Chairs Missing

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes.  Here is what I came up with.  I hope you like it.

I brought a ghost home in a bucket.

The man by the railroad tracks, the man with no teeth, said that a bunch of hobos were chased off a moving train by the bulls, once. They leapt off the cars and landed in the cattails. They were all dead. Since then, their spirits have haunted the water beneath the swamp grass.

The water was haunted.

The spirits of the hobos would kill any policeman, drowning him in the night. When the inspectors found the corpses, the bedsheets would be soaking wet. That’s what the man with no teeth, the man by the railroad tracks, told me one day.

I went home, that afternoon, late afternoon, when the brightness of the day has rubbed off and become tarnished and dull. The time of day that only serves to make you wish it was dark, already.

Plastic bucket that belonged to my sister. Yellow, with google eyes stickers attached to it.

I returned to the railroad tracks, the next day. The man wasn’t there. His shoes and his overcoat had been thrown in the bushes.

I filled the yellow plastic bucket with water. Oily water with a colorful, evil slick pattern on the surface. I draped an old t-shirt over the top and I walked home.

The yellow bucket sat on the porch, all night.

The next afternoon, I walked back from the park in the dead afternoon. As I passed a gray house, behind the trees, obscured by the hedges, two men wearing white shirts were wheeling a stretcher out the back door. There was an ambulance parked nearby. An old woman was crying. You could hear her trying to talk on the phone, inside.

One less cop.


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