Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #68: The Paul Lynde Halloween Special (October 29, 1976)

Margaret Hamilton (back as the Wicked Witch of the West), Betty White (pre-Golden Girls), some disco, and (ahem) the band KISS—this hour-long special sounds gay as hell.  Too bad I never watched it.  I might have, but before I could do so, Mom suddenly drove my siblings and me to her sister’s house for an overnight stay; Aunt Inez, the intellectual, didn’t own a TV.  Since the divorce, Mom had spent time by herself to (in her words) “relax.”  Okay, she deserved to “relax,” but she’d denied me my main relaxation method.  Though her behavior did piss off Inez.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #67: The New Temperatures Rising Show (1972-74)

In 1973, Paul Lynde joined the hospital sitcom Temperatures Rising, retitled you-know-what for its second and final season.  According to Wikipedia, he played a grouch named Dr. Paul Mercy.  (Get it?)

I don’t remember if I watched even a minute of this show.  But then, as a nine-year-old, I may have gotten distracted by my parents’ constant arguments about trivialities, such as that comic panel The Family Circus—Mom loved it, Dad despised it.  (I loved it, too, but in secret, those tubby, stubby children amusing me with their cute malapropisms.)  People still cared about the funnies back then, amazing.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

revised January 17, 2020

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #66: The Paul Lynde Show (1972-73)

From TV Guide, September 9, 1972, p. 53. Running across this image on my Facebook feed this morning inspired me to bring you yet another Flasher.–DVM, January 6, 2020, 11:33 AM EST

I may have watched some snippets of this lame sitcom as an eight-year-old in 1972.  As with so many other kids back then, I’d watch anything on TV—good, bad, it didn’t matter, as long as it numbed my mind.  Anyway, I remember nothing about this show except hearing the, uh, flamboyant Lynde say “Eeeeugh” after his supergenius son-in-law has once again done something idiotic, though perhaps I’ve made up this memory.  Perhaps my status back then as a closeted gay boy in a gay-unfriendly environment has compelled me toward imagining myself as precociously hip.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews 

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #65: Chaff

I know I had a three-month relationship between marriages, twenty years ago, but I can barely recall the guy in question.  He wore blue three-piece suits, and had a mole on I think his right cheek.  Otherwise, nothing.  I can’t even remember his name—Dan?  Stan?  We must have had sex at least once, at least I have the feeling we did, which makes my haziness regarding him a bit surprising, since I never forget a sexual partner, even the lame ones.  Perhaps as I’ve grown older, my brain has started sorting out the chaff; everyone wants a chaffless life.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #64: Dicks with Chicks

Yo, incels: I know why the worst Chads nab the hottest Stacys.  Years ago, those Chads started feigning Chaddishness.  They pretended they’d lost their virginity during grade school; they pretended their sexual conquests totaled in the quadruple-digits; they pretended they didn’t have crushing student-loan debt.  And eventually, the fake Chads turned into real ones.  Stacys drool over male confidence, real or not, the best way to distract themselves from worrying about climate catastrophe (or about Black Lives Matter, depending upon the Stacys’ politics).

Sex can both enlighten and pacify you; thus, dicks with chicks epitomize purple haze: a red-pill/blue-pill combo.

Copyright © 2019 by David V. Matthews

 

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words or Fewer) #63: Meat-a-Mat

Ad from the American Meat Institute, 1947.

My most memorable job?  Working for the Meat-a-Mat during my senior year of high school, 1947.  Not only did I feel sophisticated working there (we were across from the train station—ah, the allure of travel!), but I also, occasionally, as we said back then, got lucky with our female customers.  Though I cut down my meat consumption decades ago (I turn ninety this year), I gotta admit that the finest cuts look damned impressive, and they make you look that way, too, when you sell them.  You can’t say that about, say, carrots, despite how they improve your eyesight.

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