Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jim Harrington

He Hoped She'd Come Around

I met Charlie at the first gator wrastlin' contest I promoted. Most of the female competitors looked like they ate airboats for lunch. Charlie was different. She had curves and all her teeth.

I watched her muscles strain against the tail-snappin' beast, saw the determination in her eyes, and fell in love. I chased her around Florida for a year before she agreed to be my wife. That was twenty years ago. We made quite a career together but age was catchin' up, and it was time for us to think about retirin' from the sport, especially Charlie. In the past two years, she lost a pinkie, suffered a dislocated hip, and ended up in the hospital for a week after comin' back too soon from a concussion.

I told her I was tired of the travelin', asked if she'd like to have a baby. Said I thought it would give us somethin' new to wrastle. Her eyes lit up like a volcano, and she stomped around the Winnebago and yelled so loud I thought she'd blow a wall down. I sneaked into the bathroom and waited for the floor to stop shakin'.

A few nights later, while we did the dinner dishes, I suggested we start a gator farm and sell admission. I told her she could still wrastle a gator now and then, as long as it was a small one. I was doin' okay until I got to the small part. She glared at me, picked up a fork with both hands, and bent it into a right angle. That's when I headed back to the bathroom.

Not knowin' what else to do, I spoke to Preacher Frank this mornin'. He's not a real preacher. He dresses like one, shouts preacher-like words, and then swallows fire and spits out the flames. That always gets lots of oohs and aahs and amens--and a few chuckles. He told me to be patient, that it took some people a long time to settle into the idea of retirin'. He also told me it might be a good idea if I didn't use the word baby again.

I can't say he helped much. Well, maybe the baby part. I love Charlie and want her to be happy. Hey, maybe I should take her to Disney World. She's never been there, and she might find a job that doesn't require wrastlin'.

© Jim Harrington 2012

Jim Harrington discovered flash fiction in 2007, and he’s read, written, studied, and agonized over the form since. His recent stories have appeared in Microstory a Week, Flashes in the Dark, UnCut, Powder Burn Flash, Thrillers, Killers N Chillers, and others. Jim's Six Questions For . . . blog ( provides editors and publishers a place to “tell it like it is.” You can read more of his stories at


  1. A baby twenty years into marriage?! Can the man not count?
    Loved the voice of this - thoroughly entertaining and so smoothly written

  2. Thanks, Sandra. And thanks Michael for publishing my story.

  3. An entertaining little romp around the gator pond.
    Charlie's a keeper.
    Nice one, Jim.
    Cheers, Kelly


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