I’m Fine – Short Story

Short Story
Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

I’m Fine

 

His father never called him. And when he called his father, it was generally ignored. If he wanted to see his father he drove to his father’s house and knocked on the door. Sometimes the door wouldn’t open. Other times it would open before he reached the steps. He never knew which father he was going to get. He was never asked inside. His father was too ashamed of the interior of the house. They’d sit on the steps and talk sports. Or about beer. Sometimes they would talk about government corruption and always they talked about humanity. Never, though, did he step inside.

One time he drove to his father’s house to find his father passed out drunk in the driveway. He went to town, bought a six pack of beer, and came back. His father was still passed out in the driveway. He didn’t care. He loved his father as he was. Even if his father didn’t love himself. When his father finally woke, he offered him a beer. It was still cold. His father took it, drank half down, and said “Did you see who they voted in? This isn’t for self desire to love what’s to come, it’s for self duty to be what is!” He wasn’t sure what that meant, but they talked about politics while drinking beer for the next two hours.

A large cloud, shaped like a simple circle, produced shade on the mountainside. He thought it looked nice. He liked how the wind was just strong enough to push the leaves in a continuous hurry. It was easy to watch.

He used a stick to draw a circle in the dirt. He was sitting on a rock just above the water line. The riverbank mud and dirt was spattered with leaves and smelled of organic waste. It was going to get worse before better. He knew this. He wished the getting worse part would go nicely on him the way a mean dog eases up just before biting and instead of biting only shows teeth and raises its fur. Maybe death is like that. Maybe you only feel bad for a small amount of time, and then you’re free. He drew an ‘X’ in the circle.

The cloud had moved on and now he thought the mountainside looked bright and alive. He tossed the stick into the river, watched the creation of water rings disperse, and pulled his knees into his body. He felt as though he were hovering just about his body. Looking forward, searching for another kind of shade, he saw double as tears filled his eyes, then saw nothing because he would not blink.

He missed his father. He wished he’d been able to spend more time with him. Now the option of time is gone. He wanted to drive to his father’s house, sit on the steps, and talk. Because talking to his father’s steps is better than not talking at all. And he thought if he ever has a child he’ll sit on those same steps and tell exactly how everything was instead of hiding how it should be.

 

**

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A Child Hopes

A Child Hopes

Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

 

A child too young to crawl had no parents. A man placed the child in a crib and walked away while listening to its suffering cries. The infant had no understanding of the fading footsteps, but fully felt the abandonment.

Near the crib, carved into the cold stone wall, was the saying, ‘These stones wash my mind.’ A smiling face was left as a signature.

A nine-year-old had created the message.

Etched into the wood floor beneath the infant’s crib was another, ‘My thoughts are new this morning having never been thought before.’  Another smiling face was left as a signature.

**

‘What are you doing?’ Nick’s grandfather asked.

‘Reading.’ Nick replied. He held onto a nail. He was helping his grandfather in the garage.

‘Oddly, I never read much. But, when I did, it changed me.’

Nick’s grandfather was a large man. He wore grey work pants and a white t-shirt with suspenders.

‘Grandpa, what does this means? “These stones wash my mind.” That’s what it says in the book.’

Nick’s grandfather stopped fidgeting with the bird feeder he was building. Looking at the rafters, then his boots, he shook his head, ‘You might want to find another book.’ He reached a window with his eyes, and noticed how the sunlight spilled around the clouds.

Nick didn’t want to find another book. This book was too important. And he didn’t miss his grandfather’s face when he’d asked. He saw. He saw fully. Nick looked at the nail in his hand. It was metal. It smelled like metal. It looked like metal. It tasted like metal. But these words didn’t taste, or look like anything, but words. Though, he felt them.

‘Why didn’t you read much? That doesn’t make sense. If it changed you, was it for the better, or worse.’ Nick asked.

‘They were fluff. So much fluff. And the eyes reading them never cared. They read because they read. But, a few, changed me because they were meant to be written. And when I read them they made me to see.’

‘To see what?’

‘That’s not really the question. ‘These stones wash my mind.’ That’s the question. Be careful to not lose focus. If you want an answer to a question, truly want it, never stop until that one question is fully answered. Then, move to the next.’

Nick felt shamed. His cheeks filled red with emotion. He stood to walk from the garage and let the nail drop to the cement floor. It wasn’t that he couldn’t focus.

‘If you had answered my question the first time I asked it, I wouldn’t have had to rework new questions to again come to the first. And if it’s too hard for you to talk about, why’d you write the book?’

Nick walked out of the garage. Sunlight lit his young shoulders.

 

***

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The Old Dam – 1912

I remember the cement stairs leading down to the tunnel
I remember the dampness of the walls, the deepening darkness
It was after midnight-
I stood at bottom of the stairwell and at the beginning of the tunnel
I couldn’t see to the other side
I felt the strength of the entire river above me
along with the loneliness of the ghosts
I wondered if they were here
I wanted to believe the stories
The old dam had taken more than one-
The tunnel was built under the dam to house the pumps
which opened and closed the flood gates
I needed to walk the entire length of the tunnel
to open a valve on the very last pump
The hanging lights flickered as I waked underneath them
A few had burned out-
Water trickled down the walls
I could smell and even taste the mustiness
I was forcing myself to feel comfortable
My safety goggles had collected moisture
My ear plugs were irritating me.
I felt agitated. But mostly
I didn’t feel I was alone
I forced myself to look back toward the stairwell
What did I see?
Who knows. Maybe all of these words are fictitious
Or, maybe this is written it exactly as it was

-M. Taggart

Happy Ending

My cousin has been in my thoughts lately. For things I’m unable to discuss, or write about, for the time being. Twice last week friends from home called me. Twice they pulled over and let my cousin use their phones to call me. They’d found him walking down random roads.

If all anyone hears is the negative said about them, we as humans, often fall into what those negatives are. Rather than focusing on what’s great about them. I prefer to focus on what’s great about someone. In this story I wrote about the good, the bad, the raw. The truth. This story is not PC. I do not write PC.

Grab a whisky, or wine, or a bottle of cold beer. Or room temperature porter, if you so enjoy a room temperature porter. I know I do. Open said drink(s) and take a little read.

Cheers,

I took the picture for this. I stood on the top of Mount Sugarloaf in Sunderkand, MA. Thanks for reading. I’m finally becoming more comfortable with commenting back and forth with a few of you. Thank you for that. It’s certainly not because of me.

Matt

Point of view, view. – Poem?

It’s simple really.
See, I’ve lived the majority of my life with myself.
So, when someone asks me in earnest, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
As though they would have somehow helped-
I think to myself,
Would you like to know how my breakfast cereal tasted this morning verses yesterday morning?
Or, would you like to know the moment I remember, with absolutely clarity, events that happened a decade ago while coaching baseball concerning a fan spilling ketchup on their blue jeans and missing their sons at bat because they busied themselves with napkins to fix their accidental spillage that could easily have been avoided by not having put so much ketchup on the end of their hot dog? No. They missed their sons at bat. They missed the hit and they missed the run scored which won the game.
They had things to do.
I wasn’t able to help the child rework the happening to create a better memory of being watched.
It doesn’t work that way.
And I chose freely to not tell how my breakfast tastes on a daily basis because it changes and that’s for me to enjoy. Along with the arrival of the sun and the fact that it comes up every morning slightly differently- even though we live in a world that will try and tell you it’s all been done before.
No. It hasn’t.
So enjoy your questioning questions with a smile and a nod of understanding that not all things will be and not all things will be.

 

**

Thanks for reading. I don’t know what this is either.

Matt

Don’t Watch Her Cry

A Short Story
Written by -M. Taggart
Copyright 2017

Don’t Watch Her Cry

 

It hurt to watch her cry. She convulsed. Her head shook up and down. I wanted to put my arms around her. She was hating me. Maybe, though she needed it. It was my fault. I didn’t know my words damaged her this badly. Now though, I could see what each of them had done. Her hair was down and I couldn’t see her face. I only saw tears dropping near her feet.

Another me had raised my arms and put them around her shoulders. I fought the mind game I placed on myself. If she hates me, let her rot. Let her rot in Hell. My arms pulled her head to my chest. I could feel my heart beat. I hate my heart beating.

‘Don’t. It’s O.K. I Love you.’

She convulsed and my heart now hated me.

‘I don’t know. I don’t want this. Listen, I love you. You don’t believe me, but, I do. I don’t want what I said. I’m sorry.’

Her neck smelled so nice. Her tears too. My thoughts struggled.

She didn’t push away. I pulled her closer. Maybe it wasn’t over. ‘I just want to have you back.’ her throat full, ‘You use to be so amazing. You were, incredible.’ she had huffed the words through.

I was. I were. I am not. I am nothing. I hate myself. My heart can now stop completely.

My other self rubbed her back and told her I loved her and that it would be O.K.

She stood. Not ripping from me, but leaving me. ‘I don’t know how it can be again.’ tears streamed down her beautiful face, dripping from her chin. ‘But I think it will be.’

 

 

 

 

A Storm To Be – A Short Story

You could smell it. The freshness. The cool-crisp taste transferring from your nose to your tongue. It would snow today. The clouds would become darker, heavier even, and would produce moisture and eventually droplets of ice forming around particles of dust and the ice would drop and form into flakes of snow. Later he would stand outside and let the snow flakes land on his face. He wanted to know the storm like he knew the land around him. He’d walked the woods and surrounding farmlands, with their brooks and stone walls, his entire life. He knew the sounds of the forest; the creatures that are loudest at night, and the slightest of foot were sometimes the largest predators. He knew where, deep in the woods, a canopy of trees opened perfectly as though it were an eye focused upward and forcing him to truly focus. Yes, he wanted to know the storm as he knew the land, and the storm would need to be welcomed.

copyright 2016  -M. Taggart

 

Thank you for reading and Cheers!

I invite you to learn about my self published book.

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

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Flash Fiction -The Thought of Summer

Fiction: The Thought of Summer
Written by -M. Taggart
Copyright 2016

The Thought of Summer

 

The barn was dank. Inside the bull’s stall was worse. It was dark and he’d left the lamp at the house. He couldn’t always see what he was digging his shovel into, but it didn’t matter it was all the same.

His friends were in the ravine. He imagined Nick fishing in the large pool near the road and Pete walking barefoot further downstream. Pete wouldn’t be fishing, he’d most likely look for bait and return what he scavenged to Nick. Nick would catch a few trout and gut them there on the road. Then he’d wrap the trout in tin foil and put them in his pocket and head for home, or he’d put them under a rock in the brook to stay cool.

The bull’s waste smelled ripe. He didn’t mind the smell. He didn’t mind working the stall. He’d do this for his grandfather every time it needed to be done. He only thought of the ravine because it was the first day of school break. He remember telling his grandfather he’d clear the stall, but he wasn’t sure why he’d selected the first day of break. He knew Nick and Pete would be waiting for him. He’d forgotten to tell them he wouldn’t be there. It wasn’t a problem, other than that he’d forgotten to tell them and that didn’t feel right to him. He should have told them.

He dug his shovel deep into the manure and let it stand on his own. He walked out of the dark stall and into the open area where hay was stacked before being lifting into the loft. The sunlight, coming from the open barn door, looked as clean as anything he’d seen. It cut through the shadows of the barn and brought with it a smell of fresh air. Outside, he squinted his eyes hard. He could hear the chickadees talking back and forth and crows cawing just as they took flight from a large oak.

He noticed the wind playing with the leaves on the oak. The leaves were flipped over forcefully. Then all leaves on every tree were flipped and pushed in the same direction. The wind picked up dust from the corn field and come toward him. He looked from the leaves, to the corn field, back to the trees. Just behind the row of oak, maple, and pines was the entry to the ravine.

The first clap of thunder was so loud he ducked and then squatted covering his head. The sky became black and purple. He wasn’t sure when it had happened, but it had and now it was. A strap of lightening struck the oak the crows had flown from. A large branch crashed its way down into the ravine. He crawled to the barn. Rain was mixed with hail and had beaten him in the few short feet he made his way through the field on his stomach back to the barn. He was drenched and covered in mud. He felt his body running into the barn but his mind wanted to know about Nick and Pet. He thought he had seen tops of trees flying through the air. He’d never seen anything like that and he wasn’t sure.

And now he hunkered in the same stall he’d been working in. He’d made a small indent in the manure which was not level with the rest of the floor and he felt safest there, with his face in bull waste. He felt the need to pull the manure over him like a blanket. His ears popped. He could feel the barn moaning. It creaked loudly and he heard what sounded like a portion of the barn roof ripping away. He covered his neck and breathed the moist air and tried to pin himself as deep as possible into his small sanctuary.

What of Nick and Pete, he thought. The storm raged and they were in the ravine. He’d seen the lightening hit the oak. And seen pieces of trees in the air. If he had told them he’d be working in the stall they wouldn’t have gone to the ravine to wait for him today. They always meet on the first day and now this. He promised himself to never forget how he felt. To always remember. But, would they have still gone? Maybe, he thought. None of that matters though, he told himself. Because now he’s stuck to the thought of it and that can’t go away, not matter what. He created this, the thought of it, the remembering and now he’s here in the stall waiting.

 

******

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Hemingway Quote

‘All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.’ -E. Hemingway, A Letter From Cuba.

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