It seems that lately I am always apologizing to someone for being late or absent. As we can all attest, sometimes life gets in the way of writing. For that, I apologize. I’m slow, but I’m sure. With that being said, let move on to this month’s Can You? Flash Fiction Challenge.
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The rules are simple:
Your objective is to write our hero out of the predicament that I have written him into.
You must do so fairly. Realism is not a requirement but fairness is a must. (i.e. “Luckily, our hero sprouted wings and was able to fly away” is not fair. “Our hero turned and ran. As she was passing by a bush, she saw underneath a sawed-off shot gun and a case of shells next to the decaying body of a hunter that looked like it was mauled by a bear…” is not realistic, but it is fair.)
Write your piece of Flash Fiction in 500 words or less.
Post it with the title “Can You?” in the Flash Fiction category and I will post a comment aimed at the Lit.org membership at large asking the question, “Did He/She?” along with my opinion. If the general opinion is that you did it fairly, you will be immortalized in prose by yours truly in the next installment of Musings. If the general opinion is that you did not get our hero out of the jam that I wrote him into fairly, then we will offer our critiques in good spirits to help with revisions.
Here is the scene for September:
[i]The girl behind the counter was giving me what I assumed to be her professional smile; bright as a light bulb and just as empty. I ordered my usual café mocha with a shot of white chocolate and searched for a table in the crowded coffee shop. I sat at one next to the big bay windows so that the sun coming through the glass could warm my chilled bones. I’ve turned into a people watcher in my old age and I’ve found that a window seat gives you the chance to watch those without as well as within and that appeals to the writer in me. I had just settled in when my coffee arrived. I pulled out my notebook, took a sip, and began my observation. My jotted notes, some real and some made up, were an attempt to come up with a character for my next short story.
As I watched the people passing through for their morning cups of joe; one man caught my attention and all thoughts of writing flew out of my head. Years of anti-terrorism training from my time in the military kicked in and a feeling of wrongness was coming off this cat in waves. It was a combination of seemingly unimportant details that put it all together for me. It was cold outside, and this man was wearing what looked like a military issue rain coat to go with the dress uniform. No military member would wear it unbuttoned like that, old habits die hard. It hung loose and the belt was askew. He paced nervously in line, as though inpatient to get his coffee and go. His hand kept straying to the inside of his coat as if to check that something was secure in there. His eyes darted back and forth taking a mental count of how many people were present and he took special note of me, identifying me as a potential threat…military training for sure.
“Sir? Can I help you sir?” the girl behind the counter said.
“Yeah, you can shut the fuck up and empty the register!” the man screamed as he pulled a sawed off, pump action, .12 gauge shotgun from under his trench coat. He fired a single shot into the air. Plaster from the ceiling tiles rained down around him. He’s certainly not the brightest crayon in the box is he. He leveled the gun at me.
“One wrong move mister and you’ll be sipping coffee in hell,” he said.
Just my luck…[/i]
The scene is set, and the game is on. Can You?
'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'