Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flash Fiction: Hydrants (written fall 2009)

She bought eight lightweight hydrants, one for each room. She practiced grabbing and pointing them, feigned pulling the key and trigger. It helped her worry less. 

Her boy's rubber ducks were lined up along the tub edge. "Checkered ducky," he said. "Polka-dot ducky. Yellow ducky, hotel ducky, flower ducky." There was a horse, too, that wheezed instead of squeaking and took in water that later dripped onto the hardwood floor in the little boy's bedroom. 

He asked for an apple and string cheese for his bedtime snack. He sipped almond milk from a cup with bubble shaped vehicles on it. "Taxi," he said, then turning the cup, "ambulance, fire engine, red car." 

She wondered when his father would return. He was timing horses at the big race in Kentucky. He was jogging through cornfields at sunset with a rented dog. She was exhausted and sunburnt and sweaty and grimy, and his phone calls were difficult to take politely. 

"Hug," said the little boy, and she hugged him. "Kiss," he said, and she kissed. "Kiss on the cheek, kiss on the nose, kiss on the chin," he said, and she did those things. 

"Grandmama's quilt," she whispered, tucking it in around him. 

"Horsey," he said, holding it up by the tail. Water dribbled on the orangest flower of the flower garden. "Horsey water Grandmama's quilt." 

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