Guardians

“Daddy’s always watching over you.” It would’ve been less creepy if I didn’t believe in ghosts.

Grandpa’s been watching me since I was nine. He’s like Santa, he doesn’t come until I fall asleep. I woke up one night to the familiar smell of cigars and butterscotch and discovered him standing at the foot of my bed, hands folded over his round belly. He wasn’t the jolly Grandpa I remembered; he stared at me, expressionless.

Now Daddy’s joined him. Every night, they stand by my bed and watch me sleep. It’s been quite difficult sneaking boys into my room.

word count: 99

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This week’s moral is all about lessons from dad: no kissing on the first date.

Thursday Night

“Tequila ain’t a drug,” he says. He tilts my head back, pours the shot down my throat.

I cough. “It tastes horrible!”

“The best do.” He whisks me onto the crowded dance floor, where the people barely dance. Women rhythmically arch their backs while men rub their crotches against anything female until the front of their pants become too tight.

I spot two couples stumbling toward the women’s bathroom. Nobody cares which is the boy and girl. I have the sudden urge to dunk my head in the toilet, but I keep grinding. I don’t want him to follow me.

word count: 100

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This week’s moral: say no to drugs.

Breastfeeding Mannequins

The mannequins at Macy’s are often naked. I’ve complained to a manager twice. Display clothes that actually fit or buy bigger mannequins. No woman is that size anyway.

Harold’s mother gives me money for formula. She doesn’t agree with our plan to wean Ryan after six months, but he’s already teething, and he bites.

The formula’s on sale, so I have extra money to stop by Macy’s and try on jeans I know won’t button. The baby weight hugs my hips; I’ve gained more since giving birth.

While checking the price tag on a pair of Kim Rogers, I notice Ryan leaning over his stroller. He’s sucking on the nipple of a bare-breasted mannequin half my dress size.

He’s just like his father, I can hear my mother-in-law saying, but I’m sure you know that already.

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This week’s moral: look, don’t touch

Mama’s Boy

We are very different. I was spanked growing up, he wasn’t. It’s the reason we argue. He tells me I’m emasculating, I turn cold when he tries to express his feelings. I tell him his mother babied him as a child, nothing I do is ever good enough because she gave him everything.

In counseling, I admit to contacting my ex fiancé. He was raised by a single father quick with his fists. But I have brothers, I know how to fight, and I figured I’d have a better chance of winning than versus an overbearing mother.

But he’s heartbroken, and it’s the first time I’m happy to see him cry. I tell him I canceled at the last minute, I never slept with him. We leave the office arm in arm, and I believe we can make this marriage work, I shouldn’t give up so easily when things get hard.

I plan to wear pink lace under my blouse and pencil skirt to work tomorrow. When I come home in the evening, hungry for his touch, I find his mother in my kitchen, cooking his favorite meal, complaining about her son all skin and bones because he doesn’t have a woman who can fry him a good pork chop.

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoA late response to last week’s Moral Mondays (a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided) prompt: spare the rod, spoil the child.

A Misunderstanding

I was never mad at her. How could I be? Mina was to become my wife in less than two weeks.

“You lying sonofabitch!”

I guess all women believe their miserable girlfriends over their fiancés. Apparently not getting piped in over a year makes you think clearer. Bitch Sherry. She has date with my sissy’s fist pretty soon. I don’t hit women.

I can’t help my sailor’s talk. I grew up in a house where fuck was used every other word. Pops damned everything he touched, including himself when he drove his ’96 Impala off the Jiminy Creek River Bridge with a Budweiser in his lap.

I woke up the next morning to Mina’s engagement ring left on my nightstand, half the closet empty. She even took my DeMarco Murray jersey — pre Philly debacle. She always did think that was hers.

Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This week’s moral: harsh words stir up anger

Dinner at the Four Seasons

He knows I’m not ready, but he asks me anyway. Love won’t deny him a second time, not while he sits on bended knee, not while his family surrounds us at the dinner table, their hands clasped together ready to applaud.

“You are my world, my light. I can’t live another second without knowing you’ll be my wife,” he recites. He was never that great of a poet, but his mother and sisters awww on cue.

“Honey, you know I love you with all my heart—”

“That’s a yes!” His mother shouts. I suppose she’ll expect beans in that oven next — I, her only hope for grandchildren; her three eldest daughters yet to find loving husbands.

The table and surrounding diners erupt with congratulations; the waiter brings Pinot noir on the house.

He jumps up to kiss my face, slides the diamond down my trembling finger.

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This past week’s moral: listen before you speak

Child Bride

“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” It’s a cruel joke. He knows I haven’t seen my mother in over a decade. I’ve forgotten her face, how her lips kissed away nightmares.

“I’ve been at the school.” He sits the open duffle bag on the counter, and I know there’s a girl in the trunk.

I fear I’ve grown too old. I don’t see my face on the news anymore. Amazing technology — how they added twelve years to my nine-year-old picture, and it looks exactly like me.

Maybe he won’t kill me. Maybe I’ll see my mother again. Maybe the new girl will find home again too — one day, when she’s no longer a child.

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. This past week’s moral: better late than never

Overeater

“Room for dessert?” the perky waitress asks.

“Ah, I’m stuffed.” Rico rubs his round stomach in a circular motion.

“C’mon. We have cheesecake, apple pie à la mode, chocolate lava cake,” she lists, counting on her fingers. “Ooh! And a red velvet cake to die for!”

“Sounds delicious, but I’m trying this diet—”

“Diet? You look great! Splurge a little.” She nudges his elbow. Rico suspects flirting with customers is part of her job description.

“Well, one slice of cheesecake wouldn’t hurt.”

Rico finishes only half. His stomach stretches taut. The bathroom calls him, but he can barely stand.

word count: 99

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. Today’s moral: Don’t take on more than you can bear.

Séance

“I require down payment.” The black veil over the woman’s face obscures her eyes, but I hear the deception in her nasal voice.

Janet drops the thick envelope onto the table with a thud. Her last paycheck, about $800 in twenties, sealed inside.

“This won’t give you closure,” I whisper, but she sits in front of the crystal ball.

“Extra for her.” The woman flicks her wrist in my direction.

“She’s a scam,” I plead.

“What’s your dearly departed’s name?”

“I’ve got to know,” Janet says. She’d rather a county fair psychic tell her that her husband’s finally at peace.

word count: 99

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. Today’s moral: Never talk to strangers

Act

Love’s an action verb. Nana knew I loved her, right? Even though I often snubbed her for Jacob, a man she never met.

I left him a message hours ago. He finally texts: But all your family will be there, and I don’t have gas.

If there was a ever time he’d do something for me . . . for once . . .if he loved me . . . Is this the action Nana meant?

Nicki calls again. “Reverend’s about to pray over her body.”

The driving rain makes it difficult to see the road to Jacob’s. Somehow, I feel it’s Nana’s doing. She wants me home.

word count: 100

—Nortina


moral_mondays_logoJoin Moral Mondays, a new weekly challenge to write a 100-word fable or story based on the moral/lesson provided in the prompt. Today’s moral: Love conquers all