Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #46: The Planning Session’s Penultimate Intersectional Proposal

Renée made the planning session’s penultimate intersectional proposal: we should sneak socialist vegan brunch fliers into the free weekly alt-papers distributed at the gourmet coffeehouse (which attracts lots of progressive or at least not very reactionary customers, according to what her wife, a barista there, has told her) on the ground floor of the Republican law firm-slash-fossil fuel lobbyists’ skyscraper downtown.  Tanya, somewhat facetiously before offering the final proposal, suggested picturing a scantily-clad babe on the fliers to appeal to the Bernie Bros, causing Caroline to wonder whether a scantily-clad Bernie would work better.  Laughter ensued.  See, we have fun.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews


Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #45: Good Luck with That

Last week, a newbie named Hasker started trying to get us to unionize.  He said we deserved a living wage, a voice in the company’s future, all that socialist crap.  He got fired the next day—for incompetence, the company said.  I’ll bet someone informed them before I could.  Anyway, Hasker filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.  Trump’s board.  Good luck with that.  Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy my promotion to department director by buying everyone drinks tonight at Wolves Gentlemen’s Club, that great reason for working your ass off.  One lap dance would have cured Hasker for sure.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

The Default Setting for Life

I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey on Sunday in Pittsburgh, at the Carnegie Science Center’s Rangos Giant Cinema, the first time I’d ever visited that theater.  2001 didn’t quite fit the concave screen, causing a dark shadow at the bottom, making the projected image looked as if it had shrunk in the wash.  However, the outstanding digital quality caused me to notice details I hadn’t previously noticed or remembered—e.g., the selections list (apple juice, wine, and so on) for the beverage dispenser aboard the spaceship.

Something I wondered afterwards, as I walked toward the Science Center exit (spoiler alert for a fifty-year-old film): at the end, why didn’t the aliens from the vastly-advanced civilization turn Dave Bowman into a female fetus instead of a male fetus (assuming they’d had some part in his transformation)?  My girlfriend, who had accompanied me to the screening, wondered this too, calling female “the default setting for life”; even aliens advanced enough to design a Louis XIV-style hotel room with a proto-disco-style illuminated floor need females to produce presumably new and improved futuristic humans, though possibly the aliens had some awareness of our planet’s rampant patriarchal mindset and thought us Earthlings would find a male fetus more acceptable in launching our next stage of evolution.

Or maybe the aliens themselves had a patriarchal mindset.

Even creators as intelligent and innovative as Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke apparently couldn’t or wouldn’t imagine an escape from mandatory maleness, or how an omniscient, floating female fetus could affect civilization (meaning most artists—actually, most people—cannot escape their eras; the mid-1960s, which had brought us 2001, didn’t have a very prominent feminist movement, plus probably a majority of audience members back then would have found an intersex or transgender plot twist perverse if not disgusting; and as a pre-Stonewall gay man, Clarke would have no doubt known about Western society’s conceptions of “normal” gender-related appearance and behavior).

But would a female fetus make a difference in human development?  The aliens, via the black monolith, had already taught our ancestors how to kill; and according to Kubrick and Clarke, cultures (including extraterrestrial ones) conceal their brutal, violent, hardwired urges beneath a veneer of sophistication, of scientific advancement, and of Howard Johnson’s Earthlight Rooms.  The Twenty-first Century, in case you haven’t noticed, has rooms that epitomize supercharged human development.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

Updated September 16. 2018


Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #44: Self-centered

I felt like posting this image, though it has nothing to do with the story.

My sister, who’s thirty-eight, thinks I’m jealous of her ’cause she’s never been married or had kids.  She’s also never had sex, a fact she brags about as the organizer for her virgins’ group.  “You don’t need to have sex to have a worthwhile life,” she says.  Maybe, but having sex certainly helps.  I think she’s too self-centered to get laid, frankly.  And too judgmental—she called me a Nazi ’cause first I called ICE on the illegals next door, then I filmed the arrest and posted it.

Fuck her, so to speak.  Everyone should see what happens to lawbreakers.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews


Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #43: Front-row Seats, Baby!

I’m the organizer for the local V-CARD group.  I’m also a thirty-eight-year-old virgin, and I assure you, I lead a fulfilling life; I have friends and a great job and my theater subscription (front-row seats, baby!).  Sure, I wish I had an intimate relationship sometimes, but you don’t need a sexual or romantic partner to feel worthwhile.  I always tell that to my fellow Carders.

My sister, who’s thirty-five and lost her virginity at fourteen, told me “I wish I had your life, with no asshole ex-husbands or bratty kids.”  Her exes are assholes, but her kids are actually individualistic.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #41: Virtually Legal

“You’re under arrest for possession of marijuana.”

“What?  Come on, pot’s virtually legal.”

“That’s not the same as actually legal, now, is it?”

Another rich white boy, looking for cheap drugs in this neighborhood.  I could tell he was rich due to his tie-dyed T-shirt—a little too new-looking, like straight from a boutique.

So I arrested him.  Later, a couple scumbags almost beat him to death in the holding cell.  That bummed me out a little, I’ll admit; I was still a rookie.  But the law’s the law.  And he’ll have a story to tell.  Everyone needs a story.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews


Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #40: Nosmo King & the Filter Tips

In 1961, at college, I formed a band called Nosmo King & the Filter Tips.  I’d come up with the name.  I smoked like a chimney, but so did everyone else.

There were four members. I played drums.  We did sloppy covers of rock-and-roll songs.  (Everyone also drank like a fish.)

We never released a record or taped anything.  Although we stunk, we should’ve documented our youthful exuberance.

We broke up in ’63, after graduating.  We never played together again.  This morning, our lead guitar player died from emphysema, making me the last surviving Tip.  Somehow, I don’t feel lucky.

Copyright © 2018 by David V. Matthews