Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flash Fiction - Place to Place

Good day,

 Dabbling with an assignment for BlogTO and other things kept me at bay for a while, but now I'm here with a tale for y'all.

***


            I’m writing this from the tea shop above Thorne Street. I’m seeing cars stop at the toll both outside my window just before the robot at the counter lets them zip away. Neon pink Chinese characters hang over the intersection next to a video screen showing some disgusting shampoo ad. Below me, arrays of pleather-clad prostitutes stalk the streets and leer at passing men and women.
            There’s a newspaper on my table. Gang warfare’s on the rise, it tells me. Members of the East-End cartel Murder Per Capita got in a big fight with The Buccaneers over the weekend. Police succeeded in capturing MPC enforcer Lars “Zero Tolerance” Kroener during the battle. Eleven people, however, died during the fight. I couldn’t be happier.
            Languidly, I open it and read through the pages of election scandals and the riots in West Persia. I stop on an expose of the dinosaur cloning facility in Stockholm, one page before the obituaries. I’m writing this to ask myself what kind of sadist concerns himself with the burning wreckage of a third-world nation. I want to know who cares if ten thousand people lose their jobs. Who cares about –
            My girlfriend’s calling. I have to stop being me for a second.
            “Hi, baby,” she says, in a voice that is one part saccharine and one part sinister.
            “Hey, honey,” I say, putting on my ‘I am a good boyfriend and I am not sitting in a tea shop on Thorne Street writing about things I hate’ voice.
            She sees through me, “Where are you?”
            “Oh, nowhere.”
            “Stop lying. Did you go back to Thorne Street?”
            “Well –”
            “You know how much I hate that place. Somebody was shot there just last week.”
            “People die everywhere.”
            “You’re impossible.”
“Yeah. How are your parents?” They hate me, by the way.
“Still in Maui,” she admits, before sighing, “Look, baby, please take the train to my place. I can’t stand to know you’re there. We’ll talk more when I know you haven’t been knifed.”
And off I go.

I’m on the train barrelling out of the downtown core. As usual, my car is lined with grit and litter, and populated by some of society’s worst.
I see a man with augmented legs standing up against the wall, wearing shorts in this abysmal time of year and showing off his implants. A pregnant woman sits across from me, next to a large man with a unicycle who I seriously hope isn’t her husband. Three boys with dyed silver hair and skin-tight gym clothes are loafing in the distance.
The ads around me are tacky and the antithesis of clever. “Try Trilonyl For Trying Pains.” “This summer, one man and his parakeet will rock your world.” “Perfection Defined.” Nobody seems to realize how droll these all are. They’re crimes against our very sanity, part of a dreary campaign against our hearts and minds. Yet, we let companies pollute our brains and –
That was embarrassing. Some woman was reading over my shoulder just now. I had to slip my Pad away and act normal, but she read it. She read it all. Before she got off the train, she looked at me with sad eyes.
“Try smiling,” she said, “It will get you through this all.”
Damn it. I don’t want people to worry about me. I don’t want anyone sticking up for me and being concerned about my mental health. Let me be cruel. Let me write about dark skies and scandals and senseless deaths.
I’ll be outside soon. Maybe that’ll calm me down.

Oh thank god it’s raining again.
It’s tipping down. The city is being drenched by a waterfall from the skies. Idiots in the height of fashion are being soaked from head to toe.  Someone’s coat is being blown up by a fierce wind. The only tree in sight is being blown.
My girlfriend’s place is across the way. I can take my time. I’ll just sit here until the rain stops and tell her I –
And someone just gave me his umbrella.
“It’s okay, I’ve got another one in my bag,” he says, unfolding his spare and running into the storm. He vanishes over the horizon.
Just my luck. I’m out on the most miserable day of the year, and nobody wants me to be miserable.
I guess I’ll cross the street to my girlfriend’s and have sex, then.

***

 In other news, I'm debating going back through my old stories and editing up the ones I like. Maybe I'll make that part of a Spring Cleaning project. Ooh that sounds catchy.

See you next time,

-RWI

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