For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Old Mechanic”

Frank Bill


Here was a time when the shell shock of war was ignored. What the repercussions of warfare did to a man's brain. The seeing, hearing, and participating. And like the war, the abusing of a woman was overlooked. People pretended it never happened. This was a time when till-death-do-us-part was an enforced rule of matrimony. When wives didn't leave their husbands. They obeyed them.

But when the Mechanic beat the woman, violation rattled the opposite room's walls. The woman's body bounced from wall to wall like a winning pinball. There were no electronic harmonies for a high score. Just her thick please of sorry with no pity in reply. Just savagery. And with the door closed to the eight-by-eight box of a bedroom, violation traveled through the Sheetrock walls, arrived and infected the living room. Where, on a couch worn down to comfortable seating, two girls' adolescent eyes stayed glued to the black-and-white television. A television that decorated a corner with Tom and Jerry. With their own cartoon addictions to violence, displayed for a child's entertainment. Their slamming of doors on each other's various body parts. Shattering of dishes over each other's skull. Wooden mallets matching the fist pounding on flesh in the opposite bedroom.