Monday, December 20, 2010

Flash Fiction - Moment

 Good day,

 We've all been here before:

***

            We were having a campfire out in Algonquin Park one night when Brad said: “Alright, weirdest moment of your life ever.”
            There were four of us. There was Brad, scrawny and tall with a chin like a box; my old college roommate Sheraz, his hair shocked up like a pineapple; and Luke, an unassuming Swede with a permanent five-o-clock shadow who was busy watching the stars. Our tents were arranged around us like the rocks of Stonehenge. The corn and hot dogs we roasted over the warm fire were all but gone, and our clothes were strewn across a laundry line. Beers lined the grass.
            I was the first to respond. “What?”
            “Weirdest moment of your life ever,” he repeated, tone for tone. “Tell everybody here one point in your life that stuck with you, only because of how weird it was.”
            “Why?” Sheraz asked, eying his can of Heineken.
            Brad looked as though he had been slapped, “It’s a bonding moment you boob. Helps us better understand each other.”
            Sheraz took the can to his lips, “How is that –”
            “I’ll start!” box-face said, putting his hands in the air, “I once found a human foot in a public toilet!”
            Startled out of his trance, Luke shot to attention. “You what?”
            “I was in Alabama with Doris and Crystal, right? About four years back? And we’re driving and I’m like ‘Gotta drop the kids at the pool’ so we pull into this, like, gas station, right? Old-ass place, owned by some cholo who looked like Jeff Bridges. I got the key off him, right? So I head to the can, kick down the first stall there and wham, it’s in the bowl.”
            “A foot,” Sheraz wondered, sceptically. “And you didn’t call the cops?”
            Brad shook his head slightly. “Hell no, I just went in the other stall and bailed out.”
            Sheraz chucked his empty can at the storyteller’s feet. “That’s crap if I ever heard it.”
            “Hell did you want, a picture?” box-face quipped, insulted.
            “That’s what I got,” my old roommate said, reaching into his coat on the ground, “I was in Tortuguero with my folks this summer when I walked into maybe five spider-webs, one after another."
            Luke raised an eyebrow. “That’s not that weird.”
            “Guy, each of these webs was about the size of my whole body,” he exclaimed, pulling a digital camera out and turning it on. He cycled through pictures and tossed it at Luke. “Check it.”
            Nimbly catching it, he turned it over and looked at the screen. Luke’s eyes widened. “Whoa,” he said with distant reverence before passing the camera to me. I accepted it and looked in awe of a photograph of Sheraz, with a faraway look in his eyes as he stood with a white, filmy substance wrapped around his body and face.
            When the camera reached Brad, he stared at the screen and pursed his lips in approval. “Alright, cool,” he said, passing it back to Sheraz. “Luke, your turn.”
            “Got nothing, sorry,” he mumbled, shyly. His accent was thick but his voice was soft.
            Our chief storyteller twitched as though a vein burst. “Come on! Nothing!?
“Brad, man, don’t bully him,” Sheraz said, packing his camera away.
Brad turned red. “I might have walked in on a murder scene, you ended up as an extra in Arachnophobia Two, who knows what Liam’s done –” My heart stopped when he said my name, “And you’re telling me this guy who climbed freaking Kilimanjaro with his granddad hasn’t –”
            “Alright fine,” Luke groaned. The Swede inhaled and rubbed his scalp agitatedly. “I,” he stuttered, as though it pained him, “I had sex with a lesbian.”
            There was a moment of silence, and then Brad gave a loud pfft, “That’s nothing, man! Liam, dude, isn’t your girlfriend a lesbian?”
            “It’s called a pixie cut, you damned abomination,” I half-snarled at him.
            “Alright, fine. So what’s this about lesbians?” Brad asked, leaning in.
Luke shrugged and brought his knees to his chin. “I was drinking with a friend of mine and her girlfriend and the girlfriend... she dared us to kiss.”
Box-face’s eyes widened like Luke had discovered the fountain of youth. “And you did?”
“Yeah,” he stammered, now hugging his legs, “But she passed out and my friend and I, we, we just kept going, and I dunno, why, we just got really into it and –” He trailed off.
I had inkling as to who Luke was talking about. Someone he had pursued in high school turned out to be lesbian. She knew how he felt and let him down gently. They stayed friends, but I always knew that he still wondered what it could have been like to be with her.
"Say no more, Luke," I said, waving gently at him, "We get it.
Brad was not nearly as sympathetic. “Well, c’mon man, what happened?!"
“Dude, not cool,” Sheraz groaned, flicking a mosquito away.
“Not cool nothing!” he snapped, jabbing a finger into his palm, “Gimme details! Was she stacked? Any crazy piercings? What about tats, dye jobs?"
Luke started to look worse for wear. “Brad, I wanna talk about something else now.”
            The boxy one rolled his eyes. “Oh come on, this was just getting goo –”

            “Brad, I wanna talk about something else now,” he repeated, his voice breaking.
            "Man, look at him," I said to Brad, levelling a mean glare, "Don't do this."
            Snorting, the chief storyteller shook his head, defeated. "Fags," he huffed.
            I felt bad; this was the first time I had seen Luke so downtrodden. I couldn’t blame him. The morning would yield a very long heart-to-heart.
            We changed subjects quickly. I was relieved. I really didn’t want them to know about the time I got drunk and woke up next to a Mall Santa.

***

Or have we?

See you next time,

RWI

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