Flash Fiction Friday: Muse from the Middle

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

I was just talking with some lovely writerly friends of mine yesterday about the process of creation always feels messier and more visible to those of us in the trenches. We think that all the struggles we feel in the process can be seen by everyone looking on. But the reality is no one sees the back fo the cross-stitch unless they go looking for it.

I say this because today’s one of those rare days in which the process and the product felt seamless. Where I almost had no hand in what came out of my fingers. Sometimes it is a struggle to string even a few words together, but sometimes, rare times, the thoughts just come, complete and nearly unbidden.

This feeling is the addictive ingredient in any form of art or craft that keeps us acolytes coming back for more abuse and struggle. And the kicker is the audience almost never knows. It is so rare that the reader knows when an author really had to dig deep to pull each and every word from their very veins and when it all just poured blissfully onto the page. Well, here’s your inside baseball so to speak for the day: this one was easy.

Whether or not it’s any good is for you to say.

Today’s prompts (from the always awesome Storymatic) are “graffiti writer” and “here comes trouble.”

We reorganized the kitchen. Apparently I own more syrups than the local coffee shop. Drink, anyone?

When Main Street consists of a salon, a diner, and a hardware store the inevitable outcome is a graffiti culture. Regadless of demographic a poor kid with nothing to do is bound to find a way to get the local drunk of some other adult of ill judgement to purchase a can or two of whatever colors happen to be in stock.

So it is of no surprise that on the night Blake died he was tagging the side of a boxcar in the small train yard that skirted the west of town.

He was average. In every way average. Grades, height, looks, family background were all rather typical. But unlike his typical peers, who were busy putting every expletive tehy could concoct and combine on the rust coated sides of empty tanker cars, he had an eye for light and shadow.

Blake stood apart from the others, next to what had once been a bright blue boxer meant for transporting vehicles to the lots where they would be on SALE SALE SALE! for which ever long holiday weekend came next. When he’d approached it the blue was so faded no one would register it in the inconsistent lights of the halogen bulbs posted here and there.

Blake didn’t often work in color, preferring the monochrome of black and white, but someone had procured a can flaming orange tonight and after writing their favorite curse in big tall letters had handed it over to Blake.

“Go be awesome or something,” his friend had said, acknowledging this one glimmer that made Blake more than ordinary amongst their band of mediocrity.

The color reminded Blake of the sunrise after a storm. The storm. The one that had brought insurance adjusters to the town for weeks. That crack in the clouds that had lit up half the sky the morning he realized that any hopes he had of going to college or getting something like a “good job,” whatever that meant, had been blown away. It had been so glorious and so mean, for something that beautiful to preside over his shattered dreams and home.

So now he made a river of lava appear out the darkness onto the helpless boxcar that had only been waiting to do a job. He transformed its faded boards into crags of rock that shook with the force of the train that roared down the tracks ever closer.

He made lightning crash from beneath the short eaves of the roof. He took all his rage at his average, average life and poured it into this masterpiece, the moment of expression.

And he did it so completely that he didn’t hear or see the single engine barreling toward him.

One moment he was unleashing a torrent of emotion that became a work of illicit art, and the next he was gone.

His friends would scatter. No honor or courage in their standard issue souls.

His mother would be brought by the police to identify him. And what was once just a conveyance for other people’s cars, would stand as a memorial in the park just down the street from the salon and the diner and the hardware store that still sells cans of spray paint in town where such things become part of a graffiti culture in the midst of average America.

Sad, I know, but sometimes the bittersweet is more palatable.

As always, I hope you’ll play along, practice along with me. Feel free to post your compositions in the comments or link to where we can find yours. And of course, SHARE SHARE SHARE with all your literarily incline friends. An excellent weekend to you all.

~Anika

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