Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Chainsaws Sharpened Here

-a sign in rural Miami County, Kansas

by Thomas Reynolds

Turn on the fourth road past the highway,
And drive for twelve miles until your reach the sign.

You can’t miss it—big bold letters.
My mother always said I was good at lettering.

I don’t get up much past noon,
So be sure to honk. Maybe eight or ten times.

The house? You can’t really see it from the gate.
Hell, it ain’t really a house at all,

Just the foundation and cellar of my uncle’s house
That burnt to the ground two years before he passed.

I got the place fixed up real nice now though.
Even got a TV—three channels without snow.

If you climb to the top of the gate, you can just spot the antenna,
above tall grass on top of that little hill.

Don’t feel bad if I don’t ask you inside, though.
The last fellow who stopped by, from the electric company,

Nearly freaked when he saw Jake on the bottom step.
I guess he don’t think a snake is fit company for a man.

It’s not like I ever asked him to stay with me.
He’s just got a way about him that don’t stand for “no.”

My workshop? Equipment’s stored in my camper shell,
There at the end of the dirt path beyond the cellar door.

Not a lot of business comes my way so far from town,
So my work is the best advertisement a fellow could have.

I stay at it sometimes till long after dark,
with the sound of motors echoing across the hills,

making a kind of music with the bugs and hawks,
here in the dim light of my extension lamp.

If you ain’t satisfied with my work, bring it on back, I say,
Though no one’s ever had occasion to take the offer.

You won't either. You’ll see.

© 2010 Thomas Reynolds

Find more by Thomas Reynolds in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.