Friday Fiction- "Changing Seasons"




I had fun writing this story.



CHANGING SEASONS


Red looked up when the bell dangled, announcing a guest. A gust of wind blew in a flurry of orange and yellow leaves along with Old Pete, dressed in paint-spattered pants and a red plaid jacket. He stomped his muddy boots on the doormat and slapped his cap on the pegs nearby. “Mornin’, Red! Brought ya some extra squash and yesterday’s paper. Feels like winter’s round the corner.”

“Ayuh. There’s coffee and cookies.”

Pete poured himself a mug and settled himself across the table. He pushed aside the black rotary phone and a stack of papers. Wiping a crumb from the checkered vinyl tablecloth, he asked. “So, didja get many this year?”

Red hunched over the pieces of his dismantled rifle, scattered on a layer of opened newspapers. His sleeves were rolled up to his knobby elbows. The light from the bulb glistened on his bald head. Pausing from his work, he peered above his wire-rimmed spectacles at Pete.
“Ayuh, ‘bout same as usual.”

Tipping back his chair, Pete rubbed his whiskers. “Didn’t seem like as many to me this year…must’ve had a hard winter like everything else.”

“ ‘Spose.”

“I added four more sites down near the lake, but don’t know if I need ‘em. The more I make, the more I have t’ maintain. How many you got now?”

Red took off his spectacles and scratched his grisly hair. “Hmm… ten or twelve, I reckon. Don’t know fer sure.” He put a log in the stove, then resumed cleaning his gun.

“I heard tell there’s goin’ to be a new law next year.”

“That’s so?”

“Going to tax us ‘ccording how many sites we add each year. How we goin’ to get them to come if we don’ have more sites?”

“Don’ know.”

Old Pete reached for another molasses cookie. “They still eat ‘nough every year. I never saw such appetites. They ‘bout cleared me out.”

“Yup.”

“They ain’t scared of nothin’ neither. One walked right in the back door, bold as can be!” He shook his head. “Never seen nothin’ like it before.”

Red shook his head in sympathy.

The teakettle hissed on the woodstove, and the wind flicked dried leaves against the window. In the brief silence, a train whistled in the distance.

Pete turned his head to the sound. “There’s the two o’clock train. Wind mus’ be changin’. I can’t hear it when it’s blowing from the south. Is Bill still workin’ for the railroad?”

“Ayuh, he comes by once a month or so.”

A dog scratched at the door, and Red let him in. The shaggy mutt shook himself and left spatters and hairs around the room. He circled around a few times before plopping close to the fire. Red poured himself a cup of coffee and resumed his work.

Pete looked at the drowsing dog. “How long you had Prince?”

Red paused to peer at the dog. “Don’ know fer sure.”

“Maybe I oughta get another dog. They won’t be so bold with a dog round. What kind of dog is Prince?”

Red peered over his spectacles again. “Don’t know fer sure.”

“You ever have any of them botherin’ your property with Prince around?”

“Nope, they keep their distance.”

“Peculiar things they are. It’s kinda fun to watch ‘em though.” Old Pete chuckled and brought his chair down, to lean across the table. “Didja see the fat one early in the season? She could hardly walk…had a couple little ones with her, too.”

“Yup, saw ‘em”

“They seem to be makin’ more of a mess each year, too. It took me a whole week t’clean up my place. Maybe I’m just getting’ older.”

“Ayuh.”

“Hey, you ain’t no spring colt yourself! We’ve been doin’ this for near sixty years, close as I can recollect.”

“ ‘Spose.” Red oiled the trigger mechanism, wiping the drips with a rag.

“Seems they’re stayin’ longer each year, too.”

“Ayuh.”

“Weren’t so long ago, they left the end of summer. Now it’s clear middlin’ of October. Don’ give a body much time to relax and go fishin’ or enjoy himself.”

“Nope.”

“Well, I’m kinda glad the season’s done. It keeps life interestin’ but too much excitement ain’t good for a person.” He leaned back again. “This is the way life should be.”

“Ayuh.” With his gun back together, Red polished the stock and sighted down the barrel. “Never good to have tourist season get too close to hunting season.”


Be sure to visit Sara's blog Fiction Fusion for more great stories.

7 comments:

T. Anne said...

That was great! I heart you Vonnie!

Sherri Ward said...

Tourists! Never did think of that! Fun one, Vonnie

Laury said...

Love this guy story. You did a great job with it, Vonnie:)

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Hahahah! Thanks for the good laugh!

Coleene VanTilburg said...

That was such a cute, country story for us city folk...and so well told...I could totally picture these two ol' timers and their minimal conversation...Thanks for posting this Vonnie!

kerry said...

you painted nice pictures, yvonne. about 3 quarters of the way through i thought you were talking about mosquitoes! hahaha

Vonnie said...

Ha ha ha, Kerry! I didn't even think about mosquitoes!

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