Friday, October 23, 2009

Flash Fiction Story - Worst Case Scenario

"What's the worst that could happen?" she asked, in her best I'm-being-reassuring voice. It sounded vaguely familiar, like Mom's, before the stroke.

I paced around the room another time for good measure before answering, "He tells me he's put fast-acting poison in my coffee and I'll be dead before I can stand up?"

She pursed her lips. "Don't drink the coffee."

"He could put it in lemonade, too."

"For Heaven's sake, Marcia," she said, "you don't have to list every possible drink they sell at the cafe that could be poisoned. All I'm saying is don't do anything you're not comfortable with."

I blinked back tears. "I'm not comfortable with this. With any of this."

In one smooth motion, Pamela left her chair and was immediately beside me, shrink-wrapping me with her arms.

"I know, baby sister, I know," she murmured into my hair. "Do you want me to go with you? I could, you know. Or I could go instead of you."

"I haven't been your baby sister for a couple dozen years now," I said, "and no, I have to do this alone."

I tried in vain to disentangle myself from her all-encompassing arms. She always turned into such an octopus when she hugged. She hugged like her hug was the only thing keeping the hug-ee from being swallowed up by the earth. I'd say her hugs brought out my claustrophobia, but that would be a slight exaggeration.

Pamela squeezed me even tighter before finally releasing me. "You'll always be my baby sister. Even when you're as old as dirt. Hey, remember when Pluto was a planet?"

I awarded her a a subtle upward tugging of my lips that only she could have caught and she grinned triumphantly back at me in response.

"Okay. Here I go. Moving. Anytime now. See you after the Last Great Meet-up. Bye-bye." But my feet didn't obey my words and I looked at Pamela helplessly. "Well....this is me going..."

"Careful, don't get whiplash..." Pamela shot me one of her infamous looks, again reminding me of pre-stroke Mom. I may have been the one to resemble Mom the most when it came to looks, but Pamela had definitely inherited her mannerisms and intonations. I never told her this, though, in case it made her stop.

"Right. I can do this," I said, "I'll just go. Tell him in the end, love just wasn't enough. Tell him it was fun. Tell him I'll always remember him. Not tell him what he has to change because there's no point. Give him back his jacket and that random orange sock. And then get the hell out of Dodge before I pull a Niagara Falls."

She smiled wryly at me and handed me my own coat. With one last lingering look into the mirror, I strode semi-confidently to the door.

"Hey, kid?"

I turned around, eyebrow raised.

She paused, poker-faced. "Don't drink the lemonade."

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  1. Great look at all the little subtleties between sisters.
    This line was marvelous:
    "She hugged like her hug was the only thing keeping the hug-ee from being swallowed up by the earth."

    I actually didn't think that sounded half bad. I've had days where I could use one of

    Great flash.

    Karen :0)

  2. Nice look at the relationship between sisters.