Mentally, she planned for it. A single misstep, even though the other high steel workers called him Glue Feet, or a sudden gust of wind coming at him like a boulder down a mountain. Shrinking each time the phone rang, holding her breath. His brave Mohawk blood, their tradition, keeping him high above Manhattan, no matter what she said.
Imagined the wake, the tall tales. Those steel-spined men remembering: that dropped wrench which nearly split a man in half—those crazy naps on girders, slender as thread—never spilling from a dream. The other wives consoling her—seeing them through a black veil, swallowing their dread, shaky but proud.
But never this: Standing by the kitchen window watching a ruby-throated hummingbird by the feeder he put up days earlier. The garbage disposal going—a glass with a spoon in it ringing in the metal sink. The TV on in the next room. His only fall—from the easy chair to the floor, flopping about like a goldfish on the rug, clutching his chest, gasping for air. His mouth still open when she found him, wordless and twisted. The football fans cheering from the TV. A common death, like any other man.
Robert Scotellaro's flash fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in: Fast Forward (A Collection of Flash Fiction, Volume 2), Willows Wept Review, Fiction at Work Anthology, Dogzplot, mud luscious, Ghoti, 971 Menu, Storyscape, Battered Suitcase, Bent Pin, and others. He is the author of several literary chapbooks, two books of poetry, and the recipient of Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry. Raised in Manhattan, he currently lives with his wife in California.