Friday, September 09, 2011

Friday Flash: Come Sunday - Rural Noir

(I wrote this as an entry for a small-town noir contest. They  apparently had a lot of entries, so I thought I'd share it here. They offered a photo as a story prompt,  a '30s-era mug shot of a female inmate. I've done a few pieces of flash, and I've been interested in experimenting more with affecting tales in very brief form, so I decided to give it a try.)

Come Sunday

I don’t think they got my good side when they snapped the photographs. The cop at the camera didn’t have a lot of patience. Neither did the detectives.

Maybe the photographers from newspapers and magazines will do better. I’m going to be in there some day. Wait and see. Won’t just be some sob sister write up. I’m no Bonnie Parker, and small town girls who kill their drunkard husbands aren’t that rare. Tough times we live in, but this is not all there is to me, locked up here in this little cell while they try to decide what to do with me.

I expect they’ll have the women come talk to me, ask me what went wrong. They might even get the preacher, but he knows what was haywire twixt me and Harold Walters. They all know.
Harold was my second husband. I married my high school sweetheart Gerald Bailey right after we left school, and he got a job driving a log truck from Hampton Mills. Papa didn’t want me to, but I was crazy about Gerald.

Then this tramp Wanda Denton came along, and he got sane about me and crazy after her. He came back a few months later, but I’d moved back home, and Papa ran him off when he tried to see me.
They got some papers drawn up, then Papa had the preacher over one Sunday after church. He brought Harold with him, all dressed up.

Sixteen years older than me, he was, but he needed a wife cause his had died of consumption or cause she wanted to get away from Harold. Upstanding the preacher said.

He couldn’t wait to get ahold of me, not at first. Papa and the preacher were serving him up quite a little dish. I was eighteen. He was never tender, but he was satisfied about two years, until his funds started drying up, and I was fool enough to ask for new dresses.

Punches made me reconsider. He knew how to put them where they couldn’t be seen. I took it for a while. Then I went to see the preacher. Told him I wanted to run, maybe go places like in the big magazines, or like you saw in the movies. He said I couldn’t leave a husband. That wouldn’t be blessed, and he had the ladies of the church give me a good talking to. Had them tell me I had responsibilities and that I was expected to stay with my husband.

I stayed as long as I could and started smoking like a train. When I couldn’t take it no more, that’s when I put the rat poison in his coffee.

And here I sit. I won’t say much today, but come Sunday, that’s when they’ll take notice. When they’ll start wanting to take my picture like that trunk murderess Winnie Ruth Judd or somebody.

It’s communion Sunday, so they’ll be pouring everybody a little taste of the wine I fixed up, just like Harold’s coffee.

(Thanks to Small Town Noir for the use of the prompt image. Read the true story behind it here.

Get more of my dark fiction in my collection Scars and Candy, available on Kindle and wherever you buy e-books. You'll also find my story "Telephone" and more in the collection Soul's Road.




Coffee Image from Clipart For Free

4 comments:

smalltownnoir said...

I like the story very much! (Of course, I might be biased...) Nice work, Sidney.

Feel free to use the mug shot on your post, if you like. You can get it here: http://bit.ly/nTZSxY

Charles Gramlich said...

Good stuff. Haven't seen a lot of flash fiction from you. This one rocks.

rolandmann said...

Nice piece, Sid!

Sidney said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts, everyone. Grabbed the shot and added a link, smalltown.

I ultimately want to do a collection of very short, ultra-high impression stories. Three or four are in Scars and Candy. I write them when I get the ideas.The idea for this one came from the Soul's Road Facebook page where I first saw the contest posted.

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