A Crack in the Room Tone

stories for a noisy world

by Fred Smith

November 18, 2015

She was working late, but had the dutiful sense to have dinner waiting for me when I got home.

I had just finished off the last of the pot roast when she texted me a selfie of her dousing the crock pot with strychnine.

September 19, 2015

 Mitzi heard the thud from the hallway. She had been waiting the last eight minutes to use the bathroom, but not to pee. She wasn’t sure what was about to happen, but it had something to do with Jacque. She'd convinced herself that she would wait until tomorrow to assess just how bad the decision to let Jacque's stoner bad boy charm work its way to at l...

April 17, 2015

She’d grown tired of waiting and decided to pretend she was the star of a French New Wave film; a fantasy that gave her license to play with his gun. His apartment became a grainy black and white scene that invited her to take hold of the pistol and aim it at items the audience would interpret as significant. In truth they were random, but now she had s...

April 17, 2015

They were sitting patiently near the fountain.
She found it calming. It made him want to take a leak.
The son said into his phone, “I can’t. We’re at the credit union. The federal credit union.”
Mom clutched her purse with two hands across her chest like it was her son the time when he was six and spent the night alone in the woods.
An Asian boy with ti...

March 25, 2015

She felt sympathy for him because he was old.

His face was wrinkled and his shoulders sagged as though his body had spent the last decade in an out-of tune microwave. Yet here he was on the number 7, commuting among the hustle and fray, most of which was half his age and still clung to the grade-school ideal that the world owed them something.

His eye...

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