Two Shorts

by Steven Miller

Visiting Grandma

"There's a drug dealer across the hall from me," she says as soon as we sit down to play scrabble.

"Grandma, you think all black people are drug dealers," I say.

"No, no, this is a nice Jewish man."

As hard as it is to believe that a nice Jewish man could be selling drugs in her retirement home, my ears still perk up expectantly.

"What does he sell? Cocaine? Marijuana?" I ask, humoring her.

"No, no, he sells his pills."

This could actually be possible.

"But what does he sell them for," I ask next. "I mean, you can't do much with money, not in here."

"Not money," she replies. "Favors of the flesh."

I spit my chamomile back into my tea cup at this, so disarmed by the images flooding my mind, images of liver-spotted bodies crashing against each other like fragile waves, of wrinkles wrapped around wrinkles in every depraved act of elderly prostitution, and then she says what, in all likelihood should kill me in my seat:

"And the stuff he's got is worth it too!"

The War of Supposes

My teenage son should not be allowed freedom of speech, and this I thoroughly believe. When I ask him about the lawn, specifically the three-inch deep tire tracks, he supposes his truck, which is really my truck, veered off the driveway. He did not steer it into the lawn, but he supposes it must have done it all on its own.

What will he do all afternoon? He supposes a bit of this and that. Will he empty the dishwasher? He supposes he will after this level, when he gets off the phone, off facebook, off his lazy privileged butt. Him supposing he will really means that he doesn't have the energy or wherewithal and that he simply won't, but it's not a lie; he's clear about that after the fact; he just supposed wrong.

If I could restrict his freedom of speech, I would take away that word "suppose" and all of its synonyms. I suppose I could.

BIO: Steven Miller is a Kansas author. He publishes primarily fiction, primarily set in the Flint Hills (the greatest little hills in the world). His novel The Night Shift is currently appearing in serial form in The Hype Weekly at http://thehypeweekly.com/author/steven/ Be sure to check it out, even if you're not from Kansas.