Sunday, January 27, 2019

Janet Flash: Giving

by Michael Seese

A new year, and winter has finally decided to flex its icy might. Or as super agent Janet Reid said on Friday, "It's been so cold of late that the only thing to do is curl up on the couch with a good read. Preferably a hot-action thriller to warm you up!"



To that end, she sponsored one of her flash fiction contests. We had to use the words


in a 100-word story. It's fun to try to break up the words, which is within the bounds of the contest. So I looked at "tear" as "rent early."

From there,“Giving” fell into place.


I’d paid the rent early. Can't have the landlord barging in and spoiling the surprise.

I’d donated blood, twice, the second time using a fake ID. “Always giving. Too much.”

I’d re-read the letters, and caressed the old photos, desperate to find some reason to stay.

I had none left.

Lying there, transfixed by the dark snake slithering through the cool water in the tub, I was surprised it didn't hurt more. Sleepy now, my eyes fell upon the angry words, written—as always—in lipstick on the mirror and, below them, my terse reply.

“My final gift to you.”

I'm not so happy with the last line. At first I had, "This is for you," and changed it to what you see now. This morning when I awoke (after the deadline) I concocted. "Still giving. Last time, though." That would have tied it back to the "Always giving" line which (in my mind) the unnamed "she" would have said to the main character.

We'll find out tomorrow or Tuesday what Janet thinks.

1/30 Update

I co-won.

Late Sunday night, Janet posted the preliminary results. I was among the five finalists. Her comment:

Took me two reads to see what was happening here.
Do you get it?

After much hair pulling and wringing of hands (I assume) Janet announced that we would share the honors. Which is just fine with me. I like to win. But I like to share as well.

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