Flash Fiction Challenge
Every Friday, Mr. Wendig offers up an idea for a rapid, or flash, fiction. To be written within a week. This week the task was to write 1000 words using three out of five randomly chosen words. Those words were: COCKROACH, FOUNTAIN, TAX, BOTTLE, BOX.
I chose cockroach, bottle, and box. Oh, and also, there has to be some sort of vampire in there. Mine’s pretty subtle but hopefully not too subtle.
Enjoy and comment if you feel so inclined.
I dialed his number. The guy on the couch in front of me, arm draped over the shoulders of a stick thin blonde, picked up his smartphone. I watched my name pop up on the screen. I hung up. He returned the phone to his pocket. The skank leaned over. I couldn’t hear her but it wasn’t hard to guess what she said.
“Who was that?”
He shook his head and leaned in close to her ear. The music in the bar pulsed only a step below too loud.
“Nobody,” he said. Just the girl I’ve been dating for about a month, the slimy cockroach should have added. I turned and fled around the corner to the bar. I had a little trouble breathing. I ordered another bottle of beer to help calm me down. How many had I had so far? And where were my friends by the way? They said they would be here on facebook. That’s how I knew he would be here as well. That’s why I decided to come down here.
I took a hard pull of my beer. Downed about half in one go. One of my heels slipped out from under me. I caught the bar before anyone could pay too much attention. I finished off the beer and ordered another. A lanky, stringy-haired guy next to me was chain smoking. I asked him for a cigarette. He hesitated so I leaned in closer and gave him a long “please”. Touched his wrist, twirled my hair. All the old tricks. He expelled his last drag in a long sigh. He gave me a smoke and despite my lingering touch while he lit it, excused himself soon after.
Fuck him then. I checked my phone, no calls. No texts either. I puffed on my stolen cigarette like an out of control steam engine. I hated angry smokes. Over far too quick but at a time like this I craved the small pain in my lungs. I finished my beer and ordered another by shaking the empty bottle at the bartender to let her in on what I wanted. The place was slow that night but she made an effort to ignore me. She looked at me from the corner of her eye however. The bitch. I stuffed a thousand yen bill in her tip box before shaking the bottle at her again.
She didn’t waste much time around me after that.
Three more stolen cigarettes later and perhaps another two beers, he still hadn’t come around to the bar area. He must order his drinks from the skank couch. I headed back to where I saw him last.
He was still there. Still necking with that blonde. I looked around for my friends, for any support. I recognized nobody in the lounge area. I finished my drink. A sense came over me at this point that I would be leaving soon.
When I confronted him, he looked like he was actually happy to see me. It was too late though, I had opened my mouth.
“Do me a favor,” I said, “ Forget you have my number, my email, everything. Never contact me again.”
I spun on my heel and stormed out of the bar feeling rather proud of myself. A montage of cliche’ movie moments played in my head. The blonde skank would throw her drink on him for messing around. The whole bar would turn and laugh at him. He’d then piss his pants and run from the building, shamed forever.
I grabbed an umbrella from the bin by the door, I’m not sure if it was mine, and pounded up the stairs on to the street. Once there I went to the nearest convenience store for a cheap drink. The plastic umbrella made for a decent cane. I stabbed the concrete picturing his face beneath every jab.
After I bought my beer I cracked it on the street. A man in a rumpled suit walked past. He stopped, turned around, and offered me a modeling job. I told him to piss off. A man like that, at this time of night, is only in the market for women that are willing to trade their sexuality for money. Been there, hated it.
As I drank my beer another montage of images flashed through my mind. The guy sitting on the couch, laughing at me. The skank laughing too, running her hands all over him. The bartender bought him a bottle of champagne for being such a great person. A standing ovation from the rest of the scum.
I smashed my umbrella against a lamp post over and over.
I stood still in the aftermath, breath ragged, clutching the twisted metal pole that was recognizable as an umbrella only by the classic curved handle. The plastic sheeting fluttered in the middle of the road. Various fingers of metal sheared off and lay on the ground all around me. I noticed for the first time a pain in my hand.
A small piece of skin had been gouged out of the area between my thumb and index finger. It didn’t bleed much but it looked like I had come pretty close to serious injury. The pain pushed away whatever delightful drunk I had built up to this point.
I licked the wound. Some animal instinct drove me to try it, but the pain did ease. Soon I was sucking the gash in full. The iron tang of this wound was interesting. I’d tasted blood before, usually through something benign, a nosebleed, a curious mood after a scraped knee. This was different. This had a hint of violence.
I dialed his number again. He didn’t pick up. When the call went to voicemail I kept it simple.
“We need to talk.”
I hung up and searched for my beer. The can was on its side by my feet, spilled during my outburst. I gripped the sharp points of my ruined umbrella.
I needed a drink.