Sample of Gramps, A Short Story

Sample from Gramps, a short story, by Ernie Howard

“I’m not asleep, boy. Just resting my eyes,” Gramps said.

Gramps had said this since Tate was little. It was like his grandpa thought taking naps were a sign of weakness.

“I didn’t think you were, Gramps, just had a catch in my throat,” Tate said. He was trying to hide the mischievous smile that was threatening to show itself.

“Ya, sure. And I’m a springy young boy, prancing through a meadow of flowers,” Gramps said.

Same old Gramps. The man was on death’s door and still, the sarcasm flowed out of his mouth like honey on a warm summer day. “How are you feeling, Gramps?”

“You know, that’s the problem with your generation. Always wanting to know how everyone feels. Well, Tate my boy.” Gramps paused and smiled a mischievous smile that looked very similar to Tate’s a moment ago. “I feel like shit. I happen to be dying.” Gramps let out with a raspy laugh that turned into a coughing fit. Tate looked around for a Kleenex or cloth but couldn’t find one in the vicinity. Gramps was shooing him away with his left hand and wiping his mouth with his sheet with his right hand. Tate sat back into his chair and waited for his grandpa to settle before he started up the conversation again.

“You know what I meant, Gramps,” Tate said.

Gramps put his hand up to stop him. “I know Tate, just giving you some grief. Enough with the pleasantries, son. Let’s get to the point, why I wanted to see you before I die.”

         Tate looked at his grandpa’s wrinkled face. The general facial features said old, but Gramps’ eyes danced and were full of fire that his own had never held. The man had something important to say. “I’m here Gramps.” He reached out for his Grandpa’s hand. Gramps grabbed Tate’s hand and squeezed. He was surprised at the strength his Grandfather still possessed. The old man sighed and patted Tate’s hand, his smile left.

I need you to believe everything I am about to say. It’s not going to be a long spiel, just a declaration, and some instructions. All I ask is that you believe it because I have never lied to you. Can you do that for me?”

This short story was originally published in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned #16