IMAGE CREDIT: Creative Commons image “Like the Good Ole Days” by Amanda Nichols (flash_nerd) on Flickr.
This story first appeared in Welter. Then it appeared in Life on Other Moons (available as a limited edition paperback, which will come to you signed, exclusively from RogerMarket.com; now also available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, and other major retailers). Enjoy!
King Henry on a Porch Swing
You and the old lady have been bumbling around the home for weeks now in silence, unable to face each other. But one night, she corners you on the porch swing of your subconscious, your comfort place, and bitches at you about sex and Jersey and the day King Henry died, and how dare you ignore her? You want to get up and walk away, but you can’t. It’s your mind; she’s working in your space now.
She speaks—not so much in logical, audible words as in an uncanny barrage of subconscious thoughts and complex concepts and questions, and her patented derision—about the child you didn’t want initially. About the way he had sat in his punkin seat, already holding up his own head, confidently, like a great king on his throne, and about the tiny shoes he had been wearing and the ease with which he could nap on the nape of your neck. And most of all, about how careless you had been. Oh, yes, she blames you. She speaks until you can’t stand it anymore, until, at last, words fly from your own mouth like balloons finally escaping the wrists of children.
“Shut up, woman! Talking about King Henry on a porch swing won’t bring him back.”
You wake up, and her side of the bed is empty. The closet door is open, the light is on, and there is nothing inside.