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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Flash Fiction

So I was invited to participate in a flash fiction anthology.  I had never written one before and found it a challenge to stay under the 500 words.  It really is a great exercise to make you choose words carefully, strongly vet characters and keep your situation in one scene.  The prompt was "at a con."  I am posting it here, hopefully not at the expense of having it accepted.



Image result for trade center chattanooga

I no longer dine with my depression.  I walk.  Downtown.  I like the cobble streets and the street lamps.  Sometimes I can be Mary Poppins or Ginger Rogers.  On Chestnut Street I walk by a maple tree.  I love its sense of rebellion and confidence.  I wish to be that. 

One favorite is the convention.  It is full of visitors.  They view me through the eyes of their own elations.  Chattanooga is new to them.  My pink coat and pink hair draw their gaze and my blue umbrella evokes their smiles.  Their excitement to be here settles on me like sunshine.    
Today my eyes are tired.  At my age, even the cold, wet paper towel in the center’s bathroom does not help.  Nevertheless, the lotus flower tattoo blooming into doves on my arm tell me hope exists.

Image result for hullco

Exiting the bathroom of the convention center, a man offers me a free t-shirt.  It says, “Hullco Windows.”  If I wear it, then I can enter the Home Show for free.  I like the blue hue.  So many blues are sad, but this one reminds me of a Wedgewood necklace my grand wore.   I touch my neck where it would have hung and almost feel her aged hands over mine.
Missing my Grand, I almost return to my dreary bedroom.  The man again invites me in to the show.  His invite is not necessary but appreciated.  Being invited feels wonderful.
I am amazed how many ways there are to cook potatoes.  A lady selling a copper pan makes potato chips.  The sample is salty.  My stomach has been angry with me lately, but accepts the chip skeptically.  I promise it if we find someone sautéing chicken I will let it decide.

Image result for stone patio homeshow display

At the end of the first row is a stone worker’s booth.   I am Alice and step up the stone steps to a patio.  An Aerodyne chair beckons me to find respite.  I sit before an iron fire pit in a make-believe backyard.  Someone has cut butterflies into the metal ring.  The propane fire sends heat toward my feet in the shape of a monarch butterfly.  Its wings warm my toes and the semicolon tattoo on my ankle.
A toddler sits beside me.  He asks if this is my real hair.  I tell him no and it is not my porch either.  I am just pretending.

He likes to pretend.  He has a stuffed giraffe.  He says the giraffe likes my hair also and says, “hello.”  I believe him and tell the giraffe, “thank you.” 
I look again at my shirt.  Under the window it says, “Make life a little better, come to Hullco.”

At my home depression lingers, waiting with laundry, dirty dishes, and whispers of my inadequacy.  It can wait.  Up the next aisle I smell flowers and candles.  As I rise and say goodbye to the toddler and Mr. Giraffe.  My stomach settles.  It agrees that if there is chicken in the next row, we will stop there too. 

Image result for homeshow cookware

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