One paragraph story... June 7- PM edition

Sometimes, when the world takes those collective pauses; when rooms full of disparate conversations lapse to a microsecond of quiet, or all the birds in a park suddenly silence, Mr. Francis Robinson was sure he could hear the cruel words of his long dead wife, Rose. Rose who had been dead for close to 5 years and had not yet moved on to the afterlife, would follow Francis on dates and yell disparaging things across the table at them from her ghostly between-world. She would monologue about his abilities as a lover, how he spent too much time with his model rail road; his spotty back hair; the way he snored if he drank too much. Rose who used to work at the Butcher shop was following her husband around since she fell in the ocean at Rocky Point Park while meeting her lover for a tryst. For 3 years she was cheating on Francis with the Maynard the Butcher. Until the moment she slipped off the dock’s railing where she was expounding on her sadness that she was stuck in a loveless marriage, she had never thought to simply leave Francis. Maynard did not call the police when she fell, (even though he was there) for fear the scandal would ruin him. Forever filled with guilt Rose wishes Francis were dead instead of her, ‘Why should he live and she die?” In the end Francis will never marry; for the long-dead voice of Rose still haunted him. He lived for another 27 years and died quietly, and alone in his sleep. He slipped on to the afterworld, harp in hand, never having shed the weight of Rose from his back. Francis still walks the earth whispering in young lovers’ ears doubts, and questions about infidelity and true love in hopes to bring them all down like her.

James C.