Short Short Fiction 12/17
A work of fiction and imagination. Neither characters or events based on real people. Copyright Paul E. Saevig, 2017. All rights reserved.


"The Grudge and the Deathbed"


Hours before dawn in her seventy fifth year, Jill opened her celebrated blue eyes and summoned strength to whisper. She grasped the sleeve of his eldest daughter and muttered words barely audible: 


“Get Grace.”


The daughter found Graces telephone number quickly enough and within half an hour, her mother’s former best friend rode in a taxi to the airport. At midmorning, she stepped into another cab at the airport closest to her former best friend’s home. 


She slipped the driver a $100 bill, gave him the address, and told him, “Step on it.” .


Over the seaside highway they hurtled, passed pickups and vans laden with surfboards, sped past sports cars and giant goblins of fog.  


At length they reached the hamlet where Jill had lived so long with her husband (who Grace introduced her to), where they raised their children and prospered. Grace paid the driver in front of the house and ran to her door.  


The tearful daughter led her to where Jill lay on a hospital bed, and now dozed, herself smaller than her high school freshman size.   


The daughter pressed her mother awake by her shoulders and announced, “Look who’s here, Mom.” 


Jill coughed, struggled, and with a bark, ordered the visitor to step into the light. 


Then she groaned and complained, “No, no, no, no, NO! I meant Grace Coatsworth, who lived across the hall from us in college. She still has my Christian Dior scarf and I want it back!” 


Grace stood back and heard the ocean roar outside. 


“So long, Jill,” was all she could say. 


“Yeah. Whatever,” Jill mumbled, and rolled over with her celebrated blue eyes already closed.