Flash Fiction #7

I was walking down Canal Street in crowded China Town, navigating around the press of sidewalk salesmen and shops that mostly offloaded ‘I <3 NY!’ merchandise, when a voice called out to me…

“Hey, man, you like luggage? I got a whole set here, real cheap.
They’re perfect. Like new.
Nothing wrong with em.
No body parts stuffed in em or anything. I swear.”

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Flash Fiction: NYC Marathon Edition

A herd of human beings stampeded down the street, sweaty and gasping, limbs flailing as they powered through mile 12 of what seemed like an endless race.  I watched at a safe distance, considering their tormented faces as they pushed themselves to near oblivion, running, running, running…

What are they running from?

Don’t they know it’s inescapable?

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Flash Fiction: Everything Bagel

We open on…

EXT. New York Streets, Evening

Our main character walks down a gum-stained sidewalk.  We focus on the line of apartment buildings running along the road.  They all look exactly the same.  Our main character’s life has been a long trail of patterns, habits, and events, all so similar that they run together into one indistinguishable path, rendering memory, itself, a blank canvas.

He stops at a bagel shop.  He orders the “everything bagel,” even though it means nothing.

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Flash Fiction: Ghost Writer

I’ve been considering a position as a ghostwriter.

There’s this dead guy who haunts a mansion upstate, in the Hudson valley.  It’s a huge creaking structure that looms over the river proper, crouched in a vernal forest.  It’s gray, ancient paint chipping off of it like old scabs.  There are 40 rooms in the house, and I would get to have my own.  The only material mortals I’d have to share the place with would be the transient addicts who pass through barren halls looking for a place to dope, and the dead inhabitants tell me that they really aren’t so bad once you get to know them. Worst-case scenario, they leave a few dirty hypodermic needles lying in the foyer and maybe overdose and vomit in one of the corners.  Only one of them has died there, a rail-thin spectre who haunts one of the upstairs bathrooms with vacant eyes, a rasping voice asking over and over again, “Hey, man, you holdin’?”

There is the risk, however, that I may die on site (from terror/fear/hobo knives).  Apparently the whole estate is cursed so that anyone who dies there spends the rest of eternity meandering its labyrinthine halls, walking room to room in senseless paths until time quenches itself.  I would be immaterial, so my only friends would be the other spirits of the damned who haunt the winding halls of the dilapidated structure.  For the rest of eternity, the only hobby I would have would be to scare drug addicts, urban explorers, and paranormal investigators taking up brief residence in the derelict mansion.  I guess someone could tear it down one day and build a hotel in its place.  That would be cool.  I could be like those spirits in The Overlook in The Shining.  Maybe I would have the opportunity to drive a man slowly mad.

There’s no WiFi, though.

I dunno, maybe it’s kind of “millenial” of me, but I think that’s a deal breaker.

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Flash Fiction: The Monster Under My Bed

You know that song, The Monster, with Rihanna and Eminem?  If you don’t, that’s good, that’s very good, stay far away from it.  If you do, then maybe you’ll understand my position, here.

Every time the phrase “I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed” is repeated in the song, I get slightly agitated.  Because, obviously, we’ve ALL made friends with that monster!

When we were children, we thought the monsters under our beds were going to eat us!  (Mine is named Phil, he has only one mouth but it is three feet of mangled fangs and serrated teeth) — our only options seemed to be “future midnight snack” or “make friends with it.”

Phil and I are still friends.  He stays under my bed pretty often.

One night, a couple years ago, Phil and I were getting drunk together (it takes a lot of booze to get a shadowy chitinous monster with a three-foot murder-mouth drunk, but we succeeded), and he told me the big secret.  I couldn’t believe it.  If I wrote for Buzzfeed, I would call it “The Biggest Secret You Have to Know About Today!”

But I don’t, so I’ll just tell you.

We spent a lot of our childhood hiding from the monsters under our beds, pulling the covers up around our bodies as tight as we could, hiding under the comforter, etc… we would hold our pee and sit in the center of the mattress because we didn’t want the monster to grab our ankles as we slid out of bed to run to the bathroom.  We would leave all the lights on out of some mistaken belief that evil things couldn’t happen in the wide bright open.

But it turns out, the monsters were under the bed for a reason.

They were hiding from us.

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Flash Fiction: Trying to Write

I was supposed to be writing.  I knew it.  I had revisions, edits, and rewrites to do.  I’d started other projects.  I had the second draft of a new novel at 30,000 words.

I sat down in front of my laptop.  The skittering shadow creatures that live in my walls moaned.  I typed out a paragraph.  Their moan crescendoed into a groaning howl.  I sighed, “What is it, now?”

“Must you type so loudly?” the shadow aether shuddered from cracks in my cheap plaster, creeping across the walls.  “It’s just, you know, very distracting.”

“I’ll just put on some music.”  And so I turn on iTunes and spent half an hour finding the perfect music to satisfy their eerie hungers.  It helps that I write horror.  I was trying to write horror.  I don’t know.  The music was creepy.

I saddled up for more typing.  Ah, good, I noticed, I’ve managed to get 500 whole words!

The shadows thundered in the wall.  ”Aren’t you bored?”

“I’m trying to get work done.”

A rasping sigh creaked through the walls.  I stared at the cracked plaster.  The shadows in the room shifted around me, blanketing the corners and billowing impossibly across the walls.  ”You know, there’s a new comedy special on Netflix.”

“Who is it?”

“Iliza Shlesinger.”

“Will you give me terrifying nightmares, tonight, if I watch it with you?”

“…Probably not.  She’s very funny.”

I did not get much writing done.


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Flash Fiction: NYC Apartment Hunt

“Well, here’s the room you’ll be staying in if you move in with us,” the place was 10×10, a cramped hallway-sized chamber slotted into a miniature apartment.  It looked like an accident.

She continued: “And this is my roommate.”

“That is…literally a swarm of insects writhing over each other,” though it was vaguely humanoid in shape, the thousands of carapaces grinding against themselves gave it a distinctly inhuman presence.

“Yeah, well, he pays rent on time and I don’t discriminate based on appearances.”  She leered at me, her face tight with a look of disgust and consternation.

“Yeah,” the swarm of crawling insects chirped, “you fucking racist.”

I did not end up moving into that particular apartment.

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