Grief Support Group

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.

About 20. Seated on gray folding chairs. In a circle. In a church basement. Soft grit on the pastel tile floor that was likely installed in the early 1970s.

Lots of construction paper on the walls. Must be a youth group on off days. Magic marker drawings of Christ helping illegal immigrants and feeding the poor in Santa Monica.

Older lady in velvet layers. Bone thin, which make her elaborate wraps and shrouds look like a pile of laundry dumped on her from a backhoe. Pewter jewelry. Of course.

“I grew up in the 70s, right on Sunset Strip. Well, you know, sex and drugs and rock and roll. Saw Bowie. We used to hang out in his hotel room at The Hyatt Riot. We lost touch. I was got to thinking. I was thinking about Guns N Roses. That kid who got shot. The black African-America kid. The police shot him. I can remember my mom talking to me, when I was in Encino. She dated cops all the time. They were all assholes. One of them used to keep his gun on the kitchen table. I went to war marches and it pissed him off and she didn’t do a fucking thing about it. Sorry for swearing. I grew up on the streets. I talk street talk. I was thinking about that black kid who got shot by the police. It hurt my heart. I can remember when he threw that gay guy out of my house. My mom’s boyfriend threw a gay guy out of our house. He works on CSI, now. Follow me? I felt bad about that colored kid getting shot, and I was talking to my friend, Lucinda, about it. She was a dancer. Knows all those breakdancing guys. She said she cried when she found out. I talked about this stuff with Bowie. He was such a genius. It’s like the future was laid out in front of him.”

The nice woman who organized the meetings, Soledad, held her hand up. She was holding a red pen between her long fingers.

“Cheryl,” she smiled softly, “would you like to tell us about why specifically you’ve come to the grief support group? Was there any one event in particular?”

‘

Cheryl’ rustled around in her velvet cocoon for a moment. She brought her knees up to her chest.

“Sometimes I just remember what it was like in the 1970s.”

“I understand,” whispered Soledad. “Would anyone like to go next? I mean, maybe ‘like’ isn’t the correct term, but…”

A tiny woman wearing a gray pantsuit shyly brought her wrist up to her own shoulder like she was trying to ward off a blow.

“Yes?” Soledad pressed the red pen against her lips.

“My name is Maureen,” said the tiny woman. “Last year, my son choked to death on a peach pit while we were on vacation.”

“That happened to a woman a knew from The Whiskey A Go Go,” Cheryl croaked.

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