5 Short Stories about the Midwest

1. Locusts

Standing at the window, she remembered the old stories they told. About when the grasshoppers came. Of how they ate and ate and ate. Everything in their sight, they ate. She always thought it was horrifying, and was glad she had never had to experience it.

She heard his truck door close. A shiver went down her spine, and she folded another of his shirts.

2. Drought

Jerry was not entirely sure how he arrived at this moment, but here it was. Standing on the 14th green of his country club, he suddenly realized that he had always wanted to be a writer.

But that was probably going to be impossible. He had angered so many people buying up water rights, there’d be no one left to buy his books.

3. Water

“Stormchasers” wasn’t precisely the right word for who they were, but it fit nonetheless. Every time the sky grew dark, they would head out into the fields, and find a dirt road. He always seemed to kiss her just as the rain began to fall, and by the time the thunder came, they, too, were crying out. They lay in their fogged-up little hatchback as the weather passed, and then drove home.

4. Wind

“We need to get inside!”

“Not just yet. It’s fine, really. Grab me another beer, would you?”

“Are you fucking serious? This wind is unbelievable!”

“I know. I love it when this happens.”

“You love this?”

“Of course. Hand me another beer.”

“I’m not handing you another beer.”

“Come on. Don’t be like that. Look, I know this is the last thing you ever thought you’d experience when I found you wasting away in the threatre in New York. But trust me, we’re fine. I’ve never been stupid. I always head to the shelter in time. No one here takes chances with tornados. Just relax.”

“You’re one messed up son of a bitch.”

“Why, thank you.”

5. Fire

She hadn’t meant to start an argument with her father.

“No, you’re not hearing me, Daddy. I’m not saying you’re evil or anything. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do controlled burns. You’re not hearing me right. I’m just trying to say that the entire commercial agricultural industry needs to be re-thought before we lose our connection to the land.”

He trained his eyes on her as he held the firestick.

“This land has been in our family for generations. It’s what’s provided for your fancy education. How can you say those things? How can you turn your back on this?”

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