Weekly Exercise #7 (9/30/13)

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Weekly Exercises, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

It’s time once again for my Weekly Exercises. These flash fiction pieces are part chance to practice my craft, part sounding board so that readers can tell me what they think of my work, and part shameless ploy to get you interested in my published fiction. Remember, the Weekly Exercises rely on reader feedback, so whether you like or hate what’s below, please let me know. I always enjoy opinions…provided that nobody’s using swear words or calling me an idiot or something.

If you wish to read this and other Weekly Exercises, they are all listed on the Weekly Exercise page above. Enjoy.


Mark had thought that “Cousin Nemo” was Jenny’s cousin who had come to stay, and that she’d forgotten to tell him. Mark could kind of understand her forgetting to tell him that her cousin was coming to stay with them while he conducted business in town. She’d also forgotten to tell him that she liked getting some on the side when she was supposed to be at a business meeting. With all that and trying to keep things as normal as possible for the kids while each considered therapy or even divorce, forgetting that Cousin Nemo was coming to stay was understandable.

But then after two weeks, he’d gotten irritated with Cousin Nemo, who seemed to never be doing anything business-like. Instead he just hung out with the kids. He helped them with their homework. He took them to the park, to the zoo and the movies and bowling and roller-skating. He read them stories and tucked them into bed while Mark and Jenny were arguing with each other or making calls that had to do with anything but the state of their marriage. In short, Cousin Nemo was doing everything a parent was supposed to do besides feed and clothe them but he and Jenny had no time to do.

So he’d asked her this afternoon how long her cousin planned on staying with them. And Jenny had replied “I thought he was your cousin.” His insides had turned cold then. He’d called the police, he’d driven home, he’d nearly hit his wife’s car pulling into the driveway. They ran into the house, but the house was empty. No Cousin Nemo. No kids. Not even the dog. Just a note that said “Goodbye” on it.

Mark and Jenny didn’t do anything for a moment. Then they broke down crying. They cried for their marriage, for their kids, for their own stupidity, and they cried for themselves. Especially for themselves.

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