#1MinuteFiction: Black (Eye) Friday

“All this over a toy,” his mom says.

It wasn’t just a toy, it was a collector’s item. Fifty percent off, the cheapest he’s ever seen it, and it was almost his until that beast of a woman drove her elbow through his eye socket.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’s had his ass handed to him by a girl, but this would be the first time he’s gotten arrested for it.

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. Today’s photo prompt alludes to Black Friday and all the chaos that ensues just 24 hours after we were all thankful for the things we already had…

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Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Spiking the Eggnog

Renee’s kitchen smells just like Christmas. If she knew fresh cloves and nutmeg made that much of a difference, she would have bought them whole years ago. There’s no telling how old the store-bought, ground varieties are anyway.

She usually buys her eggnog from the store too, but this year, she’s trying a recipe she found online. How often does your best friend get married on your favorite holiday? She has to make it special, memorable. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful wedding that’s ruined by terrible refreshments.

Of course, as soon as she mentioned eggnog to Rita, they had to take a detour to the ABC store so she could by a bottle of Brandy to go with it. The cashier called Rita’s name as soon as they walked in. It didn’t surprise Renee one bit that this was Rita’s second visit today.

“You’re definitely fasting alcohol the first of the year,” Renee said.

“Come one. Whoever heard of eggnog without booze? Even grandma was sippin’ in that ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ song.”

Rita’s been listening to Christmas music all afternoon, currently singing “Let It Snow!” to Melody and the twins in the den. Renee put her on babysitting duty as soon as they got to the house, couldn’t risk her sneaking a splash of the heavy stuff into her simmer on the stove. Rita’s surprisingly good with the kids. It comes naturally to her–that is, when she’s sober, which, thank God, she is today.

Maybe this is the way to keep Rita clean. Then Renee can finally fire the neighbor’s absent-minded daughter, especially since, according to Melody the tattletale, she had her much older boyfriend over as soon as Renee and Bryan left. That kind of behavior will not be tolerated in her house, by anyone. And she’ll definitely be telling the hussy’s parents too.

Listen to her, Renee chuckles, she sounds just like her own mother.

The cinnamon stick stands up in the pot of nog like a straw, which gives Renee an idea as she whisks the liquid, tests for thickness, turns off the heat.

“Hey, Rita,” she calls. “How would you feel about drinking eggnog through a cinnamon stick?”

“I think I’d choke on the cinnamon.”

Oh, that’s right, Renee says to herself. Not everyone’s a fan of cinnamon. Oh well. Maybe as a garnish, then? With some of it grated on the frothy top, along with a bit of nutmeg?

She strains the eggnog into a bowl on the kitchen table. The recipe says to let it cool for an hour. That should give her enough time to wrap up the poinsettia centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner, finish printing off the name cards to place at everyone’s assigned seat, and fold the napkins into the Nativity scene napkin rings she bought on her most recent Christmas shopping spree. Bryan doesn’t know about that one. If he did, he’d probably take her credit card, but she bought his Christmas present on this particular run, so maybe he’ll overlook the fact that she went over budget . . . again.

When Renee looks up from her steaming bowl, Rita is standing at the door to the kitchen, balancing Aiden and Blake on both hips, while Melody sits on her left ankle hugging her shin.

“You know what would take that eggnog from like an eight point five to a ten?” Rita nods her head toward the brown paper bag on the counter next to the sink.

“You know Mitchell and Tash don’t drink.” Though it’s hard to say that convincingly when Natasha was clearly hungover at the bridal shop this morning, almost throwing up when they tried to zip her into her dress. And she flaked on the cake tasting, leaving Renee alone with Mitchell and Rita, who spent twenty minutes arguing over whether or not red velvet was really just chocolate with red food coloring.

“Come on,” Rita says. “We’ll split it up and spike the second bowl. I really don’t won’t Hank to think all my friends are uptight.”

“Who on earth is Hank?”

“Her boyfriend!” Melody sings, sticking her tongue through the hole left behind by her last fallen tooth.

“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just this guy.” Rita tries to say nonchalantly, but her face, rosy as Santa’s big red suit, gives it away.

“Well, boyfriend or not, this guy’s clearly had an effect on you,” Renee says as she notices how Rita keeps the twins close her chest, leans at an angle so that their heads lie on her instead of tilt back, especially since Aiden is still a little top-heavy.

Motherhood definitely suits Rita, and with a new man in the picture, Renee wonders if more wedding bells could be in the near future. And children? Renee always wanted to be an Auntie. She doesn’t have any siblings, so she would spoil Rita’s kids to their heart’s content, and even more!

But she quickly comes back to reality. “Don’t you think it’s moving a little fast to invite him to the wedding?”

“Oh, god no! He’s not coming to the wedding. I don’t want to scare him away. But I did want to bring him to our little get-together after the rehearsal dinner. You said we could bring a plus one, right?” Rita says.

“Just curious. When did you meet him?” Renee asks. She talks to Rita nearly every day, and the only men she’s ever heard Rita mention were the work crush who’s having a baby, and the weed dealer she’s been dodging. Though she never told Renee his name. He was always “weed man.” Renee shakes her head. Please don’t let Hank be the weed man. She’d never get Rita off of drugs then.

“Would you judge me if I said last night?” Rita says.

If ever there was an answer worse than weed man. Renee drops her shoulders and rolls her head, annoyed at herself for thinking that Rita has changed one bit. “Lord, Rita. You didn’t sleep with him, did you?”

“Shhh.” Rita turns to shield the babies from what she calls Renee’s foul language.

They’ve heard worse come out of Bryan’s mouth.

“And for your information . . .” Rita says, “. . . maybe.”

“Oh, Rita. No man is gonna stay when you keep giving him the best of you on the first night.”

“Ok, I get that,” Rita answers, “but this guy’s different, and he wants to come.”

Renee sighs, looks down on Melody, still on the floor. “What do you think, honeybun?”

“Is he cute?” she asks Rita.

Rita winks. “Oh, yes.”

“Then I say bring him!” Melody hops in the air, coming out of frog stance, waving her arms, and she slaps the eggnog right off the table.

Renee saw it happen, even before it actually did. She saw it and was still too slow to save all her hard work. The glass bowl shatters on the floor. The eggnog that doesn’t get her own shoes, completely drenches Melody head to toe.

“Dang it, Melody!” Renee screams.

“‘Dang it,’ Renee?” Rita says. “Really? Not even a little slip of the tongue?”

Renee ignores her, scolds her daughter, who licks around her lips.

“Mmm, Mommy. This is good,” she says.

At least it’s not hot anymore.

“Make yourself useful and get the mop out of the pantry to clean this mess,” Renee says to Melody.

“Yes, Mommy,” Melody says, hopping away.

Renee rubs her head across her forehead. “This is gonna put me behind schedule.” At least she thought ahead and bought double the milk and eggs. She won’t have to make another trip to the grocery store, which is always a warzone right before the holidays, not to mention all the con-people following everyone around, asking for money. She feels like she needs a drink now. She swipes the paper bag off the counter, twists the top and takes a swig straight from the bottle while Rita watches with her jaw dropped like a cartoon character.

Fine, Renee will spike the eggnog just this once, for Rita, but this Hank guy better be as cute as she says.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Welcome to the Club
Next: Bottom of the Pits

#1MinFiction: Thanksgiving Calories Don’t Count

Grandma hobbles around the kitchen, fixing everyone’s plate.

She’s deep fried the cornbread, and the turkey. The yams are mostly sugar. So is everything else on the table.

“A salad?” she says, hand on her hip. “Girl, don’t you know Thanksgiving calories don’t count?”

“Thanks, but no thanks, Grandma.”

I’d rather have both my feet than diabetes.

—Nortina


Do you follow the #ThanksgivingClapBack memes on social media? I imagine that last line could easily be one of them, though I wouldn’t dare say it to my Grandma. By the way, she has both her feet. 😉

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. All November, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is thanks, but no thanks

#1MinFiction: Acquired Taste

“Pass the dutch, young blood.”

Uncle Ted takes a drag, holds it in, eases into the lawn chair next to me.

“Your mama burned the turkey. And you know Betty can’t cook no damn mac and cheese.” He inhales again, passes it to me. “This might make it taste better.”

I shake my head. “You forget, old man. I’ve lived with her my whole life, been smoking half of it.” I puff, breath, puff again.

“It doesn’t.”

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. All November, I’m giving you Thanksgiving-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is pass the…

Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: There’s No Such Thing as Santa Claus

“Daddy, is there such thing as Santa Claus?”

Shit. Bryan knew one day he would have to answer this question, but he hoped Renee would be here to do most of the talking. She’s always been better at explaining make-believe crap like this to the kids. She complains that he can be a little too blunt sometimes.

OK, he admits, maybe saying “Mommy’s cooch,” in response to the “Where do babies come from?” question was a little inappropriate. And Renee’s answer, “the hospital,” made much more sense in hindsight, since technically speaking, from a kid’s point of view, when Mommy and Daddy leave for the hospital, they don’t have a little bundle of joy, and when they return, they do.

Still, he probably could’ve just stuck with another more logical answer—at least for a kid—“Mommy’s stomach,” since Renee was at the time pregnant with the twins when Melody asked. But Melody is one of those kids who can’t settle for just one question and just one answer. She’s forever curious, wanting to fit the entire universe into her small, still developing mind, always asking “why” this, and “why” that. “Mommy’s stomach” wouldn’t have satisfied her. She would’ve follow up with, “How did they get there?” and if by some miracle of God, he had an answer that didn’t make Renee faint, or make the girl run off to the library at school to Google that word, he would then have to deal with her next question: “How do they come out?” A question he surely wouldn’t have had a G-rated answer for.

This is his problem—one Renee is determined to fix before the year is out—His mouth has no filter, not even around the kids. Some things just slip out. If she’d ever met his grandpa, she would understand why. His grandpa was an honest man and an honest drinker. He couldn’t go twenty minutes without saying something rude, whether it was telling Bryan to stop being stupid for getting stuck on a homework question, or calling his Mom a fat ass, all while holding a bottle of Old Crow in his right hand.

Bryan was never taught the lesson: think before you speak. He was taught to say what’s on your mind, more specifically, the first thing that comes to your mind. “That usually turns out to be the truth,” his grandpa often told him.

“No,” Bryan finally answers. “There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

“But Mrs. Wilkinson said he has a list, and he checks it twice, and it tells whether I been naughty or nice,” Melody says.

“So do I.”

What the hell are these teachers teaching in school, anyway? What happened to the three R’s: reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic? Maybe he’ll join Renee at the next parent-teacher conference, ask Mrs. Wilkinson what the hell she’s getting at lying to his kid when she should be teaching her something that would eventually get her into a good college. The education system is enough of a mess without the added stories of Santa Claus and tooth fairies and fucking Easter bunnies.

“But he gives kids everything they ever wanted for Christmas!” Melody whines.

“Do you really want some fat-ass old white man breaking into your house in the middle of the night to give you crap you’re only gonna play with once?” Bryan says. It builds character to give a kid the opposite of what they asked for. Teach them early that they don’t always get what they want.

The donation bins at Bryan’s job are full of bikes. Because apparently a bike is the ultimate Christmas gift to a kid. Sure, make yourself feel good about turning someone else’s kid into an entitled little twerp. Why not get them something they’ll actually need, like a coat, hat, scarf, or gloves. It is winter after all. These are donations to children in need. When he was ten, he thought he needed a monster truck for Christmas. A real one, at least three stories tall, so he could run over his fifth-grade teacher’s car for giving him a C, and crush the school building while he was at it.

His mom bought him Hot-wheels.

Teach them while they’re young.

That’s was wrong with the spoiled kids today. Parents only want to appease them. They don’t train them, they don’t discipline them. He can’t count the number of times his grandpa knocked him upside his head with his cane. Today, they’d call that child abuse, but it kept Bryan from talking back, it kept him from throwing a tantrum and pouting when he didn’t get his way.

Christmas is the worst when it comes to spoiling kids rotten. It’s so commercialized now. It’s all about presents, presents, presents. “Come to our store! Buy this!” the commercials shout. Half of that shit ain’t even on sale. Even though she can be a little Christmas obsessed sometimes, at least Renee knows the true reason for the season, forcing them to dress up every year and go to the Christmas cantata at church, coming home to have their own encore of the carols and hymns, rereading the Nativity story from Matthew and Luke. No one has more CHRIST-mas spirit than Renee.

“Ooooh, you said a bad word! I’m telling Mommy!”

Shit— crap. What did he say?

“You said the A-word, Daddy.”

Dammit, that’s right. He called Santa a fat-ass. Bryan rolls his eyes, curses Renee under his breath. He can’t keep up with this shit! How can he not curse when Melody is asking him a million and one different questions? That kid doesn’t even pause to catch her breath! His head is spinning. He hears one of the twins crying upstairs over the baby monitor. “Why don’t we keep this between the two of us?” he pleads with Melody.

“What do I get out of it?”

“You’re conning your own Daddy? They teach you that in school too?”

“The last time you cooked dinner, you burnt the chicken nuggets, Daddy.”

Bryan bolts from the couch, remembering he has a pot pie in the oven. He opens the door and quickly shuts it before the rushing smoke can set off the detector. He turns to Melody, who stands by the kitchen door, her lips twisted in that half-smirk, half-grin her mother always has right before she says, “I told you so.” You should’ve know this wouldn’t go well, he says to an imaginary Renee.

“So what do I get?” Melody repeats.

“Fine. I’ll order pizza.” So much for not appeasing the kids, Bryan thinks, but his ego won’t let Melody win this battle, so he adds as he dials the number to Pizza Hut, “Santa still ain’t real.”

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Booze Induced
Next: Sober Reluctance

#1MinFiction: Endless Prayer

I’m hungry, my tastebuds ready to feast. The game starts in thirty minutes, but Grandma is still praying.

“And it is in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Your precious Son, who gave His life, in whom we give our thanks…”

Cousins James and Tyrek both squeeze my hands, all of us anticipating the one word that has eluded us for the last ten minutes: Amen.

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction  challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. We’re kicking off November with a Thanksgiving-themed one-word prompt: feast.

Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans: Driving Down Memory Lane

Renee hasn’t been to Mother Goose’s Pub & Hot Wings since college, back when it was the “spot” off campus. Students would come to have a beer, watch a good game on the ten plus flat screens lining the walls, sober up on wings and home chips after a night of partying, play a little pool and try not to get too competitive—although, Renee recalls Bryan once splitting a cue stick over his knee after Natasha beat him fair and square.

Renee, Natasha, Rita, and the guys would meet up at the quad outside their dorms every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night to walk the quarter mile up South Tatum Street to Mother Goose’s. The men always accompanied. There was a section of South Tatum, just before the restaurants and bars started, where none of the street lights worked. The trees hung low over the road, but there was never any wind, so the leaves never ruffled. A quarter-mile strip of total silence, total stillness, total darkness, like an inter-dimensional vacuum.

All of the city’s outcasts and homeless found sanctuary there. Most of them were harmless, but sometimes there’d be clowns who chased kids with toy axes. Dirty old men who groped half-dressed coeds in high heels. And hookers—both men and women.

Renee heard a few whispers of rape on South Tatum during her Sophomore year, but nothing was ever officially released by the University, just recommendations for girls to travel in packs and carry pepper spray. South Tatum was at its worst during Halloween; those nights, Renee would insist they find someone with a car.

Come to think of it, that was how Natasha and Mitchell met. She’d flagged him down, in the middle of the road, and hitched a ride to the bar.

And now they’re getting married. Renee smiles to herself. She loves weddings. She and Bryan never had a real wedding of their own. One in a church, with bridesmaids and groomsmen, a flower girl and ring bearer, friends and family filling the pews, her father giving her away, her childhood pastor uniting them in holy matrimony.

Renee had just turned eighteen when she and Bryan eloped the day of their high school graduation. There was no star-crossed romance to it. They wed so they could have sex—Renee too afraid of her hellfire and brimstone mother to go all the way before becoming a wife.

Well, her mother wasn’t that bad. She wasn’t like those crazy Christian moms she sees on TV, who slap their daughters in the face with the Bible for saying a “bad” word, or wearing a skirt that doesn’t go past the knees. There was only one sin her mother wouldn’t tolerate under her roof: Sex before marriage. It was cheating on God. Looking back, Renee imagines any sin would technically be cheating on God, but there was something about the way her mother said it. The idea of her having sex with a fickle boyfriend who would dump her for the girl with the bigger boobs in the next class the following day juxtaposed with her body being a temple only for God—it terrified her enough to keep her legs closed, even in her horny, rebellious teenage years, at least until the night she and Bryan said, “I do.”

Renee turns onto South Tatum, and her white Sienna is engulfed in darkness. She can’t even see her hood, and Bryan just washed it yesterday. She considers making a U-turn and going the long way to Mother Goose’s, but the stop light is just ahead, and she can see the lit snowflakes hanging from the street lamps just beyond it. It’s Christmas, she reminds herself. What is there to fear on Christmas? All the decorations, the lights, the sonorous Christmas carols.

But before she can reach the intersection, she has to slam hard on her breaks, lunging herself forward into the steering wheel. There’s a man crossing the street, weaving between the neon pedestrian markers that separate the lanes, most likely drunk. He’s naked but for several cut-out white pillows that he wears stacked, one on top of the other, like a tubed wedding dress. She thinks he might be trying to look like the Michelin man. Then he turns his head, and she sees the carrot.

“Jesus! Frosty?”

When the man finally passes, she steps on it, running the yellow light as it turns red. Her phone, sitting in the cup holder by her thigh, lights up and vibrates against the seat. Thinking it’s Natasha calling, she picks up ready to bless her out. Nostalgia her butt, Applebee’s would’ve worked just fine.

But it isn’t Tash.

“I hate you so much.”

“Hey, Rita. How’s your fast going?”

“Like hell.”

“It should be the opposite.” Renee laughs at her own joke. “What are you doing?”

“Smokin’.”

“Rita!” Renee turns into Mother Goose’s parking lot, located behind the bar. Surprisingly, she finds an open spot directly in front of her, right at the end of a packed row. She eases into it, puts the car in park, and in her sternest “mama’s” voice, says, “Do I need to come over there?”

“Relax, it’s not weed. Just a cigarette.”

“You shouldn’t be smoking at all. And I thought you didn’t smoke cigarettes.”

“I don’t—” Rita breaks into a series of rattling coughs that echo into the phone. Renee holds the phone out away from her ear until the coughing dies down.

“What am I supposed to do with myself?” Rita asks, her voice hoarse.

“Think, sweetie. What goes hand-in-hand with fasting?”

“Torture.”

“Prayer.”

“Ugh! I’d rather drink. Where are you?”

“At Mother Goose’s.”

“Great, I’ll meet you.”

Renee can hear Rita moving around, throwing shoes into her closet, sliding a shirt over her head—the sounds briefly becoming muffled.

“No,” she says sharply, like she’s talking to her twin toddlers who think it’s a good idea to eat crayons and spread chocolate syrup all over the walls. “I’m meeting with Tash, and you have an appointment with Jesus tonight.”

“Ugh!”

“I love you!” Renee hangs up the phone and collects her keys and purse. She steps out into the cool air, walks toward the ramp on the side of the building and is almost bulldozed by a skinny Santa and two scantily clad overweight elves.

Really, Tash,” she mumbles to herself. “Here, of all freakin’ places!” She bundles up, raises her shoulders to her ears, bares the cold wind, and speedily marches to the front entrance.

—Nortina


Part of Countdown to 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans
——
Previous: Distractions
Next: Seeking Righteousness

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: October Thin

Happy Throwback Thursday! I originally published this poem on July 31, 2015, looking forward to a skinny October. Well, two years later, and I’m still trying to lose those pesky pounds. I recently told my best friend I wanted to be Aaliyah for Halloween. So . . . *clears throat* . . . it’s time to get to work!

October Thin

I want to lose at least thirty pounds by October.
Odd month to set a weight loss goal, I know.
No one aims to have their bodies bikini ready
by October. The water’s cold by then. The beaches
empty. No one’s there to see your smooth wax,
your carved abs, your lifted ass. There’s no use
in being scandalous under the water, pulling off your
bottoms, brushing up against a fellow swimmer, spreading
your legs and peeing in the waist deep ocean where the kids
boogie board. It’s hurricane season. Those rip currents
will snatch those bottoms right out of your hand,
pull you under with them. No, October’s the wrong month
to get skinny. But it’s possible there’s a skimpy Halloween costume—
equipped with fairy wings, a tutu, a lace bodice and pushup bra—
waiting for my newly thin body when the clock strikes midnight October 31st.

—Nortina

F is for Friendzoned

Originally posted April 7, 2015

Alex had told Jessica that Bruce was a jokester. Jessica needed someone to make her smile. Whitmore had her so tense—too stiff to laugh for fear that he would accuse her of laughing at him. Bruce would remind her that relationships were about having fun, enjoying each other’s company, not acting as parole officers. She shouldn’t return from a date with a headache, but with cracked ribs from laughing so hard.

“Ah, there’s a smile! I was starting to think something was wrong with me.”

“I come from the bathroom, and you’re stealing my fries.” She swatted his hand from her plate.

“Actually, I thought you pulled the whole, ‘ditch your date through the bathroom window,’ trick on me.” Bruce winked and snatched a fry from her plate, playfully tossing it into his mouth.

Jessica covered her fries and coughed on them.

“Aw man, I haven’t seen that one since middle school!” Bruce said.

Jessica tried to hold back her laugh. She made a sound, the combination of a hiccup and a burp, and immediately covered her mouth in embarrassment.

“Hey,” Bruce said, reaching across the table and pulling down her hands, “don’t do that. Your smile is so beautiful. You should show it off.”

Bruce’s hands were surprisingly soft, as if he had dipped them into melted Shea butter. “Show me that smile.” He brought both of Jessica’s hands to his lips and kissed them.

Jessica could feel her cheeks turning red. Bruce smile broadly, revealing a small gap between his two front teeth. He stood to his feet, pushing back his chair and leaning over the table. Suddenly, Jessica felt her brain vibrating against her skull as thoughts returned to Whitmore and his worrisome phone calls. He would’ve notice by now that she had turned off her phone. Would he simply give up, or would he try to track her down? Whitmore often took desperate measures when he couldn’t locate his women. Layla had done that to him—the ex who made him insecure, paranoid, jealous. Jessica snatched her hands away, drew her head back to avoid Bruce’s advancing kiss, and blurted, “I have a boyfriend!”

Bruce froze. “Oh.” He lowered himself back into his chair. “I’m sorry. Alex . . . she said you were single.” He avoided eye contact with her. He pulled a twenty and a ten from his wallet and held the bills in the air to catch the waiter’s attention. “Keep the change, I don’t need a receipt,” he said to the waiter who quickly stuffed the money into his apron pocket.

Following Bruce’s lead, Jessica gathered her purse from the floor and stood to leave. Another failed blind date. She wanted to cry. Bruce was so refreshing. Could she convince herself that she had chosen right to stand by Whitmore?

“So, do you love him?” Bruce slid his chair under the table.

“I don’t know . . . I guess?”

Bruce smiled and rubbed his chin. “You can’t be with someone you guess you love.” He patted his front pocket to make sure his wallet was there. “You want to string the guy along until you figure it out?”

“Believe me, he’s the one with the noose around my neck.”

“Ah, he’s that type.” Bruce nodded his head. “The bitter boyfriend who’s been friendzoned too many times.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Had a friend like that, once. Always complained about how no girl wanted to give him a chance. The minute he got a girlfriend, he pushed her right to me.”

“You stole your friend’s girl?”

“Hasn’t spoken to me since.” Bruce shook his head. “So, what’s your guy’s problem?”

Jessica shrugged her shoulders. “Well, I guess you can say he’ll drive a woman to cheat.”

“Obviously. You wouldn’t be here if he didn’t.”

“He’s always talking about how his ex slept with three men.”

“Constantly reminding you of the girl who broke his heart to get you to prove that you love him more? Yep. Classic friendzone syndrome. My radio show is all about this. The Girlfriend Whisperer. Alex didn’t tell you?”

“She said you were funny.”

“Ah, just funny.”

Jessica hunched her shoulders and giggled behind her hand, then remembering what Bruce had said, straightened up and put her hands at her side. “So what about you?” she asked. “I pretty much just put you in the friendzone. Are you bitter about it?”

“I have a feeling I won’t stay there long,” Bruce said with a smirk. He touched her chin and ran his thumb along her bottom lip. “Alex has my number. Call me,” he said before walking away.

Nortina

#1MinFiction: Lawn Work

“It won’t chase you if you don’t run!”

“And let it sting me? No way!”

I duck under a bush next to the fence and hear the low buzz by my ear.

No need to shear the hedges today. My frantic swatting has taken care of the overgrown leaves.

—Nortina


Ever hear a bee buzz by your ear and totally spaz out like you have Tourette syndrome? The one thing I dislike about summer…

For a new flash fiction challenge: Monday’s One-Minute Fiction—write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. This week’s prompt is about nature’s asshole: wasp. Click the link to join in!