Friday, January 18, 2013

Gertie

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m., Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Gertie’s dry hands gripped her crutch as she lowered herself into the seat. She looked at her hands; they were cracked. She pulled a small vial of oil out of a plastic grocery bag, poured out a dollop, and rubbed it between her fingers and into her knuckles. She turned to the young woman sitting next to her. “It’s this weather, you know?”

The stranger gave her a half-smile. “Yeah, it’s cold.”

A half-smile and three words were was far more than Gertie usually got. She grinned. Some of her teeth were missing. “God bless you, child.”

Gertie sneezed, and her grin disappeared. The other passengers looming above her glared down. She looked back at her new, half-smiling friend. “It’s alright, child. It’s not that dang flu that’s been goin’ round. I promise. I went to see the doctor, and he said I just had one of those—what do you call ‘em? Sinus infections.” The girl nodded.

“God bless you, child.”

Gertie figured that God’s blessings would make up for her lie. She did indeed have the flu; the virus was swarming around her stomach and sending shivers through her old bones. But surely the Lord Jesus, in all His mercy, would not inflict such a horrible disease onto someone who’d been blessed in His name. Surely the angels would watch over this girl, they’d protect her from the chilly illness with their fiery swords.

She repeated it for extra measure: “God bless you, child.”

Sorry I didn't write again yesterday. I worked from home again. I needed to do laundry because I'M GOING TO NEW YORK CITY TOMORROW! Why, you ask? For two reasons. One, my friend Meg and I are turning 25 in early February. We decided to celebrate this quarter-of-a-century milestone with a fun trip. And two, there is this fabulous David Bowie/Elvis Birthday Bash at Le Poisson Rouge on Sunday. Because, you know, one David Bowie event per month just isn't enough. Anyway, there probably won't be a story on Monday, because I'll be sightseeing. But you can expect some crazy NYC flash fiction when I get back! 

I hope you all enjoy the PTKY site redesign, by the way. It's the first time I've done it without Leta's help--I designed the banner and everything! Let me know if anything looks wonky and I'll fix it.  

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