She wrapped her hands around the hand-thrown mug, coffee scent misting the still-cold morning in an exhausted cloud. The metro newspaper lay splayed before her on the kitchen table, moaning headlines and sub-stories of international terror threats, environmental ruin, domestic violence, a floundering economy, and the collapse of another small local non-profit.
One feel-good story in the Variety section boasted a two-page spread, with color photos about a bunny with no hind legs, but an awesome set of wheels. She’d seen the story on her social media feed weeks ago on her internet back home. Her grandparents had opted out of wireless and dial up, seeing it as unnecessary to their daily life.
She closed and folded the paper into a tight rectangle, and pushed it away to the table’s edge.
Her grandfather shuffled into the kitchen, knobby ankles exposed between the cuff of his flannel pajama pants and his worn slippers. Scrubbing his grizzled hair with one hand and sliding a cracked mug across the counter with the other, he yawned widely.
He stared out the window as he poured himself a cup of coffee. Corn stubble poked out of creamy November snow, catching the lights and darks, the drama of another sunrise.
Turning, he glanced at his granddaughter’s despondent face, and the newspaper’s bolded headline predicting yet another tax hike for Defense. He snorted. “Outlaws come up short again, huh?”
Liz Husebye Hartmann (12/31/2016)
Midtown Writers’ prompt: “Outlaws come up short” (4 minutes)