Cradle The Blanching Bones


I saw the area code on the caller ID and knew who it was right away. I thought to let it ring, allow the answering machine to pick up, but I knew she’d call back again and again until I took her call.

I greeted her with a jovial voice, and she asked if I’d purchased my fake moxie on sale at Sears. A wise woman, she. I laughed and heard her snort on the other end of the line. I missed her, but felt it best to keep that morsel of information to myself. One would think, after all these years, I’d understand her connections weren’t made by Ma Bell; the woman’s psychic, especially when it comes to matters concerning me; there is no corner carved dark enough in which to hide from her probing intuition.

“So, how’s the scorching desert?” She asked.

“The weather’s been wonderful,” I lied, choosing not to reveal the fact I’d struggled with a bloody nose for two weeks and had lost nearly ten pounds of water weight since my arrival. Worst of all, there didn’t seem to be anything green growing in the sandbox they call Vegas; a far cry from the fields and streams that had reared me on the farm in Pennsylvania.

“Settling in to your new job?” She wanted to know. I heard Petie in the background, barking at the postman or a passerby. I missed him, too, my protector, my soul mate, my aging German shepherd—it nearly tore my heart out to leave him behind.

“The folks at the casino have been fantastic. It’s a good career move.”

She cleared her throat and I heard the sound of ice cubes hitting the bottom of a glass tumbler—rum and coke no doubt, as she insisted on her long-term affair with Captain Morgan.

I assured her all was well and we chatted until the Captain slurred her tones.

She phoned every week for two years. Her voice grew more desperate for me with each call, and my soul ached for her as well. In July, the postman delivered an envelope to my door, postmarked Pennsylvania. I expected a lengthy letter, perhaps begging me to return home to help her run the farm. There was no letter. Instead, the envelope contained a single blade of green grass.


“United Airlines, flight 342. Departing Las Vegas, arriving in Scranton at 5:45.”

She was at the gate awaiting my arrival.

“Hi, Mom,” I said, handing the envelope back to her. She donned a wry smile, threw her arm around my shoulders and whisked me back to the burgeoning fields of my youth, the fields that will, one day, cradle my blanching bones.

All Rights Reserved.  Copyright 2015-B.K. Crawford.


Author of Devil's Edge, The Future Queen, and J.J. Houston: Murder on Moon Street. I live in Rhode Island with the love of my life, two menopausal tomato plants, and several purse-snatching poltergeists. I love to read. I'm an archaeology buff, I poke around in science and physics, philosophy and art, and I enjoy gardening. My favorite movie is Fried Green Tomatoes, I listen to movie soundtracks while I write. Like Garfield, I will absolutely chase my own shadow for a pan of lasagna.

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Posted in Family & Relationships, Fiction, Short Story

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