At 4 am, She Calls for Comfort (Bisexual Flash Fiction)

Musical Selection: Doja Cat|Woman

Part III: She’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter

A woman stretching for legs far away from each other while lying on the floor.
Photo by Oksana Taran on Unsplash

Today, I will give her the space she needs to talk about Bree’s graduation invitation, her current need to want to get clean, and perhaps a future for us. Today, I will learn about this woman a bit more — the one who ripped my heart out almost a year ago but hasn’t left me alone since. There is a reason for all of this. There is always a reason for everything, yes? Today, I will be the listener she needs — the shoulder with everlasting comfort.

Tomorrow will bring whatever it will bring, and I will be ready for it, too


Cari devours her breakfast. She is adamant about consuming delicious, home-cooked meals. We almost never ate out. In the past, she would say, “Rena, whatever you make, I will eat it.” And she did. There had never been a meal of mine I cooked, she did not eat. She had been more than pleased to inflate my culinary ego, and I fell into every compliment as quickly as I could. This woman — the woman I loved and still love, the woman whose body I pressed my palms onto, massaging every ache away … she has returned. What will I do? What can I do?

“I still can’t believe Bree sent me an invitation to her graduation. I haven’t seen her in so long, Rena. God, how will I react when I see her?”

“I don’t know, Cari. The graduation is in, what? A little more than a week? How about you take it day by day, and when we get there, you react however your heart implores you to act.”

I look at her searching my eyes for more answers. The sunlight from one of my windows in the kitchen kisses her right cheek gently. She glows. Even though her beauty shines through undeniably, I recognize the pain in her eyes. The pain of a mother who will go above and beyond for her daughter. An addict reaching out to the heavens to get clean for the possibility of new love in the future. It has only been three days, and she’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter.

“You’re right, Rena. I mean … You’ve always been right about most shit.”

“I’m not trying to be right, love. I’m just saying what I’m saying. There’s no need to agonize over what you will do when the day isn’t even here yet.”

I slide another cup of coffee in front of her. She grips the mug with a mighty force. I watch her as the hot liquid slips down her throat. We’re going to be okay with this. We are.


Her accent meets my ears in a way I am accustomed to it doing, but this morning, it’s different. I can sense the pain in her voice — the unknowingness that comes with reuniting with one’s daughter — especially for someone who is an addict yearning to become sober. Cari had already contacted one of the addiction and drug rehab centers in our area prior to mentioning it to me. She had an appointment with a licensed professional who would assess her upon their first meeting and go from there.

That she had taken these steps informs me she is serious — truly serious about reconnecting with Sabrina and getting sober. The old Cari would mention getting clean and then five days later, I’d find her strung out in an alley near Shoaf Blvd passed out at 3 in the morning. Cari’s phone rings just as soon as we’re done eating, and it’s Bree. My entire body tenses up because I recall the last real conversation they had and how much it tortured Cari. I listen intently.

The room is silent and each word she utters bounces off the walls and echoes back to us. She ends the call with tears in her eyes and says not to me, but to the air in front of us or around us — she was not looking at me.

“Ze maakt me zo van streek!”

I pause. I walk over to her slowly and gently pull her into my arms. I don’t have a clue what had been said — I don’t speak Dutch, but the tone … the tone showed anger? Sadness? Both?

“She makes me so angry, Rena. So angry. But how? How can she make me so angry and I still love her so much?”

Not being a mother myself, I am perplexed. I do not feel qualified to answer this question. I continue to hold her. I continue to let her vent and cry. I say what I am thinking.

“Please tell me you have not been uninvited to the graduation.”

“No … Worse. She doesn’t want you there.”


We stood in silence. Teardrops from her big, bold, and dark eyes fell onto my hands. I danced in a circle as I held her close to me. Our breaths pushed from our chests and forced us to stay in sync with one another. How will we deal with this? I don’t yet know, but what I know is this … we have a chance at a new beginning, and daughter or not, I will stand guard against Sabrina if I have to. I won’t watch her break her mother’s heart for a second time.

Once was enough.


Doja Cat, Woman, December 2021

Part I and Part II

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

I just realized I had not shared the first two parts with you all. I hope this will help you get caught up here. Part I and Part II are above. Peace and blessings.

Checking In After Hours Part III

Flash Fiction: What lingers behind the shadow?

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Noting the information given by the motel clerk, the officers gathered their things and headed for Magda’s room. Tamara insisted on following along — she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not tonight, and definitely not at this motel. On her way out, she noticed the fire extinguisher was on the opposite side of the door.

“Wasn’t that fire extinguisher on the other side when we came in?”

“No, ma’am. Been there the whole time.”

But had it?


Tamara looked at the strange man and rolled her eyes. She followed closely behind Officers Dibbs and Bends as they trotted down the concrete path to Magda’s unit. She left her husband, Dale, alone with the children. He loaded them up in the car’s backseat while they waited for the last of the fiasco to run its course.

The plan was to drive up the road another ten to fifteen miles to where the next motel was, check in, set up for the night, and try to get some much-needed rest.

Tamara didn’t want to say anything — didn’t want to bring any attention to an already peculiar night, but she had noticed one more shadow accompanying hers, the officers, and the strange old man’s. As they got closer to Magda’s unit, the strange Oompa Loompa’d man slithered closer to the front of their line, jingled out his set of keys, and opened the door.

“Here, you go. This is Magda’s unit. Spick and span, just as I’d believe it to be. Magda was serious about these rooms and even more serious about how clean her unit was. She made it such a top priority that Daphne and Tess had been trained under her directly, so they would know exactly how to clean each room, just as she had for years. Go on — give the place a look-see.”

The officers filed in one after the other, Tamara snaking in closely behind them. The shadow was still trailing them — still in place. She looked all around the room — in the closet, in the bathroom, and in the small kitchenette. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, at least not to her.

“Bends, get over here! I think I may have found us a little clue.”

Officer Dibbs slipped on some gloves, pulled a set of tweezers from his pocket, and snipped up what looked like a letter — drenched in what smelled like maple syrup.

“Well, what the hell do you make of this, Dibbs? What’s it say?” Officer Dibbs slid his glasses on with his free hand and began reading.

To whom it may concern:

Magda wanted this. I was simply a willing hand in the process — doing her the favor she requested of me so many years ago. I have no name of importance to you. I have no fingerprints. By the time you find this letter, I will be so far away it’d be useless to search for me. There is no trace — no trail. The deceased cunningly calculated this. If you want to know more, ask the shadow.

Sincerely,
B.

“What in the blue haze?! Ask the shadow? What the hell kinda message is this, Dibbs?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, Bends. I’m puzzled by this one. Just puzzled. ‘Ask the shadow.’ What shadow and why would we talk to something that’s not really there?! We’re going to have to call in the calvary for this one, Bends. This is some serious shit.”


Tamara looked at the strange man. He looked curiously at her. The two of them shifted their eyes over to where the “shadow” was and said nothing.


Originally published in Hinged.press via Medium.

Part I and Part II

They Buried Him Under the Old Jane Magnolia Tree

Springtime. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Flash Fiction (Challenge Response)

Rufus was the town postman—employed for thirty-six years before he had a heart attack on his route during a blazing hot summer.

Died on the spot.

His manager, Paul Scheltz, had to identify the body, call his wife, and drive the mail truck back to the distribution center. EMS wasted no time hauling his bloated body to the local hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead.

All their potential life-saving efforts stood before them laughing—making fun of the ten minutes they had pumped the man’s chest. He was deader than dead, and there was nothing they could do about it.

Sylvia arrived at the hospital. Her heart weighed a ton. They’d just taken out a second mortgage, and their youngest was about to enter college. All these thoughts raced through her head as she stared at her dead husband—body as stiff as a board.

They buried him underneath the Jane Magnolia tree in their backyard four days later. No other family was there other than her and their three children. No friends except for Paul and his wife. Sylvia sang, “The Old Rugged Cross” while tears waterfall’d upon her face.

“May he rest in peace,” she said afterward.

May he rest in peace.


This is in response to a challenge request from fellow Simily contributor Rod Gilley where he challenged me by stating the following on my previous post: “I challenge you to write a Flash Fiction (1,000 words or less) on the subject of that tree (any genre). That is a beautiful tree – eager to see what your imagination can come up with for a story about it.” 

Originally published via Simily.

Checking In After Hours (Part II)

Flash Fiction: The mysterious fire extinguisher

She stared at the man, fumbling for the words to tell him what they’d just found, and before she could get the first word out, he said, “Lemme guess, you found Magda? We’ve been looking for her for hours.”

Hearing this, Tamara fainted. Her feathered-like body splayed itself on the floor. There she lay until the cops arrived.


The strange Oompa Loompa’d man waddled over to Tamara and waved his hands frantically in front of her face. He leaned in far too close to her and then stared intently until she blinked and opened her eyes. Tamara shot up from her fainted state — disoriented — but regained her sense of self quickly. He led one police officer to the area where she was and directed the other to the room the couple reserved.

“Hey! Hey! Name’s Beau. Officer Beau Dibbs. We got ourselves a bit of a situation here. You the one who found the motel’s cleanin’ lady, Magda?”

The strange man stood behind the front desk with a defiant look plastered on his face. He scrutinized Tamara silently while Officer Dibbs attempted to get whatever information he could out of Tamara. She averted her eyes from him and paid attention to Officer Dibbs.

“Ye — Yes, me and my husband found the woman. He — her head. God! Her head was in the bed and her body was in the tub. IN THE TUB!”

Officer Dibbs made note of the delirium spouting from Tamara’s mouth. He perused the perimeter, took photos of the motel lobby, and asked the strange man to escort him to the scene of the crime. Tamara walked along behind them — afraid to touch anything. There was a fire extinguisher on the wall next to their room. Had it been there before? The glass was broken, yet the extinguisher looked to be intact.

“Was that fire extinguisher there when we checked in? I just . . . I don’t remember it being there before.”

“Yup. Gotta have one every hundred feet. City code. There’s one here, then about five rooms down, there’s another. And so on, and you know. City code.”


Officer Dibbs entered the room. His partner, Officer Clive Bends had questioned Tamara’s husband Dale, took photos of the mangled body, the room, and blocked off the area in a 50-foot radius with crime scene tape. Dale was standing in the middle of the room, hovering over their children, and muttering a lullaby. It seemed as though the song was for him more than it was for their children.

“Dibbs. It’s a damn mess. Couple came in expecting a night of rest from a long drive up. They’re headed farther North. From what I got from the husband over there, they hadn’t been in the room five minutes before locating the body. According to him, they don’t know the lady, and don’t have anything to do with this here, um . . . situation.”

The strange man stared at Dale, then at Tamara, then at both officers before speaking up.

“The deceased is Magda. Magda Kowalski. No children. She lives here on site. Works every day along with our other two maids; Daphne and Tess. Last I heard from her was three days ago — hadn’t called in — nothing. This was odd for Magda. She’d be here at 07:00 on the dot every morning. As I said, she lives on site.”

Noting the information given by the motel clerk, the officers gathered their things and headed for Magda’s room. Tamara insisted on following along — she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not tonight, and definitely not at this motel. On her way out, she noticed the fire extinguisher was on the opposite side of the door.

“Wasn’t that fire extinguisher on the other side when we came in?”

“No, ma’am. Been there the whole time.”

But had it?


Originally published in Hinged.press via Medium.

Part I

Checking In After Hours

Photo by Sean Mungur on Unsplash

Flash Fiction

Tamara slapped the call bell on the dusty motel desk with her freshly manicured hand. She had on thigh-high boots, a blood-red sarong, and a black throw draped across her shoulders.

Her nine-month-old son bounced on her hips. His tired eyes surveyed the dingy lobby — his fat feet kicked at the stale air.

It was 12:35 am and their family had turned off I-95 onto the ramp for Exit 164 and pulled into the first parking lot they spotted.

Dale, Tamara’s bald, bold, and barky husband, stumbled in behind her and the baby, carrying their four-year-old lopsidedly across his chest. He barked at Tamara to hit the call bell again.

She slapped the bell this time with a salty vengeance that had been pulled from the depths of her exhausted body. She slapped it again and then again, and then finally . . . a chubby, Oompa Loompa’d man appeared from the shadows. He yawned, scratched his scruffy beard, and acknowledged them begrudgingly.

“How many beds and how many nights?”

Tamara looked at Dale, then back at the man, and said whisperingly, “Two beds, one night.”

The man whisked a key from the panel on the wall beside him, scanned it under the reader, and typed the request on the computer. He blurted out the fee.

“72.99. We only take cash. ATM’s on the side of the building next to the vending machines if you need it. $3.99 fee, though.”

Tamara looked at Dale, who looked at her and the two of them scraped cash from their purse and wallet, respectively. They paid the fee and took the key from the man.


Once in front of the door to their room, they swiped the key over the reader and opened the door. The room, to their surprise, was spotless and smelled of lemon-scented Pine-Sol and lavender-scented bleach. But something felt off.

They piled their things on the table near the window, turned on the lights and television, and laid the children down on the bed nearest the bathroom.

Tamara pulled back the covers to the bed she and Dale would share, and a trapped scream escaped her throaty lungs. Before her, was the head of what must have been the motel’s maid. Dale found the rest of her body in the tub.

Tamara bolted out of the door to the lobby while Dale called the cops. She slapped the call bell and yelled for the attendant. He came stumbling out from his previous stupor, annoyed by yet another interruption.

“Room need cleaning? Or empty fridge?”

She stared at the man, fumbling for the words to tell him what they’d just found, and before she could get the first word out, he said, “Lemme guess, you found Magda? We’ve been looking for her for hours.”

Hearing this, Tamara fainted. Her feathered-like body splayed itself on the floor. There she lay until the cops arrived.


Originally published in Hinged.press via Medium.