Flash Fiction . . .
Roscoe didn’t wish for much; he wasn’t a high-maintenance guy. He wished tomorrow’s doctor would speak “real” English, a bit of bigotry left over from the old days. He wished one of his sons would smuggle in some coffee ice cream — ain’t no color jello made him happy anymore. It was disgusting mixed with fruit and Miracle Whip in the fifties, and it was disgusting now. A little coffee ice cream, sitting on the outside bench in the sun, now that was living! Two spoons so he could share with Missy Chambers next door? Even better still. Two shooting stars wished him for a nail cut — it surely was hard to text his sons and grandkids with long thumbnails. He could blame the typing on the phone, but he shouldn’t have to.
And just enough books to read until he got out of this dump. Roscoe didn’t connect the “I fell and I’m lying on the floor” dots with “I fell at home and no one will find me.” He wanted to go home. He wanted to lie back in his own recliner, watch the Yankees on his own TV, warm up low-sodium ramen on his own stove, and not have anyone measure his pee. Okay, the white shoes, white tights, and ponytails were nice, just not nice enough. Roscoe planned to raise holy hell tomorrow, even as his eyes started to close, the moon lowering in the late-night sky.
Roscoe at the Happy Home Board ’n Care
by Tobi Alfier
Roscoe Miller was glad for a few things just now; a soft fluffy robe like the flannel sheets his mama used to put on his bed, an airline bottle of Jack in the bedside table that he could reach, a couple of pills he spit out when the night nurse wasn’t looking, hidden under the mattress and also reachable, a tall window from where he could watch the full moon lighting up the hills, saguaro standing sentry to the locked entrance of the rehab center driveway, and a bucket load of shooting stars.
Yeah, so he fell. Nothing was bleeding, and his light frame didn’t wake up the patients on the floor below. Roscoe couldn’t reach the “help” button, but he knew someone would be in sooner or later to help him up. He squinched over to his dresser, took a pill with a swig, then watched the stars and made wishes. Roscoe was already ninety-five good years old. He’d made it to his fifty-year reunion and could have gone even longer, but his buddies were dwindling away, and the women were getting flabby. He much preferred the nurses here with their white shoes, white tights, and ponytails. They must all lift weights ’cause they could heft him up with one arm and not even grunt.
Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies and a reprint of Sanity Among the Wildflowers were most recently published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review.
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