father's funeral. The story continues today, I hope you like it. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #2 (1.2)

 Ryan turned his gaze toward his stepmother. Cassie was Dad’s third wife. Widow now. Ryan’s mother, who’d died when Ryan was an infant, had been the first Mrs. Fremont. And Dad’s second wife, Liza, had disappeared years ago, vanished without a trace. Along with his stepbrother, Ben. He’d hoped they would show up today—whether to pay their respects or simply acknowledge his dad’s passing, he couldn’t say—but that hadn’t happened. Maybe he shouldn’t have been surprised. He hadn’t heard a word from either of them in ten years. The last time his dad had been in contact was when he’d gotten the divorce papers signed, and even that was done through his lawyer, nothing direct.

Cassie’s head was bent, her eyes closed. Maybe she was praying.  Ryan sighed. Prayers never seemed to do any good, so why bother? Hadn’t gotten him anywhere today. He’d prayed to be able to see Ben. See how well that had worked out.

Not to mention, he shouldn’t even be here today. Today should have been the first day of his new job, but obviously Death had a poor sense of timing, and an even worse sense of humor. He’d called and explained the situation and had been told not to worry, just come as soon as he could. This was not the first impression he’d wanted to make. But what could he do? Death asked no one’s permission. It took who and what it wanted, and those who were left behind had to manage the best they could.
Still he couldn’t help but wonder why his dad? Why now?

There were so many things he’d meant to say to him, so many things they could have done together, while there was still time, if they’d only made the effort. If they’d only known that time was winding down. No amount of regrets could change that, no matter how well meant. And no new job, not matter how providential, could make up for that.

A light touch on his arm startled him. Ryan looked up to find Cassie standing there, her eyes anxiously scanning his face. “Are you okay?”

He was touched by her concern—he should be the one comforting her. They’d never had what some might call a traditional stepmother-stepson relationship. People who didn’t know better would assume Cassie was his older sister, in light of the few years that separated their ages. When his dad had first introduced them, Ryan had been suspicious of the age gap between them. Especially coming so soon after Liza’s departure, when the wound was still fresh. But as he quickly discovered, Cassie was good for his dad—she made him laugh, and she drew him out into the world when he tried to hide behind his work—not to mention, she and Ryan had a lot of common interests, including music. She’d been his Rock of Gibraltar over the last ten years. Through good times and bad.

There had been more bad times than he cared to think about.

“I will be. What about you? Is there anything I can do? I mean, I won’t be here long, but if there is…” He gave up trying to say anything worthwhile at that point. Cassie was a strong woman. What did she need him for? He would miss her more than she’d miss him.

“I’m going to be great,” she assured him. “Your dad left me well-taken care of, don’t worry. There’s enough there for both of us, you know. More than enough for you to stay in St. Louis. The house is plenty big.  And I promise not to cramp your style.” She winked.

He couldn’t help but laugh. Comedy and tragedy were so closely entwined, sometimes it was hard to tell where the one left off and the other began.

“You don’t have to leave,” she continued, when he made no immediate reply. “We can keep on going to The Pageant, and Pops, and any other damn place we want. We can watch our favorite bands and dance the night away.”

The offer was a tempting one, he had to admit. He liked Cassie, and he knew they could live together and get on well. There had never been a moment of romantic interest between them, and he knew neither of them wanted that. Not now, not ever.  Living with her might even solve all of his problems…

But no, he knew he had to go. He needed to make a fresh start. He couldn’t hide behind his dad now, and he couldn’t stay mired in the past forever. Time to move on at long last. No, he had to do this for himself. Maybe, one day, under better circumstances, he would come back to stay. But for now this was the best thing for both of them.

Besides, how often did a person get a chance to work for an actual rock band? This could be the experience of a lifetime.

How could he explain his reasoning to her without sounding ungrateful? What kind of friend did that make him? Just saying it wasn’t her, it was him sounded so cliché it wasn’t funny.

“It’s okay, Ryan,” she said before he could even begin to formulate a response. “I understand. I know you miss him terribly, even after all these years.”

Ryan’s ears burned, as heat flooded his cheeks. She knew him all too well. What could he say? The truth was the truth, no matter how sad and tarnished.

“Maybe getting away from here will be just what you need. Make a new start. See something of the world. Well, at least the US, to start with. Go, have fun with that band. What’s their name again?”


“Yeah, them. Just don’t forget to text me now and then. Just don’t forget me.”

“I won’t,” he promised.

She kissed his cheek gently just as fat drops of rain began to fall.

Didn’t that just figure?

to be continued

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: In Pieces #1 (1.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

As you know, last week was the last chapter of The Sheriff, and we bid a fond farewell to Marshall, Lee, Roy, and Dustin.I hope you enjoyed their journey as much as I did. This week finds us going in an entirely different direction, with a new story, and new characters. I hope you will enjoy it. The inspiration for this story was quite unexpected, so let's see where this takes us, shall we? The name of the story is In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

In Pieces #1 (1.1)

“When will Daddy be here?” Eight-year-old Ryan Fremont turned  impatiently away from the living room window. He’d been practically glued to the spot ever since lunch, and only left when his babysitter shooed him away and told him to go play or watch TV. Mrs. Windom was also his next-door neighbor, and she’d been watching Ryan as long as he could remember—after school, and sometimes evenings and weekends. Normally, he was a very obedient charge, but today he was too excited to listen. Daddy was bringing him a surprise, and Ryan knew exactly what it was going to be.

A puppy! A little dog of his very own. That was the only thing in the world Ryan wanted, so what else could it be, right?

“He’ll be here any time now, you’ll see,” Mrs. Windom said in that soothing voice grown-ups used on kids to get them to behave. “Want some cookies and milk while you wait?”

The offer was tempting, but Ryan shook his head. He could always have a snack, but meeting his puppy for the very first time was too important a moment to miss.

After what seemed like forever, he saw Dad’s car pull into their driveway, launching Ryan into even great paroxysms of excitement.  “He’s home, he’s home!” he sang over his shoulder.

“Why don’t you go meet him?” Mrs. Windom suggested, but he was way ahead of her and flying out the door before she even finished.

Daddy was already out of the car. As Ryan watched, he crossed over to the passenger side and opened the door. A strange woman emerged. Daddy closed the door, then turned to her and kissed her. Ryan frowned. What did she have to do with his puppy? And why was Daddy kissing her?

Next the two adults went to the back seat.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Ryan thought. He must have put the puppy there for the ride. He began to jump up and down in excitement.  Daddy turned and saw him. “Stay there, kiddo, we’ll be there in just a minute.”

“Yes, Daddy,” Ryan said obediently.

But what they brought out of the back seat was not a puppy. Instead, it was a small boy, with curly blond hair that reminded Ryan of a poodle he’d seen once. The boy was younger than Ryan, and he seemed reluctant to get out of the car.  Ryan’s intuition told him something wasn’t right when Daddy took the boy’s hand in his, once he’d closed the door.

So where was his puppy?

Daddy and the strange child approached him. The strange woman walked behind them. He looked up at her, into her eyes. Something about her gaze was unsettling, so he looked away, back to the child.  The boy was very pale, and he had enormous blue eyes. His mouth was screwed up, and he looked like he was about to cry.

“Ryan, I’d like you to meet Ben,” Daddy said. “Your new brother.”

Brother? Ryan didn’t have a brother, and didn’t want one.

“Where’s my puppy?” he blurted out. The boy named Ben began to fidget.

“There’s no puppy,” Daddy said. “I brought you a brother. And this”—he turned to the woman and put his hand on her shoulder—“is Liza,  your new mama.”

All Ryan heard was no puppy. His bottom lip began to quiver at the greatest betrayal he’d ever experienced in his young life. No puppy? How could that be?

“Now Ryan, be fair,” his dad was saying. “I told you we’d talk about a puppy, didn’t I? This is better. Ben’s a brother. You two will be great friends, I know. And Liza will take good care of both of us, won’t you sweetheart?”

“You know I will, Robert.”

Ryan was furious and hurt and beyond all sense of reason. What had his daddy done? Who were these people? He wanted them to go away, to get out of his life. He didn’t need them, didn’t want them.


Ryan saw a tear streak down the other boy’s cheek. They stared at one another for a long moment, sizing each other up. “It’s your fault I don’t have a puppy,” he told Ben in a stricken voice. “All your fault. Just go away!” Without thinking, he pushed the smaller boy, who fell backward in stunned silence, while Ryan ran into the house and straight into Mrs. Windom’s arms, sobbing.

Twenty years later…

Ryan Fremont shifted his weight from one foot to the other and glanced up into the sickly gray St. Louis sky.  Not that he cared about the weather, but anything was better than staring at his dad’s casket.  Wondering whether it would rain again kept him from dwelling on the harsh reality of his father’s death.  The clouds seemed to be gathering for a second assault. At least the rain had let up before they’d exited the chapel for the cemetery, that was something. Nothing more cliché than a funeral in the rain. Although maybe there was a certain symmetry to it, as though the showers were a form of penance, a washing away of sins.  The minister who’d performed the graveside eulogy had spoken the usual platitudes about dust to dust, ashes to ashes, but didn’t life really begin with water? Well, amniotic fluid, anyway. So maybe it was apropos that it end in wetness too.

In the end, did it really matter?

to be continued

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