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.”


I don’t have friends. Not friends that you can put your hand on, not real ones. Not “meat” friends. I have my friends online, in the ether, where they are at a safe distance. They can’t hurt me so much that way. I can run faster than they can, right?

So making a flesh-and-blood friend is a pretty rare event for me. So rare I can count on my fingers the number of times it’s happened…ever. Ever, as in not just this week or this month, not just “oh I haven’t made a friend in a while” or “gee, I only made five friends since I left school” but ever, as in “I haven’t trusted ten people in my entire fucking life.”

People I ask over for dinner and I actually look forward to it, people I really want to see. People I trust. Everyone has some, you know. Some people have more than others. I guess it’s just a way of life for some people, to welcome new friends with open arms. But I’m socially phobic, and so riddled with anxiety it’s pretty hard for me to even look people in the eye. (If I ever looked you calmly in the eye, congratulations. You may be one of seven or eight people I ever trusted.)

Yesterday someone I trusted stole my medication. From my medicine cabinet. Where it was tucked away behind the baby powder. I know it was yesterday, because I only filled the prescription the day before that. And I have a pretty good idea who it was, because – not trusting many people to visit – I had only one set of visitors in the house since I filled the prescription.

It was a prescription my dentist gave me to ease the anxiety of an upcoming dental visit. I don’t lie to my doctor to get extra meds; I ask for what I need because I really need it. There were four pills. Now there are two.

In addition to that, half of my husband’s medication is missing from the kitchen. And, as is the case with me, he doesn’t take it for fun.

I don’t have friends.

Now I remember why.



Susan Finlay Interview

Interview — Susan Finlay

Susan FinlayWhen did you decide to become a writer?

The stories have always swirled around in my head, even when I was a little girl. In school, English (reading, spelling, etc.) was always my best subject, too, so it would have been natural for me to start writing when I was young. But creative writing wasn’t taught in my schools and wasn’t encouraged. Instead, my creativity came out in artwork—mainly pencil drawings of people–and in playing dress-up and make-believe with friends.

Continue reading

For The People on Colt Ct.

For The People on Colt Ct. Wherever they are.

comcast_logoI do not have an Xfinity home security system, but you know who does? Some dumbass on Colt Ct. Wherever that is. They put my email address in as their own, and I got an email about it. I got a lot of emails about it.

In fact, I got an email notification every time they did anything. Continue reading