Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Friday Night

by Charles Markee

In the shadow of Mt. Shasta, in the valley of the Sacramento River, we gather for a ceremony as old as man, sharing a meal and telling stories into the night from overstuffed chairs that surround a virtual campfire. Ages 13 to 90 at one table, different agendas, vastly different histories, but aware of each other in the way of families, n' everyone with a story.

"We come on this ole boy, so lost he didn't know which way he's a goin'. Asked him why he din't just backtrack his own prints in-a snow? He said he couldn't tell which way they-sa goin'"

"Gran' always has her coffee n' milk n' cereal, but this mornin' we were out-a milk. I said, I'd go to the store n' be right back, but when I got back, she'd already eaten her cereal. When I asked her how, she said she just poured the coffee on the cereal. At 90 she said, it all tastes the same anyhow."

"Some days she's fine and other days she thinks that Johnny Weissmuller and Joe Montana were here for dinner last night. Watchin' MASH the other day, she said, I remember fixin' lunch for those boys last week."

The youngest says, who's Johnny Wiessmuller? And we remember the movie Tarzan who won five Olympic gold medals and broke 67 world records for free-style swimming and wonder why the past disappears.

"Thut bar's hangin' ‘round the gully next to the house. Las' week he ripped the door of the cage next door an' et thar pet rabbit."

There's no pause, no break in the stories, they chain together, one leads to another and they flow continuously like waves against the shore. Laughter, that spasm of surprise, reflects from the walls, and sparks one more story before the energy winds down and someone says, I gotta get home, and the divergence begins, each to his own bed, to prepare for another day.

Saturday morn, looking across the road into the river, then a walk down First Street along the river's edge where wildflowers challenge civilization and the walk back with Mt. Shasta visible over the tree tops.

Charles Markee writes belletrism and film reviews from his moonview cabin in Santa Rosa, California. After 41 years slogging through corporate corridors, he saw the light; studied creative writing with Chitra Divakaruni, Floyd Salas, Terry Ehret, Ida Egli and others; film reviews www.hazelst.com, short shorts www.bettyauchard.com (past winners), email chuck@hazelst.com.

Fourth Flash

Care Packages by Betty Winslow
Home by Kathleen Lynch
Tres Hermanas by Ken Rodgers
Vernal Desire by Annie Scott
Forgetting by Christine Falcone
First Encounter by Kathleen Lynch
A Blessing Of Sweeping by Ginger Child

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