Short Fiction ~ Paul Beckman
(Honourable Mention, Strands International Flash Fiction Competition -6)
I feed the birds—woodpeckers, hummingbirds, grackles, and sometimes the herons. I don’t actually feed the herons they feed themselves by spotting my koi pond while flying over.
I love deer and they pass through our yard going west in the morning and east in the evening. They also feed themselves on the flowers my wife plants, the trees, and then I had an epiphany and put out a salt lick next to the stone wall between my house and my neighbors. That kept them from eating our plants and flowers but not from inviting every deer to the salt lick party.
My husband was proud of the salt lick but after a bit the deer started in on the plants again. Every day after work he bring home flowers—some in pots, some cut and some still in a clump of dirt.
Yesterday I made him an apple raspberry pie sugared on top to show him my appreciation. It was to be my surprise dessert. The police got to our house first and showed me pictures of my husband pulling flowers out of roadside gardens, taking potted flowers off porches, and small trees in pots from local nurseries.
Since I didn’t know what time he’d be home I offered the officers a cup of coffee which they accepted and kept looking at my pie cooling on the window sill. Without asking, cop #1 opened drawers until he found a cutter and forks and then since my cabinets had glass doors he easily found two dessert plates.
He handed everything to his junior officer and told him to bring back healthy slices of pie. Then, he decided that milk would go better than coffee and found some in the refrigerator, dumped his coffee in the sink and rinsed the cup before adding milk to the mug. The both wolfed down the pie with mmm mmmms and lip smacks and went to the counter for seconds. They offered me a piece and I said sure and I took milk also. We were down to one quarter of the pie when my husband came home and walked into the kitchen and the cops, like the deer, got spooked and ran out the back door.
“Pie?” I asked my husband and he said it wouldn’t go with all the vodka tonics he had at a wedding he passed in the park so I took half and saw the cops sneaking towards my window sill forks at the ready. I closed the window and asked, “Well dear, how was your day?” He answered by handing me a nosegay that he was hiding behind his back.
Paul Beckman’s latest flash collection, Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press) was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Indie Book Awards. Some of his stories appeared in Spelk, Necessary Fiction, Litro, Pank, Playboy, Thrice Fiction, and The Lost Balloon. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly in KGB’s Red Room.
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