Saturday, April 11, 2015

Flash! Friday: "Amazing Disgrace" and "Spare Change"

by Michael Seese

I'm not sure what got into me this week. 

I wasn't too happy with my last two stories. I think part of the problem was that I focused on the "word prompt" (meaning, the part that said to make the character a janitor, or the setting a parking lot) at the expense of the photo. So this week, I didn't even read the prompt until I thought about what the picture said. On that topic, here is the photo.

Then I read the character had to be a spy.

Hmmm. That made it kind of tough, considering what I had concocted for "Amazing Disgrace," below. But I forged on.

My cup is empty. Hardly surprising, considering how often in my previous life I let it runneth over. Like my tin companion, I am a hollow vessel, cast to the fringe, cursing a past so full of wanton waste that nothing could save a wretch like me.

The others, the blessed ones, can see me. But they don't, really. I now am a mere shadow, blended in with the background, like a mole in some spy thriller.

A man's fall from grace is hardly a plummet. To be (painfully self-) honest, it's not even a slide, as sliding implies a loss of control. No, it's a series of steps, steps taken willfully despite, or in spite of, the ever-steepening grade that I tried to convince myself was not a decline at all. But it was. So I lied, and reassured myself I was treading on level ground. Then one day, I awoke to find it all gone.

In speaking of Purgatory, Dante said, "My son, here may indeed be torment, but not death." How cruelly true were his words. They burn in my brain as I sit "here," just outside the Pearly Gates, while those on the other side toss me orts of divinity.

And laugh at my plight.

Then I came up with "Spare Change."

"Oi! Mister! Spare some coin for a mate who's down on his luck? No? Nothing? Well, God bless, Mister."

The Book of Luke says, "Give, and it will be given to you... For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." One man's opinion, but it seems humanity's yardstick has shrunk a bit since that one was penned. Going further, I'd say a lot of the "rules" have fallen into disrepair of late.

Adultery. Stealing. Coveting. Once taboo, and now glorified by a generation that prays on the altar of the Internet which, incidentally, I would say runs counter to "You shall have no other gods before me."

Here comes another. Let's see if he's more charitable.

"Sadaiaf?" Nary a nod.

I suppose I could discard my disguise, and present myself as the artists portray me, as the authors describe me. But then it wouldn't be a fair test, would it? If they saw me for who I am, I imagine they'd behave differently. They might even act as if their afterlife depended on it.

Which it does.

It's nearly quitting time. Soon, I will sit down with my counterpart, and divvy up the souls. Those who gave, He can call His.

The others...

"Oi! Mister!"

 I'm just waiting for the lightning bolt. Let me know what you think about either story.

And check back tomorrow for my entry into Janet Reid's latest contest.

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