Little Marv scurries to keep up with Big Marv’s stride as they walk through the auto bone yard on Saturday morning, his eyes on the ribby Doberman chained to the office portable. Big Marv sets up shop between a smashed Plymouth Fury and a baby blue Ford Galaxy with a shattered windshield. Both cars perched on blocks. He opens his pride and joy Craftsman toolbox, crawls under the Galaxy, and goes to work extricating parts for the hot rod he’s building at home.
Little Marv climbs into the driver’s seat, notices splashes of blood on the dash, ashtray full of butts. He likes how the tray snaps closed and disappears into the dashboard, how the glove box drops open at the pop of a fist. Standing on the bucket seat, Little Marv turns the steering wheel with one hand, runs his fingers over the buttons on the radio with the other. Spins the dial. Listens to an imaginary Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire” specifically.
“Hand me the 9/16th, box end,” yells Big Marv from under the car.
Little Marv scrambles out the driver’s door and stares at the pile of wrenches in the Craftsman toolbox. He has no idea what a 9/16th is, nor a box end. All the wrenches have a circle on one end, a claw on the other. He doesn’t dare ask.
“You hear me? Get me the damn wrench. Idiot kid.”
The wrenches become a silver blur. Little Marv looks at the dirt. Grabs a loose sparkplug on the ground, slips it into his pocket. Stares at a snapped antennae telescoped closed, its shiny round tip peeking at the world. He scrambles back inside the car, grips the wheel with both hands, and peers through the cracks in the windshield.
Big Marv’s long legs stick out from under the Galaxy as if he’s been run over.
teaches “low fat fiction” and is the author of four collections of short
Grace (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), Soundings and Fathoms: Stories (Finishing
Line Press, 2018), House Samurai (Iota Press, 2006), and Parts &
Labor (Thumbprint Press, 1992). His stories have appeared in dozens of venues
including Carve, daCunha, Flashback Fiction, KYSO Flash, Sea Letter, Third
Wednesday, and Exposition Review, where he was twice a Flash 405 winner.
In 2018, his flash was nominated for the Best of the Net anthology.
Born in the Chihuahua desert near the Mexican border, Guy grew up on a Sting-Ray in
Ventura, learned to write in the Peace Corps during a civil war in Guatemala, honed his
craft pulling weeds and planting flowers as a gardener in San Francisco, and later
received his M.A. from San Francisco State, where his teaching career began.
He’s been a creative-writing midwife since 1991.
Guy lives on a houseboat with his wife and a salty cat, and walks the planks daily.
It’s all true, especially the fiction.
Author’s website: https://www.guybiederman.com/
This Day Afloat: Reflections of Life on the Water,