Home from the Dead by Tom Sheehan

Earl Chatsby, six years ceased being a father for real, felt an odd distinction coming into his place of being. The newspaper for the moment loomed an idle bundle in his lap the way it stayed weighty and rolled and unread. Walls of the kitchen widened, and the room took in more air. He could feel the huge gulp of it. The coffee pot was perking loudly its 6 AM sound and the faucet drip, fixed three nights earlier at Melba’s insistence, had hastened again its freedom, the discord highly audible. Atop the oil cloth over the kitchen table the mid-May sun continued dropping its slanting hellos, allowing them to spread the room into further colors. Yet to this day he cannot agree to what happened first, the front porch shadow at the window coming vaguely visible in a corner of his eye, a familiar shadow, or the slight give-away trod heard from the porch floor, that too familiar, the board loose it seemed forever and abraded by Melba’s occasional demands to fix it.

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R&R in the Poconos by Tom Sheehan

In the quiet darkness, well past midnight, where we had been drinking for about three hours with modulated care (if you can believe it) beside someone’s massive pool in the Poconos, the narrow beam cast by a flashlight came with an alarming start down the barrel of a sawed-off rifle bound to spread pain, sac pain, heart pain, knee cap pain. The rifle and the projected flash were steady, likely in the hands of a confident man beyond rifle-range tough, the heavy voice not asking but demanding an answer: “Who the hell are you guys? Speak up quickly, one of you, before this popper gets away from me. I’m not the best shot in the world.” The qualification he added in a mimicking tone said it better than any hard-line threat: ” but I don’t have to be.”

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Fred Rippon’s Mushroom House by Tom Sheehan

“What the good Jesus!” Pete Tura yelled and disappeared, and as he said it again, his voice muffled, his mouth most likely closed by horse manure, a whole nine yards of it, the bottom of the collection box hanging from the second floor of the Hood’s Milk Company horse barn in West Lynn let go, taking my pal with it. I last saw one arm, not waving goodbye, probably trying to keep the pitchfork from doing him damage. Possibly he had tried to throw it behind him. That innocent weapon of deadly tines was not in sight as I peered down into the mixture of black clutter and hay still settling down with a metronomic slowness you could count.

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