Thursday, October 19, 2023

Shamus Lazrus Shuttleford (Part 1 of 2 Parts), Post #250


Image Courtesy of Masterfile (Royalty-Free Div)


First, I have to apologize for being late with this post. I missed my 5:00 a.m. posting time by several hours. That hasn’t happened often in my ten years or so of hosting this site. No excuse… just an apology.

Hope you enjoyed last post’s Dil Farmer and Thew Miller, a little piece of flash fiction.

This week, we’ll try a little flash fiction. Enjoy.


* * * *


Shamus Lazrus Shuttleford was a dignified man. Not much else was notable about him, but he was proud and protective of his propriety, including the lettering of his middle name, which some considered as misspelled out of ignorance. Shamas was not what many would count as successful, although he would dispute that. He owned his home and automobile, had few debts, and had cared adequately for his children until they grew up and grew away. They were still respectful and kept in touch appropriately on holidays and birthdays and the like, but they certainly couldn’t be called clingy offspring.

He'd been close to his wife before she passed a year ago in her sleep—hopefully without pain. They’d been close but not demonstrative as some of the other couples they knew. When Violet left, he had some difficulty coping, but eventually found his way again.

But the world was changing, and very frankly, threatened to leave him behind. He’d managed to bridge the gap between pen and paper to the typewriter, and finally to those electronic monsters they called computers. In fact, he was adept at typing on the beasts, finding them infinitely easier to correct errors than either pen or typewriter. That was the only thing he liked about the forced conversion.

But of more concern was the deportment of others these days. Especially, the young ones, and especially about… well, sex, to be frank. That was a subject that did not claim a great deal of his attention, but increasingly he found himself facing the subject whichever way he turned and wherever he went… even in the grocery store, for crying out loud. They had those magazines in racks right by the cashiers—where they couldn’t be avoided—literally screaming that short, pungent word.

Shamus believed, all things considered, he had adjusted to the new “normal,” until yesterday. What he saw out his kitchen window sent him bustling for the telephone to call his next-door neighbor until he decided what he’d witnessed was none of his business.

He’d known for years the neighbor kids thought there was a completely private nook in their back yard. They’d gotten into mischief since they were toddlers in that private corner screened from their parents’ prying eyes. But Shamus could see into that bower, although it probably appeared his lattice of Violet’s climbing roses obscured the view. No such thing. He saw the spot clearly. And what he saw yesterday rocked his world.

The older three Gideon children were away at school or at a job in some remote place, but Timothy was still in residence. He was a strapping, good-looking lad with honey hair like his mother and a firm jaw like his father. Always cheerful. Forever playing sports… first this one and then that one. Respectful as all get out. And helpful too. Always offering to help when Shamus was in the yard tending to chores. Downright likeable.

But what he’d seen yesterday afternoon after school shook Shamus’ faith in his judgment of others. He had to swipe his eyes and look again to believe what he was seeing.

Timothy was spread out on a makeshift pallet of some sort in the corner of the yard, his pants bunched at his ankles, and someone’s head was bobbing up and down in his middle. Shamus gasped aloud and reached for the kitchen wall telephone when he finally made himself believe that other head—the one working so hard—actually belonged to another boy. He couldn’t believe it. Timothy was allowing himself to be abused by a boy.

Shamus couldn’t believe that he actually stood there gaping, the phone in his hand, for several minutes before he came to his senses and slammed the blind on the window closed. Then he made the conscious decision that what he’d observed was none of his affair and hung up the telephone. But the image wasn’t that easy to forget, and he found it disturbing his sleep that evening. Usually, he dropped off when he went to bed, but the night after he’d witnessed that disgusting scene, he’d witnessed. He had trouble reconciling it with the pleasant youngster he’d known for years. But he finally managed to clear his mind and fall asleep after deciding he’d brace young Timothy and admonish the lad for his lapse in proper behavior.


Sometimes kitchen windows see things that ought not be seen. But see, Shamus did. Does he owe Timothy’s parents a call, or is he decision the proper one?

 We’ll see next time, and I’ll try to be prompt.

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Twitter: @markwildyr

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

See you later.



 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

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