The Hammock

The Hammock

It had been quite a day, and they were both tired. In the moonlight, intermittent cloud cover caused darkness and yet when the full moon was unobstructed, the lake glimmered. Through the light clouds, the millions of stars radiated.

“You bushed, pumpkin?” he asked. He wondered if she’d fallen asleep, as he nearly had. Hammocks seemed to naturally produce this feeling, an ability to fall back into the arms, of what? He wasn’t certain. He removed his baseball cap, scratched his head.

“Nope. Just staring at the stars.” She yawned. “You ever see bears around the camp?” she asked.

He wondered if he should tell her the truth. Here they were in the middle of nowhere, a hundred miles or more from home. He decided to lie. “We used to,” he said, shifting his falling asleep arm from under her. “We hiked all day today in the Presidentials and we didn’t see any.” Her hair smelled like wheat.

“Yeah,” she yawned. “But our guide book said bears don’t usually go on trails that humans use. And this just looks like the kind of place you’d encounter them.”

He looked toward the cabin. What would happen if one came around the back corner? “I worry way more about looters than I do bears.”

“Really?” She looked at him intently.

“Sure. One time, when I was six or seven, we came up here, and there was an entire family in the camp. Living here like it was theirs. If I remember correctly, they were Asian.”

“You mean, like squatters?” She yawned again. He nodded. “What did your dad do?”

“He had to ask them to leave while we stayed in the car. Scared the shit out of me.”

“I can imagine.”

We lay there, silent. The breeze carried the soft scent of seaweed and smoke from fire embers.

“I’m pregnant.”



About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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9 Responses to The Hammock

  1. Cynthia says:

    Great stuff once again, a moment of truth in the backdrop of nature.

  2. Don says:

    Hmm…bears or pregnancy? Does he get to choose? LOL

  3. JR Price says:

    Love hiking in the Presidential Mountains (New Hampshire). They are so breathtaking. This was a fun read. Great twist at the end.

  4. Beverly says:

    I remembered that I told my husband I was pregnant the first time on a cruise. I thought he was going to jump overboard, not to mention my sea sickness. This story brought back that memory, so thanks for that.

  5. david says:

    I think it’s the perfect time to tell him about the baby.

  6. Shari says:

    Yes. tell him now! Before it might be too late…then he would wonder why you waited.

  7. Andrea says:

    LOL! Did the bears eat the Asian family??? RAWR!

  8. Dez says:

    Love this story! Keep it going!

  9. Mom says:

    Surprize ! I love it, always a shock line. Love you too

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