What can YOU say in six sentences?
For 23 years he has been protecting his life from the prying eyes of others: townspeople, church elders, his wife and his coworkers. He has become adept at every means of self camouflage. He knows the consequences if he's found out: shunning, loss of livelihood, loss of home and hearth.
Out there on the end of a limb, with no safety net below him, he lies and smiles to the world. One false step, one drop of his guard, and his fragile facade will crumble.
He was besotted with the rich, thick curls that tumbled around her face and shoulders.
He touched her hair tentatively at first, not sure if she allowed new people to enter that jungle of sweet scent and mystery.…Continue
Gloria woke up feeling disagreeable and not just haven't-had-coffee-yet disagreeable.
She didn't want to agree with Charlie's political views over the morning newspaper and eggs.
She did not want to laugh at her boss' jokes or those making the email rounds from her coworkers.
Gloria considered staying home -- not even calling in sick with a lame excuse -- and phoning The Psychic Hotline.
She lay under the summerweight bedspread Charlie had bought on sale at Bed,…Continue
Letter to the Editor:…Continue
The baby doctor showed me the place on Henry's tiny head where his skull bones wasn't joined. He called the soft spot "fontanelle," a real pretty-sounding word.
Henry grew up, like his sisters and brothers did after him, but it always seemed to me like my first boy kept a soft spot.
He cried when the dog died, and he gave his blankets to the younguns, and he worked his multiplication tables slow and quiet.
Maybe a child starts life with a fontanelle on the top of his head.…
I walked through miles of aisles at the Deer Expo today, and what a marketplace it was.
A small man wearing a crisp white shirt and bolo tie showed me an invention, a box that actually makes you invisible to animals when you get inside it. The walls are made of mirrors that…Continue
Faigie emails me from home, my original home in another country. Often, the messages contain news of the deaths of people in our parents’ generation, men and women who mattered in our lives as we grew up.
One by one, that old gang is dying off and,…Continue
Stump Shiner had recently developed a low opinion of anyone who said, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
He pointed to the TV screen, on which the Outdoorsman Network showed a fellow squatting next to a huge deer’s head and grinning like a set of…Continue
She was the type of friend who stayed your friend as long as you did all the work.
You had to do the calling, and you had to do the inviting.
In her presence, the…Continue
University of Alabama football was the closest to organized…Continue
She had that perfect, alto NPR voice. The rest of her was butterscotch-smooth, too.
But her husband, the Senior Congressman from the Great State of Missouri, was a bloviating ferret.
I watched them move in unison down the receiving line, greeting the Italian prime minister, the ambassador from Belgium, the Greek trade commissioner (humiliated by the plummeting drachma) and finally the host, my boss, the Secretary of Trade. The congressman's hand moved (possessively, it seemed)…Continue
"The po-lice kept my taser," complained Verna, as Charlene and Stump Shiner sat in straight-backed silence on the drive home.
Stump craned his neck around to see Verna, narrowly missing Bootsy Sykes who was tearing past him on an ambulance chase.
"Verna, you ever considered puttin' somethin' in Burris' beer, like that woo-woo man pill?" Stump said, pulling down on an imaginary train whistle cord.
Verna sighed, "No Stump, it ain't the engine -- the…Continue
Charlene Shiner's sister Verna was in the county jail for tasing her husband, Burris, when he fell asleep during sex.
On the drive over to bail her out, Stump and Charlene discussed the marital pros and cons of Verna's situation, which made Stump highly uncomfortable because Shiner men did not discuss "feelings" and certainly not "sexual dysfunctions."
As far as Stump was concerned, Burris had a perfect right to fall asleep anytime he chose, being as how he was 66 years…Continue
Public Health Nurse Temerity Stone slid into a corner booth of the Pancake Palace and considered the neatly dressed, nervous man beside her. Hoot Shiner was well built, had frank, friendly eyes and she knew he was definitely free of sexual diseases.…
“You were a victim of insufficient information,” Stump Shiner told his brother Hoot during a three-hour consolation session in Stump’s den with a flat screen TV and Miller High Life keg.
“Beginning right now, you are going to date a nice…Continue
The first thing that the first woman said to Hoot Shiner in the online dating service chat room was: “I am a Vegan.”
Hoot thought she meant “virgin,” which would be a strange way to open a conversation, at least around Hayneville, so he kept his silence and waited for another clue.
“Do you eat meat?” she asked.
Hoot was thrown by the rapid change of…
Hoot Shiner was making himself a peanut butter and Ka-ro Syrup breakfast sandwich, spread extra-thick, when he heard a knock on his door.
Checking his pajama bottoms to make sure he was decent, he called "It's open!" and placed one slab of gooey bread on the other.
In stepped an attractive, dark-haired woman he'd never seen before who introduced herself as Public Health Nurse Temerity Stone.…Continue
Total time spent in the chair: three hours, and if I wasn't choking on water I was flinching away from the metal probe.
Dr. Anderson, who talks in a cheery nursery school teacher voice, tried to numb me up three times, but my face would not stay frozen.
The novocaine was leaking into my ears, down my throat and neck and into my very brain stem and meanwhile, the Dreaded Stephanie, Hygienist From Hell, was plunging the cavitron probe under my gums.
"MO FEE!!" I begged…Continue