Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent
January 23, 2018
It was strange, Doc thought. All these years. All these people. It still hurts.
Old Tom had died around midnight, and Doc didnít get more than an hourís sleep since then. Just before he went, Tom reached out and gripped Docís hand and thanked him for everything. He was smiling when he went.
Somehow that made it worse for Doc than just having death bring a pleasant new start for someone in pain and agony. Doc hadnít been able to patch him up this time. When someone Tomís age has his organs shut down, there just isnít much a doctor can do but make him comfortable and say goodbye.
The percolator finished, and Doc knew he should go get a cup and start the day, but something made him leave the coffee behind and walk into the back yard.
He would come out here later, too, he knew. He wasnít in the mood for coffee with the boys at the Mule Barn today. This will be a day where Doc, quietly and alone, will raise his coffee cup to Tom. And after 9:30, heíll be able to hear the little girls screaming happily on the playground at the school, three blocks away. Yes, he thinks thatís the way to start this day, listening to the happiness of children and watching the life around him. And sipping coffee in the back yard. Just Doc and Old Tom.
Listen to Home Country come to life on the radio. Check your local classic country station for the times. Doesnít cost them a thing, either.
"Home Country" columnist Slim Randles won three regional book awards for the two books he wrote in 2014. "Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing" won for best how-to book and best cover design at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in Albuquerque. Randles lives in Albuquerque and has a dozen books currently in print.