"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

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Flash Fiction Prompt: After midnight

Flash fiction is a complete story that is super short. I think, in general, less than 1000 words (which would make it a picture, yes?) and just enough words to give it a beginning, a middle and an end. Hemingway's "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," comes to mind.

When given the prompt "After midnight," here's what I thought of:

* * * * *

She sat in Pete's recliner, a plaid and frayed and faded remnant of their years together. Pete had left her six years ago, not by choice but by a heart attack.

A cigarette sat smoldering in the heavy glass ashtray on her right, along with a glass of Cardhu. She didn't smoke and she hated Scotch, but sometimes she took a puff and a small sip and sat in Pete's chair, hoping he'd show up.

If he did, he wouldn't come by until after midnight. Pete was a night owl. Death had not changed him. She liked to rise with the dawn. They were mismatched, but managed to spend 40 years together, playing hide and seek with whatever they had in common, unburying their sameness like a treasure hunt, and disregarding whatever didn't fit.

Her eyes were as heavy as the ashtray and she felt them close with one comfortable sigh.

"Dollface, you waiting up for me again?" Pete asked.

She opened her eyes. "You know me--some nights I need a smoke and a drink."

His laugh was small, barely a chuckle, but she treasured it. She so rarely got that response.

"I been thinking, Hon," she said. "Maybe it's time I joined you."

He smiled and held out his hand.

* * * * *

Your turn. Hope you have as much fun as I did.

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