Since I’ve been writing more shorts lately, I’ve decided to share some of them with the Starving Artist Blog and see what the response is. Following is some flash fiction written in one sitting, inspired by a writing prompt from the book I am currently reading.
A micro fiction story from a writing prompt,
by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty
He beckoned to me to follow him, with a hand encapsulated in a greasy, surgical glove. I had never seen mechanics wear latex gloves and I wanted to ask him, “Is that the thing, nowadays? I wanted to tell him, “My father never wore latex gloves, and I can’t imagine he does, now.” No, his hands were always man’s hands: stubby and olive, greasy and callused, all the outlines of fingernail and wrinkle drawn in permanent black, like a cartoon.
But I didn’t ask, I just followed a man whose name I didn’t know toward a four car garage, open at all four doors to a summer’s day. It was earthy out here, even in a strip mall, which is the South for you. Blue and gray skies, and flourishing saplings thrive in their beds of pinestraw and pre-withered grass, permeating the air with moisture, dirt, and honeysuckle. Then that smell died, the wide sky obliterated by the weeping of gasoline and oil onto the ground, the insistent hammering of an air drill jetting past the point of a bolt’s full tension.
The temperature dropped too–encased in all the smooth cement and brick–and the floor became barely navigable around wheeled oil pans, power cords, and discarded tires. I didn’t look for the tool and dye calendars or pinups. Instead, I inhaled the coolness and fumes with a bit of stale smoke and thought–for just a moment–I’m a kid again.
My Taurus was on the ground, looking vulnerable and ashamed with its hood wide open to expose its black and chrome guts. And the man–a sort of pseudo-mechanic, I feared–immediately pointed to to the battery and its oily nodules. Pointed before he even came to a standing rest. Pointed to show me either where I might find car batteries and their nodules or else in shame. This is why your car’s still back here, lady. This is why we’re holding you hostage until we lick the insides of your pockets clean. He jimmied the connection to the battery and, well there it was, wobbly so that even a lady could see it.
Ah, I see. That’s not what I thought. What I thought was more in tune with Where’s my daddy? and it felt like the offspring between an empty stomach and the great heaviness of the last $100 in my purse. I was keenly aware of my bank balance, my kids waiting for me curbside at school, my family out of town, my husband untouchable at work. So keen, so weighty, in fact, that I wondered what friends I could call before settling into a reserved sigh that almost–but couldn’t–end in me telling this babbling pseudo-mechanic about my hopelessness.
And there it was: the pinup I hadn’t looked for, accusing me from her twerked position over a lipstick red Corvette. I lingered too long in looking at it. There we go. That’s home.