If you missed the online sessions from Southern Festival of books, they are still available on their Youtube Chatnnel and the Facebook Page. My favorite with the American Sunrise session with Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.
Since taking on editing the newsletter of the Chattanooga Writers Guild and resuming editing the Chattanooga Chat for the Chattanooga Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society I have not had much time for this personal project. I remain committed though to producing one issue per month. For October, I am pleased to present my Haloween themed flash fiction piece, "Aprodite." It appeared in a self publishied broadside I distributed several years ago, along with a few poems and two nonfiction pieces. I had the broadside printed on 11X17 page and folded in half. to yield four pages. Hope you enjoy this story.
“Hello?” The voice was decidedly feminine, like a woman inquiring who was there. I gave the man a questioning glance, for I knew he lived alone. His only companion was Aphrodite, a small black cat with a diamond studded collar. On previous visits, I had seen Aphrodite bestow lazy yawns as she lounged about on the furniture.
He met my glance. “It’s the refrigerator. It makes a sighing sound when the compressor comes on.” “Oh,” I replied. “Your refrigerator has a female voice.” “Indeed,” he said as he opened the package I had just delivered. His house lay at the end of my route, and I only had occasional deliveries for him. On the days I stopped there, his small packages were a welcome respite from the crates and heavy parcels I delivered to area businesses. Today I had brought him a rare book from a European distributor. “Yes, yes, I have been waiting for this!”
He gazed at the pages of the leather-bound volume. “Let me pour you a cup of coffee and we shall place this in the “Hall of Truth and Beauty.” He always referred to the room with bookshelves and framed art by that odd name. Art dating to the 1500’s adorned the walls above shelves that held the rare books.
I had no idea how he made his fortune to afford such treasures, but he had traveled widely. Israel, South Africa, Russia, and Japan were among the places he had mentioned. Always, his trips included a stop at the diamond district of New York.
The thought of the diamond district brought the cat and her expensive collar to mind. “Where is Aphrodite?” “She inhabits the Parthenon with her father Zeus, no doubt…Oh, you mean my cat. She is likely hiding under the bed. She gets touchy the week before Halloween.” “
That is quite a collar you gave to her.” “Yes, she is very fond of those gems. You know, diamonds are coal, refined to brilliant clarity by heat and pressure, just as the human mind is transformed by discipline and study.”
I left the old man to enjoy his treasures. As I turned to open the gate, I glimpsed the briefest movement at one window of the ancient house. Someone had pulled back a curtain. From behind the glass, a woman with long black hair watched me. The moonlight glinted on her diamond choker.