Watching Them by Robert Vaughan

I notice the finches have returned to our feeders today. I miss Dad; he would have been the first to notice. He adored swapping stories about birds. Who are the newcomers, any returners, which peckers.

Jimmy was on his tenth game of xBox. And Donna lay on the couch, glued to the tv. Glomming down a bag of pretzel rods. I switched it off. “Enough,” I said.

“Mom,” she complained.

“You can practice piano, do schoolwork, anything but vegging out on the couch.” I felt hypocritical, recalling those scores of after-school movies I watched at her age.

“Studies show-”

“Yeah, whatever.” Donna shuffled off to her room, her 5 foot 2 frame carrying enough weight for both of them.

I sighed. Back out the window, I notice the Blazer in the Wilkinson’s driveway, our snowbird neighbors are back from Florida. I hope I’d remembered to put Jack Wilkinson’s porn DVDs back in alphabetical order. By title, just like he prefers them.

A robin flies past, an assortment of twigs in her beak, building a nest in the lilac bush. Her mate is perched, at attention.

Do they watch them together? Those movies?

I was going to tell my husband, then I decided it would be my secret. I’m sure he has some. He doesn’t even know the Wilkinsons asked me to watch their things.

Actually, what Alice said was, “Keep an eye on the house.”


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Filed under Robert Vaughan

9 responses to “Watching Them by Robert Vaughan

  1. Oh Robert, this is so wonderfully intricate and layered with the personality of this character. So well done!

  2. len kuntz

    more strong work. you pack a lot people into this; i don’t think i could have done that. and i love the last bit.

  3. Fantastic! What an unsettling little slice of life. It is remarkable that you deftly manage a comparison between all these couples–human and bird–in such a small space. And that last line, hooked me like a fish.

  4. Nicolette Wong

    your writing always delivers such deft touches of settings, relationships and emotions.

  5. ha! terrific Robert…great work with the voice, the resignation and the darker hints played well off the mindless industry of the robins, finches, peckers! and even snowbirds…brought to mind Carver’s classic, Neighbors.

  6. A complex, multi-layered world; another world in this world. It makes me think we don’t have to go far to find other worlds! Thank you.

  7. Leah

    so many details in such a small space! i feel like i know this family.

  8. Thanks so much, everyone for the wonderful, supportive comments. I really appreciate them. This family at 52/250 does so much for me. Also, anybody on Fictionaut, this story is also posted there.

  9. Pingback: Week #46 – Another world | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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