Joseph Grant

Joe Grant charms us this week with his cavalcadeofstars debut of four stories. Each one packs a wallop and is written in six sentences.

Paris, In the Rain
By
Joseph Grant

You walk along the vacant, wind-swept streets with only the leaves racing around your feet. You try and forget the girl whom you loved with all of your heart but she never loved you quite the same. The café where you met her is now closed for the season; the owners have gone away to Menton for the lemon festival. Your empty footsteps echo all the way from Notre Dame des Champs to rue de Fleurus and you quicken your pace, trying to put more distance between you and your recent past, as the wind gusts colder now down the boulevard and the faces in the paintings have all changed. The skies grow more ominous and gray over the slate rooftops with no end to the winter sadness in sight, yet you walk on, caught in a Braque painting gone mad. But you take heart in what’s left of yours; it’s just Paris in the rain.

The Barking Dog
By
Joseph Grant

With the snap of militant gunfire reawakening in the distance, the nervous, sweaty white United Nations’ worker sat at a café table with Kamfir and his neighbors over a cup of buna, an Ethiopian type of coffee and imparted to them on how to run an honest and legitimate local election, although the talk was cogently Western to Kamfir and his buddies. They had little interest in an outsider coming in and trying to tell them their business, but that was the Americans for you, they laughed after the mgeni or outsider, left. On his way back to the village, Kamfir was followed by a mangy mutt who would not let up, no matter how many time he tried to evade the dog, it would still pursue him and that was the last thing he needed, yet another hungry mouth to feed. As it was on their small half-acre, there was little to go around, but his children begged to keep him as children always do, telling their father that a dog would be good protection for their family and for their vibunzi or corn crops, as few as there were, against poachers and pests, so Kamfir relented and decided to keep the dog for the sake of his children. Soon, the idea backfired as the dog barked and howled incessantly both day and night at everything, a small animal, the wind, the moon or nothing at all, to such an extent that an aggravated Kamfir sought advice from the village elder who told him to bring the stray around to him and he would clip the dog’s vocal cords. In the heat of the mosquito-infested porch, the old man sedated the dog and Kamfir held the canine against the wooden slats of the open verandah as the elder performed the cruel operation in which he assured young Kamfir that the dog would suffer nothing less than a sore throat and pretty soon would not even remember the procedure taking place. True to form, the old man was correct; the dog did not even seem to notice and would only produce a low, husky woof that could not be discerned more than a few feet away and all proceeded normally, until one night, the dog tried to bark in vain as militants, learning that Kamfir was in league with the Westerners, slew him and his entire family.

The Pugilist Falls
By
Joseph Grant

They’re jerking your chain growled the sweaty, rotund man inconceivably named Jimmy Marbles who looked more at home spilling blood in a Mickey Spillane novel than spilling his guts to a reporter from The Post and he continued don’t believe a woid they says, get me, when’s the last time you hoid of an honest cop, he asked with a laugh. Now me, I’m dyin’ a cancer and if’n I get whacked see, then as far as I can figure, da boys are doin’ me a favor, capiche he said with a dead man’s grin. I tell ya, I had nothin’ ta do wit’ dat heist at LaGuardia last month and if da boys or da cops think I did den day can kiss my ass and search me he said and grabbed a handful of peanuts from the bar. Whoever did dat heist and screwed da Mob outta a cool twenty mill, not for nothin’ but I hope to hell dey are dead cos if dey ain’t, dey are gonna be pretty soon, believe you me he said with the alacrity of man who had inside information, which he probably did, the reporter thought. Jimmy Marbles was a “money talks/bullshit walks”, no-nonsense kind of guy that fixed Atlantic City for the Mob decades ago, but unbeknownst to him, they were onto him this time and since he was no longer paying off the police, they would not be parked outside of his Queens house when two young punks would blow his and his wife’s brains out against the plastic-covered couch later that evening. Doncha worry about me, Pete, Jimmy gargled through a mouthful of half-eaten peanuts and looked at the tv just in time to catch a fighter hug the canvas, I’m having the time of my life.

Insomnia
By
Joseph Grant

At night his asthma creaked as if his chest was the hull of a great, wooden ship, set on a course of sleepless seas, with him commissioned as the bleary captain; not so much asleep at the wheel as much as shanghaied by his own mutinous mind. While the hours until dawn flow gradually by for the insomniac, the world rests but there is no rest for this weary, just a flood of random thoughts that patch together ideas in the coming curse of sunlight. His wife sleeps listlessly next to him, unaware of his nightly incursion into madness. The dog at his feet snores, almost as if nature mocks him, the lower beasts slumber (or higher beasts, depending on whom one asks) and the night has trapped him yet again and has imprisoned him in its black death womb. There are the fractural, reckless inspirations of fixing something, creating something or walking aimlessly into the night but what good would that do, as morning would always find him? Full speed ahead, the captain bellows as the old boat lunges blindly towards the rocky break of day.

Bio:

Joseph Grant’s short stories have been published in over 210 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Midwest Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine , Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad.com, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review.

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About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published thirteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at www.hamptonroadswriters.org
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10 Responses to Joseph Grant

  1. Wow! Four very different and smashing pieces of writing. Insomnia is my particular favorite. This man knows his 6S!

  2. Lydia says:

    Excellent… ,especially I loved”In the rain”, lovely story in Paris, but also “Insomnia”is very beautiful.Thank You!

  3. Diana E. Backhouse says:

    ‘The Barking Dog’ was the one that hit home for me.

  4. Joe, it’s always a pleasure reading your flashes because I know I will not be disappointed. You provide readers with crystal-clear descriptions that remain in the mind long after the reading.

    Sal Buttaci

  5. ed dean says:

    Excellent writing Joe. ‘Paris in the rain’ was a grabber.

  6. Harry says:

    Wow! Great stuff Joseph! Really liked them all!

  7. Zelda says:

    They’re all wonderful, but “The Barking Dog” was masterful. It felt so real, so true. I always admire your ability to tell a big story in such a small space.

  8. Cath Barton says:

    Great range of writing in there. I really enjoyed them all.

  9. Joseph Grant says:

    Thank you ALL for your very nice comments. They are much appreciated.

  10. vision791 says:

    It’s been really great to have you here, Joe. Everyone enjoyed your stories.

Comments are closed.