Glenda Beall – "What Did You Say?" flashfiction

Ed relaxed in his frayed green recliner, his feet up as he watched the Atlanta Braves play the New York Mets. A blue and red cap covered the top of his head, but grey tufts stuck out over his ears. Ed’s eyes were glued to the game. The Braves were leading four to two, but Smoltz had given up a walk and Piazza was at bat.

From the corner of his eye he noticed Jack jump up from where he was sleeping in the sun streaming through the west window. The old dog stood expectantly before the front door.

“Must be Sue,” Ed thought, “coming back from church.”

His wife of 41 years burst in exclaiming, “Hello, Jack. Did you miss your mama?”

There was a pause and then she said, “Have you eaten?”

About that time Smoltz fired the third strike past Piazza.

“Yes!” Ed said. That was the way he liked to see John pitch.

Sue disappeared into the kitchen. She returned a few minutes later bearing a tray with a salad, a sandwich and a frosty glass of tea. Without really looking at her, Ed reached up with both hands, but Sue plopped down in her chair and began eating.

“Where’s my sandwich?” Ed asked.

“You said you had eaten already.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Well, you’ll have to wait till I finish.” Sue took a sip of tea.“ Everybody at church asked about you.”

Ed’s voice took on an edge. “I said I haven’t had any lunch.”

Sue talked around a mouthful of lettuce and tomato,”Jacob wants to come out and pray with you.”

“Now that’s what I like,” Ed clapped his hands on his knees. Chipper had hit a homer.

“I’m glad you feel that way. The preacher thinks he can help, Maybe get you to go to church with me sometime.”

“I’d like some of that tea if you have anymore.”

“I get so tired of making excuses as to why you don’t come to church. People ask me if you just don’t like Jake’s sermons.”

“Hot damn! Struck him out! That’s the ball game.”

Sue jumped up and slapped her hand on the power button. The TV screen went black.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Ed slammed the foot rest down and started searching for the remote.

Sue grabbed the phone and punched in a number. “Jake, Ed would love to have you come over and pray with him. Yes, he said he would. This afternoon will be fine. Ok, we’ll see you in a few minutes. I’ll tell him.”