Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #89: Tawny Skin

Alone in her dorm room at two AM, pounding away at her laptop, almost somewhat close to finishing that report due in seven hours, jacked up on energy drinks, Morgan speculates for some reason that her mother’s yoga instructor’s unmarried, childless, middle-aged, rabidly-Catholic, permanently pursed-lipped cousin, Bonnie Gurman, is probably either a virgin or a closet lesbian or both. For a few seconds, Morgan thinks she herself—a nonvirginal pansexual—should beneficently have sex with Bonnie.

Nah, not my type, Morgan decides. I like tawny skin. And big boobs. Does that sound shallow? Sorry, Bonnie. Hee hee. Why the hee-heeing?

Copyright © 2021 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #88: Doing Something Else

When I was five, my mother decided I should learn piano, so I’d get cultured. This lady named Mrs. Birchak would visit for an hour every week, teaching me pieces such as “Tumbling Puppy” and “Ode to a Dumpling.” I grew to enjoy playing that instrument. But after a month, she told me at the beginning of class, “Well, dear, maybe you consider doing something else.” And she left. I never saw her again. Or played any instrument again. Seventy years later, I’ve started making colored sand bottles at the senior center. That counts as doing something else, I guess.

Copyright © 2021 David V. Matthews (I purposely wrote the above piece to use it as this particular Flasher–eighty-eight keys, get it?)

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #87: Face Shield

One night at the hospital, during the height of the pandemic, during her fourteenth straight hour on shift, after watching yet another patient die from COVID, a nurse’s aide named Carly, still wearing her PPE complete with mask and face shield, shuffled out of the ward, through the halls crowded with patients, and through the front exit. She got into her Kia and sat there, mulling over her options. Did she even have options?

Yes. She could terminate her selflessness. She could vacuum her car’s interior. She could check on that emergency intubation. She could pump air into her tires.

Copyright © 2021 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #86: Lagniappe

Until posting this story, I hadn’t remembered that “to 86” means “to get rid of.”

Almost a year into my pandemic-imposed layoff, hermitting inside my sublet, constantly wearing an effluvious white terrycloth bathrobe, I received an e-mail from the HR factotum in which she, quote, “regretfully,” unquote, announced that our employer, the publishing house where I myself had factotummed (as an editor, proofreader, and content provider) for half a decade would not rehire me, da da da, “good luck” thrown in as lagniappe that simultaneously increased my desultoriness and my inclination toward continuing to download Australian (I like kangaroos) metaphysics PDFs, the more abstruse the better, as a looming challenge to start reading and/or deleting.

Copyright © 2021 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #85: Giant Chthonic Hairballs

Modern lesbianism: one day at Whole Foods, Meghan—that cute cashier with the pierced cheeks—flirtatiously invited me to her art opening. So the next night, I stopped by the Transmission Gallery (a former auto repair shop), where I stared at her sculptures, which resembled giant chthonic hairballs: fuzzy, tentacled, and seeping imitation blood. “Whadjoo think?” she asked, wearing a COVID mask and a flapper dress, both the same faded turquoise.

Très Disney Channel,” I replied through my beige-and-beiger-checked mask. She giggled. And walked away. Oh well. I drove home alone, vowing to continue looking for affordable, non-crummy health insurance.

Copyright © 2021 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #84: Paul Lynde Goes M-A-A-A-AD (May 12, 1979)

For the previous chapters of the Lynde Saga, see hereherehereherehere, annnnnd here. (These two sentences don’t count toward the hundred-word total.)

At eight PM, the time this TV special started airing, my band The Splats stepped onstage at Guralski’s Bar to open for Highlife. Someone in the audience immediately shouted “Faggot!” and threw a beer bottle at me. It whizzed an inch past my head.

I got M-A-A-A-AD. I charged toward him.

A minute later, I lay on the floor, hearing Guralski himself tell my bandmates “No fuckin’ way I’m payin’ you for this. Now get the fuck outta here.”

“Awww,” I said with a mouthful of blood. “Can’t we see fuckin’ Highlife at least?”

Nope. That pissed off my bandmates.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #83: Paul Lynde at the Movies (March 24, 1979)

For the previous chapters of the Lynde Saga, see here, here, here, here, and here. (These two sentences don’t count toward the hundred-word total.)

As the howling, yowling fifteen-year-old lead singer for the first (and probably worst) band I ever belonged to, The Splats, I had no idea this TV special even existed; I’d long ago stopped watching TV, which I considered, as I put it in one of my songs, “Brainwasher Supreme.” I didn’t even read my mom’s favorite magazine, TV Guide. At the time, I considered her a pathetic tube junkie, but considering my stepfather’s dalliances, not to mention his homophobic disdain toward me, who could blame her for escaping into bullshit? (Also: Perversion of the Body Snatchers? I gotta see that.)

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #82: Luvcats

Once upon a time, I supported legalizing all drugs, freeing Mumia, raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour, etc. Then Trump won in 2016, and if the electorate loves someone like him, then why bother? So I stopped caring. And I started actually paying attention to my job as senior content provider for WebFresh International. Soon I made a fortune when I created that Luvcats series of e-books in which humans bang human-feline hybrids: Purrfect Lover, Gettin’ Some Tail, Grab ’em by the Pussy, etc.

Anyway, I doubt Biden will change anything. Sleazy escapism always remains in vogue.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #81: My First Stint

The night I turned eighteen, in 1984, I was at some party, drunkenly celebrating my newly-arrived adulthood, when I beat the crap out of some Greek (as in fraternity member) from high school because he’d said my favorite band, those heavy-metal retards Skorchin, “suck donkey dick.” Five years later, during my first stint in AA, out of a twelve-steppish desire to make amends, I visited him (he still lived in town) to apologize. “Forget about it,” he said. “I love that band now. Can you fuckin’ believe it?” I fuckin’ could. Sometimes it takes time for people to appreciate retardedness.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews

Flash Fiction (a Hundred Words Exactly) #80: The Other Pandemic

After years of playing coffeehouses and regattas, the female alt-rock band Bitchfork scored its biggest hit ever, when the band’s 1998 song “Here Chicky Chicky” appeared on the soundtrack of that direct-to-streaming, Nineties nostalgia movie Lamestain. The residuals that Bitchfork’s lead singer and sole original member Tessa McQuade earned from writing that song helped pay for her eighty-one-year-old grandfather’s funeral. She’d never liked him, but she thought he deserved something for dying a particularly nasty death from COVID; she’d seen him wheeze like a porous accordion via Zoom as he lay in his hospital bed. Survivors’ guilt: the other pandemic.

Copyright © 2020 by David V. Matthews