Tea in the Afternoon

Three Southern Short Stories


Miss Bliss Strikes a Blow
In which a Southern lady takes a stand
  The rutted track curved into the woods
"Turn on the other side of that tree. There used to be a signpost that said 'Waverley,' with an arrow." The woman, her eyes bird-bright, waved an age-spotted hand toward an opening in the tangled undergrowth along the pockmarked concrete ribbon that made up South Carolina Road 326. No sign endured to point the way. "You need to know where you came from, Alice Ann. You can't be a person of substance without strong roots."
Alice Ann blinked to clear her eyes of the sun's harsh brilliance as she turned the car into the drive. Almost obscured by rampant vines and briars, the rutted track curved gently into the woods.
Tragedy forces estranged family members to face each other
Jean wakened with a jerk, brushed a tangle of blonde hair from her eyes, and reached out to check her son. The dim glow from the instruments and controls on the headboard bathed him in eerie green light. Her eyes followed the steady drip of the IV fluid down the tube into his arm. His chest barely moved under the sheet, so shallow was his breath.
She laid her hand on his forehead for what must be the thousandth time in the last three weeks. The gesture was meaningless; his fever had been gone for twelve days now. She did it out of habit, did it because there was nothing else to do. He seemed cooler than before, but perhaps he only seemed so because she was warm from sleeping in the vinyl-covered chair.
The New Car
In which Bertie Gilchrist plots to get the car of his dreams
The black Grand Wagoneer gleamed in pristine glory. Bertie circled it, kicking the oversized tires, admiring its rugged good looks. He held the door for his blue tick hound, then slid in behind the wheel. "This is the one, Blue. The turkey shoot is nearly upon us, and we must have this magnificent vehicle. We’ll have room for the gear and Sam and that no-good hound Runner-Boy. Maybe a few more of our fellow sportsmen." He waved his hand toward the dog. "It’s got everything—air conditioning, radio, the works. All we have to do is get Maeva Deane to buy it."

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