Hangin’ on the Line

For Fun, photography, writing


I thought it was going to be a poem about an image I created a couple days ago, but it morphed rather into a short story. I could break the lines and make a poem, because within, it is tainted with a semblance of a rhyme. Alas! I decided not to do that this time. So here I offer you a short story called Hangin’ on the Line.



I stooped in my Saturday mornin’ rose garden, nostrils flaring, fingers bleeding.

Someone tapped my fence with a fisted hand and rasped loud, “You are some kind of lovely.” I couldn’t see his lips – they were buried beneath a silver handlebar mustache. I didn’t speak, just stood there, mouth agape.

“Indeed! Oh, indeed!” he said as he leaned too far in on my driftwood fence, poking his hairy face into my yard. How dare he put his face right into my personal space? His breath is all tainted with coffee and his clothes wreak with cigar wisps, a brutish man, to be certain. It all rolled over me and my darling roses.

He didn’t ask a question so I ignored him. Back to the man. Face to the flowers.

After he vanished, I sat on my secluded sitting-on stone and bunched my long skirt and apron in one fist. I poked my legs into dawn’s dewy mist, tilted my head and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. Sunshine walked up my back.

Two hours later, my twisted stockings and wrinkled aprons and assorted wet underthings hung on the line. As I bent over the wicker for more unmentionables, I heard a familiar voice, “My oh my, what a sweet spot. And dearie me, that’s surely a site for sore eyes.”

I grabbed a driftwood stick to beat Mr. Moustache out of my yard and back to his gentlemanly senses. This has gone far enough! I’ve had my fill of his ogling my roses and my laundry skills and my such and suches.

I whirled, not unlike a dervish, but not exactly like one either, and I swung my makeshift bat as only a woman gone mad could do. I cut the air with nary a thud. And to my surprise, I saw Mister Moustache inside my rose garden, bare feet thrust atop my sitting-on rock, his back on the mossy walk. His closed eyes pointed heavenward.

Big ole shoes and mismatched brown socks lay in a heap by his side, white cane, folded, on top.

“Whatever are you doing in my yard?”

He jerked upright and said as he sat, “I thought this a park, so I let myself in. Oh my! Oh my! I have committed such a sin. Please forgive me, a blind man such as I,” he said, and as he spoke his voice transformed from a ghastly brute to that of an awkward boy.

“None sense!” said I as waved my stick and then waggled my fingers just in front of his eyes. Just to be sure what he’d said was true.

Oblivious to my gesture, and unbeknownst to my disbelief, his moustache wriggled up and down as he said, “I stopped by earlier and reminded your roses of their beauty. Do you think they heard?”

“Oh, I reckon they ate your kind words, dear sir.” My earlier angst rolled all the way out to sea, to the place where the horizon drinks placid waters.

We talked until the sun burned high noon hot spot on top of our heads; the damp morning long since dried of her misty ocean dew.

And when he asked what was flapping in the wind on yonder clothesline, I replied with an outright lie and a blush that only my roses could see, “Oh that? It’s merely my old woolen coat and assorted clothes drying on the line.”

To which he replied, “What’s that you say? And old goat and assorted roses are dyin’ on the line?”

I laughed and laughed and leaned closer as I spoke right into his ear, “Mister Moustache, your sniffer works better than your hearer. To be sure you understand all that I say, dare I ask if you will let me draw nearer?”

“Dare you ask. And do as you please,” he said, winking-ly to me.

Thus my Saturday heart beat hard as cigar-n-rose tainted love paraded around and around in my yard.



* over at TweetSpeakPoetry the theme this month is ROSES


12 thoughts on “Hangin’ on the Line”

    • I’m glad you did. The man just popped himself into the story, as did the seaside locale. Funny how words run away with us, aye?


  1. Ha! You got me! All the hairy stuff took me right in. These parts, too, did the trick:

    “It rolled over me and my darling roses.

    He didn’t ask a question so I ignored him. Back to the man. Face to the flowers.”

    Are there people I’m turning my back to? Maybe if I reposition myself so that I can face both the flowers and the man, it’ll help? Maybe I’m the one that should ask questions rooted in genuine concern, instead of ignoring people? Maybe I have “darling roses” that I treasure more than souls more precious?

    Convicting, too. God has been teaching me that I need to grow in graciousness toward others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, assuming the best instead of the worst in people. I think I’m in danger of becoming a Pharisee, but I’m pleading to our Father not to let me go that way. Plead with me?

    Thanks for this excellent piece. How you make me laugh and think, it’s amazing. It’s a gift.

    • I’m glad you are kin with the hairy stuff. 😉 And wow, miss Monica, you found deeper meanings in this than I did.

      Me too on the Pharisee thing…


  2. I do love how you spin a yarn, Darlene! And I’ve snoozed too long and look at this place. All shined up again. So glad things are humming along.

    • spin a yarn? i dunno know about that.
      spin a top? maybe.
      spin me silly til i puke? surely.

      and with that, indeed, things are spit-shined.

    • Oh my land! It’s my friend, miss Kathy! Right here. She’s really and truly here! Well, in an intergalactic internet sort of way.

      YEEEEHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope that was loud enough for ya to hear in Texas?

      Missed ya lots, miss KDish.

  3. An old goat and assorted roses… Too cute! What a word picture. Now I’ll be thinking of that each time I hang my clothes out to dry. (Almost called you today to tell you to keep an eye out for fly-away laundry coming your way — that wind was fierce!)

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