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Latest Stories

July 28, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

The Wheel Fiddle

The melody drifted across the garden as she was picking fruit to make a summer pudding. She put down her basket, wiped the sweat from her forehead and walked around to the front of the cottage. The man stood waiting at her garden gate, he raised his cap. He…
July 28, 2018
Flash Fiction Rekha Viswanathan

Pills and Capsules

I wake up to a crisp, clear and sunny morning. The fresh coffee smell beside my bed tempts me. One long sip of the coffee and my senses kick in! I have a long day ahead. At least that's what the papers at the foot of my bed say. Glancing at the paper I see…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Stephen A Murray

Russia,Russia,Russia.

There existed in Russia a small group of intelligence operatives left over from the KGB. They are known as Sputniks. From Wikipedia: "Sputnik was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Paul Anobile

A Portrait of Slam Bang City

I was hired to paint the portrait of a billionaire who founded a small city twenty years ago in a ghost town he purchased in Arizona. Danny O’Keefe, professional wrestling promoter and executive, convinced a number of investors to build a fourteen-thousand…
July 28, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

The Deadest Generation

Sergeant Taylor always checked us thoroughly before sending us in: regulation uniform, backpacks, anti-ballistic helmets, Kevlar vests, and, of course, your gun. You couldn’t go anywhere in this place and be safe without your gun. Sergeant Taylor was strict…
July 28, 2018
General Stories J.B.Stevens

Dead Camel

The improvised explosive popped off to the convoy’s left. The armored black Suburban Neil drove muffled the sound to a dull thud. The blast seemed smaller than normal. “Anyone hurt?” the medic, Luiz, called across the radio. The team members, in four matching…
July 28, 2018
Romance Stories Jerry Hogan

He'll Ask Me To Dance Again

Jay I’m Jay, and I have never been to the My Time Dance Studio before tonight. As I entered, the interior projected a garish 1930s Art Deco motif. Greenish, glow-in-the-dark, semilucent plastic tubing wrapped around the hand railings separating one sitting…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Jim Bartlett

The Comebacker

Cornstalk stretches forward, the look almost as if he’s about to fall headfirst off the mound, saved only by the slapping of his left hand to his knee. He locks eyes with his catcher, then lets his gaze wander down just below his glove for the sign. Uncle…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Susan C. Nigra

Never Kill The Author

Oh My God! What’s happening? This has never happened before. I am cornered, trapped, boxed in with no safe way out. There has always been a way out before, miraculous last minute saves. I think back to how I got here and I remember I was assigned this case as…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Thomas Schmidt

The Streets of Camden

Saturday night was cold and wet. Mike Joseph walked cautiously down Norris Street on his way to the Whitman Park Field, a large green space inside the depressed neighborhood. Propositioned twice by street walkers, he kept moving while shifting his head from…
July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Rekha Viswanathan

The Enchanted Woods

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time. They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a…
July 13, 2018
Flash Fiction Carl Perrin

What Could go Wrong

If you plan every detail carefully, nothing can go wrong. I believed that when I was a teenager. Like the time Billy Long and I decided to make our own beer. Once in a while we used to steal a couple of Billy’s father’s beers, but we were always afraid we…

 

 

The eyesore arrived at our house on the evening of November 22nd, 1963, when I was eight and Joey was eleven.

At school that day, the loudspeaker crackled to life, and Principal Edwards announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated. I’m not sure any of us third graders knew what that meant, but we figured it was bad – especially when Mrs. Green let out a howl and dropped her head in her hands, shoulders shaking with each loud sob. The second that happened, all of us girls and a couple of the boys cried, too. About an hour later, Mama came to my classroom to get me. Her eyes were red and puffy. Then we went to Joey’s sixth grade class to pick him up. Mama said she was taking us out of school early because she “didn’t want to be alone on such a terrible, terrible day.” When we were in the car, I asked Joey if he knew what all the fuss was about; he lifted his shoulders, let them drop, and said, “How should I know, Debbie? You ask the dumbest questions.”

We spent the afternoon in our rooms playing while Mama sat staring at the television set, watching news reports of the terrible event.

That night, Daddy came home early. He was on the road a lot with his vending machine business, so it was a special treat for us. He told Mama to take us down to the basement until he said it was okay to come back up; said he had a surprise, something that might make us feel better after such horrid news. While we were downstairs, we heard a bang, bump, bang then a thud. A couple minutes later, Daddy called down for us to come into the living room. He’d skooched the furniture over to make room for a large, rectangular object. We couldn’t tell what it was because Daddy had it covered with one of Mama’s favorite sheets.

“My favorite bed linen! What’s gotten into you, Frank?” Mama asked. “And look what you’ve done to the living room!”

As usual, Daddy grinned and waved her off as if he were swatting a fly. He walked over and pinched the sheet at the top of the object. Eyes sparkling, he yanked the linen off and said, “Ta da!”

Oh - my - goodness; it was our very own candy bar vending machine! There were Nestle’s Chocolate Bars and Sky Bars and my favorite, Zagnut. There was some other stuff Joey liked, too, but I didn’t care about that. I remember jumping up and down and clapping, but when I looked at Mama’s face, I calmed down real quick.

She’d crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes boring a hole through Daddy. “Have you lost your marbles?” she asked. “You can’t possibly think that eyesore’s going to stay in the house!”

Well, it did.

The first time Daddy opened Eyesore to fill it with more candy, I was fascinated. Joey was, too. He lost interest once he’d seen how it worked, but I never did. Daddy knew I loved that machine as much as he did, so he made sure to tell me when he was going to “feed” it again.

To hear Mama talk, she wouldn’t be caught dead near “that beast.” Truth was though, when Daddy worked late and Joey and I were supposed to be sleeping, I’d sometimes hear her slide the lever on Eyesore. I’d wonder what yummy treat Mama selected then I’d remember she’d probably pick Necco Wafers. Or Chuckles; she loved those fruit-flavored jelly candies, even though I thought they were yucky.

Mama dreaded the neighbors finding out about Eyesore, but it turned out they thought it was pretty cool. They’d come over during the day to buy candy and chat with her. Even Joey and I ended up with more friends than we thought possible.

Once Eyesore jammed, and I watched Daddy take it apart to fix it. Again I was fascinated. I couldn’t keep my fingers out of Daddy’s toolbox, so he let me use his screwdriver to take out one of the screws. That was fun.

When I got older, I went out on the road with Daddy. He taught me the ropes as he called it, and I learned to love the life he’d built. When he passed away years later, Mama asked me if I’d be interested in “a unique focal point” for my own living room. The first thing you’ll see when you walk into my place is the Eyesore – where memories of Daddy and childhood make me smile.

 

 

Bio:

April Winters hopes to help people forget their troubles through her stories, even if it’s only for a little while. Her other works can be read at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Linguistic Erosion, The Short Humour Site, The Story Shack, and here at Short-Story.Me.

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