This bit of Flash Fiction first appeared in my August, 2021 newsletter. Newsletter readers get the first look before my flash fiction and bonus scenes eventually show up here on the blog and in the page collections. Newsletter subscribers also get the opportunity to send me prompt words to use in the next month’s scene.
This one features recurring characters Ben and Jerry. Although this piece can stand alone, you can read more about their journey so far here.
Adventures with Ben and Jerry
Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
Jerry hummed as he wandered around the living room, lifting cushions, peering under them and behind throw pillows. Mildly distracting, but it would take more than that to pull Ben away from the ebook he was reading.
“Hmm…” Jerry paused his humming and stopped in front of Ben. “Yellow eyes glowed in the dark,” Jerry boomed in an announcer voice better suited to an infomercial than a book narration. “And suddenly, An owl swooped towards him and crashed into the windshield.” Of course, outrageously exaggerated arm movements accompanied the words, because…well, he was Jerry.
Ben snorted and flashed a grin. “No, I’m not re-reading Josh Lanyon’s A Dangerous Thing, and I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual quote from the book even if it does kind of resemble a scene.”
Jerry’s lips quirked, and he resumed his apparent search through the living room, opening and closing drawers, then flattening himself on the floor to peer underneath the love seat. What on earth was Jerry humming? Was that, “Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”
And better yet, why was he humming that particular old tune? Because Jerry always had a reason…and no doubt he wanted Ben to ask.
And Ben would ask. Just not yet. He stared at his Kindle, but Jerry’s antics proved more distracting than he wanted to let on.
From the floor, Jerry turned his announcer tone back on. “Jonathan scowled, but his younger brother, Charles, probably couldn’t hear the grumble rumbling in Jonathan’s throat because water lapped against the yacht so loudly you’d think the choppy waves had been churned up behind an old-fashioned steamboat ferry. Charles barely glanced up and calmly took another bite of his poached egg.”
Ben blinked. “Are you referencing that alternate ending bonus scene Addison Albright wrote for ‘Til Death Do Us Part?” He cocked his head. “I mean, the names fit, and they are on a yacht, but that’s about where the similarities end.”
“Wasn’t Charles eating a poached egg?”
“I’m pretty sure he was eating an unspecified breakfast sandwich.”
“Which, admit it, might have had a poached egg in it.”
Ben grinned. “I’ll give you that.” But he didn’t tack on the enquiry he knew Jerry wanted. Perplexing as Jerry’s choice of tune was, it was far more fun to let Jerry continue his efforts. “And you’re getting warmer.”
One of Jerry’s expressive eyebrows rose. “Ah, you’re reading something by the same author?”
Ben nodded and pointedly turned back to his Kindle.
Jerry resumed humming, and turned his search to the bookcases, lifting each shell in Ben’s collection to look underneath, and feeling between books. “Sheets rustled against bare skin,” Jerry’s announcer voice boomed, again pulling Ben away from the gripping time-travel story he was desperately trying to read. “but much to the octogenarian’s chagrin, he didn’t feel even the slightest twitch down below despite the well-paid, potent Adonis’s lucious golden locks cascading around him as warm lips caressed his corded neck.”
Ben choked around his laugh. “What part of ‘I’m reading a book by Addison Albright’ did you not understand?”
“I could picture him writing those words.”
“Her. And she’s a grandmother for goodness sakes. And I’m pretty sure she would never, ever, put that particular combination of words into a book.”
“Totally would. Bet she would put an indelible-ink-loaded pen to paper and totally write those words.”
Ben snorted again. “Okay, so maybe I could picture it in one of those flash fiction bits she writes where rabid readers give her a bunch of crazy prompt words that only an absolutely fabulous and wildly talented…” (yet oh-so-humble, imposter-syndrome-ridden, and curiously adjective and adverb-loving) “…writer such as she could cobble together into a coherent scene, but never, and I can’t emphasize that enough, would you read that paragraph in one of her published books.”
“Whatever.” But Jerry wore a smug grin, taking Ben’s semi-capitulation as a win.
“Okay, I give up.” Ben stood and stretched as their whimsical, bendy, narrow shelving that pretended to be a sassy grandfather clock chimed eleven p.m. It was bedtime anyway, so time to ask the questions Jerry had been trying to tease out of him. “What are you looking for, and why, of all things, are you humming ‘Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?’”
“Finally!” Jerry put a theatrical hand over his heart. “I’m looking for the, um, toys I bought last week.”
And just like that, the tune made sense, since one of said silicone toys was supposedly shaped like a dog’s…um…part. So Jerry had said, anyway. The other new toy looked like a scary snake, but—Ben shivered, remembering the night Jerry’d brought the new toys home—was actually far more pleasurable than a venomous snake bite would be.
A wide smile spread across Ben’s face. “I saw them both atop your dresser just a couple hours ago.”
Jerry’s comical eyebrows shot skyward. “You sure?”
Book forgotten—for now—Ben took Jerry’s hand and walked toward the spiral staircase leading to their bedroom suite. “Let’s go look.”
The promise of an exciting hour or so tonight, and an extra-tired but well worth it day tomorrow communicated perfectly via the gentle squeeze Jerry gave his hand.