Short Stories & Flash Fiction

The Soldier’s Tale

“Tell me a tale, gramps.”

“Alright. Once upon a war, I lost my left foot and my front teeth. When I returned home, gloriously footless, my friends deemed me a true hero. Now they’re six feet under, and I’m no longer a hero. And my foot? Still missing. The only thing that grew back, postbellum, was my virginity. The end.”

“That’s not a good tale, gramps. ”

“You didn’t ask for a good tale. You asked for a tale.”

“I didn’t ask for a true tale, either.”

“You’re hard to please, eh? No wonder you’re single. But alright then, I’ll tell you another one.”

“About grandma?”

“About grandma. You don’t look a whole lot like her; she was a beauty, you see. Silky, black curls, and mesmerizing eyes, darker still. Her blood was ablaze with the kind of fire that stirs quietly beneath the Earth. You only had to look into her face, and you’d know it.”

“And?”

“She survived the war.”

“Gramps?”

“She is sitting next to me, wearing gems in her thinning hair as we continue into the rest of our happy ever after.

“Gramps. None of that is true. Grandma died a long, long time ago.”

“But you didn’t ask for a true tale. You asked for a tale.”