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Joey's Mother


larkin

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Joey's Mother

The boy turned the key and let himself into the apartment where he lived with his Mother.

There was an unpacked bag of groceries sitting on the floor next to the refrigerator. Joey went over and began to distribute the items to where they should go. He pulled out a package containing a sticky sweet pastry and opening it, cut a piece for himself. Walking passed his daybed, he opened the door to the only other room in the apartment, his Mother's bedroom.

He saw one bare foot sticking out from under the blanket. He was relieved that it was just her and not some strange man with her. Finding someone with her could be unsettling. Sometimes the guys she brought home were ok but most of the time they were strange, nervous and even threatening men that she saw once and then never again. Joey was grateful that she was alone. He stuffed the last of the sticky pastry into his mouth and then climbed onto the blanket covered lump that was his mother.

She groaned and moaned. Finally she turned over and through squinty eyes, looked at her son.

"Oh, honey, let me sleep a few more hours. It was already getting light when I finally got home."

Joey was on top of her riding her as if she was a horse.

She mumbled from the pillow. "Did you get something to eat, I brought food home?"

Joey was softly bouncing up and down on her. Realizing that there was no getting him to stop, she turned over so she could look up at him and give her son at least a small amount of attention. She brushed pastry crumbs off of his dirty face.

"I'm sorry I was gone so long, were you okay?"

Joey looking unconcerned, shook his head yes.

"That's good. You might not believe it but I do worry about you."

Joey had heard it all before but he was glad that she was finally home. "Where did you go?"

"Joey honey, get me my bag over there please."

Sitting up she began to organize her thinking. "Oh lord, I went somewhere out on Long Island with a friend. I'd rather not go into it if you don't mind. I'm actually relieved to be home."

Joey gave her the Moroccan bag and rummaging through it she found her cigarettes and a lighter. The boy grabbed the pack and pulled one out for himself.

She lit his cigarette and said, "I really wish you wouldn't smoke. Eleven year old boys shouldn't smoke ya know."

He abruptly answered, "I'm twelve and anyway, how old were you when you started smoking?"

"Never mind about me, I am an all around bad example."

They both blew smoke into the small, cluttered and stale bedroom.

"I hope you know you can go to Tony or Peter if you need anything. What did you do while I was away?"

Joey studied her face when he said, "I stayed at Peter's"

He wondered if she might have any idea what her own son and Peter did together. If she did, there was no sign in her expression.

She said, off handedly, "That's good."

Joey didn't like to think about the things that his Mother did with the men she had sex with and yet... Did she or could she imagine what her son was doing while she was away? She reached into her bag and pulled out a small purse and opened it. In it there was a wad of bills and she pulled out a twenty and gave it to her son. He looked at it and without saying a word, put it in his pocket.

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An interesting, perhaps somewhat sobering, tale.

To my thinking, it's great as is. Obviously it cries out for more, but whether that comes from you as the writer or me as the reader... well that's entirely up to you.

Nicely done.

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Many thx Chris,

Flash fiction is a fragment.

Flash can be just the essentials. It can be the seed or the core of a much longer story.

Without realizing it, I guess most of my stories are flash. They are 3 to 7 pages with a beginning, middle and an end. Sometimes the end just hangs there, challenging the reader to project the ending on their own.

Isn't that showing instead of telling?

Joey is neglected. His mother is pre-occupied with herself, When Joey grows up, what will he be like?

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