Hurricane Lamps

Note: I wrote this story for a challenge in a writer’s group. We were given three words to incorporate into a short story. The words? Martian, Hurricane, and Gorgeous.

Hurricane Lamps

He sat and waited, looking at his ticket. One-oh-seven: he was next.

“These chairs aren’t good for my back,” the old man next to him said. “What number are you? I’m one-twenty.”

He held his ticket up for the old man to view. “It didn’t take too long.”

“Bah. I got a metal ball in my hip. You know. From the war?” He shifted his hip and patted his buttock for effect. “Right there. Every time I go to the airport, they get me. Swarm all over me with their damn electric rods like Martians, beeping and clicking and probing. Pain in the rump.”

The younger man leaned back, and the old man leaned toward him as if pulled by string, breathing heavily. The breath wafted across number one-oh-seven, and he pressed his lips together. “Mm-hmm,” he said, nodding. Nodding and looking for an escape. But there was none. Just the horrible, stiff chairs and the waiting that came with them.

“So, filing a claim? Did you get robbed? I got robbed. Last week. Bastards took my Mother’s antique goldware set.” The old man waved some papers. “They broke three windows. Three! Why in hell did they have to break three of my windows?”

The young man shook his head. “That’s too bad.”

“They broke my hurricane lamps, too. We got those as a wedding gift.” The old man frowned and patted his thighs. “My Mazie’s been dead for ten years, God bless her.”

“Wow, yeah. Hurricane lamps. They must have been pretty.”

“Ha. Pretty.” The old man nodded some, and chewed his lip.

In the background, an intercom called number one-oh-seven. As the young man stood to go, the older one grabbed his arm.

“They weren’t pretty, son. They were gorgeous.”

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