Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman

Your Turn to Wait

-Do you know how long I've been waiting up for you?
-No, but I'm sure you're going to tell me.
-Actually I'm not, but I will tell you how thoughtless you are.
-Maybe it's time we split up then.
-Is that your answer every time now?
-No. Next week I'll have a new comeback for you.
-Next week you'll have to mail it in, she said and walked out the door.
-He shrugged and went to the couch to sleep but in his stupor couldn't find it. Maybe she's right, he thought, scratching his head in confusion, his vision blurry, as he headed up to the bedroom. I'll tell her tomorrow that my getting wasted days are over.

He lay down on the floor where their bed used to be and went to sleep muttering I love yous to his woman who at that very moment was heading South on I-95 in a U-Haul filled with their house.

Big Wheels Keep on Turning

Billy and Danny were seven years old; only four days separated their
birthdays. They lived next door to each other and were best of friends, as
well as cousins. Their fathers were brothers; two years apart and only
tolerated each other because of their wives who were not only sisters, but
also twins and inseparable.

The fathers, by circumstance, both worked selling insurance and ended up
living close to each other because of their wives. They were very
competitive whereas their sons and wives weren't.

So when Danny got a big wheel for his birthday Billy got one also, only a
more expensive model, which he wasn¹t appreciative of. He wanted the same
model as Danny and his father was forced, once again, into retreat mode and
exchanged it.

The kids loved their big wheels and Billy's father made a track in the back
yard where they could race them. Danny's father, not to be outdone, made an
obstacle course for the big wheels.

One Sunday, soon after both were built, the boys were out in their backyards and the fathers on their decks ignoring each other.

Billy said to Danny, "C'mon, I'll race you around the track."

Danny said okay and yelled to his father to say go when they were set up.

Danny's father turned to his brother and said, "Five bucks on Danny."

"You're on," said Billy's father.

By the time Billy and Danny were in their teens they were no longer best
friends but competitors for the sake of their fathers' bets. Their one-on-one basketball games became vicious and their backyard wrestling matches
usually ended up with something bloody or sprained. They competed for girls,
grades and power, but mostly to please their fathers.

The sisters' mothers told their husbands that if they let the boys go through with drag racing they would leave them, but the lure of the competition between the brothers was too great.

At the funeral the sisters sat apart and haven't spoken since, although they continue to live next door to each other. Neither brother wants to be the
first to move.


She Has Her Reasons

It is a well-known fact that my wife sleeps around. There. I said it and now everyone knows that I too know about my wife. Let me just tell you this one thing; she has her reasons. You ask me how I know that she has her reasons, but who would know better than me, her husband? I will tell you how I know and put this to rest. I almost said put this to bed but I know the sniggering that would ensue. I asked my wife. I sat across from her at the breakfast table. I sat next to her on the sofa (it was really the love seat) but again the fear of the snigger. I lay side by side with her in bed. Each time I asked my wife. I spoke to her directly and without anger or sugar coating. I hear that you sleep around. Why do you do it? Tell me. Why do you sleep around?

I have my reasons, she said. And I took her at her word.

Music by Christopher Aitken
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