Cover of Caddyshack
I have the work of a new guest writer for you to read.
Hello hello hello, all my blogging and writing friends and my Flash Fiction Fanatics. It’s the Old Soldier here with another edition of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, the most dynamic flash fiction magazine on the internet.
One of the things that makes the magazine so dynamic is the constant showcasing of new writing talent. If you are looking for a place to showcase your fiction, try The Gazette. If you hit the target, your story will be up in a few days. If you come close, I’ll work with you to get it in the magazine. And if the story simply is not for The Gazette, I’ll let you know why so that you will have a better chance next time. The Submissions guidelines tab is at the top of the page.
Now for our feature presentation.
Quickly The World Blurs
Ted and Wren stay up late watching movies in his bedroom. Actually, they stay up late fooling around, the movie flickering shadows and sounds towards them from the hand-me-down television across the room.
“It’s a nice TV,” Wren said the first time Ted ushered her into his bedroom. His roommate was passed out on the couch in the living room, the remnants of a Hungry Man frozen dinner on the coffee table.
“It’s a piece of shit TV,” Ted said, but as he said it he patted the side of the television in an affectionate way, as if it were a mischievous but lovable dog.
The television sits atop a plain wooden dresser, directly across from his bed. It is a double bed, covered with a shiny blue comforter that reminds Wren of a sleeping bag. To her it is a luxuriously large bed; she sleeps on a twin.
That first night, they watched Caddyshack. She had never seen it before. She tried to pay attention until Ted turned towards her on the bed and she realized the movie wasn’t the point at all.
They’ve watched Spinal Tap, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Zoolander, Spartacus, and A Fish Called Wanda, but she hasn’t really seen any of them.
They fool around until eventually they fall asleep, curled up and breathing into each other’s faces. In the barren night hours she wakes to the DVD title menu playing the same thirty seconds of theme music on repeat, the movie itself long over. She asks him to drive her home.
“Just stay over,” he mumbles into her shoulder. “C’mere, go back to sleep.”
“I can’t sleep here,” she says. In her mind, there are two types of girls: the girls who sleep over and the girls who don’t. She is not a girl who sleeps over.
“It’s just one night.”
“My contact lenses are scratchy and I don’t have my case. Or my toothbrush.”
Eventually, groaning and yawning and picking crust from his eyes, Ted yields to her as he always does, grabbing his tangle of keys from the dresser and switching off the television. On the drive home they are silent, like diffident strangers sharing a bus bench, though sometimes she rests her hand lightly on his leg, and when she does that his arm brushes against hers as he switches gears. He’s promised to teach her how to drive stick. She’s not sure he’d be a good teacher, though, so she hasn’t pressed it.
The rain begins as he turns onto her street, droplets coalescing on the windshield. Quickly the world blurs. He switches on the wipers. When he pulls up in front of her apartment building, she leans over and gives him a quick kiss.
“Thanks,” she says. “Drive home safe.” Opening the door and fleeing into the rain feels like a release of breath.
In twelve days she will miss her period. In seven months they will be married; in eight months she will give birth to Marianne; in two years they will be divorced and her mother will say, I’m not gonna say I told you so, but I did.
But for now, all she cares about is getting out of the rain. The key slips into the lock; the door opens. 4 a.m. Her roommates are all asleep. It feels like the apartment itself is sleeping. Wren slips off her shoes and takes out her painfully dry contacts. Crawling into her waiting sheets, she feels like an oyster nestled safely inside its shell. Within moments, she falls asleep.
Bio: Dallas Woodburn is the author of two collections of short stories and a forthcoming novel. Her short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Arcadia Journal, Monkeybicycle, and The Newport Review, among others. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy, a nonprofit organization that empowers youth through reading and writing. http://www.writeonbooks.org/
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