"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look fast! A guest flashes (fiction) by

Seriously, if you haven't checked out Kindle Boards, you need to. I don't care if you don't own any kind of e-reading device. I don't care if you're not an author. Kindle Boards is a forum where you can join in discussions about books and blogs and publishing and all kinds of topics that appeal to readers.

It's where I found Thea Atkinson, who writes psychological thrillers and historical fiction. This month, she's doing a fun sort of blog tour, where she streaks through 30 blogs in 30 days, posting flash fiction in each and linking them together so you can follow along. At the end of her piece here, you'll find the link from yesterday's post, and a link to tomorrow's blog.

Feel free to leave a comment to let her know if you enjoyed the streak, and you are welcome to tweet it or share it on Facebook. You can also follow the chain through Twitter with the hashtag #blogstreak.

And now, take it away, Thea:

* * * * *


By Thea Atkinson


Elspeth sat on the floor arranging and rearranging her cheesies. Tiger-orange in perfectly straight stripes against plush green carpet pleased the three-year-old no end. One after another, she popped them into her mouth and watched her mommy clean.

By the time she was 15, Elspeth couldn't stand wrinkles in her sheets, or kinks in the elastic band of her panties. She wore gloves to school because the janitors were lax. Her best friend constantly sullied her room with paper when she came to visit, so Elspeth had to stop calling her.

Chris seemed perfect when she met him: clean cut, respectable. He even lined his french fries up like little soldiers before he ate them. Elspeth married him after only three weeks.

She shined his truck for him when he complained she wasn't good enough for him to shine his shoes, made his bed with toe corners because hospital tucks wouldn't do. She popped birth control pills for fear he'd hate the fat collecting on her midriff, but still it kept collecting there and she had to stop popping bread, and then meat, and then stale crackers, and then, finally, food altogether.

They invited guests for dinner parties and Elspeth did her best to cook calamari, crisp, like he wanted so he could be proud of her, of himself, and what a trophy he’d found in Elspeth.

Her friend Lise said, "You've outdone yourself."

"They taste like rubber bands," Chris said, throwing one to the dog.

Elspeth swallowed down the bit of calamari she'd managed to force into her mouth. She slipped into a polite smile the way she’d slipped into the silk cocktail dress earlier that evening, and then she excused herself to the restroom where the eyes that met hers in the mirror were strained and red.

She heard him through the door, laughing with his guests, his nasal snort a sound that made her stomach squeeze and her throat burn until she had purged every stale thing within her stomach.

For one moment, she felt clean. Blissfully clean. And no one could take that away from her.

* * * * *
april 13 flash:

april 15 flash:

Thea's ebooks: http://www.amazon.com/Thea-Atkinson/e/B0046DIT0U/


Thea Atkinson said...

thanks so much for letting me streak through your blog. I'm having a blast

Larry Enright said...

Another great piece! Keep 'em coming. :)

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