Posts Tagged ‘Father’

The Moment The Milk Curdles (Short Story Excerpt)

August 10, 2017

June 5th, 2017.
Stark City, Oregon.
8:03 a.m.

“No one ever notices the moment the milk curdles.” That’s what Micah Halpert’s mother always said. “One moment it’s fine, and the next…tainted. Smells bad, tastes bad, and it’ll make you sick. That’s how fast things can spoil.”

But Micah had no cause to think of that on this blessed day. The proud father stood, bathed in sunlight, in Room 217 of Stark County Medical Center’s Postpartum wing, holding his newborn daughter, Hannah. Six pounds and four ounces of pure joy, asleep in his arms. Smiling, he looked at his wife. Kyla lay in her white hospital gown, head turned, eyes closed, the sheet and blanket bunched around her midriff. Just beautiful.

“Good job, sweetheart,” Micah whispered. “Good job.”

Tears pricked his eyes. He didn’t want to cry, but what else could he do? He’d waited for this moment ever since he’d said “I do” to Kyla. And they’d done it. Together. Their lives had entered a new stage of unity and responsibility. As parents, they couldn’t help but grow closer.

Year after splendid year.

“We’re gonna be a great family…”

Sniffing, Micah kissed Hannah’s soft forehead. He wanted to kiss Kyla, too, but didn’t want to wake her. God knew, she needed her rest after six hours of labor. Besides, there’d be plenty of time for kisses later on.

“Oh, thank you, Jesus, so much for this little gift. Thank you for bringing her to us, happy and healthy.”

Micah walked to the window, looked through the slatted blinds. He saw skyscrapers, pedestrians, and passing cars; none of which interested him. Instead, he wondered if his brother, Levi, would show up. He’d already called or texted everyone he knew, telling them the wonderful news, and had gotten replies ranging from “Congratulations!” to “Be right there!” from everyone except Levi. From Levi, he’d gotten a terse: “Good luck, Little Brother.”

Not the reaction Micah had hoped for. But then, Levi had never been the type to say what you wanted to hear.

Instead, Levi spoke his mind; heedless of the result.

“But this time, you’re wrong, Big Brother.” Micah grinned at little Hannah, felt a burst of pride in his chest. “This is the best day of my life…”

Good luck, Little Brother.

Micah recalled the dubious expression on Levi’s face the day he’d told him of his plan to propose to Kyla. They’d been enjoying beer and pork ribs at Billy-Bob’s Bar and Grill on a warm summer evening. “I’m gonna pop the question at the Mariners game on Sunday,” he’d said, prompting Levi to put his rib aside and take a long swallow of Hefeweizen.

“Are you sure about this, Micah?” Levi had asked. “Because there’s a lot about marriage that nobody ever talks about. Not really…”

“Like what?”

Levi had chuckled; a wry, humorless sound. “Like the subtle change that happens as soon as the ring goes on.”

“That’s a bullshit, sour grapes attitude and you know it.”

“Is it? Because I noticed the change within the first week with my ex-wife.”

“But Racquel is nuts; we all know that.”

“Oh, and Kyla’s different, eh?”

“Of course, she is! Come on, tell me she’s not one of the sweetest girls you’ve ever met…”

“For now, sure. But I’m tellin’ you—”

“Look, Levi, I know things went bad for you and Racquel, and the divorce was ugly, but can’t you set all that aside and be happy for your little brother?”

After another swallow of beer, Levi had given Micah the soberest look he’d ever seen. “Bro…you think I’m kiddin’ around here? You think I’m exaggerating about Racquel going from sweet to nasty almost overnight? When we first met, she never nagged about anything. Even when we lived together, life was a breeze. But as soon as we exchanged vows, it became, ‘Levi, stop hanging the towels on the wrong hook!’ and, ‘Levi, why didn’t you buy the double-pleated toilet paper like I told you to?’”

Micah had laughed. “Well, if you weren’t such a slob…”

“Hey, it’s all fun and games right now. But you think I’m exaggerating about how the sex went from daily to weekly to ‘Not tonight, I’ve had such a long day?’”

“So what? There’s more to life than sex.”


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Thank you for reading!

JLR

Lucifer In High-heels (Short Story Excerpt)

May 2, 2016

August 16th, 2017.
Hinckley, Oregon.
4:23 p.m.

Disgusted, Lance Felder held Ursula’s hips as she gripped the oak headboard. Moaning, the thin, oversexed woman ground her pubic bone into his upper mandible. Painful, but not unbearable. Ursula had wanted to make love—again—but Lance hadn’t been able to muster the strength for another mattress rodeo. So he’d begged off, claiming fatigue—not mentioning the half bottle of wine he’d polished off after lunch—and offered her what he called “his specialty” instead: a Felder Tongue Ride. With a sigh and a roll of her Botoxed eyes, Ursula had shrugged off her silk robe and shoved him onto her king-sized bed. Then she’d climbed aboard, straddling Lance’s face while he forced his tongue onto her flesh.

Not that Ursula tasted bad. Not at all. She groomed and took care of herself. She just didn’t taste young. She didn’t taste fresh.

“Oh, honey!” the enraptured woman moaned, rocking her hips to and fro. “Oh, Lance, baby! Oh, yeah! Just…uh!…oh, yeah, right…THERE!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ursie. Just get off already.

When she had, Ursula slid to Lance’s right, collapsing in a sweaty heap. Hands pressed to her face. Lips sputtering. Legs quivering. Bleach-blonde hair a mess. Lance couldn’t help but notice the graying roots, the veins in her weathered hands.

“God, Lance! You do that so well!”

“Thanks, babe. You know I love getting you wet.”

With an inner sigh, Lance rolled over and gave Ursula an obligatory kiss. She thrust her tongue in his mouth. He winced but reciprocated.

“What a day. Think I’ll take a nap.”

“Sounds good, Ursie.” I guess fucking and lounging by the pool all day is pretty tiresome.

“Wanna join me?”

Lance sat up, hoping his desperation didn’t show. “Uh, I’d love to, babe, but I got some work to do.”

Ursula grinned. “The novel, eh?”

“Yeah…the novel.” Just another piece of my heart. Destined to be ignored.

“Is it as good as the first two, you think?”

You mean the first two that were rejected by every publisher on both coasts? “Oh, it’s even better.”

“That’s great, darling! I can’t wait to read it…”

“When it’s finished, babe. You know that.”

“I know.” Ursula yawned, exposing capped, bleached teeth. “But you know I get impatient.”

“Oh, I know,” Lance replied with no trace of sarcasm.

“Hey, would you be a doll and mix me a rum and Coke.”

“Yeah, sure.” And I’ll be sure to take it easy on the Coke.

Another yawn. “Thank you, honey.”

Lance climbed over Ursula—enduring another kiss—and strode into the hall. Barefoot. Shirtless. His upper body toned and tanned. Dark hair jouncing on his shoulders. A thick beard hiding his forlorn expression. He wore a pair of ripped designer jeans, slacker style; low on his hips, top button undone. At thirty-two, he still looked twenty, but felt much older. A Bohemian soul, no longer young at heart.

All that money, and all she does is drown her troubles in booze day after day…

 

Hands thrust in his jean pockets, Lance turned left, walking down the wide staircase.
The day had gotten off to a bad start, and promised to end even worse. Lance had awoken next to Ursula, slipped out of bed without waking her, and crept downstairs. The maid, Louisa, had wished him a good morning and started a pot of coffee. Outside, Lance had gone through his morning workout of push-ups, crunches, and twenty laps in the pool. Then, coffee in hand, he’d opened his e-mail to find two rejection notices from two different publishers:

Dear Mr. Felder,

Thank you for your recent submission. Unfortunately, this doesn’t meet our publishing needs at this time. Feel free to submit again. Good luck publishing your novel elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Publisher-at-large.

Two of those in one day. Talk about heartache.

Lance had sat, head in hand, for awhile, then plunged back into his current novel. The story of a man traveling cross-country by train, en route to see his dying father one last time. A good story. A worthwhile story. A story he had to finish. Lance had gotten a few strong sentences down when Louisa appeared to inform him that Ursula had awoken. Of course, he didn’t have to drop everything and rush to her side…but he did, anyway.

Gotta keep the bread buttered.

Ursula always slept in the nude; said it made her feel young. Looking at her naked form, Lance couldn’t help but notice the wrinkles and creases creeping into her flesh. She tried, though. Oh, how she tried. Personal trainers. Weird diets. Plastic surgery. But Father Time had grabbed hold, and wouldn’t let go. She had twenty years on Lance; old enough to be his mother. Still, he’d climbed back into bed as he had so many mornings and reassured Ursula as best he could. Still beautiful. Still desirable. They’d begun in the normal way, but after growing tired of her desperate kisses, Lance had flipped her over and vented his frustrations at not being published with every thrust.

And Ursula had loved it.


“Lucifer In High-heels” was published in Ramingo’s Porch Issue #1, now available @ Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Ramingos-Porch-Issue/dp/0998847658/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511617834&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Ramingo%27s+Porch

Thank you for reading!

JLR


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