Fiction by SLIM RANDLES
To The Desert Independent
June 8, 2018
Mrs. Forrest has always been a compulsive feeder. Before she retired, she was cooking for the Mule Barn truck stop’s customers and is singularly responsible for about three flabby tons of avoirdupois on this nation’s truck drivers, and may have been marginally responsible, third-hand, for a cardiac event or two.
But now she’s retired, and a widow, and her kids all have kids and are scattered like a covey of quail. Local bachelors of a certain age know if they should just happen to be chatting with Mrs. Forrest on her front lawn along about supper time, there’s a dang-near dead certainty they’ll get a meal out of it.
And, through the magic of telepathic communication and the synchronistic wave lengths of humanity, the message about Mrs. Forrest’s unstoppable feeding compulsion had somehow reached the psyches of the homeless.
At any rate, two of the aforementioned drifters had knocked on Mrs. Forrest’s door and asked if there were any chores she needed done in exchange for some food. Well, you should’ve seen her eyes light up at that question. She said she had a bunch of firewood that needed to be split into kindling and if they didn’t mind doing that, she’d fix them a chicken dinner with cream gravy. Mrs. Forrest puts cream gravy on everything.
So, she busied herself in the kitchen, and then went out to see how these fellows were doing. And there, leaning on an axe handle, was one of them, and the other was doing gymnastics in and around the woodpile. It was amazing. He’d come out of a round-off flip flop and then gracefully go into a full layout Sukuhara with a right-hand twist. She watched in awe for a few minutes before whispering to this gymnast’s partner.
“I had no idea your friend was an acrobat,” she whispered.
He looked at her and whispered back, “Neither did I ‘til I cracked him on the shin with this axe.”
Brought to you by Tractor Supply Company, www.tractorsupply.com. “Everything but the tractor.”
"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.