Let Us Remember Bacon

Twitter Fiction Festival Flash Fiction #8. Epitaph by @archman9, @k8silver, @cshenks. Fiction by Jennifer Wilson

  What doesn’t make you stronger kills you. — @K8Silver

The knock at the door was no surprise.

“Husband?” Marietta looked up from her sewing.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows should have been a protection.

“Friendship, love and truth, eh?”

They looked at me, alarmed. Mr. Taylor stared down at his hands. Mr. Bures got right to it.

“They’ve asked that we come to collect. We’ll be much more kind than the men at the bank.”

“That so?” I asked.

Then Marietta was behind me.

“Husband, what is this all about?”

Every day, I dressed for work as she tended the baby. I wanted nothing of the baby business. Every day, I worked some, too. But at night, it wasn’t overtime that kept me busy. It was cards.

“He’s leveraged the house, ma’am,” Bures said, removing his hat.

My girl surprised me. I thought maybe she’d fight them. We’ve always had love. The spark hadn’t left us after we married.

Instead, she picked up the baby.

“Go on, then,” she said.

I felt my head go all cottony.

Taylor finally found his mouth. “We did what we could.”

“I said take him, you dumb bastard,” Marietta said. I’d never heard her swear. She’d been brought up well, too. “You’ll get no fight from me.”

I knew she stowed money from her family. “Marietta, I’ve found all that money in the floor already. Might as well just tell you now.”

She held her chin up, pulled the baby closer, wouldn’t look at me.

“I said take him.”

They led me out the door, and I can’t tell you about what it’s like to have your face mashed to pulp. You’re probably eating breakfast, or maybe just about to head to the doctor to see if maybe that little bump on your neck might be something. I’d hate to make you more nervous than you already are.

Let’s just say I saw her later on, when I went to the next place. That money in the floor wasn’t even the half of it. Wasn’t a drop compared what she hid in the baby cradle. She kept me for the things we did in the dark, but she knew I wasn’t worth the name my daddy gave me, no matter how she dressed me up.

I see her here sometimes. She’ll give me that look. I’ll almost go to her, but I stay at the card table mostly. It stays with you, even in the beyond, if you’re not finished with earthly things.