Uh-Huh – A Books of Binding Flash Fiction

Posted onLeave a commentCategoriesFlash Fiction, Writing

Elspeth plunked down the last square tile with enthusiasm. “I’m out.”

Alerich eyed the pieces, trying to keep the corners of his mouth from twitching into a smile. He waved at the board. “You’re cheating.”

Indignation gave her voice an edge. “Am not.”

“Elspeth, ‘spong’ is not a word.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s really not.”

“Yes, it really is.”  She picked at a speck of lint on her blouse. “It’s a potions word.”

“Uh-huh.”  Alerich settled back in his chair and took a sip of his bourbon, then motioned at her with the glass.  “Define it.”

“A spong is a … It’s kind of a … It’s like … “

Alerich was losing the battle with the corners of his mouth.  “Uh-huh.”

“Will you shut up, I’m trying to figure out how to describe it to you.  It’s kind of a specialty item.  You have to know a lot about potions to have even heard of it.”

The corners won and he had to hide the smile in another sip of the bourbon.  She was so much fun to wind up. “Uh-huh.”

“Look, I don’t care if you believe me.  It’s a word.  You can ask grandmother if you want.”


“God, you’re such a baby!  Fine!  I’ll just take it off the board.  Here, ‘song,’ unless you don’t think that one’s a word either, Mister Never-cracks-a-spellbook-but-thinks-he-knows-every-word-ever-said.  It’s a perfectly good word, but no.  You have to be such a bad loser.  So, fine!  I’ll take it off the stupid board.  There.  Are you happy, Mister Game-police?”

“Uh-huh.  ‘S.’  ‘Songs.’  I’m out.”

Elspeth glared at him for a moment, then produced a sound somewhere between a growl and a scream.  She pushed away from the table and stomped off through the dim of the library.

Alerich watched her go.  She was fun to wind up, but he would be paying for this one for a while.  ‘Spong.’  Why does that sound familiar?  He took another liberal sip and stood, carrying the heavy glass with him to the ancient dictionary on its stand.  He turned the onionskin pages delicately.  The smile came back, this time more rueful than wry. “‘Spong. Noun.  A projection of land; an irregular, narrow, projecting part of a field.’”  He glanced at where his sister had stormed off.  She would most likely be in the greenhouse.  He took another sip of the bourbon.  She might throw a pot at him, and spong was definitely not a potions word.  He settled into an armchair by the fire and picked up his book.  He might tell her eventually.

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