Short stories

Multi-tasking in the stone age

Chipper came out of the grain hut rufstone-age-685x368fling his red hair pleased with himself and was about to turn down the track to his workshop when he spotted his wife’s mother peeking at him from behind a bush. She whisked the branches back to hide her face but she knew it was too late and that he’d seen her and that he had begun shuffling over towards her, and in her mind she quickly went over the routine she’d thought up should she be beheld.

“Oh there you are, Chips, I was looking for you, you left your lunchpack at the man-hole,” her delivery a smooth, flowing, light-as-a-feather bravado.

Chips glanced unwittingly at the hut he’d just left and could still taste the mutton and flat-cake not to mention Martha’s ruby-red lips. Rumbling sullenly, he bought time.

“Oh, erm…didn’t I say I’d be back for lunch today? I thought I told you.”

“Well…er…yes, perhaps you did, dear. Silly me, you know what my memory’s getting like these days,” blustered Carla, her lower jaw sagging slightly, relieved now of its practised obligations.

Chipper muttered a surly thanks as he took the proffered leaf-bound package and limped off to his flints. The orders had been coming in thick and fast since he had sneakily copied the Tangan’s wrist action allowing him to flake deft, light, exquisite blades shaped just right to bind securely to arrow- and spear-shafts. He wished the hunters wouldn’t lose them though, it seemed a lack of respect for his talent even if they did pat him on the back and chortle to each other in mindless merriment. Of course he could make more but the new technique meant he was more likely to hit his fingers and eventually he might have to give the bruised digits a rest. Maybe he should get the gossipping Carla to spread the rumour that truly sharp arrow-tips could only be made when the moon was waning rather than when the hunters might be away at night. Why not deliberately make shoddy ones when it was waxing and insist that it wasn’t worth making them unless the lunar conditions were right? He’d only been getting the technique consistent over the past few days so nobody would be any the wiser. The rest of the time he could get back to churning out bog-standard axe-heads, or just hang around the village when the hunters were away. He’d have to check out the wanderers in the night sky too, like he had had to do to explain the preponderance of ginger-haired kids in the village. Even Martha’s heavy-browed man-child had a russet tint to the dark, curly locks over his mother’s flattened forehead and bulbous nose.

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Amar · Responsabilidad personal · Short stories

¿Se atrevió a decírselo por escrito?

Dedo

wedding ring

No estaba nada seguro que fuera ella. Se acercó un poco. Los cabellos cortos le despistaron aunque si ella hubiera pasado por tal episodio de la vida sería natural haberlo recortado, o dejarlo crecer. El color tampoco le sonaba, aunque en los tiempos de antes fuera teñida y ahora iba más natural. Buscaba excusa para hablarle, por si fuera el caso. Le diría ¿qué? ¿Que le había confundido por otra, alguien que llegó a conocer, ya hace tiempo? Se apartó del puesto de pescadería y se adentró en el supermercado. No necesitaba mucho género, prioridad un tinto para acompañar la cena de tostadas con ajo y tomate y aceite y lomo adobado, palillos, la longaniza válida compra para los cazadores en casa, pasta que pasta.

Ya en la caja, con cierta prisa, aún la veía en el banco de espera delante de salmones y lubinas, gambas y mejillones, absorbida en la pantalla entre las manos, los dedos marcando momentos eternos. Él metió la compra en la bolsa de plástico proporcionada por la cajera y se despidió, volviendo hacia la salida entre puestos de comida preparada, carnes y delicatessen. Ella se había levantado, la despachaban ya. Él se acercó sigilosamente, casi de lado cual cangrejo, fingiendo no tener un interés especial, aunque dispuesto a revelarse, con ganas.

Ella levantó la vista del deshielo visperal y dedo señalante y se reconocieron, sonrisa abierta, la ciudad prohibida. Hablaron de aquello que los había presentado, hace tiempo ya, a través de sus ojos verdes. A él le daba absolutamente igual lo que hablasen, y aunque no eran más que palabras, disfrutaba de cada sílaba, ansiaba cada gesto, la almilla verde de pelo corto reluciente, las botas de marrón, las gafas negras de pasta, el pupilo resguardado.

Servida y pagada la bandeja de sepia y porexpan, ella siguió contándole una época complicada. De repente cortó ella, era la hora de irse a casa para no dejarse llevar. Se despidieron sin beso, cree recordar él, y cree que lo recordaría. No se atrevió a mirar el dedo anular. Volvió ella al banco a recoger el resto de la compra. Él se larga por las puertas automáticas del mercado. No mira hacia atrás para no dejar de mirarla nunca.