“The Sowder Sisters”

Ruby was fine until she gassed herself. I must of told her a hundred times, “If you don’t keep that stove lit, Sister, you’re going to blow yourself sky high.” But oh no, ninety-four years old, stubborn as sin, never once paid me the simple courtesy of listening to a single word I said and this despite the fact that I graduated Branch Normal and know a thing or two–and what did Ruby do?–but work all her life for the telephone company. So what did I smell when I came by her house last time but gas and after I covered my mouth and nose with a tea towel and opened all the windows and turned the stove off, what did I see but Ruby, sitting straight up on the commode, naked as a jay bird, biggety as you please, scolding a black man, a fat lady, and a little boy — three people only she could see. “Go long now,” she was telling them, “You don’t belong here!” and she was still shooing them off even after 9-1-1 came and took her away. Turned out the gas didn’t hurt her lungs none, Ruby’s healthy as a horse, nothing wrong with her body, it’s her mind. So now she lives with me. She don’t like the cats and that’s all right, I can keep the cats in the cellar, but keeping Ruby inside is another matter entirely and lately I’ve had to tie her to the bed. Mostly she just lies there but sometimes she talks. Once she said, “Why you got that big black spider in your hair?” and even though I knew there was no big black spider in my hair, I about dropped her supper tray and Ruby winked at me and smirked like she used to do. Yesterday she pointed at the ceiling and said, “Why you got rain raining inside your house?” and when I looked up to see if the roof leaked, she laughed. Ruby has a real mean laugh. She’s seven years older than me, made me wash the Packard every Saturday but never once let me drive it, kissed Ned Nichols at my picnic dinner, always said she asked for a monkey but got a sister instead. So tonight when she asked me to take the gum out of my mouth and give her half, I said No. “Even if I had any gum in my mouth,” I told her, “which I do not, I would not give you so much as a taste,” and I was about to slam out and leave her when Ruby laughed again, only this time her laugh wasn’t mean, it was scared, and I sat down beside her and held her hand and we sat in the dark like that for a long long time.
#

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction
Sort by

“Fly Season”

In a room without furniture, the flies have nowhere to land. They flit from wall to wall, winged dirt, smearing the
2019-08-16 23:38:07
eerbeznik

0

“Deadbolt”

I work from a small room in our loft, and Alice is always after me to get out more. Sometimes in the middle of the
2019-08-12 23:39:35
dscroggins

0

“Lowlands”

Alan asked me to meet him halfway between Brussels and Paris, at a restaurant around the
2019-08-09 23:36:34
rciresi

0

“Baby Lanes”

“Excuse me. I’m over here in the lane next to you and noticed you’re bowling very well tonight.” “That’s quite
2019-08-07 09:34:00
ctank08

0

“160”

Not many people knew what I knew about my brother and his wife. I knew it all. The booze, the opioids, the
2019-08-02 23:35:47
mwcox

0

“There is Always So Much”

What we did that summer: we hung around torn-down barns and took photos of each other with that old camera and
2019-07-29 23:33:44
mattliebowitz4

0

“A Rest”

There in the Carr Avenue house on an early spring evening in the year of the Great Shedding, the two youngest
2019-07-26 23:32:47
lalagood

0

“Nebraska”

In 2014 tornadoes swept across the northeast corner of Nebraska, destroying the small town of Pilger. Families stood
2019-07-25 12:37:33
rlittell

0

“Joan Ponders Spit”

It was Christmas day, so Joan was bored. Her children had already opened their presents. Her daughter had cried
2019-07-22 11:10:52
kikadorsey

0

“Master Craftsman”

Tom’s old guitar was falling apart. He asked friends for advice. “Take it to Sanderson,” they said. “He can fi
2019-07-19 23:32:12
mike-wilson

0

Molly Giles

About Molly Giles

I have published 4 story collections and a novel and have recent work in Corium, Cog, The Barcelona Review and Zyzzyva.