Flash Fiction: “Nobody’s Business”

Nobody left the toilet unflushed last night.
Nobody left that empty milk carton in the fridge this morning.
Nobody used all of the bread.
I did.
Yeah. I did all of those things.
I am Nobody.
And there’s not one thing any of you can do about it. Because none of you have the slightest idea who I am.
Not one teacher could remember my name at school, or place me at parent teacher meetings for that matter. Speaking of parents, they often forgot to lay a place for me at the table, or acknowledge my birthday.
Waiting staff serve everyone around and behind me in coffee shops and bars.
When I speed, I don’t get pulled over. And when I find myself at a police checkpoint, I just drive on through as if the cops don’t even see me.
Hell, I haven’t paid for groceries in years, just walk on out the door with my cart full.
I’m the next best thing to invisible, even have to push my way through automatic doors.
Does it get me down?
Does it shit.
Better to be a nobody than a somebody.
Somebodies get noticed, get promoted, get awarded, get pay raises, get fast cars, get expensive wives, get big houses, get enemies, get prices put on their head.
By people who need a nobody like me.
The kind of nobody even an infrared camera can’t see, that two Doberman pinschers can’t smell, that can stroll into a master bedroom and squeeze the life out of somebody’s neck without somebody’s said trophy wife batting a well maintained eyelid.
So next time you get that feeling, as you leave your home or walk down that badly lit street, think twice when somebody tries to reassure you with words like these.
“Nobody is out there watching you.”
“Nobody is following you.”
“Nobody is going to hurt you.”
Because I am nobody.
And I’ve been put on this earth to do all of those things.

Flash Fiction: “Pests”

There are no sugary treats for this plague of ants to swarm over, so I have no idea what has brought these vile creatures here to this isolated, desolate part of the city. No statues or structures of historical importance, no famous breweries or distilleries, no birthplaces of long drank themselves to death musicians or now-derelict buildings where the still alive ones recorded their first albums as fresh-faced nineteen-year-olds. Yet, here they are, milling around, trapping me on this square foot of footpath, everything about their being grating on me like fingernails down a blackboard. The shrill, excited noises they make seem to pass for speech but their language is impenetrable to me. The squeaky sounds of their feet as they shuffle around sicken me to my core. But it’s the incessant clicking. That, more than anything else. I try to leave, but they follow, the clicking sound escalating, accelerating. The chatter intensifies and I realize that they are not ignoring me the way they were seconds ago. They have recognized my presence and have locked on to me. I have become the subject of curiosity and they will not rest. Not until I stop and, one by one, take each of the smartphones they’re clicking away on from them and photograph them with their friends, in front of a fence that backs on to waste ground strewn with scrapped kitchen appliances and broken pushchairs.

My heart sinks as I discover that I am smiling and that I am readily, willingly taking their phones and making polite, accommodating sounds. What is this? These wide-eyed locusts are eating away at me, stripping me of my self-respect. When they’re done with me, when they’ve reduced me to a husk, they will move on to the next feeding ground, forgetting me like I never existed, like I was simply a feature of the landscape. My dignity is one of the last things of any worth I have left. I am not prepared to let it go this cheaply.

They say that in the event of global thermonuclear war, only the cockroaches and rats will survive. But they forget about the tourists. And the fearless way in which these vermin descend into the most dangerous parts of the city with complete abandon, drawing as much attention as they can to themselves with unknown languages and misunderstood accents, getting in your way, blocking your path, disrupting your day, like bluebottles and wasps spoiling a sunny afternoon in the garden for everyone, just begging to be swatted out of the air and crushed underfoot.

The first one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hit her with her own phone. There’s half a smile there, but it vanishes when I slam it into the side of her head again, the handset snapping with the force. I drop it to the ground along with her as her boyfriend, I assume, steps up to defend her honor. He doesn’t get far. The next phone to hand is wrapped in a protective case that transforms it into the next best thing to a brick. It takes only one smack to the temple to ship him to the kerb along with her.

I’ve angered the rest of them now and they swarm, screaming angrily, circling, arms flailing, attacking. I drop the remaining phones and take the rolled-up newspaper from my pocket. It makes me laugh to think I could dispense with these annoying pests the same way I could their tiny, winged insect cousins, but once I roll the newspaper up even tighter, it’s surprisingly effective. Even five on one, these people are no match for me. I batter three of them into submission before stopping to catch my breath.

The last two do not seize the opportunity to exact revenge. Instead they stoop and tend to their stricken comrades, pleading with me to stop as they accept defeat.

I am magnanimous in victory. I take a knee, retrieve one of the operational phones from the asphalt, and give them the group shot they were looking for. Enjoy your holiday.

Flash Fiction: “Shit Monster”

My life is shit.
I mean… Godzilla, all the Godzillas in fact, even the awful ones.
King Kong. The Kraken. Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy.
The Werewolf, The Wolfman, whichever one you prefer.
All these guys; now they were monsters.
But me?
Jesus, talk about the short, feces-encrusted end of the stick.
Allow me to set the scene, or at least a scene, if I may.

You’re driving along a winding country road in the small hours, in heavy rain, when your car breaks down.
Of course, it does. That’s how these things go. We all know that.
No other cars pass for ages, your phone has no signal, blah blah blah.
Against your better judgment, but right in line with what seemingly sane people do in these situations, you leave the warmth and safety of your car and decide to go looking for someone who can help. Or a phone. Or someone who can help by giving you a phone.
To keep dry, you leave the road and take to the cover of the trees.
Obviously.
You come across a path.
Hey, it might lead somewhere, right?
Oh, and it does.
It leads you right into the lair of a creature the likes of which you could never have imagined, not without the help of mushrooms.

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Flash Fiction: “Serenity”

Serenity

Somewhere close, way too close behind them in the traffic, a horn honked.
Twice.
“That wasn’t what I think it was, was it?” said Beth.
Kevin shifted in the driving seat. “Jesus. Couldn’t have been.”
Beth killed the radio.
Kevin checked his mirrors.
They chanced glances left and right, looking at the occupants of the vehicles around them. Their expressions were all fixed with the same disbelief, the same incredulity.
The same fear.

Continue reading “Flash Fiction: “Serenity””