Pia Z. Ehrhardt's fiction and non fiction.

Posts from the “Fiction” Category

What I Meant.

Posted on March 31, 2016

High-res version

While I waited at the traffic light on Canal Street, a toddler straddled his mother’s hip and kicked off his tiny red sandal. He looked down, wiggled his foot, but didn’t have words. I was driving home from the office with my music on loud. My family had just returned to New Orleans after living for four months in Houston. A continuous rusty waterline cut through buildings and houses. We lived a mile away and on a ridge. The woman stood at the bus stop dressed in turquoise scrubs, and her toddler waved his sippy cup at whoever might notice

 

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Running The Room.

Posted on January 29, 2016

My mother comes to stay with us once a week because for the last eight months she’s been having an affair with Eddie Royce, our city councilman. Wednesdays she drives to Mandeville from Lumberton in time to have an early dinner with my husband Howard and me. Howard’s reserved, or tries to be, because he’s fond of my father and not comfortable harboring my mother under these circumstances. She’s all charm with him, flirty and interested in what he’s doing, and when she’s like this she’s hard to resist. She’s lost ten pounds, and tonight at dinner she asks Howard if he notices, and when he says, yes, she explains that’s why she’s picking at her food, not because it isn’t delicious. “There is…

If You Want To Stay Late.

Posted on January 29, 2016

Tell your boss you enjoy what he has you doing, about how you wake up in the middle of the night with ideas. You’d like more to do; you have time. He’ll laugh when you joke that you’re developing a loyalty habit that’s like a twitch. Stop before you admit you don’t want to go home. Remember the details he’ll soon forget he mentioned. So when you say something he’s forgotten he told you, he’ll tap his forehead with a pen, and say, “Here you are again, Carly, inside my head.” Be subtle, just a bit inappropriate. This requires balance. The world’s full of blatant need and honesty. All those handshakes that run a beat too long, footsie under the table. Avoid skin. Think…

I Thought IHOP Had More Syrup Flavors.

Posted on January 29, 2016

At our lunch this week, I talk to my father about teaching to keep him at arm’s length. He’s a music professor. I’m in graduate school. The college is across the street from IHOP. I say I’m worried my knowledge is a mile wide and an inch thick. How will I answer their questions. He’s staying on track, paternal, encouraging, says I won’t begin learning until I get in front of a class. Daniel left ten days ago. When I told my father at last week’s lunch, his hug goodbye in the parking lot was too long. “Welcome back,” he’d said. He’s so easy to encourage. When I was young, I would break up with boyfriends, sometimes, just for him. It was my gift.…

The Water Laws.

Posted on January 16, 2016

Lydia tapes her husband’s TV weather forecast so she can watch what’s going on between him and the station’s new anchor, Stephanie Russell from Iowa City. Her face is small and flawless. Perfect nose and lipstick, and crystal blue eyes that push back at the camera. Maybe nothing’s happening there, but Lydia wants another look when the broadcast isn’t live. And if she’s not wrong, she wants the videotape. Lydia hits the record button and watches this handsome thing move around. The meteorologist who must have a perfect wife, some tall children, an Irish Setter who runs full out on the levee. Keep reading. —————————— (From Mississippi Review, then, and the Blip Magazine archive now.)

Tell Me In Italian.

Posted on November 4, 2015

“Mike is stretched out now on top of his clean desk, resting, the mug balanced on his chest, and I put the phone back in the cradle and lean over to kiss the curve in his chin. He is my CPA. We’ve been having an affair for ten months, and we meet when we can, here, or some days we just get in the car, drive across the river to Plaquemines Parish, and follow the levee until it runs into the Gulf. I’m a location scout, and last week I took him to check out Grand Coteau, featured him in some Polaroids I’ve got taped to my refrigerator door. I’m thirty-five, and he is younger by a few years, my height, slight.” A short…

Range.

Posted on October 22, 2015

Alerts flash through my phone. High winds. Flash flooding. Seek shelter. Our pup’s at the kitchen door, and I let her in. She shoots into her kennel, a cage within the safety of the house. I track the yellow and red bands on TV, like I know my mother is doing in her small apartment inside the nursing home. The weather is headed up to Hopedale, where I know she is frightened. I want the worst of it over me, the dump of water on my garden, the heavy drops against my windows, the grand performance of thunder and lightning. Outside my window, chips of hail bounce in the street. My mother used to enjoy the sound and cleanse of rain, but since her divorce she’s…