Flash Fiction Friday: Screaming Into the Void

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

I broke my toe.

The breaking of a toe functions as a physiological insult. My gait, my balance, my activity level: all these things and more are in total disarray because of a bone less than an inch long and its unfortunate contact with a large glass jar of green chilies. The jar was unharmed. And this whole affair is the more to be lamented because there is so little one can do for a broken toe besides ice it, stay off it, tape it to a neighboring toe for stability, and hope for the best as the weeks needed for healing go by.

The whole situation is excessively stupid.

That is not why I didn’t post last week. That had to do with school ending and child related craziness. Similar amounts of craziness have ensued this week due to the toe situation. But despite the ever present throbbing, I am here with you to write a little something.

This week’s prompts are: astronaut, bounced check

We hiked into the desert to watch the lunar eclipse on the 15th. My camera wasn’t quite up tot he task, but it was glorious to witness.

It takes a real sense of calm and discipline to become an astronaut. It takes all kinds of other things too, but if you are going to resent out into the black void, then ensuring you maintain the machinery of your mind and body are crucial. They screen way more vigorously for the right mental attributes than for physical strength or academic prowess.

So when a micro comet knocked out the outbound communications equipment, and the backup was patchy at best, we didn’t panic. We knew we were due to switch out with the next team in the coming month. They would bring new equipment with them when mission control realized they weren’t getting good responses from us beyond acknowledging we had gotten their messages. No big deal.

We went about our daily tasks: training in the zero gravity to keep our muscle density up, checking the various experiments and recording the relevant data, we even got our normal messages from home.

Three days in, that’s when it happened.

I opened the blinking light of my notifications to find a message from the bank. And a message from the company that owned my mortgage.

My check had bounced.


My exclamation was so loud in the relative confines of the station that it drew half the crew.

They all just stared at me, waiting.

“The check bounced,” was all I could say.

It didn’t make sense. It was set to automatic withdrawal. My wife would have been sure to put enough money in the right account. This had to be a mistake.

“You fix when you land,” assured my hefty Russian colleague. “They won’t take astronaut’s house.”

My Russian friend was clearly unaware that in America the banks didn’t care who you were if you didn’t pay your mortgage.

But more than the stupid check and the status of my loan I couldn’t stop thinking about Patty. What had happened to my wife that our affairs were in such a state of disarray? Here I was eating food that had to be slurped out of a pouch, doing hours of physical labor just to maintain enough muscle mass not to be crushed by earth’s gravity on return to earth, doing important science that might change the future of humanity and what was she doing?

Not keeping track of the bills, that was for dang sure.

I could almost imagine that I saw our house imploding through the window as I stared down on entirely the wrong continent.

“I have to talk to her!” I said.

Everyone just shook their heads. The broadcast time was too unpredictable, too unstable. It had to be used only for necessary comms with mission control.

“So your wife ran away, big deal.” My Russian friend was trying to console me again. “I have lost three wives already. It is what you do when you are in space all the time.”

But he didn’t know Patty and me. We were in love. We were true partners. How could she do this? Was she ok? Maybe she was in the hospital. Maybe she was in an accident of some kind. Maybe she was in tahiti with that personal trainer from down the block that she was always talking to on Facebook.

“I have to talk to Patty!” I made a lunge for the hallway that led to the comm capsule. But it was four against one. They velcroed me into a sleeping bag and then to the wall.

I’m told I screamed for the better part of two days before I lost my voice, but I don’t really remember.

They transferred me into the return shuttle like that, all trussed up.

It turns out Patty fine and it was a bank error. And as it turns out I have a real sense of calm and discipline as long as I can talk to my wife. That’s why I work from home now.

A quick confession. As I was italicizing the text I added a line. I know that’s kind of a no-no, but I couldn’t resist. Which is why you don’t go back and reread things that are meant to be one-off pieces. No review, no corrections, so no point in rereading it. But I thought I should tell you that fell prey to the temptation and cheated, a tiny bit. I hope I am forgiven, and I’m wondering if you can tell which line came after the fact.



Flash Fiction Friday:

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends, It is Friday. That means flash fiction. I grab a few prompts and write along until a short piece of impromptu fiction has manifested itself. And they are just that, impromptu. No edits, no fixes. … Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Skipping Romance Rocks

Welcome Readers, Writers, and Friends, I am currently listening to Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, read by the author, and it is the deliciously dark sort of brilliance I love from him. If I have … Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: To Thine Own Self Be True

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

The weekend beckons once more and therefore, it is time for the weekly flash fiction. Written “live” totally impromptu, typos and all. Love it, hate it, steal the prompts and use them for your own fictitious jump start. My children are home for the summer and I’m already counting down the days. Oi!

And I will confess I don’t love this week’s prompts. Having to include the word “very” tells you right away that these lack depth, but nevertheless, we press onward.

This week’s prompts: a very long line, a person born in the wrong time period

Caught a rainbow while up north with some friends last weekend. Magic.

“hey check out Clockwork Orange!”

It was always the the same. No matter where Barty (he preferred Bartholomew) went as soon as someone saw his bowler hat perched atop his dark hair they had him pegged as a psychopath. And the dark circles didn’t help. The bright neons of the city at night made it so hard to sleep, such that he often took afternoon naps to compensate.

Barty couldn’t help that every inch of his soul was steeped in the late Victorian. He’d tried on all manner of costumes over the years. Constantly felt like a poser until he let himself settle into a well cut vest with his trusty pocket watch ticking away.

But it was impossible to be completely removed from the era i which one was born. He had a penchant for punk. Which is how, most Friday nights, he found himself in a queue waiting to pack himself into an absolute mad house for the sake of a few hours of live music.

He’d tried the radio and other media sources, but nothing quite captured the pace and the thrall that a live concert had. Tonight, however, the waiting was interminable. Impatient to be inside and take up residence in a dark corner away from the kinds of goons that liked to steal his hat, Barty checked his watch again.

“Excuse me,” said a decidedly feminine voice. Barty looked up into a pair of big brown eyes, set in a face that immediately burned itself into his brain. She wore a fascinator styled as top hat, a corset bedecked with mechanical pariphenailia, and a ruffled skirt that didn’t quite cover her knees. “Could you tell me what time it is?”

Barty just nodded. Then realizing that he had yet to fulfill her request. He looked at his watch, then up at her again, completely forgetting what the clock face had said and had to look a second time.

“It’s 9:17,” he said, before he would let himself look back into those great, soft eyes. Whereupon he promptly forgot everything.

Until it began to rain.

A gentleman in London was never unprepared for such things, and Barty promptly pulled out his umbrella. Holding over the pair of them, Barty finally managed a coherent sentence.

“Are you here with friends?”

“No, none of my friends like punk. I should probably go to the back of the line.”

“And ruin your lovely hat in the rain? Ridiculous. Stay here with me, at least until we get inside?” Barty hoped he wasn’t being too presumptuous, but everything about this distinctive lady spoke to him. When she smiled and stepped a little closer, the better to make use of the umbrella’s protective cover, of course, he felt his heart pick a rhythm that had nothing to do with the base coming from the club.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Bartholomew, but most people call me Barty.”

“I like Bartholomew,” she said. “I’m Eudora. Dory to most of my friends.”

“I love Eudora, I mean the name. It’s old fashioned, like me.” Barty offered her his arm in what he hoped was a most gentlemanly fashion and which she took with lady-like grace that cemented her as his favorite person he’d ever met while waiting in a line.

As always post your take on the prompts in the comments, or link to where we can find your flash fiction. And of course share these with anyone you think could use a little light reading.