by Michael Seese
I never get tired of seeing the word "WINNER." Especially in conjunction with my name. But I'm proud to say I've joined one of the few three-time winners over at Flash! Friday.
And I was really touched by the comments of judge Aria Glazki.
The dialogue that isn’t dialogue is the brilliance of this piece. In retrospect, the initial image sets up the possibility of both murder and suicide, but the following lines appear to be the internal dialogue and uncertainty of someone in desperate straights, contemplating something equally desperate. Only when she decides to say no, to find that inner strength, do we learn her demons aren’t internal but are in fact the physical and very distinct presence of her lover; that this back and forth isn’t her attempt to make a decision but a literal devil’s advocate, who is willing to take more drastic measures when the subtlety of conversation is insufficient. The twist of the ending that nevertheless makes such undeniable sense, conveyed through a risky yet perfect stylistic choice, steals your breath with the final line.
(OK bolding "brilliance" was my idea.)
Wow. Truly, I'm touched.
Then on Monday it was over to FINISH THAT THOUGHT for 500 words. Our first sentence was "The day it all began, the sky [was gray and rainy]."
And the special challenge was to include 2 or more of the following:
1. A map
2. A number
3. An alien (or aliens)
4. A made-up word
5. A question
So here is "Seeking A Man Who Enjoys The Beach, Seafood..."
The day it all began, the sky was gray and rainy.
The perfect metaphor for our relationship. I swear, I am never answering a singles ad again.
Seeking a man who enjoys the beach, seafood, and quiet, cetantary evenings.
“Cetantary?” Is that even a word? That should have been my first clue.
But I ignored it—as well as all sense of reason—and dialed the number.
“Heigh ho!” the voice chirped. That should have been my second clue.
After about two minutes of alien conversation, I realized I’d need a map to find her brain. And yet, I couldn’t hang up. We talked for another few indeterminate number of seconds, then agreed to meet. She asked if I could pick her up at the pier. She said she’d be out front, in all gray. That should have been my third clue.
For our first date, I planned a picnic. Why? I don’t know. I think I read somewhere that chicks like those kinds of things. Probably on the cover of one of those glossy, air-headed, chick magazines.
When I got there, it wasn’t hard to find the “pewter woman.” I honked. She hopped in, and kissed me. On the mouth. Hard. (By this time, I had stopped counting the clues.)
“Where’s the basket with the food?” I asked.
She pulled from her purse a can of sardines.
“That’s it?” I said, “What the F! I said we were going on a picnic. You’re the chick. Food’s a chick thing, right?”
“I’m sorry. Would you have preferred calamari?”
“Never mind,” I grumbled, peeling away from the curb.
We drove in silence. Well, not actual silence. She kept making this weird whistling and clicking noise.
At the park we settled down and (sort of) enjoyed the sardines. I tried to make small talk, something I was never good at.
“So, are you close to your folks?”
“Not really. I haven’t seen them in years. But I hang with my friends from school.”
“That’s nice. So, what do you like to do?”
“Whatever you do. I’m new at this.”
I quickly grew bored with the conversation, which tells you something. Soon, it began to rain. She started making that noise again.
“This is just perfect,” I muttered.
“It is!” she gushed. “Now I don’t have to be back for another hour!”
All things considered, it was one of the best dates I ever had.
OK, so she’s strange. She talks funny. She tends to slide off the bed a lot. And when she lands, you hear it. That’s not surprising, though, considering she weighs 450 pounds.
So why am I with her?
For some reason, or maybe several reasons, women don’t seem to like me all that much. But Delphina does.
On the one hand, she’s been a great wife. On the other hand, our water bills are HUGE. I’ve learned to accept it. But I imagine a lot of people rue the day dolphins learned to walk. And speak English.
Please share your thoughts on this story.