Short stories written by Lucinda Abra

Click on title below to display story

Higher Ground

In Memory of a Tree

The Neighborhood Boy


Krishna and Arjuna

The Neighborhood Boy

The small boy is almost always furious. His anger fills him,

helps him float up above the other siblings, even beyond the reach of his parent's unpredictable rages. It fills his lungs with delicious heat that expels while he screams. His mind becomes steadier held within a fury, less distracted, his chunky frame no longer the only armor available. Like a hot air balloon, he rises above the family fray. His outbursts scare the household, but they allow him to feel safely protected. The only person who can maintain a rapport with him is the housekeeper. She is the only one who can handle him and contain his anger that miraculously melts in her presence.

His father is well respected. Not just held in esteem but one known throughout the city and its boroughs. There are countless news articles with his interviews. The hallways are overflowing with framed photos of the father alongside this or that dignitary.

At six, the child is pudgy, which his svelte clan finds embarrassing. His physicality causes his siblings to tease him mercilessly. In response, he takes long walks, where the sheer physicality slowly but surely transforms the overweight, stout child into a thin, muscular youth. The boy will learn other ways to keep people at bay in the following years, including the loud outbursts that he harnesses like chariots. He is already verbally acute, but insecurities and irritations eat away at the possibilities of a connection.

Hanging on the precipice between childhood and teenager, he is already attractive enough that an older neighbor woman invites him over, not just for milk and cookies either. The first time, he wondered why she asked him to come inside. "God," he thinks, "I hope she doesn't want me to move a davenport or something" The hungry look in her eyes is both frightening and exciting. A foreign scent of delicate French perfume follows in her wake as she draws the drapes closed in the living room, where he sits rather impatiently, sensing that something inexplicable is about to happen. Momentarily, time has stopped. It spins madly on an unexplored pivot.

Her blonde hair curls in a neat flip, swirling open delicately at her shoulders. The woman now sits very close to him and hikes her aquamarine silk dress up. Her legs are so long. A lacy black garter belt holds the nylons in place. His eyes are riveted on the exact spot where the little hook presses into flesh. A mingling of moss and summer flowers from her perfume fills his mouth just before she does.

It is she who primes the pump, leaning over his lithe new form, while she expertly touches him in all the right places in ways he could have never anticipated. Of course, there is no emotional connection; the housewife is just filling in hours before her diligent husband returns home from the law office in Manhattan. It amuses her how often the boy comes by.

They have explored every possible location and position throughout the large apartment, no longer just in the living room. Little Donny is not so little anymore. The student has learned how to bend, twist and manipulate a woman's needs to his own. Sex is its own reward, requiring the intensity stored within bodies. Simple to understand, like rubbing two sticks together, inevitably, fire will erupt. His anger has found a new home, one much more satisfactory. The neighborhood woman has taught him well. Her craving is now his. These are well-earned directives that will run through a thousand women at least.

A celebrated father needs quiet. His demands must be anticipated and met. He hits this young son for a myriad of reasons, too much noise, being disobedient, not keeping his room clean, or not listening to his mother or siblings. It seems to the boy that the father's temper flares without provocation. His mother runs equally hot. She throws the kitchen chair at him one afternoon because he spoke up. He knows better than to trust her to guard him. The father comes first in all things.

So the manchild becomes the punching bag for transgressions small and large. The other children have learned to duck and weave but not this one. He will stand and turn towards the storm. Like attracts like. It is, after all, a family trait he shares in common with his parents. The successful father will punch at his child, telling him all the while to keep his own arms down. He is not allowed to strike back. Ever. Not at the revered founder of a financial dynasty.

The tensions are a distracting intensity. One late night, lying in bed, the parents make a decision. Bags are packed, and off to boarding school he goes. His feelings are confused. Is he exiled? Do they not love him? Is he worthless? They throw him away, and now he must find his own way towards a life worth living. The question is, can he?

The time comes early for his life lessons. Too young to vote, he has already been studying ways to increase the family holdings and make them his own too young to vote. He explores the real estate market. He silently bets on where the housing market will increase in value as each building was a racehorse in bed at the boarding school. His eyes glimmer with the intention of making his name in the grandest of all locations, that of New York City. He meets with his family's attorneys and soothsayers on school breaks to explain his intention to build a golden pathway into the future. He also beds as many as he can get his hands on to satiate his desires, at least momentarily.

Instead, the child is no more but has transformed into a man who finds conquest with young women, older women, and seemingly nearly all women. He competes with every other man, gratified as women throw themselves towards his heat. He swims in a cornucopia of female allure. He takes the molten fury and folds it over and over until it feels sharper, more purified. Quenched in repressed tears of rage, the remaining slag is tossed aside. What remains is more robust steel, his sword of conquest.