A Broken Clothesline


By John S. Fields



Tony pulled the post of the clothesline out of the ground, arms surging with strength, disappointing the termites of the rotting wood. Damn, it would have to be Wednesday. Whites. Underwear, socks, and towels now dirtied. Maria will have a fit. Leaning back, heels dug in the dirt, he pulled the line taut, but without a way to prop it up he lowered it to the ground.  Tony decided to use the handle of an old shovel as a temporary post to hang the line—banging it in the ground with a rock, while he went to the hardware store.

The Skylark backfired. He debated a trip to the kitchen for antacid. Hemorrhoids, toothaches, back spasms. A broken Tony. Will the hardware store have a replacement? He tried the Skylark. Patience, Tony. What was it Nana used to say? Patience is a virtue, have it if you can…always in a woman, seldom in a man. It was good to laugh. The engine turned over and Tony raced down the boulevard.

What a year. A shotgun wedding before Stephanie shows, an operation for Maria to repair a ruptured disc, and retirement after twenty-seven years at the factory. One day at a time, Tony. One day at a time. At least I will fix the damn clothesline. He took the service road and maneuvered around the potholes; the frost heaves were murder.

A stab of indigestion turned to severe pain. Take the nitro, Tony. The Skylark stalled, but he managed to guide the car to the shoulder and turn on the hazard lights. Put it under the tongue. Put it under the tongue. Tony dropped the pill. Goddamn it. He searched around the crotch, but it was lost in the dirt of the floor mat.

Please God. What about Maria? What about Stephanie?

I wanted to be a Grandpa.





            John S. Fields, a native of Jamaica, New York now living in New England, is an avid reader who recently discovered a passion for writing; he has had fiction published in Enigma and Conceit magazines, and in the upcoming issue of Atticus Review. While reading and writing he is lovingly interrupted by his beautiful wife and their two rowdy boys.



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