Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

No Magic Involved

by Sue Thomas

A guardian angel came to me in the form of great uncle Pounce. He wore a heart of gold, never spoke ill of anyone, and sported a bad drinking habit. Tall, lean, with disheveled black hair; his unshaven face gave a homeless look. His bloodshot, watery eyes pierced your soul while his crooked smile vented his dry humor. An excellent study of human nature, once he had someone in sight, his smooth words flowed like honey. No one could put anything past him.

As a young girl, I believed he had magical powers. Once he saw a large corn on the side of my finger, he reached for my hand, rubbed my finger, looked into my eyes, and said, "Do you want me to take care of this?"

I looked puzzled as he explained, "I can use magic to get rid of it."

"Sure," I muttered excitedly.

He rubbed knotty fingers over the corn with even pressure for several minutes, pressed his nails around the corn, and whispered some secret spell. He seemed to invoke the healing vapors of Mother Nature. I felt magic in the air. Amazingly, the corn disappeared within a week.

Uncle Pounce is the reason I always thought the best handymen are also drunks. The family talked about his drinking habits, but whenever anyone needed work done from carpentry, plumbing, electrical or just grunge, they called on him. At those times, they put aside their dislike of his drinking, knowing he was a true fix-it man with pride in his handiwork. He may have been drunk as a hoot while painting a room, but the results looked as professional as you could buy. He also accepted cheap pay, often just enough to buy a couple of bottles of booze.

Uncle Pounce visited our home often, spent time with Mama, but more with me. We sat on the front porch swing talking. Over-qualified with the abuse of alcohol, he understood my unhappiness over Mama's drinking. He put no pressure on me to talk about it. I just sat, enjoyed the time away from what Mama might be doing inside the house.

One day, soon after my 16th birthday Uncle Pounce visited. I stated, "Boy, I wish I could use Mama's car on weekends while they're at the lake."

"Won't she let you use it?"

"No, but I wish I could anyhow."

He whispered. "I can teach you to hotwire it."

I grinned, thinking of this possibility. "You can, you will?"

"Sure." He grinned back. And he did and I did.

And it wasn't even magic.

Sue Thomas looks back on her life from Columbus, GA.

Twenty-fourth Flash

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The Balloon by Lynn Sunday

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