e c l e c t i c a
s p o t l i g h t a u t h o r s
Keegan's Bootcamp Flash Fiction Exercise
(These are excerpts—click on the titles to view the full pieces)
The vet said he thought I was a female porcupine—I mean he thought the porcupine thought I was. But he pees on me, I said. That's not very gentlemanly.
Flush your wedding ring down the toilet. Remember to check that it's really disappeared. Forget to check. Leave it for him to find, so he knows you're not really dead and sets out in pursuit of you.
The words they use are to do with hub caps, clutch cables, 0-60 in how many? But they're thinking: "My first car, that shiny, cherry red Chevy. I polished that thing till it dazzled the sun." And they're remembering... hope. How Goddam hopeful they felt, how innocent, untouchable. They're stabbed by that feeling of possibility, and it's gone now, long gone.
Sometimes Jean-Paul laughs at this point. He can't help himself. But today he doesn't. Wonders if this is what dying is like, before Pierre's strong hands grab him around the wrists, save him once again.
But all this is OK. It's allowed. It's in the code. So you plan a weekend away, in London. And yes, he happens to be there, meeting his agent, whatever. You've borrowed a flat from a friend. Dinner, a Greek restaurant that he knows—amazing, it's always been one of your haunts. A bottle of wine. Each.
It's a sick joke, looking back. You people think gas gangrene was some sort of bloating, a passing blackening of the lungs, a momentary seizing up, that it went as the clouds dispersed. You have no idea. No effing idea.
You can drive, to get to Hodgingsons. It's not far. Tipperary is farther, and you can get there by candlelight if you're quick. To Tipperary, that is. Hodgingsons is too far for candlelight.
You remember then, the songs your heard when you were three, four, five, but didn't know the words to, the ones you can still hum, like "Yeh Dosti" from Sholay and "Purdah Se Purdah" from Aamer Akbar Anthony. Your heart twinges at the reminder.
I was really trying. I did a deal with myself. It would be okay, I thought, if I touched the radiators three times. Yes, three times would make it okay.
And, because he was inside his wife, he could not see, but Sam imagined her shaking head, the tinnitus of guilt, the sudden awareness. He rocked in this cul-de-sac, then climbed out quickly out lest a scratchy, worried finger came after him.
He laughs. "It's not a disease boy. There are no rules, you don't catch it. It's a fact, like a tree, like the morning, like rain, or these roses. Stop damn apologising!"