Color TV

It’s one of those weeks when I don’t feel like cranking out a real blog, so I’m sharing some short fiction I wrote recently. This one, entitled “Color TV,” was entered in a flash fiction contest over the summer. When the winners were announced, I received a warm thank you and a lovely parting gift, except without the parting gift. Anyway, hope you enjoy. Be sure to buy, read and review my new novel “Voodoo Hideaway,” available wherever books are sold!

Nana’s head rose from the pillow like a blooming flower, slowly, inch by inch, her face turning a light crimson against the strain. I told her take it easy, relax. She glanced at me and said I looked familiar, was I the new neighbor? Before I could answer her thoughts drifted to Fred, her dear Fred. Fred the dancer. Technicolor Fred.

“Fred brought me a dozen roses today, redder than your heart,” Nana said. “We danced outside in the garden. Fred’s a good dancer. Tonight we’ll watch a movie on the color TV.”

She coughed, long and harsh, spraying yellow sputum onto the bedsheet. I pulled out a tissue and dabbed at her mouth. The nursing home smelled of piss and disinfectant. One bed over, Mrs. Pritchett wheezed and snored. Another bed sat newly empty, its former occupant rolled out on a gurney overnight.

“We were the first on our block with a color TV, you know,” Nana said, patting my arm. “Fred likes to look at color TV after a hard day’s work. Painting houses is hard work.”

Fred is 25 years in the grave, gone before I was born. I’d heard the stories from Mom and Uncle Sean. Fred bouncing from job to job. Fred dragging the family from apartment to apartment, each progressively worse, none with a garden. Fred drinking rye; Fred with the red eyes. Fred dancing across the floor, fists raised, trying to paint Nana’s face black and blue.

When Fred went after the kids Nana backed him up with a black cast iron skillet, swinging wildly. One swing caught the color TV, smashing its screen into silverly shreds.

“Everything looks better on color TV,” Nana said, drifting off to sleep.

I returned 15 minutes later bearing a dozen roses, redder than your heart.

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