Often the grand dames of the family tree are nutty aunts. Gather them into one bowl, and you’ve got aunts like mixed nuts. This week, writers shared stories and sketches of aunts who smell like garlic, pinch cheeks and bust broncos. Some are based on true family accounts (BOTS) and others are fictionalized. However, if you are an aunt and you recognize yourself in a story, it’s purely coincidence!
No family trees were harmed in the making of this compilation based on the February 4, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a nutty aunt.
Aunt Bronco Billy by Charli Mills
“No one cared where I’d go,” Aunt Billy said to the children sitting cross-legged at her booted feet. Her rocker creaked with undulating bulk.
“Not your Ma?” asked the youngest. The others shushed him.
“Nope. Too many chits and not enough beans.” She puffed a hand-rolled cigarette and snuffed it on a beer bottle.
“Won this silver belt buckle at the Clay County Rodeo.” She grinned and lifted up her belly from the belt that girdled her faded gauchos. The kids grinned back, some nearly as toothless as the celebrity aunt who once busted broncos for buckles and bucks.
Auntie Boodie by Irene Waters
We stood mourning at the graveside. I wondered if anyone really knew Auntie Boudie. Perhaps the man they talked of in hushed tones. Another Aunt who lived in sin.
At twelve, Auntie still sent me rag books for Christmas. She knew I existed, unlike the other aunts. Auntie, dressed in hat and gloves, met us at the door when we visited. She sent us to the park whilst giving the adults a five-minute audience. She had the first colour TV I saw– blue cellophane at the top, green at the bottom.
“Thanks Auntie for remembering me.” I dropped my sod.
Aunt Lucy by Luccia Gray
“Your sister should have married.”
“She’s perfectly happy on her own.”
“I suppose you can’t blame anyone for not wanting to live with her, can you?”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s as mad as a hatter.”
“What a horrible thing to say! She’s not mad. She’s just different.”
“Look at her clothes and her sixty-year-old hippy friends. They still smoke pot for crying out loud! Thank God we had the sense to adopt her child so she could have a normal life.”
The door opened.
“I wondered when you were going to tell me Aunt Lucy was my mother.”
Nutty Aunt by Rebecca Patajac
The yelling grew louder and echoed up the stairwell. I cuddled one of my younger sisters.
“Why are you so stupid?” He roared at her.
“Don’t touch me!” She screamed back.
We tip-toed downstairs, tear streaked faces glancing down the hall. My hands shook.
Reaching the front door, we ducked outside.
We raced, hearts pounding, to our neighbour’s, knowing she had heard it all.
Her front door swung open, a soft smile on her face.
We turned up some music as craft boxes cracked open, flour coated the kitchen and toys spilled across the floor.
Tia Marañón by Pat Cummings
When I was a kid, this old lady lived next door. She was tiny, wrinkled, and very fragile—and crazy loco! Her name was really Manzana, but we all called her “Tia Marañón”, because she was a nutty apple.
When the sun was warm, she would sit all day on the little front porch and eat cashew nuts. If it was cold, she was inside with the balcony window open, tossing peanut shells into the front yard.
When we passed on our way to school, she would throw them, nuts or shells, and try to hit us. Crazy old apple…
Nutty Aunt by Sarah Unsicker
The rain came down in sheets. The kitchen glowed with light and energy, a serene island in the storm.
“Did you wash your hands?” Cecilia asked.
Chelsea obediently washed her hands. She dumped the butter into the mixer bowl, wiping her hands on her apron.
“Long ago,” Cecilia reminisced, “your grandmother and I sat in here to watch Mama bake cookies. By the time we were ten, we were doing it ourselves.”
By now, the cookies were just about ready to bake.
“Let’s add in some nuts,” Cecilia said as she poured a cup of walnuts into the bowl.
Three Mad Aunts by Tally Pendragon
Long summer evenings in Avalon around the magical solstice, sitting under the stars, constellations rising and setting again. There would be talk of the ancestors and the legendary creatures who came long before: Epona riding her side-saddled horse as her serpent winds by; Eluned, her ring fastened around her neck, not rendering her perpetually invisible to all; and Elaine, the Lady of Shallot, so in love with Lancelot that she dies of a broken heart when her love still remains unrequited. A pretty chain of follies do they make snaking up the twilit hillside, the three mad aunts.
Aunt Farm by Larry LaForge
“Just don’t ask, please.”
“But why, Mom?” Laurie’s third grade class was studying fruits and vegetables. She had questions.
“Don’t get Aunt Bertie started,” Mom said.
They drove down the narrow dirt road several miles before reaching the sign proclaiming AUNT BERTIE’S PEANUT FARM. Laurie loved it that she had a nutty aunt—literally.
They were touring the fields when Laurie made her innocent remark. “Peanuts are my favorite fruit . . . I mean vegetable.” Mom tried to shush her but it was too late.
Aunt Bertie stopped dead in her tracks, immediately launching into her usual rambling lecture about legumes.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
For the Love of Garlic by Susan Zutautas
Mommy, do we really have to go and visit Aunt Annie again tonight?
Why dear, do you not like your Aunt?
I like her, it’s just that she smells kind of funny.
Her job is handling tobacco all day long making cigarettes dear, so that’s probably why you think she smells funny.
No it’s not that kind of a smell. Daddy smells like cigarettes but she has a different smell to her.
Mommy thought hard about it. Of course, now I know what you’re referring to. Your aunt comes home every Friday night and makes herself a garlic sandwich.
Rough as a Corncob by Pete Fanning
“Marlboro Reds and Budweiser, not that light crap,” Aunt Lynette barked at Mom, who hurried into The Smart Mart. “And get me some Super Glue!”
A twangy country tune played as she fixed her frizzy hair in the rearview. It was Saturday morning. Early. We’d just picked up my aunt from the jailhouse steps. We’d have her until Uncle Pike got over that lump on his head.
“So what’s with the super glue?”
Lynette turned around, a slat missing in a crooked row of beige teeth. “Just a little dental work, Sweetie.”
I squirmed. Uncle Pike had better hurry.
An Aunt’s Antics by Paula Moyer
Aunt Ann’s past revealed itself bit by bit.
Jean was a beginning graduate student doing research at the Oklahoma State Historical Society.
She drove down on Friday night and stayed overnight with her grandmother.
Over dinner, Aunt Ann gave her directions to the Historical Society building. The slight grin suggested a story.
“How’d you make out?” Ann asked her that night.
“Cousin Madge and I used to roller-skate through the halls,” Ann reminisced. “We timed it so we could roll through the aisle into the elevator, then close the door. The librarian never caught us.”
A Visit to Aunt Freda’s by Roger Shipp
Musty. Hot. The air… more burdensome than moist.
There were no pets. Wait… Once there was a wounded squirrel on the kitchen table in a small cage.
Before dawn, winter or summer, the split, red-oil-clothed kitchen chairs were sweating. The matching cloth settees in the living room were no better.
One small aisle for movement: tables of all sizes…shelves upon shelves… corners enveloping corners: the house was green.
Ferns. Violets. Ivies. Geraniums. Wild and free.
A blinding amalgamation of multi-shaped blossoms entangled philodendrons with an asthmatic assault which accosted you upon entry.
It wasn’t Grandma’s, but I loved it.
One Last Smoke by Sherri Matthews
“Come!” beckoned the deep, gravelly voice as Millie knocked on the door.
She walked in and was greeted by a haze of grey smoke, into which Auntie Carrie appeared like a ghost.
“Mummy said to tell you dinner’s ready,” said Millie as she stared into the black, dead eyes of the fox stole draped across her aunt’s tweed jacket.
At dinner, Millie gawped at Auntie Carrie’s huge bosom heaving as her chest crackled with every breath.
“The doctor told me to give up smoking,” she winked at Millie. “Maybe next year for my 90th birthday.”
Aunt You Worried? by Geoff Le Pard
‘Aunt Gloria, can you really read tea leaves?’
‘Yes, Penny. Easy.’
The girl watched while she made a pot and poured four cups. Mary stared outside, lost in her own world. Paul, Penny’s dad smiled as he drank.
‘You will have a new boyfriend by May.’ Gloria smiled; Penny scowled. Gloria looked at Paul’s dregs. ‘You’ll lose something important. Probably the second time.’
Penny smiled, ‘Your wallet! Again.’
Gloria eased Mary’s cup from her. She frowned. ‘Mary, you must ignore her.’
‘Who?’ Penny looked anxious.
‘Sharon. Mary’s imaginary friend.’
Mary looked amazed while Paul sighed. ‘Please no. Not again.’
Nutty Aunt by Norah Colvin
“Don’t ‘Aw Mum’ me. She’s your dad’s only sister . . .”
“But Mum …” I could already smell her stale cigarette breath and feel the stickiness of her too-red lipstick that wouldn’t rub off.
“It won’t hurt you. She’s not staying long.”
“Why can’t Jason?”
“Because Jason’s going to work,” she said.
“Yeah, Squirt,” grinned Jason, throwing his backpack over his shoulder.
“Smoochie Coochie,” he mocked, squeezing my cheeks into a pucker while making loud lip-smacking sounds. His laughter followed him down the street.
Suddenly she was there with her sharp green pistachio grin.
Sketch of a Nutty Aunt by Anne Goodwin
Your green shoes damned convention. You read everything from cereal packets to Tolstoy with the print barely inches from your eyes. Faddy new diets swallowed your widow’s pension, yet you baked for days before our visits, your table groaning with scones, seed cake and gingerbread, as if you liked our noise descending on your home.
Your friend was a clown in a circus; he sent you postcards from his tours. Your favourite dress still hangs in my wardrobe, though, even at sixteen, I couldn’t do up the zip.
I wish I could ask if you wore it for him.
New prompt on Wednesday. All writers welcome!
I missed this week — school cancelled 7 out of the past 12 school days. Third storm. We must have 4 solid feet plus drifts here now. Wild. Anyway, awesome flashes by all!
Holy buckets of snow! Third storm! And we’ve had warm rain since last week which is April weather. The pond is even opening up which is so weird. It makes me think that with weather patterns changing, we aren’t going to know where to live! So many people move to or fro because of weather. But I’m staying out of your region! That’s crazy! Gives you ideas and details to use in future writing! 😀
Just came to read and sigh at the quality. What’s really noticeable is the quality of the work from people who were so hesitant when they started. All down to you, Charli (I know you’ll deflect this onto us but, for once, just accept a universal truth and glow a little inside!) Well done you!! :-))
I’m so glad you notice that! I get all giddy seeing writers pushing their own comfort zones, or trying a different approach or really getting the punch with the words. I feel more confident in trying different characters and always, the word constraint does magic for me. Thanks!
Charli…it is all down to you!!! You are doing a great thing here for us writers, especially those of us who never thought in a million years we could write flash fiction…
I’m just wrangling you trick writers! 😉 I’m so glad you are writing flash fiction!
Another great compilation. Those nutty Aunts were mostly loveable but the writing was a joy to behold.
Yes, a wonderful collection of nutty aunts!