Having mentioned an old, old post while commenting yesterday, and since it is after all Flashback Friday, and at the suggestion of JYP, here is that aforementioned post. (I may edit a little as I go). The post, a very short story, was, informally, the result of a prompt. Not the kind we see on WordPress. In an earlier post, a conversation had developed in the comment thread and somehow the subject of Dorothy’s ruby slippers came up. At the same time, and don’t ask me how, peanut brittle. Someone suggested, actually dared me, that I write a post about ruby slippers and peanut brittle. This was the result.
When I was eighteen I moved out of my sister’s house and set out from California to Missouri. I’m gonna blow this town, I said, about the time Alice Cooper said, “I’m eighteen and I li-iiiike it!” It was not an original idea, I know now. Before I left I bought a girl I had just met a pair of shoes because she always joked about her old flip-flops. She said because her family didn’t have much money, she never had any cool looking shoes, and she would prop her feet up on the dash of my ’57 Chevy and joke about her flip-flops. They were the rubber ones that cost maybe a dollar ninety-eight, and lasted about one summer. Hers were light blue with dark blue rubber straps. Her feet and legs were darkly tanned.
“What you need is a pair of ruby slippers, like Dorothy,” I said.
“Is that where you’re going? Kansas?”
“City,” I said. “Kansas City. In Missouri.”
“I hate those flying monkeys.”
We were parked in the driveway in front of her house. The sun had gone down while we were talking. The porch light came on, then flickered off, on, off, on. “That’s my mom,” she said. “I gotta go inside.”
Before she let herself out of my car, she leaned over and kissed me. It happened so fast I was still thinking about it when I saw the front door of her house close behind her and the porch light go off. It had gotten cold. I rolled my car windows up before I drove home.
After that, she was never home when I called. Halloween was just two weeks away, and in a gift shop that sold costumes I bought a pair of ruby slippers like Dorothy’s in the movie. The day before I left, I went to her house and left them on the front porch in their box.
Outwardly, I thought it might be funny, but inwardly I hoped she understood they meant I wanted her to have a nice life.
The next day, I left for Missouri. I drove south along a route I knew would lead to Barstow and U.S. Route 66. In some small town I stopped for gas and after I paid for it I went rummaging around in the back seat of my car for something. I found a small box with a note taped to it that read, “Bye.”
It was peanut brittle. I set the box next to me as I drove off, and when I got on the highway I got me a big piece and bit off half of it and ate it. It was sweet; so sweet it made my jaws ache.
That’s my Friday Flashback. There it is, and I won’t ever preemptively defend it, as it is far too late.
Chances are this will be my last post of 2022. Happy New Year to you all. This time around it seems kind of anti-climactic, and it’s hard to be optimistic. But hope springs eternal–there is always something around the corner.
What? You wanna die of boredom?