Wednesday, April 27, 2011

F3 - Cycle 27 - Goodbye

Submitted for Flash Fiction Friday

Prompt: RANDOM FIRST SENTENCE – Following the rules of the game listed above, find your first sentence.
Genre: Open, though Hardboiled, noir, crime action would be nice.
Word Count: Under 700 words
Deadline: Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:30 pm EST
First sentence lifted from Big Trouble by Dave Berry

"Bye," said Jenny to Matt.

"Bye, Jen," Matt said. He stood looking down at her, unable to move. In an instant, he saw their future and their past together, what could have been, what was.

The first day they met: She was standing in the light by a window. She glowed. Her skin was so creamy, like warm alabaster. The light blazed through the browns and reds in her short hair and pixie sparks of dust surrounded her in a dance of joy. His heart and lungs had contracted at the sight of her and threatened never to move again.

They met, they clicked. He marveled that she found him as magical as he found her. Both of them were awash in the grace of the other. Neither felt they deserved to be so happy and lucky. They walked through the gardens together and talked through nights. They laughed so hard their faces and guts cramped. Endless cups of coffee, endless bottles of wine. Sexual nirvana. His racing thoughts lingered there and wanted to stay. He needed to remember that.

But the future, unrelenting, swooped through his mind. They would wed on a beach. Honeymoon in the mountains. Christmas pictures yet-to-be stacked before him of them and their two dogs, then their dogs and their kids. Matching sweaters and well-wishes would festoon their images. He would bring her coffee as she wrote out the bills. She would meet him for lunch sometimes.They would golf...

And the recent yesterdays replayed. He saw the quick switches, the pulse flutters, the nervous glances, so subtle only a lover could detect them. She was hiding things. She was covering up. She was deleting the incoming call list on her phone. Her email trash bin was worn out from emptying. He wouldn't press her, but he did ask her what was going on. Why nothing, she had said, scratching the back of her neck (her only tell).

The photos from the private eye he hired to clear or condemn her cascaded on his dining room table. Flash after flash of naked elbow, hip, ankle, jaw...hers, her lover's...The sordidness of it all screwed his guts. He had vomited, chugged gulps from a fifth of Jack and vomited again. He wrote the check to the PI on checks she picked out for him, "Save the Rain Forest," they said. Save the rain forest! Why not? We are damned. He laughed and couldn't stop laughing.

Her betrayal un-wrote everything. It undid their fabric. It unraveled his soul.

He returned to the moment and saw her again. She knew now what she had done to him. He could see it in her eyes. Satisfied now that he knew she knew what she had wrought, he pulled the trigger and sent her to hell.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

F3 - Cycle 26 - Tiger Balm

Submitted for Flash Fiction Friday

Prompt: THEMED WORDLIST – Fist, Jab, Knuckle, Spirit, Fighter, Rhythm
Genre: Any
Word Count: 1500
Thursday, April 14, 2011 about 4:30 pm.

"Johnny! Johnny! Johnny!" the crowd chants in rhythm, calling me to them. 

I wait in the dark corridor for the official invitation into the ring, hopping in rhythm with the crowd. Nicky knuckles the muscles in my shoulders to keep them loose. I see flashbulbs exploding around the arena like so many June fireflies. My white-trimmed red satin robe swishes as I jab the air in front of me.

I've been training my whole life for this fight. Tonight I will win. I have the edge. My fists know what they have to do. I will win. I will out-think my adversary. I will win. I will dance just out of his reach. I will win. I will.

I breathe deep one more time. I smell tiger balm, fighters tape, blood. My warrior spirit centers. Nicky pushes me. It's time. We set out of the tunnel and prowl towards the ring. The crowd sees me and erupts its energy. I take it in and soak it up. Cameras watch me climb into the ring. 

The upturned faces of the media surround the boundaries of my battlefield. I am lit from within, from without. Nicky pulls off my robe to reveal muscle and bone, skin and sinew, oil and sweat. I raise my fists and feel the wave of hunger that rolls across the arena and floods me. 

I am ready and we start. I grapple with my nemesis. I introduce him to his new master. He fights me back. He tries to win. He is losing and I break the bad news to him. Hard. He will be better for the beating he is receiving. He will learn the locations of his weaknesses. I am giving him accurately detailed maps, a topography of pain. I find the treasure. X marks the spot and I dig in. He falls, then crawls, then falls for good. 

We stare at each other while the countdown marches us towards our destiny. I see I have awoken in him the awareness of all that he doesn't yet know. He understands that I know all his secrets. His eyes close and he slumps on the mat. And I take my glory.