This post was written to a flash-fiction spec supplied over at Chuck Wendig’s site terribleminds.com. His sideways examination of the writer’s art is a constant source of tasty titbits and rip-roaring profanity; ahhh…just the way I like it.
If you read the following piece and think “hey, this shit has no plot, no tension… no oomph” then I’d have to agree. However, other than some expense claims, it is the first piece of fiction I’ve written since secondary school. Please bear with me whilst I try to become a writer that doesn’t suck.
Mrs. Glorious arrives home after a day at work. She walks through the front door, the same door that graces a thousand carbon-copy homes in the area, but she stops on the boundary. A gentle sigh escapes and her shoulders slump just a fraction before she bends to retrieve something. A cape. She lifts it, daring a puddle to be lurking beneath those carefree folds. There never is.
Mr. Glorious is at the stove, his broad shoulders and narrow waist scream out his working life: lumberjack? Steel worker perhaps? All the same, he wears a pinafore to stop oil splashes – they would ruin his spandex.
“Hi baby”. He leans in for a kiss, and the homecoming ritual begins.
She removes her gloves and abandons them atop the breakfast bar. He hands her a margarita.
She slips off her work-shoes, climbs into a stool and savours just a moment of alcoholic bliss. “How was your day?” she asks, eying the newspaper before her.
“Dull” he says, flipping a hamburger. He’s never counted calories and he’ll never need to.
“Five muggings, two attempted homicides, a bank job and that Jewellers on Wilson” he gives a tiny snort, it seems ludicrously ineffectual for a man of his stature.
“Honestly, he’s been hit so many times I’m surprised he doesn’t get a super to work the counter”
“Hmmm” she barely hears him and picks up the paper, turning to the front page. Senator McClusky is in headlines once again: a newborn love child, conceived with a classy-looking Vegas pro. She guffaws.
“This true?” she angles the paper toward him.
Mr Glorious lowers his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, the children are next door after all.
“Nah, I called Fabulouso earlier, he sorted it late yesterday. Apparently the Senator’s twin had a grudge and knocked her up.”
“Hope she got something for her trouble?” she whispers back, arching an eyebrow at him, knowing that Fabulouso would have extracted every detail for his ‘archives’.
“Nope, he cut the condom and screwed her in some cheap motel. Had a guy go through her trash trying guess her –” he pauses, face strained with the effort of finding the right words “– her right time for babies. Played the Senator card right up to the birth and then blew her off. Bastard knew she’d go straight to the press.”
“Brotherly love huh?” she puts down the paper and takes another pull on the margerita. She knows It’s her turn to tell-all.
He’s right on cue with his prompt. “Anyway…how was your day?” his eyes shine, he faces her, dinner forgotten for the moment.
“Pretty good…” she says, stretching for a full five seconds. She’s teasing him and he knows it.
“Come on, I want to hear”. He flashes his super smile and she’s powerless to resist.
“Ok, ok. I got in this morning and Mr. O’Leary had given me a ton of filing work.”
“Awesome, did you –”
“Yes, in triplicate, copies to on-site, off-site and local cabinets”
“Awww man, a whole morning with the copier, you get the best jobs” he’s practically green.
“I had lunch with Cindy, we got subs and sat in St. James’ park. She said she’s definitely going to finish it with Ralph, she doesn’t think he’ll ever leave his wife, and she knows that she has to be the one to end it.” she pauses, letting him digest the latest installment of the current office soap opera.
“Did she say how she was going to do it?”. He’s gently clapping his hands – he likes to know every detail.
“Nope, just that she couldn’t take it any more and she needed someone who respected her”. She rolls her eyes and he grins. They know the series is coming to an end.
“What about the afternoon?”. He suddenly remembers the burgers and resumes flipping.
“Nothing too special – just a load of data entry for accounts”. He doesn’t like computers – this will bring him down gently.
“Oh…I thought maybe you’d save some of the filing?”
“Nope, just the morning i’m afraid baby”. She smiles at him, and stands – closing out the ritual by draining the last drops from her glass and throwing it towards the open dishwasher. She doesn’t even see him move, but suddenly the glass is neatly stacked next to its dirty compatriots.
He pulls the fries from the oven and begins wrapping the burgers in their buns. The plates already have a miniature salad serving.
She moves to the doorway between kitchen and living room -hearing Oprah on the television. Before she reaches the entrance, her children (two boys) bowl through the doorway. Johnny is running and jumping up at his brother who is flying and holding the tv remote just out of reach.
“Bobby Glorious you stop that this instant and come down – you know the rules”. Her voice is stern but calm. Both boys can be a handful, but they know better than to argue with their mom – especially when pops is home.
Bobby sinks to the floor, still clutching the prized remote control. “I just wanted to watch Oprah. Johnny’s had transformers on for ages.” he says quietly, always keeping his eyes towards the floor.
Johnny gives his brother a little kick, but she knows that it won’t have hurt. Johnny will never be capable of hurting his brother physically.
“Johnny, stop it. Anyway, its dinner time now – both of you go wash-up” she glances over her shoulder to check Mr. Glorious is on schedule with the burgers. “Then come and get your dinner”.