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Two slices of Flash Fiction 

D. Troy Johnson



Scrambled Eggs

 D.Troy Johnson is a 1997 graduate of Nicholls State University where he majored in English. He was accepted into the Creative Writing Program at Louisiana at Lafayette University in the spring of 2001 after submitting the short story, It Happened at the Church.

He worked as a sports analyst for local TV station HTV and also wrote a monthly column for the Houma Daily Courier in 2000. Hobbies include swimming, listening to jazz, and biking.

His Short stories have been published by Flash Fiction Magazine and Just 100 words.


          We had asked the university to leave his chair vacate until the semester was over. And they   agreed. There was never a day he was not in his chair when we came to class.


    Dr. Gibson was our drama coach. He was an eccentric man. Some said he was just plain weird as they come.  Dr. Gibson was in his late sixties. A rather short man with long black hair, droopy eyes and an oval red face, he was the epitome of what some would say as being out there.


    He usually worn blue jeans with holes in them and sometimes he wore shorts. In fact, he was the only professor who wore shorts. He also wore different colored socks. But that was Dr. Gibson. He did his own thing, his own way.

        He had been teaching drama at the University for thirty years and some of his students had went on to become successful television and stage actors. But none of that mattered to Dr. Gibson. He said when a student completed his class, he wanted them to have an understanding of something about themselves that they didn’t have or never knew before. He said he wanted all of us to know who we truly were. Our spiritual selves had to be explored in his class.


        Drinking coffee throughout the day was the norm for Dr. Gibson. In fact many of us brought him a cup of latte to class at different times.  After he would finish that cup of coffee, he would start dancing right there in front of us. We didn’t know what dance he was doing, nor do I think he knew, but Dr. Gibson didn’t care, he danced away until sweat poured off his face. After he finished, we would all be clapping and laughing as Dr. Gibson caught his breath.


        “I’m getting too old for this!” he would say out of breath. “Now what dance was that?” he would ask. But no one knew for sure. Some said the Tango, some said the Robot and so on. He never did say what dance he had just done. He would just take his seat and start the class.

     It was the one class we couldn’t wait for. We all knew Dr. Gibson would be sitting in his chair like he did every day when we entered the class. That was his routine. After the bell rung; he would take a sip of coffee, stand up and glance around the room.


        “Okay everyone’s here, “he would say, “Let’s get started.” And, that’s when class began. That’s when our day would be transformed forever.


                                  *                                    *                                    

       Dr. Gibson taught method acting. He immersed himself in Russian actor and theater director Stanislavski. He always preached we should come out of our shell because we had lived in our comfort zone far too long.


      “Unleash yourself!” he would say. “You must feel the character you are playing in order to become the character.” Then he would look up at the ceiling and do some Zen stuff with his hands as he chanted. We held our laughs inside, but we all knew Dr. Gibson was on another planet.

       Then that day came when Dr. Gibson called my name. “Michael Evans, “he said. He called all his students by their first and last names.


       “Yes sir, “I said.


       “I want you to be a clock.”  I didn’t know how I would or could ever be a clock. I had to think about it for some time. Then, I got up and stood in front Dr. Gibson for a while.  I spread my arms horizontal, one at the 3 o’clock position and one at the 9 o’clock position. Then, I bobbed my head from side to side like the seconds were ticking away.


        Dr. Gibson kicked his shoes off and laid back in his chair. He had two different colored socks on as always. He didn’t say anything for some minutes. Then, he got up, looked at his wrist watch stared at the class and asked, “What time is it?”


       One of the students shouted 2.45. Dr. Gibson glanced at me and smiled. He wasn’t asking the real time, but my time as I stood at the 2.45 position.


       “Very good Michael Evans.”  I sat down and minutes later Dr. Gibson went back to his desk kick his feet up, and took a nap. We laughed because we knew that was Dr. Gibson. He woke up minutes later and dismissed class.


       This was the best class any of us had ever had since we had enrolled in college.

                                      *                               *                                       

       It was a Tuesday, we walked in class, and the chair was empty. Dr. Gibson’s chair was never empty. He was always seated in that chair before we had gotten to class. When we didn’t see him in his chair, we knew something was wrong. We sat quietly awaiting his entrance. But, he never showed up.


       His office door was closed. “Check his office,” a student name Corey asked me.


       I knocked on the office door but there was no answer. I knocked again, but there was still no answer. I gently turned the knob and pushed the door opened. I found Dr. Gibson that day hanging from a neck tie around his neck. There was a paper taped to his shirt that read Final Act. 


       Dr. Gibson had always said there was a fine line between genius and insanity. He said one sometimes loved the other, but often times one hated the other. He said there was this void in a genius that could never be filled within a thousand years. He said Van Gogh suffered from it and so did Hemingway and Robin Williams and even Basquit. We all knew he suffered from it too. We all knew genius and insanity constantly fought inside him.


       We would come to class and stare at the empty chair until the semester was over. This was our Final Act.



      Grandma was seventy eight and though she had some physical frailties and discomfort, her mind was still sharp and she had the memory of an elephant some would say. She had long gray hair that fell down to her back. Her skin was smooth and fresh like freshly baked bread.


      Grandma Ella Stevens had worked hard for over fifty years. She worked at the local shrimp factory peeling shrimp and over the years, her fingers, wrist, arms, and shoulders had become infected with the worst type of arthritis’s her doctor had ever seen.


      Her nimble crooked skeletal fingers could hardly hold a cup of coffee. Her wrists were often locked in place and a sharp stabbing pain would radiate up to her shoulders and down her back. Her boney fingers were bent at the knuckle and they were as hard as a piece of freshly cut pine.


      The doctor had given her a variety of medicines- some for pain and some were anti-inflammatory drugs to fight the inflammation that had taken root in her joints. Some of it worked and some didn’t. The doctor said he didn’t want to give Grandma large doses of the anti-inflammatories because too much of it would make her nauseated, and it would cut her appetite. And, not eating would only make things worse.


             “Just make her as comfortable as you can,” the doctor told me. “Give her what she wants.”

                                    *                                     *                                *


             Grandma said she wanted me to build a chicken coup. We had chickens when I was a boy, but that was some thirty years ago. But now she wanted chickens because she said she wanted to eat fresh eggs every morning instead of those steroid eggs from the grocery store. So, I couldn’t say no.


              I built the chicken coup in a week and I bought her three hens and a red roster. I would get up in the early mornings to feed them corn and collect the fresh eggs. I would cook breakfast before I was off to work.


              I took her back to the doctor when the pain was beginning to be unbearable and the drugs were not working. The doctor then gave me a script for cannabis. He told me not to tell her what she was taking. Knowing Grandma, no one could convince her to take marijuana, even if it would help her or even if it was for medicinal purposes.


              So, every morning I went to the chicken coup, gathered the fresh eggs and made breakfast. I would sprinkle a little cannabis and scramble it in her eggs.


              When she finished breakfast, she wouldn’t complain of any pain, nor would she need to take any of the pain medication that had been prescribed for her.


              Every morning, I fixed those eggs and I put a little bit of marijuana in them. She would eat those eggs so fast, then she would lie back in her recliner and watch TV. She wouldn’t complain of any pain or discomfort. Grandma would be feeling good. She had started to want to eat scramble eggs in the morning and the afternoon. And, sometimes she would want eggs for lunch.


             Then, one morning, after she had finished her breakfast, she shouted, “Chuck, come quick!” she said. I sprinted from the kitchen and knelt down beside her.


             “Yes, Gramdma, what is it?” I asked. I grabbed her nimble hands and stared into her hazel eyes.


             “Chuck, whatever you do,” she said. Her words were slow, yet methodical.


            “Yes ma’ma, “I said


            “Whatever you do, “she demanded.


             “Yes ma’am,” I said.


             “Don’t get rid of those chickens.”


            “Yes ma’am. “ I said, then I chuckled.


            “Chuck, please don’t get rid of those chickens,” she repeated.

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