Patrimony

By Ritta M. Basu

“See that man over there? He looks like your grandfather when I first met him, except he’s missing a beret.”

“You mean the one fishing, in the Tommy Bahama shirt with the pot belly?”

“That’s the one. Teddy was still a Sufi minister and leading meetings for sex addicts when we met.”

“What? Is this a stupid old lady joke? Grandpa Simon was a minister? What the hell is a Sufi?”

“Eleanor, I’m still your grandmother. Don’t talk that way.”

“Okay, but really Granny E, stop calling me Eleanor.”

“You were named after me, you know?”

“I know, you’ve only told me 3,587 times.”

“Well, I feel proud. You were the best thing to come out of my marriage to Teddy Simon.”

“Were you two named after the Roosevelts?”

“I was, but your grandfather’s family was more of the Teddy Bundy type.”

“Exactly! From what Daddy says, Grandpa was the Antichrist. How in the world could he be a minister?  Do the Sufis worship Satan or something?”

“I don’t know. He got involved with all that before I met him. I always thought it was just some sort of front for smoking pot and talking to people until their ears bled.”

“How in the world could you marry such a controlling, blowhard asshole?”

Well, he did have that sex addict thing going on.”

“I think I’m a sex addict.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

“I had sex with three different guys last week. I don’t even know one guy’s name.”

“Sounds like your grandfather’s pension is paying for more than a good education up there in Boston, baby girl. Good for you! Experimentation is a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

“Are you serious? You’re my grandmother.”

“Yes, I am and I’m telling you, enjoy your life, make all kinds of mistakes, learn something. But, honey, whatever you do, please don’t let anyone drag you to one of those damn meetings. You might end up loving a blowhard Sufi asshole for the rest of your life.”


After more than 20 years in newsrooms and university PR shops, Ritta was looking for an outlet for more creative written expression. Flash fiction quickly became a way to combine her love of concise, clear writing, with inventive expression. In 2010, Ritta launched FewerThan500.com and began to solicit the work of flash fiction writers across the globe. Today she serves as the site’s editor and publisher.

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5 Responses to Patrimony

  1. Noah Nichols says:

    I really enjoyed this entertaining little morsel of a larger story at work. In fact, I’d love to read a full-length novel of these characters one day down the road.

  2. Bruce says:

    I LOVED THIS SHORT STORY! Granny E rocks – reminds me of my own very cool grandmother who passed away too long ago, and I miss her terribly.

    I believe I may have met a blowhard Sufi minster many years ago myself – and coincidence or not – he was a flaming asshole, too. But the Sufi minister I met had rotten teeth, breathe that smelled like coffee & cowshit, and fancied pawing waitresses at the local diner.

    What the hell is a Sufi, anyway?

  3. k white says:

    Cute, snappy.

  4. Fran says:

    Fun 500 read (tho I didn’t count the words). That’s some forward Granny E. I can’t imagine ever sharing with my grandmothers that freely.

  5. Kitty says:

    Well Done! great dialogue.

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