Yesterday's Magazette

6 – There, But For The Grace

There, But For the Grace

By Linda F. Collins


Pastor Henry droned on and on as the air in the anti-room where we met for our Ten Commandments Discussion Group got hotter, got closer, and I started to get sleepy.

To avoid the embarrassment of nodding off, I began watching a fly slowly circle the curly, white hair of the woman sitting in the row in front of me.

He circled lower, with each pass, wings just brushing a manicured curl before he soared to the ceiling to begin his spiral again. Over and over the little black fly buzzed the cottony curls, soared to the heights, then dived toward the pool of white below.

I inched forward on my chair. My hand crept closer and closer to the curly mop in front of me.

There he came again, circling even lower, plotting his soft landing in the snowy curls below.

I focused completely on that little black fly, intent on snatching him out of the air the instant before he touched down.

Completely involved with his descent, I was unaware at first of a sudden, tense hush – like everyone in the room was on the edge of their seats waiting. Waiting for what? What had I missed? I shook off the overwhelming desire to snatch the hapless fly out of the air on his next pass, sat back in my chair, and looked up – straight into Pastor Henry’s eyes.

“Congratulations,” he remarked, dryly. “That was a sterling demonstration of resisting the temptation to break the Fifth.”

The fifth…the Fifth? I was thinking fast now. He couldn’t mean a bottle-type fifth, this is Ten Commandments time.

Then it hit me–the Fifth Commandment. I squeaked, “Thou Shalt Not Kill?”

Embarrassed, I laughed and looked around at the study group. They were still staring at me. I suppose wondering what would happen next.

“Saved at the very last minute,” I murmured sheepishly, “by a little help from my friends.” I smiled around at my friends.

Then glancing toward the ceiling where the little black fly still circled, I added, “And a lot of help from above.”


Linda Collins is a preacher’s kid from Indiana currently living in Florida.  Memories of church services when the air got close, the preacher’s voice droned on and on lulling her into that twilight zone we enter just before sleep are the inspiration for this short story. She is a former teacher, entertainer, and currently holds a real estate brokerage license in Florida. A member of Writers Circle and Sarasota Fiction Writers, Linda writes for magazines and online publications, and proofreads and edits books and magazines from her home office in Sarasota.

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