The purpose of this assignment was to help us construct the smallest story without having to write an introduction and to concentrate on developing the story and characters in what was implied rather than said. This piece of flash fiction is generally everyone’s favorite, and I hope it’s not because it’s the shortest. I would also like to mention that the two characters are from my other much larger work, States of Matter.
I know that five years ago I was a confused college student, that ten years ago my mind was clouded by hormones, that fifteen years ago I genuinely loved Nintendo, that twenty years ago I thought kindygarden was funn, and that twenty five years ago I was floating in this warm, comfortable, dark place.
“Ray,” she said again.
“Do ya know?”
She makes a dog noise, throws her hands up in the air, and I think she actually just touched the ceiling. That was pretty cool. I can’t help but smile, feeling the silly putty in my cheeks. I realize she is leaving just as the door slams shut. The echo lasts a lot longer than it should. Cool.
I have to shake things off, to sober up. I have to deliver the–
Aw, shit. I already took it. So, what do I need to do? Oh yeah. Nothing.
That makes me smile, knowing that I don’t have anything I have to do today. Toodoo-today. I shuffle over to the couch and fall into it, imitating the whump sound it makes as it hugs me. Whump. Whump.
I yawn and stretch. I’m almost positive my bones are made of rubber. Stretching feels good. It’s almost sexual, which is why I think some people don’t stretch in public. I bet they sit at home and stretch and smile and then frown and feel ashamed for the closest thing they have to masturbation.
Wait. Teona just left! She wasn’t supposed to leave the apartment until it was over. I get up and bounce to the window. I’ve never had so much trouble opening this damn thing before. My hands aren’t in this reality.
The sunpaint covers everything metal in golden light, but the noise and the smell are too much. Too much shit burning. Too much damn traffic. I see Teona stumble out into the street, two floors below.
“Huay!” I mumbleyell. “Ssztop. Get baggup here!”
“Do ya know?” she yelled.
Another dog noise from Teona-nona-nona. Wow, she looks really far away. I think she’s coming back in, though. It’s hard to tell. I shut the hate-pollution out and spin back into the living room.
There’s the couch. Whump. Whump. Nah, I better not sit down right now. I might never ever never get back up. Hey, it’s the cat. The cat. Spot.
“’Ey, Szpot,” I say. She returns the greeting. Meew. Meew. Cute cat.
“Yer a cute cat, Spoticus.” Wow, my mouth is clicking bad. I need some water.
The kitchen is thissa way, I point, turning left and strolling into the cramped room. Teona keeps this place so nice and clean. She’s a good roommate. I’m a bad roommate.
Be happy! Happiness only tonight. Why was I in here? Oh yeah. Water.
I move (happily) towards the refrigerator, but something about the countertop snares me. It seems to blur and flicker as I move around it. What makes it do that? The lights! I look up at them. They strobe like the underbelly of Heaven, heatless and blinding. Wow, fluorescent lights blink really fast! I’ve never noticed that before.
. . .
Damn, I’m zoning out again. Why was I in here? Oh yeah. Water. The refrigerator handle is hard to hold onto. My hand is feeling things like my tongue tastes things. And I can’t squeeze very hard. Is my hand closed? I guess so. The refrigerator opens up. Ooh, it’s nice and cold in here. Damn! Did something die in here? No, but something dead is in here, I nod, looking at the packages of sandwich meat. Why was I in here? Oh yeah. Water.
Thump, thump, thump. What is that?
Teona opens the door, slinks in, and slams it shut behind her.
“’Ey, Babe,” I say to her.
“Ray,” she says, dropping her keys on the couch and walking to me. “Do ya know?”
“Know what?” I manage. I think she asked me this already.
“What time it is.”
I look towards my watch. Have you ever noticed that line on the outside of the back of your hand? The one where the hair suddenly stops growing?
“Sorry,” I tell her. “It’s 3:04. Why?”
“I don’t want to be late for work,” she answers. I should’ve known that, of course. I hope she doesn’t have to go to work like this. Wait. I thought the reason we decided to do this today was because we didn’t have to work.
“Babe,” I say. “You don’t work today, ‘member?”
“I know, I know,” she says.
And, we both crack up.