Saturday, May 10, 2014

Story #52


Dear Readers,

I'm happy to report that my very short story "But the Coffee Is Excellent" has been published at Columbia Journal.

The following one-page story is the fifty-second and last in the weekly series I’ve been posting to this site for a year. I’m intending to collect all of the stories I’ve posted here—and a bunch more that I haven’t—into a book. Some of the stories for the intended book remain to be written. When there is news to report about the book, I’ll report it here. I may even post a new story from time to time, though the weekly series is at its end.

I’ve very much enjoyed this experiment in online self-publishing, and I’m grateful to those of you who’ve expressed your enthusiasm to me and those who’ve read in silence. If you’ve liked one or more of the stories and you have the funds available and you feel so inclined, please click the “donate” button that appears below this week’s story. (As always, friends and relatives are discouraged from contributing money.)

Thank you very much for reading.

Yours sincerely,
Matthew Sharpe


Story #52

I don’t know where I am. I’m walking somewhere, the ground is covered with snow, snow is falling heavily, I don’t have a coat on, I can’t tell if I’m on a road or in a field. Luckily I’m wearing warm shoes. My wife got me these last year for my birthday. And she got me this phone that I carry around in my pocket. “Hello, honey?” “Yes, Bill?” “Where am I?” “You’re out in the back yard, I can see you from the kitchen window.” “Quite a blizzard we’re having. What did I come out here for?” “To collect logs for the fire.” “I can’t find them.” “Keep going straight, you’ve almost reached them.” “I don’t think I’ll be able to find my way back.” “I’ll come out and meet you.” My wife’s face is next to mine now. Snow is gathering in her white hair. Her name is Gloria. “Come on back inside, darling, thanks for getting the wood.” “Why did my brother send me ashes in the mail?” “That wasn’t your brother, that was our son, Randy, he’s in Chicago, he sent you a letter and you held it near the toaster while you were making toast yesterday and it got burnt.” We’re at a doorway now. A strange old woman with white hair is pushing me through it. “Don’t push me, leave me alone!” “It’s okay, Bill darling, come inside and warm up. Thank you for bringing the logs.” “Hold on, I need to call my wife.” The old woman says, “Sit right here in this chair and call her.” “Hello, honey?” “Yes, Bill?” “I don’t know where I am.” “Don’t worry, darling, I’m coming to get you.”

19 comments:

  1. I don't know how I'm going to endure the human condition without you as a weekly literary Gloria to orient me. Thanks for the memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And George, thank you for your series of incisive comment haiku throughout the year.

      Delete
  2. wow. my favorite story yet. what a triumph, this 52 week project. congratulations, old friend matthew sharpe, for whom I feel great admiration. some day i'll buy you a cup of coffee to celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Likewise on the admiration and the coffee.

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on completing this fine series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, David. I imagine you can see the influence in these of Russell Edson, whom you introduced me to.

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on completing this fine series!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I read this immediately after posting about my mother-in-law's impending death, and my FIL's heartrending devotion to her through this transition. Your story moved me immensely, especially with its reassurance that the couple will, inevitably, be together in the end. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Suzanne, I'm glad to know it resonated with you.

      Delete
  6. Really enjoyed all of these, Matthew. Like stepping into your dreams for a few minutes each week. Thanks. Is there a reason to stop?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stuart, thanks so much for following these. I think the reason to stop posting them here is to save some for the book. I've written about 70 so far, am intending to write 100. Will probably post a few more, sporadically....

      Delete
  7. Hey Matt, all good things must end . . . but why so soon? Once one has dipped a toe in the pond, why not jump?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's no toe, sir, that's my uncle, Walter Q. Sharpe, who can be philosophical about being mistaken for a toe only up to a point....

      Delete
  8. That was an incredible ending to an incredible run of stories. This one was especially moving. Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Matt, Though I've been a silent admirer, I have been an attentive one, and will miss your weekly stories. I'll wait for the next whenever it may come...and look forward to the book. Until then, I wish you the best in all ways and all things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara, one of the nice things about this blog has been hearing from friends like you. Thanks for your support. I hope your writing is going well.

      Delete
  10. I have so much enjoyed the power of the very short story from you Matthew. Such depth conveyed so succinctly. This has been a very inspiring project your weekly posting and I look forward to hearing about the book progress.

    This last story is just beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much appreciated, El, and thanks for the shout-out on Prickles and Pearls.

      Delete