Today, because I’m still not ready to review my current Southern Fiction book, Cold Sassy Tree, I’m putting up a piece of flash fiction I wrote for Alissa Leonard’s Blog the other day. I took Special Challenge winner on this piece (a prediction had to be included). And I had a lot of fun playing with voice in this story. Enjoy!
Wind of Change
Special Challenge accepted
The seller of marmalade arrived just after the tornado. In fact, Grandpa’s house had been smashed to bits and poor Lily Blue’s body weren’t even found yet. But don’t worry your pretty little head about her. She was just a cat.
Grandpa had predicted it would be a big ‘un, and he was right.
“Right as rain,” he said, stroking his whiskers.
I rolled my eyes, because everyone knows rain can’t be right.
The marmalade man must have thought we had a boat-load of money, because he showed up and set up a wooden stand packed with jars of jelly. Sign said: 2 for $0.10. But Grandpa’s cash was gone with the house. Grandpa said I should have said Gone With The Wind, on account of it being a tornado and all. I ain’t read that book, and I probably never will ‘cause I hear it’s for girls.
I took to standing ‘round the marmalade man as Grandpa hammered nails and tried to fix us up some shelter.
“You from these parts?” I asked.
“No. I’m from New York.”
Darn Yankee, I thought, but I had ‘nuff sense not to say it.
“Do people buy marmalade?” I asked.
“More than you think.”
“You travel ‘round the world selling this here stuff?”
“Last year I sold Bibles, but then those Gideons started giving them away for free. Imagine that.”
“I’ve lived here my whole life. Just me and Grandpa,” I said.
“Where are your parents?” the man asked.
“Up’in left when I was just a babe. Grandpa says, ‘Good riddance, never needed them nohow.’”
“You have the world in your heart, I can tell,” the seller of marmalade said.
I looked at him real funny-like, cocking my head to the side. “What’cha mean?”
“You look like a traveler. How’d you like to be my sidekick? The road gets awfully lonely.”
Grandpa done predicted that I wouldn’t stay in this here valley town my whole life. I looked over my shoulder at him, and I picked up a jar of marmalade running my finger ‘round the silvery-looking top. Grandpa was busy nailing two four-by-fours together. He wouldn’t live forever, and there weren’t much for me in the pile of wood that remained.
“I think I’d like it right fine. When we goin’?”
“Tonight. You be here by the light of the moon.”
The marmalade man packed up his table and jams quicker than you can say, ‘my dear aunt rose,’ and all but disappeared. The thought of the world filled my ‘magination as I worked beside Grandpa. By the time the sun set, we had a shelter.
“I reckon I was right and you’ll be moving on.”
“How’d you know?”
“I’m smarter than I looks,” Grandpa said. “You go on and git. Nothing here but a dead cat and a pile of bones. But never forget where you came from, you hear.”
By the light of the moon, I left. Like Grandpa always said, “Storms be bringin’ the wind of change.”
What do you think about the main character? Did I do his voice justice?
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