Tying the Knot by Robert Vaughan

It was the morning after the dinner and I still lay in bed. I’d cut my thumb off the night before while carving the roast. I ended up at St. Vincent’s with my hand dripping all over the passenger seat of our Subaru, the bloody appendage throbbing.

Fortunately Dexter had popped my missing thumb into an ice bucket. It sat on the adjacent seat. Apparently his Army medic training came in handy after all.

Florescent lights. Shots. Stitches. Good meds. The rest is fuzzy.

I wasn’t really in bed, not ours, anyhow. I’d slept on a futon on the floor, passed out from combining Percocet and this new Cabo-Choc wine our friends brought from Wal-Mart.

I held up my thumb, bandaged, the pinkish tinge seeping through the outer layers of wrapping. It smelled putrid. I could just barely hear Dex chatting with our friends in the kitchen. Wah- wah- wah. Charlie Brown’s teacher.

My head pulsed, felt like a cooked coconut.

Our friends, Tina and Louise, were recently married. They were awfully patient. About my thumb, I mean. Not about getting married. Well, who knows, they might have been patient about that, too.

Dex met Louise in boot camp. Our dinner was to celebrate the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell.

Just before they’d arrived last night, I asked him, “Why didn’t we attend their ceremony?” It was just over the border, in Somerset, ten minutes from our Rhode Island beachhouse.

He’d said, “We weren’t invited.”


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Filed under Robert Vaughan

19 responses to “Tying the Knot by Robert Vaughan

  1. Wow–so much going on here! Love how reality hits.

  2. Andrea

    Great and gory! If they’d only been invited. Reality bites. ;-)

  3. Dez

    You’ve worked so many details into this very short story. Lots going on, and the lesbian couple woven in at the end is unique. The military, the thumb accident (gruesome, great addition!), the setting and how you worked in the theme so subtly. Well done!

  4. Theo

    Another great story, Robert. So full of real life stuff, the essence of one night and the morning after.

  5. Tom O'Connell

    This story implies much more than is exposed.
    I feel I know more about these people than you chose to share- which I guess was you sharing as well.

  6. What a kick-ass last line to a very good story! The whole finger thing was glaringly real. Like this one very much!

  7. Randal Houle

    So much story here underneath the words. “We weren’t invited” C’est la vie.

  8. stephen

    well played, sir.
    i enjoyed this piece a lot. the understated last line in particular, the way it loops across everything else, flipping the story around.

  9. Claudia Nash

    I had a whole different take on the last line than others who commented. It raises the question of how much of an outsider this narrator is to the other characters. And in her own home, also. There is, as observed, so very much going on in this story. Lots of subtext. Intrigue heightened.

  10. Beverly Coats

    A whole lotta missing thumbs packed into ice! Just kidding…this is great, Robert! You master-flasher you!

  11. Wallace

    Packed full of stuff happening here. I really liked this one, and hope you continue your craft.

  12. Like this one a lot, Robert. The one line description of the hospital in very short words works especially well. Nice.

  13. Kelly

    yes, very nice, every smooth transition in the narrative and the way it all comes together

  14. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I appreciate it.

  15. ha – I like the ironies here and the coconut head – ouch on the thumb..

  16. you did a great job of making this feel real with details (Cabo-Choc wine) and lanced it with the last line, as you are known to do.

  17. Great story, with so many interesting detail. Especially liked ‘Well, who knows, they might have been patient about that, too.’ (I’m a sucker for the brief shift the second person/editorializing). Plus, wondering what’s behind the not being invited.

  18. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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