Southern Discomforts

Image of a field and a stormy sky1.

Dean’s wife was in one of her moods, she had a lot of moods, that girl, and she burst into the party baited for bear. Dean tried to head her off but she went straight over to this good-looking kid in the corner, came right up to him, put her hand on his chest, inside his shirt, and looked up. “Guess what,” she smiled, “it’s your lucky night.” The kid smiled back and asked why. “Because I’m the most beautiful woman you’re ever going to sleep with,” she said, and she would have been too but his mother was there.


I stood outside his gate after an all-nighter watching him chop wood. He was a little guy, beautifully dressed, polished shoes, leather patches on the sleeves of his tweed jacket. He saw me gawking and in this soft light voice, almost like a girl’s, asked if I’d like to help him mow the hay. “Yessir!” I cried. I couldn’t believe it. I ran toward the porch. And then the damndest thing happened, the sky opened up and it began to rain, buckets of rain, and to this day I regret that I couldn’t help Mr. Faulkner bring in the hay.

I’ll never forget what Daddy said when I went to register as a C.O. during Vietnam. I was braced for a showdown– Daddy was career Navy, after all, a vice-admiral; he’d been in the Pacific during WWII; he had a cigar box of medals. But he didn’t try to talk me out of it, in fact he came down to the recruiting office with me. He knew the sergeant there, Bo Dawson. “You must be disappointed in your son today,” Bo said. Daddy smiled and shook his head. “Nah,” he said, “boy never was any good at hog killing time.”
Molly Giles’ fifth collection, Wife with Knife, won the Leapfrog Global Fiction Contest. She has new work in Wigleaf and the Passengers Journal anthology. Her second novel, The Home For Unwed Husbands, will be coming out in 2022.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Downs

7 Responses to “Southern Discomforts”

  1. Due says:

    No. 2 didn’t make sense. Other two are good!

  2. Elizabeth Bryer says:

    Oh, takes me right back to Arkansas and listening to Skip and Jim swap stories.

  3. Bill and Peggy Tate says:

    Wonderful. I recall you trying to teach us this art of micro-stories. Thanks.pp

  4. Debbie says:

    Love these….I’d have guessed they were yours!

  5. Tony Press says:

    Simply wonderful.

  6. Teddy Kimathi says:

    I love the way you’ve seasoned your work with humor, with the right dose.

  7. Carrie Kartman says:

    I love these, Molly! Of course, I’ve loved everything of yours, so no surprise. 🙂

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