The cabin door banged open.
“Big Joe!” Momma jumped up and began gathering the tarot
cards scattered across the table. “We wasn’t expecting you for two weeks.”
Big Joe grabbed Momma by the nape of her neck and smashed a
fist into her cheek. “I told you not to bring that foolishness into my
Momma crumpled into a heap upon the dirt floor.
“That’ll teach you,” Big Joe said, kicking her in the ribs. He went into their bedroom and shut the door.
I helped Momma to the couch.
I wet a washcloth and squeezed it out.
“I can kill him, Momma,” I whispered, pressing the cloth against her
swollen cheek. You ain’t got to put up with this anymore. Just say the word.”
Momma shook her head.
She lay there quietly weeping.
I watched her fall asleep.
“Wake up.” Momma
I blinked my eyes open.
“Where’s Big Joe?”
She knelt beside me; whispered.
“Big Joe ain’t bad, Cassidy. He
was just feeling small yesterday.”
“He lost his job. His
anger made him blind. He didn’t mean it.”
I thought about all the times Big Joe had hit my mother
before. “It ain’t right, Momma.”
She patted my arm.
“Go gather the eggs. Hurry,
now. Big Joe’s in a fine mood.”
I worked too fast: I broke a dozen eggs on the dirt floor of
the cabin. Momma reached out and slapped my face. Then she got down on her knees and begged Jesus
After I washed the tears from my face, I prayed too: I prayed
that Momma would stop feeling small. I
prayed that Big Joe would get a job out on the coast.
But maybe the clouds were too thick for God to see me that
day. Maybe He didn’t hear my prayers.
Two days later, Big Joe started feeling small again.
Momma helped me to the couch.
She stood there, quietly weeping.
Labels: flash fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge