He sighed, turned the gun on himself, and pulled the trigger.
Chico felt like Rasputin. He had tried everything. He tried hanging himself but the rope was too long. He tried taking poison but a life of eating processed food had built up an immunity. He jumped off a bridge but a fisherman pulled him to safety. And the knife he tried to stab himself with was so dull he named it George W.
“Sorry Ashley, I know your bowl is dirty. I’m going to clean it tomorrow, I promise. Tomorrow everything is going to be different. Better. I’ve been up all night working on something.”
Ashley swam closer to Bob. A thick layer of algae was obscuring his features through the glass.
“Its okay, I don’t mind. Mary Kate was the fussy one.” Ashley swam in a lazy circle and started to pick at the neon blue rocks on the bottom of the bowl.
“Look what I found under a pile of mail.” Bob opened his hand and brought the object closer to her.
“This will change everything. It is a remote control, and all I have to do is change the channel. Get it? Point, click, and everything will change. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, it’s so simple.”
Ashley could hardly contain her excitement. Everything changing! She swam in a tight circle and bobbed up for a breath of air. What she wanted most in the world was to be able to watch TLC again. Bob’s wife Liz had taken everything when she left, but Ashley missed the television most of all.
Bob lifted the remote and took aim at the wall where the televisions use to be.
“Right there, Ashley. Not just a T.V., but a wide screen high def beauty!”
Ashley used her tail to maintain her current position. She was concentrating on the black hole Bob had made in the wall, waiting for her program to come on.
“Do you want me to get you a new partner?” Bob asked
The truth was Ashley hadn’t really cared all that much for Mary Kate. She mourned the loss of Toddlers in Tiaras so much more.
Before she could answer his question, Bob was talking again.
“No. You don’t do you? We don’t need anyone, do we? The only thing we need is to change the channel.”
“How does that work, Bob? Ashley asked
I love that Ashley is a fish. It just shows that any pet can help. Like the story.
It’s not everyday that we get to have a fish as one of the main characters in a story that isn’t a children’s book. Good writing challenge!
Harry looked forward to the annual photography club camping trip. Efficiently organized by his longtime friend Kate, he could always depend on it being the best weekend of the year.
Nearly every member of the club was married or in some kind of committed relationship. Harry and Lily were the only ones still officially unattached. Despite his mother’s nagging and complaints to the contrary, at thirty two, Harry really was ready to make a commitment. But whenever their talk turned to making things more permanent, Lily steadfastly dodged the subject.
“Oh Harry Bear, why you wanna ruin a great friendship?” she’d say, affectionately punching him in the ribs.
Corny as it always sounds, he knew the moment he saw her. Her dimples deepened when she smiled and her almond eyes danced with perpetual amusement. Her blue black hair twisted artfully was pinned to the back of her head and occasionally let loose of a few strands that grazed the nape of her neck. That sight alone drove him wild. Afraid if he pushed too hard he’d lose her, Harry always maintained control, always backed off. After all, there were no signs she was seeing anyone else. Kate had subtly checked it out for him. In fact, after she came back with the ‘all clear’, he’d gone out and bought an engagement ring. But he never told anyone, especially not Lily. That was almost three months ago and not even Kate knew. He’d carried the ring with him in a little red and gold silk pouch on every date and outing since.
Most of their friends had moved in together before getting engaged, or in the case of Fraser and Alan, even before they’d declared their lifetime commitment to one another. But Lily said she wanted to honor her parents’ wishes that she remain living at home until she was married. At first Harry didn’t believe her. He thought that whole virginity thing was kind of bogus but in time he began to trust her and his admiration grew for her respect for family traditions.
The drive to Door County took about five hours on a Friday afternoon, depending on traffic. The cool damp woods felt inviting after a week of sweltering heat radiating off asphalt and concrete. Tents were pitched and a fire started well before dark. Ample beer and wine added to the merriment. Someone produced a bag full of squirt guns and the race was on to the water’s edge to fill them. Shocked screams echoed through the woods as ice cold lake water drenched unsuspecting participants in one ambush after another.
Later, in front of the campfire, the mood mellowed. Lily leaned against Harry’s shoulder, squirt gun tucked provocatively into her cleavage. As was his instinctive city dweller habit, Harry reached to his back pocket to check for his wallet. Gone. His heart pumped harder. He jumped up and searched around the log they’d been leaning against for the past hour.
“What’s wrong?” Lily asked. “Ticks?”
Harry’s panic drew the group’s attention as flashlights and headlamps began illuminating the clearing. Feeling the not the slightest bit guilty, Lily threw the wallet down near the edge of the path.
“Is this it?” she hollered pretending to retrieve a newly found object.
Harry raced to grab it from her hands as she appeared to search the contents.
“But there’s something missing.”
Lily played him out for several minutes, enjoying the delicious control as she gazed up at him with her most innocent expression. When she was satisfied, she broke into a smile as she dangled the little silk pouch in front of his face.
“But what? Where did you…”
You lost it when you were filling your squirt gun at the beach. This was sticking out, so naturally I had to see what it was. This is some piece of sea glass you found, Harry Bear.”
Light from the campfire bounced off each facet of the perfect diamond ring she held between her fingertips.
“Um I was going to… will you?” he asked softly.
“Of Course!” she bellowed. “I’ve been waiting for you my entire life!”
As they kissed, he removed the squirt gun from her blouse. He sighed, turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger.
A squirt gun great play. you went to the lighter side. i loved it.
The non-murder gun scene! Creative work and a good story.
Larry thought he’d done everything right.
He put away the bird feeder when spring arrived. He kept his garbage in the garage until he took it to the dump. He made lots of noise.
For God’s sakes, if a chainsaw isn’t enough noise, I don’t know what is, Larry told himself.
Yes, everything right—just the way the so-called experts recommended.
Yet, here he was, less than a hundred yards from his house, and in more trouble than he’d ever been in before, and things weren’t going the way the experts said they would.
Make your profile small, they said. Hah! He was curled up in a fetal position so tight he may as well still be in his mother’s womb, and way down in his clenched guts, Larry wished he was.
Cover the back of your head and neck, they said. Gotcha. One leather-gloved hand on the back of my head, the other hanging on to the .44 mag Blackhawk under my face.
Play dead, they said. Play dead? Pretty soon I won’t be playing, thought Larry, who’d done an immediate face plant in the dirt and moss when he saw it.
I’m doing everything right, Larry screamed to himself. Play dead if it’s a black bear; fight if it’s a brown bear. And this was definitely a huge black bear tearing shreds of flesh from his backside. So why isn’t it leaving?
Why isn’t it leaving? He inched the muzzle of the .44 around to the right spot.
Wait. Wait. Did I remember it wrong? OH MY GOD!!! It’s FIGHT IF IT’S A BLACK BEAR! Just then Larry felt hot, stinking breath on the back of his neck and incredible pain as the bear closed its jaws.
“I got it wrong. I got it all wrong!”, screamed Larry.
He opened his mouth and slipped the muzzle between his teeth. Then he sighed and pulled the trigger.
Why not shoot the bear?? You had me seeing the story in my head. the bear and the claws and everything.
Fatal memory mistake. I hate it when that happens!
Good writing, Gully. Are you working on a novel these days?
Umm, no? I finally thought of a good plot for a fictional novel and wrote a few chapters. Then…. I don’t know. Never got back to it. Good plot, though.
Good grief. It isn’t “fictional” novel, is it? Watching American Idol finale and typing on an iPad is too much multi-tasking for me.
Monday, May 23,2012
Well the Pinto is packed and ready to go. On to a week in high country . We have done this every fall since we were both young. We love the smell of fall coming and seeing the turning of the leaves to their fall colors. The aspens were turning already. Yes, we are a bit later than we usually leave. But if the weather holds we’ll have a grand time.
The air is brisk and clean, not a cloud in the sky. But what I could not see were the clouds on the other side of the mountains. They were waiting for us to get going.
We camped the first night just at tree line. We were protected from any wind that might come up in the night. The morning came all to soon. Pinto and I shared a meal and headed out. We have a lot of ground to cover in a short time span.
The pale blue sky looked like it was going to stay cloudless all day. But that could change all to quickly here in high country. We were now above the tree line and the winds had picked up. Every once in a while I thought I could smell snow in the air. But that faded quickly. I may have forgotten the smell ,it had been a long time since we were this high.
We found an outcropping of rocks and bedded down there. The fire was warm, the amber glow of the flame almost hypnotize us. Pinto said goodnight and went to sleep. I stayed up enjoying the stars and the last of the coffee. In the distance I could hear the wolf howl calling for it mate. A few minutes later the mate answered back. They weren’t far away. I throw another log on the fire hoping the flames would keep them away.
It Had turned cold in the night when we woke up the fire was out and the sky was grey. I could see the snow clouds in the sky off to the east. It did not look good. I wondered if we should start back but decided against it. The storm was far enough away. We would reach the cabin by night fall.
The trail was steeper now ,with the ledge only wide enough to walk slowly and make sure every step was the right one. One wrong move and over the cliff we would go. The ravine was wide open and went on for a long way. The rock walls were rough and not much to stop a person if they fell.
The next thing I knew we were sliding down the ravine wall. As I slid I heard a few snaps and cracks. Pinto had not been lucky his front leg was hanging at a right angle and he was in pain. As we tumbled down I could only think of one thing. If this is the end I’m glad Pinto is with me. We have been a team for a life time.
Near the bottom we finally stopped rolling and hit a boulder very hard. Again I could hear a snap and felt a lot of pain. I could only imagine how Pinto felt, if anything at all by now.
As night fell I could hear my faithful friend suffering . I crawled over and did the only thing I could do. I pulled my gun and put my beloved horse out of his misery. I cried most of the night, not for me but for my friend who had served me well for many years.
I wondered if anyone would find me in time. I don’t think so. There was only one way out for me. I sighed, turning the gun on myself and pulled the trigger. The pain would stop now.
Sad but touching story! It took me a while to figure out that Pinto was a horse. At first I thought it was an old Ford. I hope you’re writing these days!
The pinto came to me and i thught that may be a cute twist. I started a blog on wordpress and i have a few things in the works.thanks for these pages they are fun and keep me writing.
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by Ann Linquist
Available in paperback or on Kindle