The Last Word
Bev Vines-Haines
Dorsal Winner


  Hilda Langford steeped chamomile tea in a paper thin porcelain cup, appreciating the pale pink rosebuds and delicate leaves that twined around her great grandmother’s best china.  How she longed for that simpler age when people treasured fine things and followed the strict rules of polite society.

Taking her customary seat in the rocking chair at her front window, she rested the tea on a side table and covered her legs with a soft mohair throw.  She parted the drapes slightly, preferring to see and never be seen.

She stared at the house across the street, hoping for any sign of activity.  Mist rose from a cluster of hostas lining the front walk as the sun slowly coaxed dew out of each fragile leaf.  Overnight she had struggled not to think about the house, to ignore Maude Twilpurt and the sacrilege almost certainly going on behind her glossy red door.  Who painted their door red?  Who flaunted the devil’s colors and called forth demons from the pits of hell?  Today the devil would meet his match.  She could see him now in the back corner of the porch!  Disguised as a ceramic goose wearing green and white college colors.  Maude and the devil were clever.  Hiding behind flowers and a USA flag. 

But Hilda was not deceived.  As usual, the devil had overplayed his hand. 

She took a long drink from the porcelain cup.  Then controlling her excitement, she reached for the missile launcher at her feet.   She’d found it on the internet.   Black.  Shiny.  Made for such a time as this. 

Maude Twilpurt didn’t go to church.  Not even one of those huge denominational mega churches.  No she didn’t.  She just decorated her house with tradition and every election day she supported people who were assuredly spawned by Satan himself.

Today it would end.  Once she sent her ‘opinion’ flying through the garish window in that dreadful red door, God would be free to enjoy a cup of tea with her this night and he would be able to thank her for her service.

Little by little America had been usurped and threatened. But no longer.  This missile would put them all on notice.  She hoisted the missile launcher carefully, balancing it on the sturdy Bible she kept on the coffee table. 

 “You won’t take my America without a fight, Maude Twilpurt.” She opened the window wide enough for her weapon, leaned forward and fired. 

The explosion shook her house.  Flames shot from Maude’s windows.

There!  No more angry political signs.

Hilda closed her window, pushed the missile launcher under her flowered sofa and drank the rest of her tea.

It was time for her stories.


First published: November 2018
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