With Mike Stang you never know what’s coming: The Coming

Rock-rock-rockin' on heaven's door

Literati! Mike Stang is the third of five finalists in our Beneath the Surface contest. Here’s a story about anticipation and, just maybe acceptance of the inevitable. Two more finalists to post…I keep checking the windowsill for Sparky, our carrier pigeon. Must be disoriented by all the smoke that still hangs in the air in Moscow like the blur of a man in love.

The Coming

by Mike Stang

The homestead laid way the hell out on Killer Canyon Road. During the winter you could see the roof from town, a dot of red over the top of the hill surrounded by clear almond trees. Most people forgot about Buck and Sarah after Sarah died, some told stories how Buck went crazy with grief and killed himself. Some don’t know shit but Sheriff Coldburn had enough of stories; he was off to see it for himself.

The old man sat on his porch where he could see you coming. The rocker was made for comfort but Buck never let it. He sat straight ahead with cat ears and a dog’s nose. Been like that for some time, it’s okay though, Sarah shows up with coffee and biscuits in the mornings.

She never did get them biscuits right, Buck thought, and he never could drink the coffee down to the last for fear of grounds. He didn’t say anything; Old Buck took better or worse serious.

Buck knew he was dying, paybacks, he thought. He knew all the suffering by heart: eighty-eight years living, forty of it up here on this damn hill. Nothing happened at Killer Canyon Buck hadn’t seen a thousand times. Johnny, their kid, was killed up here showing off stupid stuff to a fancy girl that was none of his business. Dick Blake, the only neighbor, was dragged to jail for having some kind of sex trade going on out of his cellar. Buck chuckled at that; Sarah didn’t sleep for two weeks but time folded in on itself these days, he only thought of the coming.

The day turned cold as Buck got himself back in the house. Ever since his fall a few months past there was that sweet sleep he’d gotten use to. Tonight was different. White light filled another room. Must be Sarah up late baking, I’d better go see.

Coldburn opened the unlocked door. Buck was nowhere. He turned to leave then smelled fresh coffee. The kitchen was clean except for crumbs by the stove.

The Sheriff bent low to see.

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in" (Leonard Cohen)
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen)

 

 

 

 

26 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    “The Coming” is a warm blanket feel with a down to Earth acceptance that life settles in where there are no changes needed, no regrets necessary and no excuses thought in growing old where one belongs. Here the smoke rises where people are unreal and unnecessary visitors, but the ghost of a woman’s love waits with biscuits and coffee just over the hill until it his time to join her in the next life. Outstanding Michael !

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    Having read all five finalists’ entries, but not being eligible to vote, because my two allowed poems were not entered officially in this contest, I believe your story, this story, Michael, is by far, without a close second, the most worthy to be declared the winner of “Beneath the Surface”.

  3. Parisianne Modert says:

    Sentimentally, I thought of Gary Clark this morning and how very fond he would be of your story, “The Coming”, Michael, Mike or Stang as to his preference and yours. I thought back about his finalist story at the conclusion of the first contest at AWWYP that I, myself, entered. The dancing feather in the snow storm connection of undying love is also in your story. I am comforted though I be a flawed, tragic romantic, knowing excellent, romantic story telling from the heart connection between this life and the next is passed on. My prayers to Gary and Peggy as well as you. Only the white light of love endures.

  4. kyle katz says:

    So much said in so few words. The simplicity of the language is so rich. The commitment to staying right in the thick of the story and making the reader stay with you is always been your signature mark of brilliance.You are extremely talented and I hope the world will be blessed to have your words circulating out in the universe.

    • Michael says:

      Working on that circulating stuff. Thank you for such encouraging comments. You and me go back a long time but I never assume.

      • Parisianne Modert says:

        I never understood exactly what motivated James Wilkes Booth (as he was not among the actors that night at Ford Theater) to interject Marcus Junius Brutus into Our American Cousin until now.
        I’m grateful Michael that you didn’t stoop to using any “Dundreayisms” as “twisted aphorisms” in your own story as the playwright, Tom Taylor, did as farcical comedy. Taylor wrote, “Don’t know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal – you sockdologizing old mantrap.” Thank you for sparing us from such dribble with solid story telling.

    • Michael says:

      Monika, I’m such a fan of your writing. Thank you for your comments. Isn’t this fun above and below the surface.

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Grant, for the McCarthy shout. Boy does that tingle the spine. I was enthralled with “Remembrance”, let’s do this again.

  5. Mac Eagan says:

    Mike, you rock and this may be one of the best pieces of yours that I have read so far. The voice for the narration is “an insider” – the story may be told third-person but it is as if it is told to us by a neighbor.
    Master strokes, Mike, master strokes.

    • Michael says:

      Mac, when I think about it, the narration is told from a writer who is trying to win a contest, and may be the weakest link to the over-all. I suppose I was going for invisible, and let the muse do the thing.

  6. Colleen Wick says:

    Just superior Mike!
    Believe it or not this is the very 1st piece of your work I have ever seen. Worth the wait buddy! More please!!!!!

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