December 10, 2017

Fiction by Andrew Hogan: "The Black Tie"

Andrew Hogan received his doctorate in development studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before retirement, he was a faculty member at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, where he taught medical ethics, health policy and the social organization of medicine in the College of Human Medicine.

Dr. Hogan published more than five-dozen professional articles on health services research and health policy. He has published more than seventy works of fiction in the Sandscript, OASIS Journal (1st Prize, Fiction 2014), The Legendary, Widespread Fear of Monkeys, Hobo Pancakes, Twisted Dreams, Long Story Short, The Lorelei Signal, Silver Blade, Thick Jam, Copperfield Review, Fabula Argentea, The Blue Guitar Magazine, Shalla Magazine, Defenestration, Mobius, Grim Corps, Coming Around Again Anthology, Former People, Thrice, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Black Market Lit, Paragraph Line, Subtopian Magazine, Pine+Basil, Festival Writer: Unpublishable, Fiction on the Web, Children, Churches and Daddies, Midnight Circus, Stockholm Review of Literature, Lowestoft Chronicle, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Spank the Carp, Beechwood Review, Pear Drop, Marathon Review, Cyclamens and Swords, Short Break Fiction, Flash: International Short-Short Story Magazine, Slippery Elm Online, Story of the Month Club, Birds Piled Loosely, Zero Flash, Canyon Voices, Alebrijes, Rose Red Review, Yellow Chair Review, Serving House Journal, Funny in Five Hundred, Penny Shorts, The Thoughtful Dog, Front Porch Review, Minetta Review, Silver Pen Anthology, Zany Zygote, Ginosko Literary Review, Four Ties Lit Review.



Winnie Kroll was staring into the pastry case of Worden’s Grocery at the one remaining chocolate éclair when the reflection of Bobby’s face in a Garrison cap appeared in the glass. Winnie spun as fast as a skater on Rayner Pond. Her neighbor Frances was standing alone behind her, pointing out the window.
“Winnie, look. Harold Jenkins has his black tie on.”
Jenkins entered the Western Union office across the street. Winnie dropped the potatoes and bag of sugar she was just about to pay for and rushed out of the door.
“You left your ration book,” Stanley Worden said. “Do you want me to hold these groceries for you?”
Frances pointed out the window. “Oh God, Stanley, Harold’s getting on his bike. He’s got an envelope in his pocket.”
Winnie was out of breath by the time she reached her house two blocks away on Sycamore. She looked around before she opened the door. Nobody in sight, she pulled the loose nail out of the nine of her house number. The brass number swung around, the six rocking back and forth like a man in a noose. Winnie slid inside the door, closing it without a sound. She ran to each window, drawing down the shades. In the dark Winnie sat down in Bobby’s rocking chair, swaying slowly back and forth, almost stopping three-quarters of the way back where the runners hit the loose floorboard and squeaked. Before he was drafted, Bobby drove Winnie nuts making that squeak.
Footsteps thundered up the front porch steps. A sledge-hammer pounded on the front door. Frozen in Bobby’s rocker, Winnie held her breath. Moments, minutes passed, maybe hours. The sledge-hammer pounded again. Lighter steps came up the porch stairs. Murmuring, murmuring, more murmuring. The big steps retreated. Silence. Winnie started rocking again, slowly. Then she picked up speed and put a little extra weight into the squeak. Five squeaks later Winnie took a deep breath, got up and went to the door. Soundlessly she eased the door open. Frances was sitting on the top step, crying softly. Frances extended her hand toward Winnie, holding a telegram. Winnie opened the door, repositioned the dangling house number, and took the telegram.
~Andrew Hogan

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