photo by chuttersnap-on Unsplash

My father said I would die at thirty. As of this writing, I’m sixty-five.

He’s still alive and I am convinced he is infuriated that so am I. He always has to be right.

Now, my oncologist tells me I only have two more months to go.

I call Dad.



Joe lay on Dr. Adams’ couch and stared at the stain on the ceiling.

“Mushrooms symbolize finances, Joe. Depending on what the mushroom looked like, you’re either going to come into money or waste money due to poor financial planning.”

“It was a big mushroom, with spots. It kept getting bigger and bigger until — ”

The stain on the ceiling cracked. Brown water dripped on Joe’s forehead.

“I hate to add to your worries, Joe, but let’s discuss the outstanding bill.”

The ceiling collapsed on Joe, instantly fracturing his neck.

“I’m gonna sue,” he groaned, as Dr. Adams dug him out.



“How many years, George?”

“Enough to have killed me already. Why are we hiking in a damn blizzard?”

“Three inches isn’t a blizzard. It’s beautiful!”


“What’s that?”

“A balloon, Martha.”

“Why would it be here?”

“Probably some damn thing that floated from the neighbors.”

“They’re a lovely couple. He’s so in love with her.”

George finds a branch that juts out of a snow mound. He tries to puncture the balloon, but each time he does, it rises into the sky.


George drops. Martha shrieks.

She starts CPR.

The snow behind her reads in red, Happy Valentines Day!



They always meet at her studio apartment. Clothes fall as soon as the door opens and they make their way to the bed.

Ten minutes later, he’s searching for his underwear.

He notices a new recliner with the price tag still attached. “You bought me a chair, love?”

“That’s my chair, Gerald.”

“I never have anywhere to sit. Maybe I should move some of my furniture over?”

“I’ve told you, Gerald. I’m a minimalist.”

“But we need a bigger desk.”

“A bigger desk would block my view.”

She hands him his clothes she’s gathered. Looks at door, smiling.

“Next Tuesday?”



E Barnes

E Barnes


My Flash Fiction collection, “Flash Crazy” is available at Amazon: Many of the stories first published here at Medium.