Thursday, October 27, 2016
A LITTLE FLASH FICTION
I've been experimenting a little with "flash fiction"...or as "flash" as my fiction gets. I hope you like it...or at least don't hate it! Tell me what you think.
HERE TODAY: A LIFE STORY IN ONE SENTENCE
“Smart as a whip, Jack was,” Banyan was saying, and once Banyan started you might as well just sit back and listen, because there was no getting a word in edgewise, “and rose to the top of the heap so fast it’d make your damn head spin—business-class travel, BMWs, fifteen-hundred-dollar suits (twenty of ‘em, Jack had!), Italian shoes, Egyptian cotton shirts, silk ties, best of everything—on top of the world he was, but then, BANG, one day she just up and left him, blink of an eye sorta thing, needed ‘her own space’ she said, and after that, none of it seemed to make any sense to him anymore, or at least not as much as Jack Daniels did, and pretty soon, it all just kinda went south, if you know what I mean, or at least it did until he just kinda got up one morning, after like a year or so, and decided he hadn’t needed any of that, ever, or even her, for that matter, and he just plain started over, working construction, wearing jeans and boots, denim jackets and a sweaty ol’ Yankees cap, drinking Bud with the boys after work, enjoying life again, and then even dating again too, a waitress, she was, name o’ Jean, who was pretty in a plain sorta way, quiet and kind, she was, and a good listener, but, from what he said, ‘with such a deep passion’—that was how he described it—that he said sometimes it made him think, in the midst of it, if you get my drift, it might just kinda ‘engulf him’—that was how he put it, ‘engulf him’—and hold him there forever, and actually, that was exactly what was happening, to the point that they were seriously thinking they might just spend the rest of their lives together, or that was the plan, at least, right up until that heart attack hit him and, bang, just like that, man, ol’ Jack was gone!”
Her son, who lived abroad, was driving and talking. She gazed out at dead winter fields, wishing he would just shut up.
“Sure you’ll miss him! So will I. But you’re alive, Mom! Travel! See the world. You have the time and the means.
I know! When I go back, come with me. Stay a while!”
“Stop the car,” she said.
He did. He turned to look at her. She turned to him, clutched his shoulders, looked him hard in the face.
That’s not going to happen! she said. Sixty years it’s been! I’ve been with your dad—been him—so long, I can’t find me anymore!
In a few days, her son would have to go back.
Now he could see it in her eyes.
She was saying goodbye
This visit would be their last.
But he pretended it wasn’t so.
December nine, my kid brother called to say happy birthday. Himself, he’d turned fifty-one in November: five years and
miles apart. But ever close, all the same.
He’d hit rock bottom—divorced twice, downsized executive, new job as a school bus driver. But for a while, he’d seemed happy that way, like the stress was off and he was cool.
Now his girlfriend “couldn’t be with a school bus driver.” She’d left.
He was devastated. Couldn’t seem to pick himself back up.
I said, “Weren’t you coming down?”
“I am, Bro, honest, in June. Got my new passport right here.”
“To hell with June! Come now! Stay as long as you want. Hell, stay forever!”
“Thanks, buddy. Really! But I can’t, new job and all. Like I say, in June...when I have more time.”
When a neighbor called, and the cops found his corpse, his spotless passport was still by the phone.