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Retirement Home: A Western Flash Fiction Story

“Things never turn out quite like you plan, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad, either.” Wyatt Jameson took a sip of tea and rubbed his hands in front of the roaring fireplace. His dusty chaps left trails of dirt on the green fainting couch, and his worn boots scraped against the fine Persian rug.

Roger Fuson looked on, not sure what to make of his unexpected guest.

“Take me, for instance,” Jameson went on. “When I moved out here, I thought I’d make my fortune in gold. But by that time, the mines were dry. Ranching turned out to be a blessing, though.”

“So … where’s your ranch?”

Wyatt looked at Roger sideways, then grinned. “You’re a kidder, aren’t you? You know darn well this is my place! Bought it right after the war. ‘Course, we didn’t build this new house until many years later.”

“I always wanted a ranch,” Roger whispered, confused but slipping into his old daydreams. Maggie had wanted to open a bed and breakfast on the east coast.

They’d compromised by buying the Victorian in Colorado when Roger retired. But the house was surrounded by other homes, and the nearest farmland was miles away.

“Well, you can’t have this one, Roger, but I could put you to work if you want.”

“Who are you talking to, Roger?” Maggie called from the kitchen. She was annoyed.

“Oh, just a fella who dropped by to say hi.” Roger rolled his eyes at Wyatt, who nodded in return.

The light dimmed as Maggie filled the doorway behind Roger. “Seriously, who are you talking to?”

Roger  looked over his shoulder. “Maggie, this is Wyatt Jameson, and he …” Roger turned back to Wyatt, but the couch was empty.

Half a cup of tea sat steaming on the coffee table.

Published inFlash Fiction

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