the visitor

An opening in the woods on the side of the road. He knew it well. Perhaps he owed the bartender his thanks: the abrupt ending to his lonely adventure toward numbness afforded him the opportunity to take a literal walk down memory lane. How long had it been since he’d gone down this path?

Even the mice silenced themselves in seeming respect for the visitor now walking through their territory. In the stillness and the quiet. In the unsettling stillness and the oppressive silence. A voice punctured the darkness.

“I heard you came to town.”

Suddenly she was beside, matching his pace step for step. “I thought I might find you here.”

A deep sigh. “How long have you been following me?”

“Not following. Just waiting. What happened to your face?”

“The sidewalk got in my way. What are you doing here?”

“I told you, waiting for you, baby. Where are you staying?”

“Twin Oaks. But don’t get any ideas, I’m leaving right after the funeral.”

“Come on, let me come back with you… and then I’ll go to the funeral with you in the morning. People might talk if they see you there alone, Richard.”

“People might talk if they see you at your own funeral, Jess.”

She grabbed his hand. “Are you gonna let me come back to your motel or not?”


[word count:  224]

Loosely continued from:

small townsmall town, part 2closing time


1. So that takes care of the appetizers, we need to move on to the main course. Your package will include three entrees: a beef dish, a chicken dish, and fish dish. We also have some vegetarian options, if you have special needs. Now, we have a lot of options to look at —

2. Time is a little short though, so maybe could you pare it down a little?

1. Of course, miss. Of course I could, but you wouldn’t want to make a choice without knowing all of your options, right? Tell you what, we’ll go through the list and then instead of choosing three of each to sample you can just choose two. Does that sound alright?

3. It won’t take too long, honey.

2. Fine.

1. Wonderful! Okay, so first I’ll show you the chicken options. We always take great care to make sure the chicken is cooked perfectly —

2. Let’s just do the options, we don’t need to be sold on the preparation.

1. Okay.

3. Sweetheart —

1. Like I was saying, we always make sure that our meat is perfectly tender, so we marinate —

2. I just said not to go into the preparation. Are you even listening to me?

3. Baby, calm down. We’ve got plenty of time. We’re only gonna get married once, we want it to be perfect. Please, sir, continue.

1. The options are —

2. I wish you wouldn’t say that.

1. — a chicken cordon bleu, using only locally sourced ham —

3. Say what?

2. That we’re only getting married once.

3. What’s wrong with saying that?

1. — teriyaki chicken breasts served over —

2. You know it’s not true. Why do you have to rub it in my face?

1. — noodles. A chicken marsala risotto, now this one is —

3. It’s the only time that WE are getting married, dear. I don’t care —

1. — very special, because we use three different types —

3. — about anything else.

1. — of mushrooms —

2. Of course you care about it. Of course you hate it. But it’s not going to change, no matter what. And I wish that you would stop bringing up my ex at every opportunity just to make me feel ashamed as if I don’t already feel bad enough about it. It happened, I married him, and I know it should have been you in the first place but it wasn’t and I was wrong and if you can’t get over it then you’ll need to start getting over me.

3. Wait, where are you going?

1. Shall we reschedule?


[word count: 400]