Flash Fiction: “Ancestors Calling”

Flash fiction #1. 447 words. (Flash fiction is a story told in 500 words or less. Enjoy.)

“Are you having fun with Auntie Sharon?” my mom asked me over the phone.

Holding a glass of rum and coke tight to my chest, I said, “Yes. Big fun.” I took a sip. “We are leaving to see a movie soon, so I have to go.” Please don’t ask me what movie.

“Sounds good. Are you ready for the first day of eighth grade?”

I could hear her smiling. “Yes. I’m excited.” :::eye roll:::

“I’ll pick you up at three o’clock on Sunday. We have to finish buying you new clothes. I love you. Bye.”

“Bye, mom.” I put my cell phone back in my pocket. Three o’clock Sunday. I must take my last drink by three o’clock today. It usually takes twenty-four hours for me to look normal again.

My aunt was napping in her room. My uncle had also fallen asleep in his recliner while watching the news. I tiptoed toward him keeping the glass against my chest. I did a gentle touch to the remote to turn off the television. The president was telling a crowd they didn’t see what they saw on the news. Off please.

I sat down carefully on the plastic covered living room couch as not to wake my uncle. Sighing, I put my feet up on the table. I swished my drink around before I took another sip. (No ice because it clanked against the glass.)

I was weary of dead people asking me for help. At the grocery store. In school. In my aunt and uncle’s house. In my backyard.

“Tell Jimmy I’m okay.”

“Mike did it. They got the wrong guy.”

“The surgeon was distracted by his own wife’s illness. He messed up.”

What am I supposed to do with this information?

I tell them to go away. I close my eyes. Cover my ears. And still they rise.

It’s quiet now. Rum keeps them away.

My aunt prefers vodka and ginger ale.

My uncle looks through both of us.

They are old. Like my grandma’s age.

Like grandma, they let me do whatever I want. When I was little, before she found Jesus, grandma let me taste her beer. Auntie Sharon let me taste her liquor: rum, vodka, brandy, everything. They were gross then. Bitter. Now all of them make the dead people disappear, for a while.

My phone rings again. Private number. I answer before the second ring, even though my mom says never answer a number I don’t know. Uncle still snoring. “Hello?”

“Keisha. It’s your grandfather. Edward. You need to stop this alcohol mess. Put that glass down.”

I put the glass down on the table. My grandfather died six years ago.


Up next: A review of the Netflix original movie “See You Yesterday” (2019).

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