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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

by Morgan Haynes

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the sun poured down, drenching me in sweat and heat. i continued to work, digging holes for future crops. i sang a song under my breath as i dug,

"how i wish, how i wish you were here. we're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. running over the same old ground. what have we found? the same old fears. wish you were here."

i finished these lines and stood up, letting the shovel fall to my feet. i grabbed the bottom of my shirt and practically ripped it off trying to get it off of my sweat drenched body. i dropped it next to my shovel and raised my head to the sun and let the sweat drip down the side of my face. my hand got caught in my gnarled hair as i tried to run it through and i gave up immediately, using the crook of my arm to wipe my forehead.

a hand suddenly landed on my shoulder and i jumped. after getting over the initial shock, i turned slowly to see who was bothering me in the middle of no where on the hottest day of the year. i guess i almost expected to see my boss, wearing one of her summer dresses she always wore. she never wore a bra, she said it was too hot. but none of us really minded, especially me, her breasts hung so well in those dresses. her sweat would outline them so perfect... i'd always have dreams about her coming to me in the fields,

"make love to me" she'd say, and i'd slide the thin straps of her dress right off her shoulders and it would fall, clinging to her hips for just a second, then landing in the dust. and i'd stand there and stare at her and admire her naked body. she'd always smile and laugh when i told her i thought she was an angel. she'd undress me and when i was naked she'd kiss my mouth hard and sweet. after, i'd laugh because it would feel so good. that was all i could do and she'd laugh with me. except her laugh wasn't a voice; it was bells, like on christmas morning when my mother used to wake me, ringing them in my doorway. then we would make love, in the fields. it always felt so right. but after a while, i stopped having them. i guess it was because she had gotten married. he was such a horrible man, well not really, but in my eyes he was because i wasn't with her. more than anything i wanted to be that man so i could love her and touch her and just be by her side. i wanted to be able to call her mine. i wanted to hear her say, in that beautiful voice, that i was hers... but i wasn't, and after awhile i got used to him being there with her. but she was my boss so i saw her more than i saw him.

but it wasn't her coming to see me to ask me to make love to her in the dirt, it was a strange man. he had long black hair pulled behind his head in a pony tail and a white panama hat that he held loosely in his hand. i looked him up and down for a moment, he had on a white suit. his pant legs were incredibly clean and their color was so harsh compared to the dirt. there was no dirt anywhere on him, not a clump, not a speck, not even a whisper of dust. it was almost as if he had floated over to me, that was the only way he could have been so spotless and still be in this dusty field. he coughed uncomfortably and i forgot almost immediately what i had been thinking about. he put his hat on his head and spoke,

"excuse me sir" he said in a smooth voice that had a slight accent in it. i thought for a second but couldn't place it so i gave up. "do you know the quickest way to Adenburrow?" i wiped the sweat off my eyebrows and looked at him.

"Adenburrow? you're going there?"

"yes, can you tell me the quickest way?"

"i don't know why you'd want to go but i sure as hell can tell you how to get there" i paused and turned in the opposite direction. "do you see those two trees off to the west?" i waited for him to answer but he didn't.

suddenly there was a rush of wings and i could feel soft feathers brush against my bare back, i turned quickly but he was gone. a wild wind drove through the field like the devil on horses and shook me hard. i turned my back to it and the places where the feathers had touched me burned with the force of the wind. it stopped suddenly, almost as suddenly as it had started. i looked around but for as far as i could see, the man with the panama had disappeared and the wind had blown away any footprints if there had been any. i raised my hands to my head to smooth my matted sweaty hair and turned around in a circle totally bewildered for a second, then stopped in half spin.

"here comes my girl" i started to sing "here comes my girl, yeah she looks so right, she is all i need tonight" i bent down and picked up my shovel and started to dig again. singing out the words to an old tom petty song.

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