fiction by Mike Wilson

Yesterday, I was sitting on the fence with Mother, eating an apple, when the storm appeared. I saw it ferrying across the sky like Cleopatra on a litter of gray clouds. It was spreading across the Fatherland like lava from the invisible volcano silently erupting in the world’s collective unconscious, something the Weather Bureau hadn’t predicted.  

“Hey Ma,” I shouted, though Mother was close enough to kiss, “I think it’s going to rain!”

“No fucking shit,” Mother said, puffing her cigarette. “I’ve been telling you that it’s going to rain your whole miserable life, but you didn’t believe me. You didn’t believe Bob Dylan. You didn’t believe Eddie Vedder. You didn’t believe the sour-faced Swedish girl in pigtails with brass balls enough to scold the corporate world for causing climate change. So, if you have a fucking problem with the fucking rain, don’t cry on my shoulder!”

Mother has some rough edges, but she grows on you if you give her a chance. But then so does toenail fungus. I took a bite of my apple.

“Ma, don’t get all worked up. I only said it was going to rain.”

I looked up at the sky. The clouds had grown as thick as fudge. This made me nervous, but the house was only 25 yards away. We could just run to the house, I figured, and I could play with myself or take a nap and pretty soon the sky would be blue and things would be back to normal.

“Ma! Let’s get in the house!”

Mother didn’t answer. She was a human forest fire, lighting another cigarette from the butt of the one she’d just finished. Once she got it going, she turned to me triumphantly with the smug look of an ass-whipping about to be administered. 

“Umbrellas? You want umbrellas?”

Mother’s mouth curled into a sneer as if she’d just dropped the mic. I didn’t get it. 

“Ma, all I said was why don’t we get out of the rain.”

Mother threw her head back and laughed, her whole body shaking, She tossed her cigarette to the ground, leaped off the fence, and began duck-walking back and forth across the yard between me and the house, screaming like Dave Evans from AC/DC. She was singing verses from Revelation. I felt a wave of fondness for Mother. It’s not sexual or anything (I hope), but I’ll never stop loving this woman. Then I felt a raindrop on my cheek. And another. Battalions of raindrops began crashing around us, pummeling my shoulders. I threw my half-eaten apple to the ground and slid off the fence.

“Ma! We have to get in the house!” 

Thunder Novocained my ears and bright light thumbed my eyes. When my focus returned, Mother was gone. The wind was howling! It was sledgehammering everything that can’t see wind. I realized wind was striking blindly, trying to get its paws on me. I ran to the house, wondering whether I’d find shelter there, believing I would. 

Then my belief in any kind of shelter abandoned me like a clutch of balloons released. I ran faster, calling out for Ma, believing only in her.  

Mike Wilson's work has appeared in magazines including Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Fiction Southeast, The Saturday Evening Post, and Anthology of Appalachian Writers Vol. X. He’s author of Arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic (Rabbit House Press, 2020), political poetry for a post-truth world. He resides in Lexington, Kentucky.

home               return to fiction