All of the following works were written by me. I know that, once I post anything online, I lose control of it, but I trust that nobody is going to go wild and post these amateur flash fiction works are their own! Don’t let me down, internet.
The Day’s Decline
“Did you know mint is a weed?” she said, wiping away the sweat from her forehead. “If you don’t contain the root system, it’ll take over your whole garden.”
“You don’t say!” I said. “And where was this pearl of wisdom back in April, when you let me plant it back here?”
She shrugged. “I just assumed you weren’t particularly attached to the other herbs and vegetables!”
Our eyes met for a moment before I turned to gaze at the sea of mint that was once our back yard. How did everything always manage to get so out of hand?
The Failings of Youth
The phone was ringing again, but I didn’t bother to answer it. I figured it was probably my mother, calling to ask how I was doing, and I’d have to lie and tell her my rent was on time, I was eating very well, my girlfriend hadn’t left me, I wasn’t behind on my car payments, and I didn’t drop out of college. I hated lying to everybody about the details.
Truth is, I was pretty happy, despite everything that was going wrong. I have no complaints. I just didn’t feel like trying to explain how my life could be falling apart while I simply wasn’t.
I Wished for Better
None of my projects ever turn out to be as simple as I think they will. It’ll be a ten-minute fix, I’d said. That was an hour ago. I looked over at her and saw that she had been watching.
“How’s it going?” she said.
“I think I’m about finished,” I said. “Good as new, isn’t it?”
She struggled to contain a smile. “I hate to break it to you, Sugarplum…”
I chuckled. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” I said. “In over my head, yet again.”
Why couldn’t she ever just humor me?
The World Is Tiny
“What kind of person leaves New York for the sticks?” he said. “Isn’t it usually the other way around?”
She wasn’t terribly annoyed by the question; it was something she was used to. After all, he wasn’t wrong. There were probably thousands of people itching to get out of the humdrum of their small towns, drawn by the allure of the big city, yet she had been clawing her way out for years. It was too difficult to try and explain to other people. She didn’t fully comprehend it, herself. All she knew was that her heart was calling her away from the bright lights and crowded streets of New York, and she listened.
He shook his head and turned his attention back to the newspaper he’d been reading. “I’ll say,” he muttered.
I’m So Bordeaux
“I’m not gonna make it,” she said, clutching onto the side of the park bench.
We were barely sympathetic, mainly due to exhaustion. It was nearly 4:00am, and none of us was used to being out all night. It was an ode to poor teenage decisions that we’d never made as actual teenagers. We were, collectively, far too old to be doing any of this.
“Guys,” she said, “I think I –” She stumbled behind the nearest tree before she could finish her thought, but, based on what she did next, I could guess what she was trying to tell us. She had, after all, drunk an entire bottle of wine by herself not an hour beforehand.
He sat down on the bench. “I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting here until she’s all set,” he said.
“She might be little,” I said, taking a seat beside him, “but she can hold a surprising amount of vomit in there. This could take awhile.”
“I think we could use a break,” he said.
We sat in silence for a few minutes. The wind started to blow a little harder, and I buried my hands in my coat pockets for warmth. I found myself edging closer to him. “Do you mind?”
“What? You using my body as a furnace?” he said. “Yeah, I mind.” I felt the weight of his arm upon my shoulders just then, as if to secure me in place. I was suddenly very thankful for the darkness. And for the wine.
Dinah wiped her hands on her apron. It hadn’t fully dried since the last time she washed her hands, so the act was essentially a waste of time.
“Just like everything else,” she mused before flipping the sign on the front door to Closed.
Green Bubble Tea
“I can’t eat this,” she said.
“Why not?” I had already eaten enough sushi for three people. It was shameful, but it was all so delicious, I couldn’t help myself. It wasn’t as though my companion was going to help me finish it, either. She watched me eat another piece, and I thought she was going to be sick.
“It’s just so… raw.”
I laughed. “Well done, Columbo!”
“Columbo was a homicide detective,” she said, “and this has nothing to do with murder.”
“The fish’ve died, haven’t they?”
“Cute,” she said. “I’ll just stick to the bubble tea, thanks.”
She was just passing through to the kitchen. “I’m getting myself an ice cream,” she said. “Do you want one?”
“Nah,” I said. I glanced at the phone, thoroughly uninterested in the magazine I had been reading. I put my hand on the receiver.
“Don’t,” she said.
“I wasn’t going to call,” I said.
“Put the phone down,” she said. “I’m not joking. Put it down, walk away, get on with your life.”
I withdrew my hand. “Easy for you to say.”
She handed me a bowl of ice cream and took a seat on the love chair on the other side of the coffee table. “You’re right,” she said, “but it’s not like I’ve never had my heart broken before.”
“My heart isn’t –”
“Yeah, it is” she said. “Because, if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be staring at the phone waiting for it to ring, or contemplating leaving another voicemail message that isn’t going to be returned. How long are you going to keep this going?” She stood up. “Just learn when to move on.”
I half expected her to throw some line at me about how the end of one relationship could be the beginning of another, or some other philosophical bullshit, but she surprised me by saying nothing further.
Sunshine Under Water
“I wish you didn’t hate me,” she said.
“Who hates you?” I said.
“You don’t look me in the eyes anymore,” she said. “You don’t return my calls. You always have some excuse not to spend time with me.”
“Surely, there has to be some rationale that’s a little less extreme than my hating you.”
“Of course there is,” she said. “You were about to explain it to me.”
Well, shit. I’d fallen for her trap, no doubt exactly as she’d planned, and I had no idea how I was going to weasel my way out of it. I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t figure out which way was ‘up’.
“I can’t,” I said.
“No, don’t ask,” I said. “I know what you’re going to say. But I can’t answer your question. That’s the whole point.”
“So you’ve been avoiding me because you don’t want to answer a simple ‘yes or no’ question?”
“It’s not a simple question,” I said. “Look, what we have right now is perfect. I don’t want to change a thing. And, if I tell you whether or not I feel something more, it won’t matter how I reply. It’s going to change everything.”
She averted her gaze. “I don’t see how it would.”
“I’m not going to jeopardize our friendship,” I said, “by telling you either way. But I don’t hate you.”
“Where have you taken me?” I said.
“Hey, you’re the one who asked to tag along,” she said.
“That’s because you made it seem like you were going to be doing something exciting in the North End today,” I said.
“This isn’t exciting?”
“As exciting as waking up at the ass crack of dawn and hopping on the orange line could be, I guess.”
I had never been to Haymarket Square, but, in my mind, it was a whole lot different than this. It was hot, smelly, crowded, and slightly terrifying. I could barely hear myself think amidst the shouting and carrying on. My companion was completely unfazed by all of that, however, as she browsed the different vendors.
In the end, I walked out with a cantaloupe and a couple of tomatoes. A reward, I mused, for making it out of there in one piece. She didn’t buy anything. It was the atmosphere she wanted to take in.