#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…

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!

#1MinFiction: Stuck in the Drain

Jesse told Robert not to touch the kitchen light switch. Not until she could figure out which one controlled the garbage disposal. Not until she could snatch her fist out of the drain after she stupidly shoved it down there trying to catch a chicken bone. Crazy kids couldn’t just throw it away. When had they ever seen her wash a paper plate?

—Nortina


For a new flash fiction challenge: Monday’s One-Minute Fictionwrite a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. This week’s prompt hints at a lesson to be learned: Don’t touch. Click the link to join in!

Grandma’s Confessions

2014-10-27-bw-beacham1
photo by Barbara Beacham

“Little did we know that Grandpa was a collector.” Jessie read, wiping tears.

“Would you believe we only did it once?” Grandma, drunk, smacked her lips. “That’s how we got your Mama.”

I didn’t want to tell her to shut up, but we were on the front pew, and Bishop Jorge kept looking our way.

“He left his screwdriver in my panty drawer once.” The whisky was hot on her breathe. “I thought it was one of those toys you kids fondle yourselves with.”

“God, Grandma, too much information!” I shrieked.

Bishop Jorge stood and tapped Jessie on her shoulder. “Mrs. Winklestaff, is there something you’d like to add?”

“Sure do!” Grandma’s legs wobbled as she walked to the podium. Jessie glowered at me for interrupting her eulogy she’d spent all night writing.

“Hubert was good with his hands.” Grandma’s lips nearly touched the microphone. “But I wouldn’t know. He spent all his time working on his damn trucks.”

word count: 150

—Nortina

A Christmas Dare

They made it look so easy in A Christmas Story. He’d played the movie five times that day, fast-forwarded the tape to the specific scene, slowed it down, analyzed each step…

  1. Stick out your tongue.
  2. Press your tongue against the pole.
  3. Pull back head to confirm attachment.

He’d been standing at the corner of Market and Church street. His mother sat on a bench in Center City Park with her head behind the latest Alex Cross thriller, unaware that he had wandered off from the display of decorated Christmas trees lining the pathway an hour ago to walk a block down to the next crosswalk sign and triple dog dare himself to lick the pole. Pedestrians briskly walked by him, pretending not to stare as the green walkman flashed across the street.

“Is that kid retarded?” he heard someone whisper too loudly.

“Have you never seen A Christmas Story?” he yelled to his back.

As the bright lights of the snowflakes and bells attached to the street lamps began to flicker on, he knew he only had a few more minutes of sunlight before his mother closed her book and discovered he was missing. He pressed his tongue against the pole one last time and counted to five.

“You know it’s not cold enough for that, right?” a voice said from behind.

He swung around, disappointed that his tongue slid across the smooth metal and slipped back into his mouth as he spun. A short, gray-haired woman, no taller than him, rested her elbow on her cane decorated with red swirls like a candy cane. She grinned widely, showing off yellowed teeth and deep wrinkles in her cheeks that resembled gills.

“But it’s December,” he said.

“It’s also 70 degrees.”

He hung his head and kicked his foot at the patch of grass growing between the crack in the sidewalk.

“Tell you what. You help this old lady across the street, and I’ll buy you a popsicle. You’ll have better luck with that.”

He hurriedly stood next to her on the opposite side of the cane. They locked arms and waited at the curb for the signal to flash, giving them the OK to meet the man with the ice cream cart on the other side.


walkmanThis piece of flash fiction makes Day 14 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans. It is also in response to this week’s photo prompt for Sunday Photo Fiction. Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo.

Holiday Shoppers Anonymous

She twisted the sleeve of her Frosty the Snowman sweater and stood before the semi circle of people. “Hi, my name is Sharon, and I’m a holiday shopaholic.”

“Hi Sharon,” the group recited back, their voices echoing of the walls of the empty high school gymnasium.

“Last Chris– I mean holiday,” she stuttered.

“No, no,” counselor Higgins interrupted. “Say its name. You must remember the holiday you are celebrating. Recognizing Christmas and what it represents…” he waved his hand for the others to repeat after him. “Love.”

“Love.”

“Peace.”

“Peace.”

“The birth of Christ.”

“The birth of Christ.”

“Salvation.”

“Salvation.”

Dr. Higgins raised one hand in the air, curled his fingers into a fist to silence everyone as if he were conducting a choir. “This will lead you to recovery.”

Sharon looked down at her sleeve. The thread had loosened above her thumb, creating a hole, which she poked her nail through, widening it further. “You see, the thing is… I’m not even Christian. Growing up, my family celebrated Hanukkah—”

“Ah, we have another Jew!” Dr. Higgins clapped his hands, motioning toward a man three chairs to the left of him wearing a red, grey, and white striped sweater. His hair fell over his face as he bowed his head and waved to Sharon.

Sharon returned a quick smile and continued. “I spent $200 on a mountain bike for my son. It was on sale at Wal-Mart… If you could’ve seen how his face lit up when he saw the commercial…” She turned away, rubbed the rough wool of her sweater against the bags, purple like bruises, under her eyes.

“Yes, yes. Go on,” Dr. Higgins said.

“He can’t even ride a bike. He’s still on training wheels. I’ve been trying to teach him for the past three weeks. I’m here because he’s finally given up. $200! Wasted!” She fell into her chair and it slid back, leaving a black streak on the floor and making a scraping noise like tennis shoes skidding across the basketball court.

Dr. Higgins stood at the center of the circle and clapped. The group followed in applause. “That’s good! Let it out! I want to feel your disappointment, your frustration, your anger even,” he said, turning to look at each person. “This is what happens when you allow commercialism and political correctness to turn your Christmas, or in Sharon’s case, your Hanukkah, or in Tanisha’s case, your Kwanzaa, into a generic holiday for everyone to spend, spend, spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need, running through stores like chickens with their heads cut off! We must take back our religion, our ethnicity! These holidays make us who we are, but they mean nothing if we don’t know them.”

“Amen!” shouted an older black, as if in church. She stood, her purse slung over her shoulder, and clapped more vigorously. The others followed, all clapping, shouting, whistling, closing in around Dr. Higgins.

Dr. Higgins again raised his hand to silence everyone. “Your assignment for next week is to bring in an item you think represents your holiday. Sharon…” he took her hand and held it against his chest. “You can bring in your family’s menorah if you still have it.” He then turned and spread his arms toward everyone. “I want to see you all next Tuesday, ready to learn the true meaning of your holiday! You’re dismissed!”

—Nortina

Day 8 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans

Bad Influence

“No, you don’t blow, sweetheart. It’s not a cigarette.” He reached over, plucked the blunt from between her index and middle fingers, pinched the end and brought it to his lips. He inhaled deeply, then released.

“Give it to me.”

He tilted his head up, looked at her through heavy eyelids. “You ever done this before?”

“Skip school?”

“Smoke weed.”

She snatched the blunt from his hand, mimicked his movements, but she took too deep a drag, swallowed the smoke, and let out three rattling coughs.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said laughing. “You’re so cute trying to be bad.”

“Whatever.” She passed him the blunt.

“Just don’t be like them crazy girls…hallucinatin’ shit,” he said between hits.

A soft giggle in the distance caught her attention. She looked up to see four cartoonish aliens standing behind a tree. They waved, winked, and blew kisses in her direction.

“Oh my god! Do you see that?” She tapped his shoulders frantically.

“What I say.” He shook his head. “Hallucinatin’ shit.”

word count: 171

—Nortina


wpid-photo-20151123132841569Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.

Driving Lesson

“Texting and driving is against the law,” Malcolm’s dad said in his intimidatingly calm baritone voice.

A loud thud caused Malcolm to drop his cellphone in the crack between the seat and cup holder, and with both hands on the steering wheel, he swerved left to avoid colliding with a car pulling out into the intersection at the four-way stop.

“Pay attention! That car had the right-of-way.”

“What the heck was that?” Malcolm pulled to the side of the road, the right tires rolling up onto the curb. He slammed on the brakes and looked over the dashboard. A ball of fur the size of his fist lay motionless on the hood of the car.

“Squirrel must’ve fallen off the power lines,” his dad said.

“We should’ve taken the Benz.”

“So I can have a dent in my hood?”

Malcolm stepped outside to scrape the dead animal into the street.

“You forgot to…” his dad yelled as the car accelerated forward and plowed into a bike leaning against the speed limit sign.

“Park it.”

word count: 174

—Nortina


wpid-photo-20151109112718588Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) using the provided photo prompt as inspiration.