Short Stories

Short stories by Gil.

I must have been in a dark mood that day…

The church stood proudly on the village plaza, as all respected churches ought to, white, authoritative. One could not pass by without a slight feeling of guilt. It was so basic in form, as to be unmistakable, instigating a sense of duty in some, fear in others, sometimes disdain, but you could not ignore it. It was a pretty church, no-one would deny it, not even Armand, who had but contempt for all religious things. The steeple reached high in the sky, although falling short of a better promise.

Armand couldn’t help it but walk toward the doors, looking straight up. He had always been afraid of heights. Still, he stepped in, looking for the stairs. The steps were dusty, creaking in a way that would have been creepy in any other place and time. The light from the top drew him like a fly to an electric lamp.”Why in hell did I come here” he thought, but kept going.

At the top was a wooden platform where probably priests rang the bells. There were no bells however. What struck Armand was that there were no pigeons either. “Don’t all church steeples have pigeons?” The windows opened through a thick wall. Armand stepped on the ledge, almost standing up in the opening. Surprisingly he did not mind looking down to the busy street below. Everything seemed smaller, as did he, even smaller than the people on the street. Things didn’t seem to matter as much. He felt as though this very moment was supposed to be as it was, and that for him to change it would bring upon the world some terrible catastrophe.

“If I jumped, I wouldn’t die right away” Armand thought, and that realization really surprised him. The fact that stepping off the ledge would not kill him made all the difference. Only hitting the pavement later would end his life.

“I am still alive,” he thought, as he felt the wind accelerating on his face, falling head first to the ground below.

The Moose.

I am not please with this story actually, wrote it a while ago.. It is somewhat funny, so I am posting it anyway..

The moose was looking right at him, he was sure of it. The head of the moose at least, because of course there was no body. “The rest of it could be on the other side of the wall” Armand thought, “what a weird decoration for a restaurant.” Would he move to another table, he knew the moose would still be looking at him.

– “Good afternoon Sir, my name is Sherry, what can I get you?”

The waitress was in her mid forties, kind of pretty, Armand decided, but she seemed to be missing something that at least forty years should provide to anyone, he could not quite put his finger on it.
She wore a white apron, had brown hair and a thin long nose you couldn’t hep but notice.

– “Do you serve moose here?”

– “I beg your pardon Sir?”

– “Just kidding, never mind. Do you have a filet mignon?”

– “You’re not from here are you?”

– “I’m from Alabama.” Armand said, with his French accent and a smile.

– “Are you making fun of me?”

Armand realized that if moose wasn’t on the menu, neither was humour…

– “Oh no, sorry, it’s just that moose.” he said, then thought “Oh shit, did I just say that?”

Sherry looked at him for a few seconds like a chicken looks at a computer, then turned around and yelled:

– “Frank!”

When Frank opened the kitchen door, Armand’s first thought was “He killed that moose,” immediately followed by “What’s gonna happen to me?” Frank was an imposing figure, in a redneckish kind of way. Six foot tall, slightly under three hundred pounds, with a large belly and a handle bar mustache.

– “What’s the problem here?”

– “He makes fun of me and the moose, and then he lies about where he’s from.”

– “We don’t like strangers here. You see that man eating over there? That’s Sheriff Morley. Now, either you order and eat quietly or leave, otherwise I will let him handle the situation.”

Sherriff Morley looked like anything but a sherriff. He was skinny and short, but with a hard face, as if his previous carreer had been of a sea captain on an old schooner. Even the Colt Peacemaker on his side looked too big for his hips.
The music from “The Twilight Zone” popped in Armand’s head. He looked at the sherriff, and to his horror, Morley was looking at him, finally put his fork down, wiped his mouth with his napkin, and looked at Frank.

– “Problem Frank?”

– “We just have a funny stranger here Jim.”

Jim got up, adjusted his gun belt, and crossed the room as if he was three times his size, which would have been comical in any other situation.

– “Sir, is this your car outside with the Florida plate?”

– “Huh, yes. There is no problem really, I just want to eat something.”

– “Where are you from, and what are you doing in Greenhorn Gulch?”

– “I’m on vacation, I’m French.”

Armand would have liked to know which of these answers was the wrong one, maybe both, because he didn’t even see Morley grab his handcuffs before he heard them click on his wrists.

– “Hey! What are you doing?”

– “Don’t make any trouble now, or I’ll charge you with resisting arrest.”

Armand looked at the moose, now it seemed like it had a smirk on his stuffed face.
He knew there was no use in saying anything else.

The GreenHorn Gulch prison looked right out of a western ghost town. There was only one cell, with four bunks, and one toilet you had to use in front of whomever was there. A man seemingly in his forties, although he was probably ten years younger (crack, Armand thought) was sitting on one bunk.

– “I want a lawyer!”

The Sherriff smiled. The man looked at Armand: “Y’r not from here, are ya?”

I wrote this after riding my motorcycle in the rain..

What was I thinking, really? With a weather like that, driving to Ruskin.. Good thing it started raining on the way back, and not before. But the fact that I was going home made it all right. Actually, it was kind of fun. Raining like cats and dogs (like pissing cows, we say in France) on I 75, and I am passing all those cars on my motorcycle. The water gets in my neck, under my jacket, slides from the tank between my legs, my crotch gets wet, soon I don’t have a square inch of dry skin on me, except my head under my helmet. I start screaming. Why not, I’m riding a two wheeled machine, powered by a highly volatile liquid exploding inside a motor, sending me along a stretch of asphalt at ungodly speeds on a giant spinning rock orbiting a ball of plasma that keeps us warm.. Totally ridiculous! Screaming is not only appropriate, it is mandatory. Sometimes losing your mind is the only sane thing to do. How do we not go crazy with all this cosmic madness, I don’t know. We’re just glorified monkeys. Looking up to the stars like a chicken looking at a computer screen.. Then I start making engine noises in my helmet, I am having a good time. I spot two Harley riders stopped under an overpass and wave at them, wannabe bikers, pathetic. I leave them behind me, in space and time, somewhere in the 50s probably. Not that I don’t like the 50s, women knew how to dress back then, they had class. But my sake burning baby leaves those dinosaurs in the dust on every plane. Here comes the Fruitville exit, that was fast. My bike starts to sputter, she doesn’t like the rain. I can’t blame her, all she wants is high octane gas, oil and cool dry air. I finally make it home, throw my clothes in the dryer and get comfortable. I should play my guitar, I feel inspired this afternoon. Maybe I should write, too, since I’m already spitting words on the computer, I might as well keep going and see what comes out. Have a great week-end!

Albert slammed on his brakes to avoid rear-ending the bus in front of him.
– “Are you crazy! You could have killed me!”
The client sat back again, pale as an aspirin tablet. “There goes my tip” Thought Albert. He was thinking about Lila. They had met in his cab and it was love at first sight. She had black hair, surrounding a very pretty face, full of joy. How their relationship deteriorated so quickly, he wasn’t quite sure.
– “Hey! You passed it! Damn it!”
– “Seventeen fifty please.”
– “Here, and I want the change back!”
– “Sure, have a nice day too.”
The man said something Albert couldn’t hear, but he had a pretty good idea about what he meant by the way he slammed the door. It was time to call it a day.. Actually a night, as it was six in the morning. Six years of college to end up driving a taxi, “what an accomplishment” thought Albert. And now Lila was gone…
Albert picked-up the newspaper on the ground in front of his apartment and unlocked the door. It was the first time he had locked it since moving in with Lila. Just by looking at the outside, one could safely assume that nothing valuable was there to be stolen.
The yellow walls were ironically the same color as Albert’s cab, with the same wear, and stains that were not rust but humidity; the sweating of the walls trying to hold the whole place up.
After throwing the paper on a pile of what looked like two weeks of news, Albert put some grits on the stove and sat at the lone table, staring at the floor on his right. Lila had never liked the apartment and had reminded him of it quite often. He didn’t like it either, but that was all they could afford on one salary. That stupid argument the night before, he could not even remember how it started.
The timer’s buzzer went off. Albert grabbed a glass bowl and poured the grits inside. Now he was wondering where he might rent a wood chipper, looking at Lila’s body on the floor. “What happened to us?” he thought, and started eating the grits.