Another weekly addition to the anthology of Chuck Wendig flash fiction writing challenges. This week we were to write a story about three photos taken randomly from Flickr. These are the ones I got.
Here’s what I wrote!
The first alarm I’d set went off. I snoozed my phone back to sleep. The second alarm I’d set went off five minutes later. I managed to snooze it as well without opening my eyes. The cycle of alarms went on like this for about thirty minutes. That’s usually the amount of time my brain takes to activate. I started to calculate how much time I had to waste in bed. I was on vacation, so I let the dance go on for a while past my normal limit.
My father banged on the door to my room once. He didn’t believe in the over expression of emotions but his displeasure communicated through that one act well enough. I buried my head in the cool sheets wrapped around me. I tried to ignore the nagging thought that I would miss breakfast if I didn’t get up right away. Once I felt the tug at my stomach, however, I gave up on the idea of more sleep. So I threw off the covers and stomped over to the window. The early morning sun blasted into my room after I opened the curtains. It drove the winter chill away from my bones and the cobwebs of sleep from my mind. Behind me, the third alarm I’d set went off.
When I came downstairs my father was in the kitchen poking at a cast iron skillet with a plastic spatula. Bacon sizzled within the skillet, the fat popping and snapping. I poured myself a cup of fresh coffee while my father carefully pulled finished strips out to set aside on a thick pad of paper towels.
“Need any help?” I asked before taking a sip of my coffee. He shook his head.
“Got to make the toast yourself though,” he said. I put my cup down and went to a cupboard to get a few slices of wheat bread to feed to the toaster.
My father was wearing his favorite hat while he continued to cook the bacon. Brown, cracked and wrinkled as he was, he called the old fedora his ‘driving hat’. He added a few fresh strips to the skillet.
“Today’s the day, isn’t it?” I asked as I set the bread on the journey to become toast. My father dropped the skillet down on the stove with a bang. A small fire flared up as some grease spilled but it went out quickly. The stench of scorched fat hung thick for a moment before my father reached up and turned on the vent. The fan hummed like a nest of overweight hornets.
“Yes that’s right,” he said. He adjusted the hat on his head making sure it was on tight. The toast popped up from the toaster so I grabbed a plate from next to the stove. I added some bacon to the toast and then went to sit at the counter with my coffee. My father soon finished cooking so he turned off the heat and set the skillet aside.
Instead of loading up a plate for himself, he went to the window across from the stove and stood staring out at the driveway. I looked at him as I crunched on my bacon and sipped my coffee. He stood there, with the yellow sunlight staining his face, for about two strips of bacon, half a piece of toast, and most of my coffee. He turned away as I got up for a refill. As I poured my second cup of joe my father got his breakfast. I wondered if his cough was getting better, it didn’t sound quite as ragged as before.
He took a seat next to mine, after moving the box packed with the dinner glasses first. He glanced at the newspaper headlines as he ate but flicked the pages back and forth not settling on any article for long.
“What time are you meeting the collector?” I asked.
“He told me around eleven,” my father said.
“Sure going to miss that old car,” I said around the last bite of my toast. My father grunted a noncommittal response.
“You want me to follow you so I can give you a ride back?”
He shook his head without taking his eyes off the paper.
“Your aunt said she’d give me a ride,” my father said, “We’ll probably stop for lunch in town.” I’d finished my breakfast so I stood up to take my plate over to the sink.
“I’ll try to get the garage finished before you get back then.”
“You’d better,” he said. He finished the last of his bacon then handed the plate over to me. My father set the paper aside, grabbed his keys from the counter, and headed out the door without another word.
While I was finishing the dishes I could hear the old engine roar to life, sputtering only a little in the cold air. I went to the window to watch my father pull his classic car out of the driveway for the last time.
Just a quick one to keep the blog from dying from neglect. Off to Hammamatsu tomorrow for a much needed escape. Chuck Wendig is helping his loyal followers keep the writing muscles fresh with this week’s flash fiction challenge. Here’s my entry before I hit the sack.
“I’ve never had what you might call a “stable” relationship,” Frank said. “Nothing crazy, mind you, just nothing healthy.”
“That’s why most people come to us,” the orderly said. He had difficulty keeping the heavy boredom of a long day out of his voice as he scratched down Frank’s insurance information.
“There was this one girl though, a long time ago,” Frank said. A thin smile tugged at the corner of his chapped lips. The orderly snapped the pen against his clipboard breaking Frank’s concentration.
“The doctor will be with you shortly,” he said before leaving Frank alone in the examination room. Frank squirmed a little on the hard examination table. The crinkle of the butcher paper under him sounded far too loud in the tiny room. He cracked the knuckles on his right hand, then the left before standing up. Frank paced the room looking at the various objects scattered on the shelves lining the wall. Tongue depressors, latex gloves, cotton balls. Everything seemed normal to him.
The door clicked open causing Frank to jump. A short bald man with thick glasses strode in still looking at familiar clipboard. Frank wondered for a moment how the man could see through the thick mass of wrinkles that made up his face.
“Mr. Sterling?” The doctor said, looking up at Frank. When he saw the doctor’s eyes Frank sucked in a sharp breath. The doctor’s eyes were covered with a milky film and seemed to stare right through him. If the doctor noticed Frank’s reaction he gave no indication of it.
“Has my assistant explained the procedure to you?”
“Mostly,” Frank said, “Are you sure this will fix my problem?”
“That’s the hope Mr. Sterling,” the doctor said, “I’ll remind you again, the procedure is highly experimental.” Frank swallowed hard. The sound was laughably loud in the still room. The doctor smiled and reached out a hand to Frank.
“Don’t worry,” the doctor said, “I haven’t lost a patient yet.”
“And you can reverse it at anytime?” Frank asked.
“Well it will take a few weeks for the incisions to heal,” the doctor said, “But after that the procedure should be fully reversible after a short stint of drug therapy.”
Frank looked around the room and scratched his freshly shaven head. He wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for, a sign perhaps. Or maybe an escape. The doctor waited, arms folded across his chest, while Frank came to grips with his decision. After a minute or two Frank sighed, his shoulders slumped.
“Let’s do it,” he said. The doctor smiled once again and held out a hand to guide Frank out of the room.
“Don’t worry son,” the doctor said, “It’ll be over before you know it.”