markwildyr.com, Post #67
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“Hem and Haw” got a decent number of page views last time, a lot of them from the Ukraine. Hello to all of you over there and welcome.
This week, let’s try another flash fiction.
I remember the very instant I saw Robby as a man. As he struggled to shore, fighting the current of the shallow river, his long legs encased in rubber waders, it struck me that my young buddy, my hero worshiper was all grown up. I’d known him since birth and lived in the house beside his ever since. His father, ten years my senior, had sort of adopted me after I lost my own to an automobile accident. Weldon Riggs, although devoted to his wife, was right there whenever my widowed mother needed help. But as his accounting business grew, he devoted more and more of his waking hours to it, leaving me to provide companionship to his son… just as he had me. Seemed fair.
Robby had called me Uncle Mikey ever since I was fifteen-years-old until he reached the age of twelve when he dropped the y, and I became Uncle Mike. I enjoyed his company and adoration as much as his father had doubtless been pleased by mine. While most of my classmates eventually grew distracted by sports and girls and life in general, I took pleasure in introducing Robby to such things. I coached him, mentored him, and loved him as surely as if he were my own brother.
But things changed during that fishing trip taken in celebration of his eighteenth birthday. As he slogged up onto the shore, he met my gaze and held it for a long moment before dropping his eyes.
“Damned waders feel like they weigh a ton in the water,” he said, his color a bit higher than usual.
“You let water get over the top of them, and you’ll know what a ton really feels like.”
He laughed. “Yeah. Guess so. But they sure keep your feet dry. Not warm, but dry.” He held up a stringer with three decent-sized trout on it. “You hungry, Uncle Mike?”
The moment passed; the world stabilized on its axis again. I cleaned, and he filleted. Never had pan-fried trout tasted so good. We laughed and teased our way through the meal.
A thunder shower drove us inside the tent, and we lay atop our respective sleeping bags, listening to the rat-a-tat-tat of raindrops against the canvas. Utter contentment. My mind briefly flitted to the image of him coming out of the water in those heavy waders this afternoon before succumbing to sleep as the Lord’s tears drummed against the tent.
I woke to find him propped on one elbow studying me. “Whoa? What’s up?”
“Did you know your eyelids flutter when you sleep?”
“Everybody’s does at some point. Something about the sleep stage you’re in.”
His pleasing visage grew solemn. His Adam’s apple moved as he swallowed. “What… what happened this afternoon?”
“We ate some bitchin’ trout. Wish we could do it every day.”
“Before that. When I waded up on the shore.”
I averted my eyes. The storm had passed, but I knew from the gloom that clouds still shrouded the sun. Thunder rolled in the distance. The faint odor of wet grass and sodden pines permeated the tent. In the pregnant silence, I heard water drop from soggy limbs. Some landed on the canvas protecting us with startlingly loud thuds.
“Don’t tell me it was my imagination, Uncle Mike. I saw something in your look.”
I closed my eyes and tried to relax muscles I hadn’t realized were tense. “I… I saw you as a man.”
He lay on his back. His movement brought my eyes open. Some people’s appearance suffer in profile. Not Robby’s. He was so handsome, my heart ached. He licked his lips before speaking. “I’ve always seen you as a man.”
“Of course, you do. I’ve got ten years on you.”
“That’s not what I mean.” He turned on his side away from me, exposing his broad, tapered back to my gaze.
I’m sure I hesitated only a moment, but it seemed like an eon before I turned and spooned against him. When I threw an arm over him, he grasped my hand and moved it where he wanted.
“Oh… Mike!” he breathed gently.
The imagination runs wild, doesn’t it? But tell me something. If things progressed the way most of us dream it would, did Mike and Robby cement a relationship… or ruin one. It can go either way, you know. Lust sometimes demands what the conscience can’t accept. I know how I think it worked out, do you?
Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns.. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month.