Two rejections from 52/250 Land this morning. The first one is on the theme, "Broken Shells", and the second on the theme "Another World". Presented without further comment.
In The Dirt
Alonzo Fairchild was eating roasted peanuts out of a wrinkled paper bag. Alonzo took out the peanut with one hand, expertly shed the outside with his thumb, popped the innards into his mouth, dropped the husk onto the ground. The twilight held onto the day's heat like a bad rumor. His granddaughter came down the rickety stairs behind him and onto their postage stamp front lawn. He remembered her as a helpless infant, now she was growing round with her own child, a fact that made him feel impossibly ancient.
"You're making a mess, Grandpappy," she said in her little girl's voice. I don't care, he thought. I don't care about making messes. The world is just a squalling, ugly, dirty mess of babies being born and people drawing their last. There isn't any point in caring, because after it all gets counted up, you're just as dead as those peanuts. It doesn't matter what you do, everything you are and everything you know and everything you did ends up in the dirt.
"I'm sorry, baby," he said. He reached down from his lawn chair with difficulty, starting to gather up the leavings.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Grandpappy," she said happily, and walked down the sidewalk to catch the bus. Alonzo waited until she had rounded the corner, shelled a fresh peanut, and let the outside fall onto the ground.
She was beautiful. It was a word I used too much, which tended to dull its impact, but she wasn't just regular person beautiful, she was movie star beautiful. She was literally the most beautiful person I had ever seen. Even her flaws were beautiful. She had long, wavy black hair pulled into a pony tail, with skin the color of tea with a lot of milk in it. Her skin was flawless, and her curves seemed to beg for a cocktail dress and high heeled shoes. She didn't dress up at all- just khakis and simple flat sneakers, but she looked glamorous, better than other people without looking like she was trying to be. She had a certain familiarity- I didn't know her, but I had seen her before, and every time I did, my breath stopped and my brain froze. We apparently shopped at the same places, and now here she was, shopping where I worked. I drunk her in- brown eyes, pert nose, mouth bemused like she was laughing at a joke no one else can hear. I wanted to run off with her, just go someplace where I could sit and read to her under a tree and watch boats come into the harbor.
I snapped back into myself, suddenly hearing the silence and feeling the stares of people waiting behind her.
"I have an order to pick up. Baker?"
"Ah. Got it."