Saturday 18 June 2022

Debut Flash: Hiding Places by Emily Fisher

The youngest boy was hiding things in a big paint bucket behind the cherry tree in the back yard. It was April and the tree was flushed and weeping pink petals all over the corner of the yard. No one could see the bucket from the house, through the petals and the daily rain.

Everyone hid things that spring, even if it was just a face behind a book.

The father discovered the bucket the first week of May, when he was jerking the lawnmower around the trunk of the cherry tree, doing the job of an eldest son too busy with baseball practice to get his damn chores done. In the bucket, the father found a sludge of dirty water and wet blossoms, and a small collection of rusting tools pilfered from the garage.

Experiments the boy said, when an explanation was commanded. I wanted to see what would happen.

A belt makes a certain sound when it gets pulled quickly from its loops, a thwhiiiip like a snake moving fast through long, wet grass.

The father omits the flower petals when he tells the story later. His version has no pink, no softness. He omits the snake, too.

Some years later, lightning will cleave the cherry tree in two and someone will haul off both pieces one day while the children are away at school. Not much one can hide behind a stump.

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