John Cheever’s Dinner Guest
Francine was the sort of woman who spoke in clichés, asked the price of everything. “What a charming setting,” she said of the dining room. “That highboy was a nice purchase.” When the conversation tipped to the topic of travel, she seized the moment to talk about her two weeks in Paris as an 18-year-old exchange student. “There’s nothing like Paris,” she sighed. We joked that she deserved to be stranded with a broken down car, get chased by a dog, marry a man with Tourette syndrome, something. She waved to everyone, though, unlike us. We couldn’t begrudge her that.
Letters from the Crypt
Gerard put all the items in a nondescript box: the letters, the journal Celeste had given him, the post-it notes with secret missives. He wrapped her collage in wax paper like an art curator would. The red swath of fingernail polish, images of a blindfolded woman. He’d written her a long letter interpreting the work, but he’d been beguiled by the woman, dainty yet waiting for a firing squad. Odd to archive torrents of emotions. Packing tape like a lock on an old mortuary. One never opens a crypt, yet the body is always primped and dressed for a ball.
Drinking Martinis in Jelly Jars
“Yooo hooo, yooo hooo,” Margery called, her voice ringing through the spruces, as if a runaway dog answered to such a call. George asked himself what call he answered to. The dog, Beau, had dashed off after another dog. They’d gotten him at the pound, last year’s Christmas present. “Yooo hooo,” Margery sang. Just last night they’d boiled lobsters over a driftwood fire on the rocks. George dozed on the sofa listening to Vivaldi. Rain on the roof at 4 a.m. He counted the women he’d kissed in his lifetime. Twenty-three. Never enough. Go Beau, he said under his breath.
– Grant Faulkner likes big stories and small stories. He is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. His stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, The Southwest Review, PANK, Gargoyle, eclectica, Puerto del Sol, the Berkeley Fiction Review, and Word Riot, among many others. He lives in Berkeley with a family of writers and a dog that insists on sitting on his lap each morning when he writes.
Copyright © 2015 by Grant Faulkner from Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories. Reprinted by permission of Press 53.