“A Woman Named Hen”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new one-page story. Remember, these are sort of practice stories that I write, limited to one page, and done in ten minutes or so. Here is my most recent one, unedited. Hope you enjoy.

In the dim candlelight, with all of her makeup on, my mother almost looked young, almost looked alluring. Her real name was Susan. She went by Hen (I assume because she worked in a henhouse, though I’m not sure.). I’d found her by way of the christian missionary that had originally given me to another family as a baby. I’d tracked him down to his home on the edge of town. His legs didn’t work anymore, so he spent his days sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch smoking cigarette tobacco through his pipe. When I asked for my mother’s name and whereabouts, he declined to tell me, saying he’d made a solemn vow to her to never tell anyone. He said, “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” So I stuck my Smith & Wesson Model #3 up his nostril and dared him to decline me again. This time he didn’t recite any Bible, just names and places.

While I stood there in her room, having already paid for an hour’s time (they charged by the hour, though it rarely took that long), I told her my name and that I was her son.

She said, “Guess you’ll be wantin’ to know what I been up to, why I give you up.”

I said, “No ma’am. The long and short of it is that I need to be rid of you.”

She cocked her jowled head. “This here’s the only time you’ve not been rid of me. I ain’t got no interest in interfering with your business.”

I sat on the bed and laid my revolver on the sweat-stinking blanket. “See, it isn’t about that, ma’am. It’s about you interfering. But I’ve got some enemies who’d love to find out who and what you are and use that information against me in my business.”

“What business is that?” she said.

“U.S. Congress.” Her head cocked again, not understanding what I was saying, but she didn’t move as I pushed the pillow against her face, pressed the barrel in, cocked, and fired.

About Adam Nannini

The greatest writer of his generation ... which isn't saying much.
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