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Here’s My Attempt At Flash Fiction Because All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

April 19, 2012

Here’s my first official attempt at flash fiction on my blog courtesy of Chuck Wendig’s weekly writing challenge found here. It’s probably a little darker than my usual fare, but I hope you like it. If you don’t like it, I hope you at least hate it passionately…

“So between friends,” I quickly mumbled before taking a sip of my lukewarm beer, “how did he really die?” This was the moment I had been waiting for. I’d been thinking about asking Vicki for weeks now about what had actually happened that night at my neighbor’s apartment, but hadn’t worked up the guts to ask her until now.

“Wait, who are you talking about?”

“You know, the old dude that drove that black Volkswagen? Lived a floor below us and used to stare out his window at every woman that walked by? You know, Creepy Geez?”

“Oh yeah, Frank. What about him?” Vicki’s teeth were yellowed like antique ivory piano keys. Keys that just happened to spend the last 30 years in a dive bar, baptized nightly in spilled beer and caustic clouds of cigarette smoke. I could tell this from a glance because Vicki still thought her crooked smile was her best attribute. I didn’t have the balls to tell her that it wasn’t her teeth that most guys were looking at. No, she had what’s known around here as DSL’s. Her teeth, in fact, were the absolute last thing on my mind when she smiled.

“Well, he died a couple of weeks ago and I’ve heard a lot of different theories, but I never heard what he actually died from. I just thought that since you were his… umm… friend, that you might know what he really died from.” I made a deliberate effort to emphasize the words “actually” and “really.” This wasn’t my first rodeo.

“You haven’t heard? Don’t you talk to anyone around here?” Vicki suddenly looked like the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. You could see the excitement gushing out of her. She was hooked.Vicki needed to tell me the story just then as much as I needed to hear her tell it.

“Well, the way it went down, and trust me… this isn’t just hearsay, if you know what I mean.” She kicked me under the table with her foot and then gently rubbed the toe of her boot against my shin. “But first you gotta know, that Frankie was kind of a freak.”

Now she had both my brains’ attention. “So what do you mean by ‘freak?’ Like ‘he’d beg for fingers up his ass and then play peak-a-boo’ freak? Or more like ‘sometimes when he was feeling especially frisky, he’d tell you to wear a pink wig’ freak?”

“More like, ‘I didn’t think that you were allowed to raise chickens or a pygmy goat in an apartment’ kind of freak.”

“Seriously? Like, for real, seriously? I always thought he was kind of weird. But I never expected that.” Actually, I kinda did. Mr. Wanewright used to drive around the apartment complex at least twice before finally parking his car at night. It was almost like he was conducting his own personal neighborhood watch program. He’d also been seen wandering around sometimes, broken binoculars strung around his neck and black socks pulled up to his knobby knees, staring at open windows. So overall, I guess I wasn’t really all that shocked that he had some peculiar tastes.

“Nah, I’m just fucking with you.” Vicki’s crooked smile brought me back to reality. “You really want to know what happened? I’ll tell ya. See, you know that Frank’s wife died a couple of years back. What you don’t know is that a couple months after his wife died, we started hanging out. It was a good arrangement. He got what he needed and I did what I needed to do to get by. It wasn’t anything sinister or anything like that. It’s just that these last few months, he couldn’t perform like he used to, if you know what I mean. Hey, you want a cigarette?”

“Yeah, I could use a smoke right now.”

“So anyways, I got him some Viagra and things were good again. Like really good again. Like Italian Stallion good again. Until I caught him making love to a cantaloupe.”

The last gulp of warm beer I’d been midway through swallowing now spewed violently out my nose. “What the fuck…?” was all I finally choked out after the beer stopped burning like acid lava through my nasal passages.

“Well, yeah, you  see, and I never told this to anyone before, but about an hour after I had chugged my mouthwash and left that night, Frank calls me and is all like ‘I need you to come back over.'”

“I said ‘Sorry, Frankie, but I’m tired. I’ll be back over tomorrow. Just take a shower and get some sleep.’ Then I turned my phone on vibrate and went to bed.”

“So what happened?” I was trying to keep up my end of the conversation, but I was fading fast. I shouldn’t have ordered those last shots.

“Well, next thing I know, some paramedics and a cop are knocking at my door. I’m wearing my pajamas and some blurry-ass eyes and the cop is all like ‘Do you know Mr. Wanewright?’ And I replied ‘A little, why?'”

“Oh, no reason. It’s just that he’s had a heart attack tonight while apparently making love to a cantaloupe labeled ‘Vicki’ in permanent marker and then we found out you were his neighbor and all. So naturally, we just have a couple of questions.”

“So what did you tell them?” I asked.

“Nothing really. I just said that he was kind of a perv. Oh, and that he used to stare at me sometimes and it was kind of creepy.” Vicki took a final drag off her cigarette and then unceremoniously dropped it on the ground before crushing it out with her boot.

“And oh, you want to hear the best part?” She paused to exhale her last lungful of smoke and I watched, entranced as it coiled around her cheek like a wispy blue snake.  “The coroner ended up listing it as ‘death by natural causes.’ But let me tell you, there wasn’t nothing natural about it.”

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  1. Nicely done.

  2. You have very good character developement. 🙂

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