Buffaloes (flash fiction)


“Ouch!” Gary grabbed the calf of his leg and knelt on the linoleum floor.

“Get up off the kitchen floor! What’s the matter with you?” Louise yelled into the kitchen from the recliner in the living room.

“The cat bit me again!” Gary looked around him for the cat.

Louise laughed with her mouth open and her face went red. She didn’t have any teeth. “Stupid old man! We ain’t had the cat for ten years!” Louise laughed and turned back to watching television.

“Ow, darned cat, ow! I thought we found a home for that darned thing! It kept biting me.”

“AH! HA! HA! HA!” Came from the living room. “Come watch these monkeys! They’re throwing poop!”

“Come help me with this cat!” Gary put his palm on the countertop and pulled himself up. The cat bit him again, this time hard. It hurt all the away up his leg and he clutched the back of his thigh. “Louise? Come in here, I think the cat did something to me, bit a vein or something!”

Louise watched TV and laughed.

Pain from the back of his leg turned into a dull ache and moved into his stomach. He vomited in the middle of the kitchen floor and it scared him. He finished pulling himself up and drug his dead leg over to the yellow wall phone and called 911.

“911. What is your emergency?”

“I’m an old man and my leg and gut hurts. I vomited.”

“Okay, I have your address, sir, how old are you?”

“I’m ninety-three.”

“Is there anyone there to assist you?”

Gary stared into the living room and thought hard about that. “I guess not,” he said softly. The thought hurt his heart. They had been together sixty-eight years. His eyes watered. His lip quivered.

Pain slammed his chest. “Ung! Chest!”

“Help is coming, sir. You should be hearing sirens now.”

A few moments later two EMT persons with a gurney were inside Louise and Gary’s home. The EMT’s revived Gary got him out the door quickly. The female EMT asked Louise if she wanted to ride with her husband to the hospital.

“Are you kidding me?” Louise asked. “My animal show’s got buffaloes mating on it. I can’t miss that, can I!”

As they loaded Gary, the male EMT asked, “She’s coming?”

“She’s watching buffaloes getting busy,” the female EMT said, nodding toward the house, then sadly, “I’ll tell you on the way.” She climbed in back with Gary.

On the way the ER, his heart went into fibrillation. They could not shock it back into normal rhythm. The cause of death was an aneurysm. A large clot broke free in the leg his imaginary cat tormented. There was nothing Louise, or anyone, could have done to save him.

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