A middle American tragedy

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Photo by olly licensed from Adobe Stock

Barefoot and wearing a wife-beater and cutoff jeans, Jimmy searched along the dirt roads near his trailer for soda bottles to turn in for change. No need to ask his parents for money since they had nothing to spare, ever. A green Cadillac stopped. Mr. Jasper opened the door, and Jimmy jumped in. The rare treat of air conditioning was welcoming.

“Boy, I can pay you two dollars to help me move a recliner out at my place.”

Surrounded by his three thousand acres of planted cotton, Mr. Jasper’s house stood at the end of Route Seven. Several bird dogs…

Act Two: Memphis Belles twist some rules

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Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 from Pexels

The championship match between the Memphis Belles and the Atlanta Firestorms starts December 26th at seven p.m. at the Memphis Arena. We arrive at five for the practice session. The capacity sign indicates three thousand max. I shudder. That is a lot of folks, more than I’ve ever been in front of at one time, even when I won best skater at Freewill Baptist Church’s Skate-For-Jesus Fundraiser.

Edna stomps up behind me. “Oh hey, Miss Cathie. You ready to rumble?” She laughs and slaps her knee. “Just kidding. Everything’s gonna be fine. Yee haw.”

I wish she’d go away somewhere.

Act I: The Memphis Belles

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Photo by Lukas Schroeder on Unsplash

Tommy drives me to practice in his dusty pickup. After trying to grow a mustache for the past three months, he now has what looks like a dirty upper lip. His cowboy boots and hat give him the Randy look, his favorite Village People member. With this heat wave before Christmas, I wear a pair of pedal pushers and a sleeveless shirt. My brown hair is a spongy mess, so I wrapped a scarf around it. I take one look in the mirror. Ugh. It’ll have to do.

After turning in to the parking lot, Tommy parks and lights a…

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Photo by Kutan Ural on Unsplash

Lady Gaga? How did you come about that title?

That’s my stage name.

Mam, That’s my stage name.

Of course. That’s what they told me backstage. Before we start, I need my assistant to finish brushing my hair. He only got through number 844 before you interrupted us. 156 more to go.

Backstage? Before we get started? Interrupted you? We’re not in some Hollywood sitcom.

…155, 156. Thank you. We can start now.

Mam, Thank you. We can start now.

Of course.

Anyway. I wanted to complement you on the outstanding performance at President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.

What did you…

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Photo by Max Titov on Unsplash

“Gloria” blasts throughout the club. Sawdust covers the aluminum dance floor. Hot boy sweat fills the air. After finishing my third shot of peppermint schnapps, he appears, decked out in a dark polo shirt and black boots. His melon shaped ass poured into his 501s. I’ve never seen anyone so perfect with his curly hair and dimpled cheeks.

I watch as he hits the dance floor alone with his confident moves, and how he’s in rhythm with each beat. I take a hit of poppers and a chance and join him. We begin to move in unison.

A wink from…

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Photo by Regina Victorica on Unsplash

With my white boy perm picked to perfection and a periwinkle bandana tucked in the back right pocket of my 501s, I pay the two bucks and head into I-Beam’s legendary Sunday afternoon T-Dance, ready to celebrate my 22nd birthday.

I buy a beer and land on a spot near the dance floor, packed with twinks dressed in Village People inspired garb, still coming down from their Saturday night highs.

A fireman rubs my back. “Come here often?” I search for another location and for brighter options.

A waft of fog rolls through the club as the playing of Sylvester’s…

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Photo by Andrew Johnson on Unsplash

“Your turn tonight, Franny.” Carmen lived at the end of the hallway, but her voice carried throughout the entire complex.

“I don’t know.” Franny looked to Marlene for reassurance, pacing back and forth. “It needs more work. Maybe tomorrow.”

“Go ahead and read, Franny. Everybody else has told us how they got here.” Marlene lived across from Franny.

She pulled out her journal, just as others had done before her when they’d needed something to get through similarly long nights.

“The first time I saw Perry was when I went to Nordstrom’s to buy boots for a trip to London…

I’m in Love with Dr. Sam

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Image Source: Aleks Dorohovich / Unsplash.com

I was watching Jeopardy when my dad came in the living room and grabbed the remote out of my hand. “What else is on?”

“A rerun of Roseanne. The one where Becky farts at school.” I knew that would piss him off.

“We are not watching that. And don’t ever use that word again.”

Mom bought a TV Guide every Saturday at Ed’s Market. After completing the crossword puzzle and memorizing the entire guide, I’d cut out pictures of my favorite stars and paste them in a photo album. When watching TV, my family would ask me what was on…

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Photo by H Williams on Unsplash

I’m Karen Newman and this is Karen Thompson. Here are our Nordstrom cards. We’re closing our accounts. And here are cards from the rest of the women on our block, Karen Allgood, Karen Rivers, and Karen Diego.

May I ask why you want to close your accounts? Has there been a problem?

You’re not carrying Ivanka’s designer products any longer. I have her entire line and I’m looking for a new pair of shoes for a wedding that I’m going to this weekend. There will be five-hundred guests, all of Jacksonville’s finest citizens. …

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Tell me about yourself.

Last year, I brought in thirty-two million in sales. Their top producer. Three years in a row.

Impressive. Tell me more about your time with Charter Products.

You’ll notice on my resumé that I managed the company’s customer service division before moving into sales. Responsible for thirty-one employees. Five-Star awards seven years running.

Why do you want to leave your current company?

I’m looking for new opportunities.

You’d be responsible for a team of ten sales associates. Are you prepared for that type of responsibility.

It’s something I relish in.

This job requires someone who our…

Jeff Harvey

Lives in San Diego. Work in Queerlings, Stone of Madness, Prism n Pen, Flash Fiction Mag, and elsewhere. Tweet @JeffHarveySD.

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