Saturday, January 09, 2010

Entry #73

As the Crow Flies
by Anthony J. Rapino


I always knew what Gran was gettin’ at. Settled into her rocker, she’d spy me on my way out--knowin’ I was dolled up to see some boy promising me all kinds a things--and she’d say, “You can take the girl out of the country...” and I knew right off what she meant.

Like those summer days going to market, squeezed between my father and Gran in the pickup. Pop trying to ease the heat off by sayin’, “Only a few more minutes now.” Then Gran huffin’, sayin’, “As the crow flies.”

She was like that straight up till her dyin’ day. I’d been sittin’ with her for two weeks. She was mostly unconscious--and we thought she’d sleep right through to the other side--till, nearin’ the end of summer as the sun dropped, she went and woke up.

Her eyes were wide and glassy and full of pain. I went to her and rested my head on the pillow. Being a God fearin’ girl and acquainted with death on the farm, I whispered sweet-like, “Go on now, Gran. You’re almost with our Father.”

She sneered and said, “As the crow flies.”

I recoiled as a darned crow alighted right on our sill! It cocked its neck, givin’ me an evil look, and flew off, a silhouette against the inky sky. When I turned, Gran was gone too. Maybe a silhouette herself.

I always knew what Gran was gettin’ at. But after that night, I’m not so sure.

27 comments:

Bernita said...

I enjoyed your deft use of dialect.

Aniket said...

One can't be too sure of anything. Life is full of weird little things people call surprises.

pjd said...

I love the motif of the old saw used in two very different contexts. I'm not so sure what she means any more, either.

onipar... said...

Thanks for the comments. Having a great time with this contest.

Aimee Laine said...

The voice in this piece is fantastic! I could hear it in my mind.

kashers said...

Excellent detail in the characters. Pop, for example, was only given a single line and though he didn't say anything particularly dramatic, I nevertheless appreciated what he was about.

Also, a good joke to kick it off.

Most impressive though was the inclusion of a definitive beginning, middle and end. Goes to prove the formula works. A most enjoyable and revealing piece. Well executed.

Craig said...

The Gran character just worked for me. You fleshed her out so much in just a few lines. Well done.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow. Excellent writing.

JaneyV said...

Anthony - an excellent voice in an exquisite piece of writing.

Kartik said...

Great writing .. love the use of the first line.

wrath999 said...

Great voice

Paul D. Brazill said...

Top writing and nicely tied together!

Lena said...

Great work here. Love the Gran character. Amazing how you could create it in just few words.

catvibe said...

Nice one! Love the voice.

Kate said...

Beautifully evocative. I really like these people.

laughingwolf said...

not so sure, meownself ;)

Laurel said...

Neatly done! A full story and three well-drawn characters in such a short space. Great work and cool take on the prompt. Lots of harbingers of doom in this contest but your tie-in with the colloquial "as the crow flies" adds a dimension.

Go, you!

AidanF said...

I like the way "as the crow flies" changes meanings for me through this story. Nice story!

Four Dinners said...

My kinda Gran!

Extremely well done.

fairyhedgehog said...

I like the way this all ties together and the uncertainty at the end.

Deb Smythe said...

I liked the voice here. And of course, you gotta love, Gran.

Chris Eldin said...

Ditto Deb. I love your voice. Nice characterizations and a unique take on the photo. Enjoyed reading your piece very much!

Rabid Fox said...

Interesting little tale with a nice twist in the last lines. Good work.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Indeed a wonderful voice.

Jean Ann

SzélsőFa said...

I liked the vivid characterization.
great use of words. no special vocabulary, yet not even remotely dull.
also, the weather's description was simple, yet effective.

james r tomlinson said...

The narration is fairly light-hearted for such a tragic event.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.