Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #14: PepWay

You know the meme “If it exists, there is porn of it—no exceptions”? Well, I found an exception after half a minute of Googling: Peppercorn Way, that family show that had run for maybe eight episodes when I was eight, during the summer of ’75. I had watched that show religiously; its countrified sappiness had distracted me from the slow-motion collapse of my parents’ marriage. I’m almost tempted to write dirty PepWay fanfic and post it somewhere, even though probably no one but me remembers that show; true artistes march to their own drummers (though I prefer drum machines).

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #13: Sustainable Farming

Five minutes into my supervisor’s PowerPoint presentation, I wanted to beat the living crap out of him, meaning I’d grown more tolerant in my old age, ha ha, but not too tolerant.

God, what a liberal jackass—no one outside of wine-and-cheese parties cares about sustainable farming.  I can’t wait for President Trump to stamp out this PC bullshit.  If we didn’t alter the environment to raise crops, millions of people would starve.  I dunno if Trump the real-estate guy knows anything about agriculture, but someone in his administration probably does.  You can’t run the government with a narrow mindset.


Written on the spot


Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews

January 20, 2017

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #12: Highly Sivilized

A year into pursuing her MFA in creative writing, she quit graduate school because she thought her instructors had turned her into a New Yorker-style author, one who, as she put it on her blog, “poops out polished turds about the white upper-middle-class, with at least one big ol’ fuckin’ epiphany per story.  To paraphrase Huck Finn, I don’t want the cultural gatekeepers to ‘sivilize’ me.”  (She had leafed through Twain’s novel once.)  Today, she works at a gourmet cupcake shop in the upper-middle-class bohemian part of town but considers herself highly sivilized because she doesn’t spit into the batter.


Written on the spot

Copyright © 2017 by David V. Matthews



In a glass of whiskey, a shark chomps off a swimmer’s head.  Chocolate icing sports a vulva.  Everything contains numerous SEXes and FUCKs and KILLs.  For four decades, as one of Madison Avenue’s top artists, he secretly embedded subliminal words and images into print advertisements, winning eight or nine industry awards in the process.  Now, as he lies dying of stage-four pancreatic cancer in his hospice bed, he does not regret keeping the economy healthy via tapping into (some would say exploiting) consumers’ subconscious fears and desires.  Rather, he regrets not flying to Mexico with his girlfriend, the love of his life (he now realizes), on vacation in 1981.  Neither of them had previously gone there; he watched her choose that country when she tossed a dart at a map of the world she had taped to his apartment wall.  He worried they would risk their lives in what he called that Third-World hellhole.  She called him racist.  He called himself rational.  After uttering FUCK followed by YOU, she tore down the map, crumpled it up, hurled it down at the floor, and left his apartment.  They never spoke to each other again.  She traveled to Mexico a few months later and ended up moving there; the last he heard, she had married some left-wing labor activist and started working at a non-governmental organization.  Maybe Mexico did have something.  Maybe it has subliminals.  Of course it does; they circle the globe, from the Third World to the First.

Oh, shit, the pain.  He thinks his morphine drip has broken.

Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews


A Full-body Chill

Rapidly approaching the sidewalk after hurling herself from the roof of the financial company where she’s worked since graduating from college, her final memory involves a blind date she had nineteen years earlier at age nineteen with a twenty-six-year-old man; he took her to a trendy restaurant, where, after they’d ordered dinner, he said he worked as a systems analyst for the Pentagon. “I do research to make sure our bombs’ll go ‘boom’ when we drop them on the Middle East or wherever,” he said with a chuckle. She considered him a callous jerk and never dated him again; in fact, she had forgotten about him until now, near the end of her six-story fall. Maybe the subconscious connection involving death from the skies had caused her to remember that jerk, she would have thought if her depressive thoughts hadn’t predominated. Not even the probability of receiving yet another glowing performance review from her company could improve her mental and emotional state.

Meanwhile, six hundred miles away, her older sister, who had set up that blind date, and who works as an assistant district attorney for a county that prides itself on its high percentage of drug-related asset-forfeiture cases, experiences “a full-body chill,” or so the older sister will call it anonymously on a psychic-phenomena chatroom that night. Soon after flying back from the funeral, the older sister will purchase a jasmine-scented, eight-inch-long, herbal “healing candle” from a local strip-mall store that sells paraphernalia related to spirituality, mysticism, and magick-with-a-K; she will keep the candle, unused, in her dresser drawer for a week before thinking Well, might as well, you sucker, then taking out the candle and inserting it inside the crystal candle holder that a boyfriend gave her eight years ago as a present after she’d won her biggest trial to date, sending the county’s biggest marijuana cultivator to prison for life without parole.


Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews



When my son Austin was seven, he asked me one day “Could I have a manicure, please?”

“Do you know what a manicure is?” I asked, remaining calm.

“Yeah. I mean yes.”

“So what is it?”

“It’s when you trim and clean up your fingernails and stuff to make ’em look fancy.”

“That’s right. But why do you, personally, want them to look fancy?”

“I just feel like it. So could I have one, please, Mom?”

“Well, now, let’s say you did have one. Do you like playing with your friends?”


“Well, then you couldn’t play with them anymore, because you might get your fingernails dirty and ruin the manicure you just had.”

“I won’t get them dirty, Mom. I promise.”

“Are you sure about that, Austin? Think hard.”

He did just that, for a few moments.

“So, do you still want a manicure?” I asked.

“I guess not,” he replied.

“You made the right choice. Now you can continue to have fun with your friends.”


He never asked for a manicure again. Of course, he still became a homosexual years later, but at least his house now has wonderful landscaping. I don’t know if that has anything to do with homosexuality, but still, he does all the landscaping himself. Even my priest likes Austin’s angular hedges.

Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews

Flash fiction (a hundred words or fewer) #11: In the Aeroplane under the Sea

As the aeroplane started sinking into the Pacific Ocean, Mr Tindall realised, while sitting with his fellow evacuees in the inflatable lifeboat, that (in that prehistoric era before cloud computing) he had saved the only copy of his six-hundred-page erotic time-travelling alien zombie novel inside the laptop he had stored inside the carry-on bag he had neglected to retrieve in the commotion after the sudden and somewhat rough water landing.  ‘Oh bugger,’ Mr Tindall said more loudly to himself than he’d intended, drawing the attention of a few evacuees; for authors such as he, true literary inspiration rarely struck twice.

Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews

Flash fiction (a hundred words or fewer) #10: Benza

I work in a corporate hellhole—so much for that Master of Library Science Degree I’m still paying off ten years after graduating.  A lot of my coworkers rag on non-Americans and teeter on poverty’s edge and support Trump, because Republicanism equals livin’ large and kickin’ ass.  In undergrad school, I would sometimes attend parties as my Eurotrash alter ego Jacques Benza, ripping on drunken preppies: “I like ze Bud Light, ze bevvaridge for real men, no?”

Everyone loved him.  A little Benza would improve my office; too bad my sense of humor has vanished.  Benza: the next generation, no?

Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews

Flash fiction (a hundred words or fewer) #9: The Mechanical Bull

In 1991, my college-freshman stupidity almost reached epic heights at the redneck bar, when I drunkenly accepted a fifty-dollar bet from some guy to ride the mechanical bull at top speed for half a minute.  Which I did.  Then I got off and puked all over the blonde sexpot I’d had my eye on all night. “Don’t drink and ride!” I shouted to everyone’s amusement (but not hers). Then my college-freshman stupidity definitely reached epic heights when I—no, sorry, too incriminating, ha ha ha.  Seriously, I haven’t achieved untouchable, grand-old-man status at my job just yet.  But maybe someday.

Copyright © 2016 by David V. Matthews