Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #60: Losers

“Men and women—both are losers.  Women adapt themselves to fill the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women.”

So wrote Bernie Sanders in a 1972 essay about sex and gender.  He’s since repudiated the essay, and I can understand why; voters can’t take too much honesty.  Everyone’s a fake—well, everyone who wants society to operate smoothly.  Mutual phoniness preserves order.  Pretending I care about my husband’s fantasy baseball league, and his pretending to despise Trump—yeah, not quite equal, but since women live longer than men, I’ll cut my man a break.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

 

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #59: Azaleas

Every now and then, I enjoy confounding reader expectations by posting an incongruous image with my latest story–thus, the above photo of the Australian author Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson, a.k.a. Henry Handel Richardson (1870-1946).

Vomiting prodigiously into the azaleas before the appalled guests that sweltering June night, in the backyard of Eric and Caroline McCafferty’s Cape Cod-style mansion, during the Joe Biden fundraising dinner (five thousand a plate, a hundred grand raised), Wayne Pellis (Caroline’s younger brother, thirty-one, unemployed, uninvited, unsober) wondered if raccoons or wolves or other animals from the overlooking hills would lap up the regurgitation, or if Caroline would have one of the Latino (or Latinx?) servants hose off the flowers, which had appeared last year in some magazine called Manor Illustrated (no doubt a purveyor of socialist propaganda, Wayne thought).

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

Tenderized

Holy shit, I still remember the biggest party I went to in high school.  This was April 2019, my sophomore year, at my friend Ashlee’s house.  Just a small gathering at first, maybe eight or nine people, but like in the movies, small gatherings involving teenagers never remain that way for long.  Pretty soon it seemed half the students at our school, Central Valley High, had invited themselves.  The booze most definitely flowed; I got wasted on whiskey and ended up making out with the school’s star quarterback, Cole Demello, in the backyard as his buddies cheered us on.  What an honor.  He might have ended up fucking me right there, ugh, but Ashlee’s parents returned a day early from their visit to relatives in Cleveland.  Her parents had texted and voicemailed her with the news beforehand, but she’d been too busy smoking weed to check her phone.  Priorities, right?  Anyway, her dad’s a cop with a temper, so we all went home pretty quickly.  Then he beat the shit out of her.  Then she told the world via several tweets, even posting photos of her tenderized face, causing a massive Twitter uproar for a few days.  He got suspended without pay from the Center Township Police Department, pending the results of an official investigation; and Ashlee and her mom moved out; and Ashlee’s mom filed for divorce.  Happy ending, right?

Wrong.  Soon he got unsuspended, pissing off Twitter for another day or two.  He didn’t spend a minute in jail or even get charged with anything.  So much for the official investigation.  Well, he did have to take anger-management classes in order to keep his job, but take it from me, those classes hardly ever work.  (Not hanging out with crazy, violent people works better.)  Ashlee’s mom dropped the divorce proceedings, and soon the three of them became one big happy family again.  And after the school year ended in June, they moved to Cleveland, and I haven’t seen her since.  They’ve all disappeared from the Internet, in fact.  Meanwhile, I really shouldn’t hunt down Cole, but I know I’ll do so eventually, due to my masochistic nature.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

revised June 10, 2019

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #58: Karate

The living room lay in ruins, after the forbidden party Ashlee (age sixteen-and-a-half) had held earlier that night in her parents’ absence.

“You know, years from now, you’ll look back on this and laugh,” she said.

Her father slapped her in the face.

“As for me, I can’t wait.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.”

Her father punched her in the mouth.

“Too bad I hadn’t learned karate or something,” she would tell this guy a decade later over Alabama Slammers at some sleazy bar.  “That would’ve made it a fairer fight.”  She didn’t want to fuck him but not vice-versa.  Fucking cross-purposes.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #57: Swampland in Florida

Hector: “Jim and Darrell got married last night.”

Zane: “They did?”

“Yep.  Just read about it on Jim’s Twitter page.”

“Did he say why they got married?”

“Yeah.  ‘Might as well.’  His exact words.”

“Makes sense.”

“They got married in Vegas.  By an Elvis impersonator, in a white jumpsuit and everything.”

“Was he fat?”

“More like slightly chunky, based on the photos.”

“Maybe he skipped breakfast that day.”  Pause.  “Does Terrence know?  About the wedding?”

“I hope so.”  High, whiny voice: “Awww, now they’ll never reach their heterosexual potential!”

Similar voice: “But I can still sell them swampland in Florida!”

 

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

May 14, 2019

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #56: Civic

Patch the Punk’s twenty-year-old Honda Civic finally conked out, and the repair bill totaled $1,729.47.  He had to borrow the money from his father, who expected him to pay back every penny with interest.  Sure.  Patch vows to leave town for good, maybe move to the West Coast and start his dream job: product tester at a marijuana dispensary, nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Yuck.  He can’t even afford cough syrup from the dollar store, much less enough gas to drive around the block.  But if he liked country music, he would probably still live in poverty.  And have much worse taste.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews