Let’s Get the Band Back Together

The word of the week was BAND, and I went “Let’s get the Band Back Together”. In this piece our main character learns the hard way not to agree to something without knowing all the details, and suffer the consequences of their actions.


Let’s get the band back together, she had said, and the noise I had made in response was more one of acknowledgment that she had spoke, than one of agreement.


Let’s get the band back together, had sounded so innocent than when it did register, I thought nothing of it, and assumed that she wouldn’t follow through anyways


Let’s get the band back together, had made me assume that she had called those of us that were still among the living, and arranged a reunion at her place.


Let’s get the band back together, didn’t bring to mind images of pentagrams, dark magics, sacrifices, or three people too afraid of the crazy lady with the knife to say no to her terrible plan.


Let’s get the band back together, made you think the band, just the band, and not the things that followed through the door that we had opened and did not know how to shut.


We got the band back together, but it was short, terrifying, full of screams that would haunt me till the day I died, and in the long years that followed, where I lived in fear every-time I saw movement from the corner of my eye, I would never again make a hmmm of acknowledgment.

All-American

No idea where this one came from, just another unhappy child moving away to become who they are. I honestly believe you can’t quite make that transition into the person you are meant to be until you leave your childhood home. This is the story of Sam, who left home and became their own person.


She looked down at the pictures of the child dressed up as as the all American little boy, in blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, and it made her squirm. There was a smile on the child’s face, and it wasn’t from happiness, it was from relief that they were allowed to go home.

An entire summer trapped on Uncle Jeb’s farm, and there wasn’t a single moment of it that the kid didn’t hate. It was all about the act of “toughening” the boy up, as though at ten years old, the threshold for masculinity was not being met. That there was some thickness of skin that hadn’t been achieved, and the act of crying at the injustice of it all was taken as the proof that the entire exercise was required. That picture was the day that a countdown was made, and while college was always a long shot, it was a freedom that couldn’t be passed by.

Teachers marveled at the new found studious nature, never before had a student made such a change in a single summer, not without some sort of accident of tragedy occurring, but they knew of no such event. A single summer on a farm should not have been such a thing, but in this case it was everything, it was the last straw in a pile of sticks, and it was too much to bear.

High school came and went, and in the end, the grades were enough. There were better schools, closer schools, if education had been the aim, but it wasn’t. The goal was the city, the goal was somewhere big enough to disappear, the goal was being far enough away that this place would be a memory buried deep enough that no one would ever know that it was a place of origin in the story being told.

There were a lot of cities to chose from, and the one the now teenager chose was so liberal that someone like Uncle Jeb would shudder to step foot in it, and it was perfect. It was a place where dreams came true, and no one was forced to toughen up, or be a man. That was where Samuel started to be known as Sam, and graduated as Samantha.

Her parents never called her, followed up, even though she kept the old beat-up flip phone for 12 years, paying a phone bill long after she replaced it, just in case. She didn’t call them either, but it was the principle of the thing. Four years in sociology had taught her a lot about people, and she knew that unless she reached out with a wife and a son, or fulfilled the promise to take over the family farm, they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her. That was just the way some people were, and there was nothing she could do that would change that.

She became a social worker, and eventually, she did get that wife, and even the son, but she wouldn’t be taking on the farm. Even if she did show up with her new family, they wouldn’t understand this, her, as she was, it just wasn’t their way. She had made a good life for herself, and when the flip phone broke, she had the line rerouted to her phone, just in case.

Her son was 11 when she got the call. Her family of three spent five hours on a plane, and three hours in a rented SUV to get to the house her parents had called home. It should have been a few years further out, but car crashes happen, especially with drunk drivers and missed red lights.

So here she sat, still in her back suit, looking at the picture of a child, who looked so much like her own, and yet was so much sadder. She walked out the door, her wife and son following, and they got in the car, not stopping till they hit the airport. No one broke the silence until the return tickets were paid for, and it was her wife who asked.

“What about the house?”

“Sell it” She whispered, voice hoarse.

“But the things, the memori-” Her wife tried again.

“Sell it all. There isn’t one thing in that house, that I want to remember” She half yelled, and then wanted to cry. Her wife didn’t look angry, just sad. Helena pulled out her phone, and called a friend, who would get a hold of someone local and take care of it.

Samantha was going home, for good this time.

Forever Yours

This was a micro fiction challenge, under 250 words, but written in the form of letters. It was supposed to be a challenge in terms of character voice, and I am not sure I nailed it, but these are two unsent letters. It’s another one that is not so happy. Sorry guys,


Greg,

You are my best friend, my person, and I will go to my grave with my biggest regret being that I don’t have the courage to send this letter.

I have loved you since we were six years old, and you found me crying on the school yard, and gave me the dandelion you picked to make me happy. You were always doing that, our entire lives, little things to make me happy, and I have loved you for each and every one of them.

I wish I was braver, but the risk of losing your friendship, the best thing in my life, was just too much to gamble. I love you Greg, and I always will,

Your Friend,

Tommy


Tommy,

I’ve loved you since we were six. That day in school when I saw you crying, it hurt my heart, and I knew that I’d do anything to make you happy. I’d even pretend that I didn’t love you, so that I could stay with you, and be your friend.

I wish I’d read your letter a lifetime ago, before I got married, before I had children, before you were no longer with us.

I wish I could tell you that you were always the one good thing in my life, no matter how bad it got, and if you weren’t brave, then I was a coward, because I said nothing either. I have loved you Tommy, my entire life, and I always will.

Forever Yours,

Greg

Suspicion

So this one is from the prompt “A man walked into a bar” and the image below. It is the answer to a few prompts, and a story idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. You watch TV, and people can’t remember an event and people tell them the story, and they just accept it, but what if you can’t. What if it feels like there is more to the story than you are being told?


There comes a moment where you feel like your life is a joke, and it feels like the ultimate punchline then when your story starts “A man walked into a bar”.

It’s kind of where my life fell apart actually, before that everything was great. I was probably the most boring guy on the planet. I had a 9-5 job in middle management, that I don’t want to bore you with the details of, a lovely husband, Dylan, a nice little one bedroom apartment that we could only afford because of rent control, and a tiny dog named Lucy.

Then I walked into a bar, a literal bar, like ouch, he should have seen it bar, and everything changed. I don’t remember the bar, all I remember from that day is a picture of of an umbrella tree, I don’t even know where it was, and then nothing.

I wanted to brush is off, but when Dylan told the story, the smile never matched the look in his eyes, and it gave me the tiniest niggling doubt of what had really happened.

I pulled away little by little, and he let me. Six months after the accident we were divorced, and 12 years of marriage effectively ended the day I walked into a bar, or the day they say I did.

Now here I am, sitting in a bar, divorced, homeless, dogless, telling a complete stranger how my marriage fell apart, like a complete schmuck. How’s that for a punchline?