Short Story. Fireworks by Lance Manion

Short Story. Fireworks by Lance Manion

Short Story. Fireworks by Lance Manion. A new Sunday with a new story by Lance. This time, a true tale of high adventure. Enjoy it!


Photo by Steve Gibson

Every year the realtor that sold me my house goes around the neighborhood July 4th and plants a little plastic American flag in front of each mailbox. It makes the street look all patriotic and although I’ve never given it much thought I guess it’s a nice thing for him to do.

My dog doesn’t agree.

My dog is afraid of flags.

I found this out July 4th as I took him for his daily walk.

I’ve been told, I don’t recollect by whom, that goldfish have the shortest memories of any animal. I’m not sure I believed it at the time but it stuck with me. Obviously the conversation had hit rock bottom and it probably goes a long way in explaining why I don’t remember who told me. That might have been the little nugget of information that pushed me over the edge and led me to cut off all further contact from whomever it was.

Or I read it on a Snapple cap.

Who can keep track of such things?

I’m not sure if memory and attention span are considered the same things but if they are than my dog can give any goldfish a run for the title. She will literally leave the room, turn and come back in twenty seconds later and act as though we have been separated for months. The joy exhibited at my presence makes me feel guilty that there isn’t a more sound reason for her reaction. Her tail will wag with such intensity I sometimes worry that it will snap right off and go hurling through the front window.

Her face clearly has “Oh rapture!” written all over it.

After dinner she takes it up a notch. Once the two cups of dogfood have made their way successfully through the plumbing she realizes it’s time for her walk. She will then locate me wherever I might happen to be in the house or yard and begin staring at me with such intensity that all but those with a keen understanding of dog psychology are left to assume that little Timmy has once again fallen down a well and is in need of immediate assistance.

I know better.

It’s time for her walk.

July 4th I slapped on the ol’ leash and away we went. That’s when I learned that my dog was afraid of flags. She dragged me through the front door with an urgency that suggested that the house was engulfed in flames and made her way to the mailbox to see which of her canine counterparts had been by recently to sprinkle their hello.

One brief gust of wind later the flag planted nearby had the audacity to quiver ever so slightly and, upon seeing this, my dog’s legs almost gave out and she reacted as if a yawning hole in the earth had suddenly opened before her and exposed Hades itself, complete with all the fire and brimstone a dog could ever hope to see.

I’d never seen an animal react with such stark terror and I am nothing if not a full-blown addict for TV shows where one larger animals spends considerable time stalking another animal with the intention of nothing less than murdering and consuming that animal and, when the trap is finally sprung and the animal that is playing the part of sustenance in this little drama realizes what fate has in store for them, the look of surprise and dismay that crosses their face still doesn’t hold a candle to the expression of all-consuming horror that overtook my dog at the sight of the small plastic flag waving ever so slightly by my mailbox.

A scene that was repeated at each and every mailbox up and down the street. It seemed that just as she composed herself and decided to soldier on despite the shock she’d just experienced there was another star-spangled antagonist that sent her spinning into another fit of panic. It became absurd. I worried her heart would give out at each of these new red, white and blue demons tormenting her at every turn. When the wind would stop and they would hang completely limp on their sticks she would approach slowly and each time get within a few inches before a light breeze would again animate these miniature versions of Old Glory and send her scampering away in a stomach-turning display of cowardice.

Every new yard a fresh hell for her because as soon as she was out of sight of the last flag she seemed to forget all about the pervious encounter and then plunge headlong into the next one of Betsy Ross’ fluttering disciples.

I’m sure my neighbor’s hearts were warmed watching me drag my traumatized dog from one house to next screaming “It’s a fucking flag you idiot!” By the end of the week parents “What kind of a dog is scared of a fucking flag?” were scrambling to get their kids inside “You’re embarrassing me!” and out of earshot as soon as we poked “Dogs are not the preferred prey item of flags you moron!” our heads out of the house. To make matter worse, this will be going on for the foreseeable future because the damn flags are plastic and usually make it to about Labor Day before looking so faded and crappy that people begin to pull them up and toss them in the trash.

It’s going to be a long summer.

Click to add a comment

Lance Manion has been called demented, hilarious, quirky and well outside the mainstream. He has released 5 collections of short stories, contributes to numerous online flash fiction sites and blogs daily on his website Currently, his fifth book named "The Trembling Fist" is out and promises to be his fifthest yet. I'm sure there are a lot of redeeming features about Lance that we could mention but none of them are coming to mind just now. If we think of any we'll be sure to get back to you.

More in Books

Creatives working at The Phoenix Artist

Independent venue launches hub for London’s creative community

Yareah MagazineJuly 19, 2016

Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap. A Midnight Clear in Kansas

Yareah MagazineJune 19, 2016
The Nantucket Book Festival

Book lovers. The Nantucket Book Festival features a stellar line-up of authors and events

Yareah MagazineMay 11, 2016
Ceramics by Sister Augustine

Author John Schlimm has won a Christopher Award for Five Years in Heaven

Yareah MagazineMay 5, 2016
Ken O'neill. Casino Woman in Red Throwing Dice

Sunday Poetry with Jenean C. Gilstrap. Today: burn baby burn

Jenean C GilstrapApril 24, 2016
Lions painted in the Chauvet Cave. This is a replica of the painting from the Brno museum Anthropos. The absence of the mane sometimes leads to these paintings being described as portraits of lionesses. Source: Wikipedia. Author: HTO - Own work (own photo)

Sunday Poetry with Gypsy Woman, Jenean C. Gilstrap. Today: Home

Jenean C GilstrapApril 17, 2016

Yareah Magazine

Art is Everywhere and Up to You.

About Us - Press Kit - Contact Us

YM on Twitter

Top Posts & Pages

Yareah® Magazine is a Registered Trademark in the United States