Another flash fiction Ma tale by Kaye linden
377 words more or less…
After ninety-nine years, Ma has fractured a hip. The old trickster bats her lashes and pulls on the bell. “Get me out of this bed,” she shouts. A nurse pops her head into the room.
“I got this,” Ma’s sister Possum says.
“That’s the nurse with the snake eyes,” Ma whispers.
Possum holds back a laugh because all the nurses are “that one with the snake eyes.”
“What do you mean by snake eyes?” Possum asks while helping Ma to the wheelchair.
“Superstitious, busy-body eyes,” Ma says. “Eyes that peer around corners like crows that throw their yellow eyes into shadows…eyes that can’t be trusted.”
A metal bedpan clatters along the hallway and Ma sighs. “Such a low class place,” she says. “Get me out of here…”
In the dining room, they sink into a lake of vacant eyes, bandaged arms, wheelchairs, canes, white plastic table cloths patterned with blue koala bears, yellow melamine plates, and sparrows flitting through open doors and windows. A bent over white- haired volunteer offers Ma a squashed coconut lamington. Ma directs a bony finger towards the table and the bent over white- haired volunteer picks up the cake with a bare hand and dumps it onto Ma’s plate.
“Don’t touch that,” Possum says, but it is already in Ma’s mouth and down it goes…
Inside and outside, feral cats meander through eucalyptus trees, run over slumped daisies and lantana, jump through windows and offer patients an occasional mouse or half-eaten bird. The cats mark their territory in the dining room corners and cut up tablecloths with their claws. A piece of cake drops and their vacuum cleaner tongues mop up.
Possum points to a black and white cat with a missing ear. “Ma, look how cute that one is.”
“CUTE? CUTE?” Ma screams, slamming her plate on the table. She wags a finger in Possum’s face. “SNAKE EYES!”
Possum backs up. “Are you talking to me? Now I’M snake eyes?”
Ma’s mouth curls down and a scratchy whisper crawls from her lips.
“You know, Possum, I really DO prefer cats…”
*** the end………..***
As always, I invite you, my friends, to critique and comment….