Sunday, August 16, 2015

Three Flashes

by Michael Seese

No, I'm not talking about a thunderstorm. Below are three flash fiction pieces all together. I didn't get a chance to do my usual Saturday + Sunday posts because we were out of town, at the annual music party in Scenery Hill, PA.

Always a good time, though this year's event was bittersweet as our friend "Jake" Yothers, the driving force behind the party, passed away last winter.

But the show must go on.

As must the writing. So before we headed southeast, I managed to knock out two pieces for Flash! Friday, and one for Janet.

For Flash! Friday, our novel prompt was The Great Gatsby. So we needed to include two elements from:

* Conflict (choose one): man vs man; man vs society
* Character (choose one): nouveau riche, jealous husband, shallow socialite
* Theme(s) (choose one): obsession, prohibition, the limitations of wealth
* Setting: 1920s New York

And this picture, if we wanted.

I came up with "Money Can't Buy" and "Birds." (For the record, I came up with concept for "Birds" first, but wrote it second.)

My first three attempts missed. But the fourth was a direct score. I watched with detached satisfaction while flames licked the paper. As yet another thing of value was being consumed before my eyes, I folded the next $100 bill into an airplane and consigned it to a fiery demise.

Despite the uneasy silence which now owned our house, I didn't hear my wife enter.

"It's after midnight. Come to bed."

"I'll be up in a few."

I glanced at the mirror above the fireplace as she left. She turned to the right, much like I've found myself doing of late. It's a slightly longer route. But it doesn't force us to pass that room.

After dispatching another dozen Benjamins, I slogged out.

To the right.

They say money can't buy happiness. That may or may not be true. But it sure as hell can't buy a cure for cancer.


The day did not dawn black. It just seemed that way.

Do birds see in color? Or is it just dogs that are confined to a black and white prison?

I wonder if prison is as bad as they say.

When they say someone eats like a bird, what does that mean? Birds eat all the time.

I wonder how my family is going to eat now?

What does it mean to say someone has to eat crow? What do crows eat? Humble pie, perhaps.

I don't remember most of what Mr. Charles Mitchell, the stockbroker, said. Something about "excessive leverage." All I know is that he ended with, "Your money is gone. Out the window."

He followed shortly thereafter.

As I stood on the ledge, looking down at the red mass that used to be Mr. Charles Mitchell, the stockbroker, I had but one thought.

I am a bird.

Janet asked us to incorporate the words


I used them in "Escape."

When there is no prison, there is nothing to escape from.

Except boredom.

And loneliness.

And emptiness.

And Corn Flakes for dinner. Again.

And the occasional blissful bout of silence.

And the screams masquerading as lullabies.

And the fists which, I came to learn, sting less with each passing year.

But other than that, nothing.

Out on a lonely highway, I finally found freedom. Unfortunately, freedom also came with a flat tire, and no spare. I'd had to remove it to make room.

The flashing lights circling like vultures told me I won't be getting away.

But neither did he.

So we'll see Monday how I did. What do you think?

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