We gave him 1000 words, he only needed 220. What I really loved about this story was the rich backstory told in so few words. It makes the reader put together a few clues which is really engaging. Enjoy meeting Uncle Sal.
by Jimmy Callaway
I whistled loud and sharp through the gap where my front two teeth used to be. Down the block, Morty turned around, waved, and trotted up to meet me.
“Hey-hey, Sal, howzit goin’?” Morty said. His big buck teeth stuck out of his mouth like snow shovels, and his lips made dry smacking sounds as he talked.
“Not too good,” I said.
“Yeah? That’s too bad,” he said, “The kids sick or somethin’?”
“How’s the wife? How’s she, uh, doin’?” Morty kept his eyes locked on my shirt collar, no higher than that.
“Marie’s fine,” I said.
“Oh, that’s good. Good, good, good.”
“It’s my sister,” I said.
“Yeah. She’s knocked up.”
Morty swallowed. “Oh, yeah, huh? Well, huh. How about that?”
“Yeah,” I said, “How about that.” A little whistle escaped through the gap in my teeth.
Morty chuckled a little and said, “Hey, Sally, that whistle’a yours, I’ll tell ya. I mean, I heard ya all the way down the block, man.” He chuckled again. “Where’d you learn to whistle like that, Sally?”
I smiled. “Marie’s brother taught me.”
“Yeah,” I said, “It was an early wedding gift.”
Morty frowned. He said, “Wedding gif—” and then I cracked him one right in the fucking mouth.
Now Morty can whistle real good, too.
BIO: Jimmy Callaway lives and works in San Diego, CA. Please visit attentionchildren.blogspot.com for more shenanigans. Thanks as usual to Cameron Ashley and Josh Converse.