The preparations are complete. A lovely art deco tray has been placed on top of the sideboard. It holds a carafe of carefully mixed and chilled martinis, ready to pour into the two beautifully etched glasses he gave me one year for my birthday. I’ve arranged a fancy little mold of pate and some English water crackers on a platter; also a plate of fresh fruit and brie. All of his favorite things. I’m wearing a slinky, sexy black dress. My red shoes definitely qualify as fuck me pumps. The gun is loaded and waiting for me in the drawer of the sideboard. He will be here soon.
To be honest, I was quite surprised to hear from him again. We did not part on the best of terms. He doesn’t like it when anyone contradicts him and I’m afraid I had developed quite a habit of contradiction during the final weeks of our relationship. He moved on to a little mouse of a girl who glided behind him like a ghost, nodding agreement when he spoke and clinging to his arm like lint. I’m trying now to conjure the image of her face but I can’t. She simply had no presence, if you know what I mean. She was perfect for him. That’s why I was so surprised when he got in touch. What could he possibly want with me?
“Tell me what you’ve been doing with yourself,” he asked when he called. I admit I was momentarily charmed, lulled into thinking he might actually care.
“I’ve been writing some flash fiction,” I said. “Very short little mystery stories between 500 and 1,000 words. I’m feeling pretty good about them.”
“I’m not too familiar with the flash fiction genre,” he said.
“Oh, well it’s…”
“But,” he cut in. “It is the sort of genre that makes me wonder about the person who invented it. Did they do so because they were incapable of writing longer pieces? Probably. How much complexity and subtlety can you put into something that short, anyway? Not much if you ask me.”
Well, I didn’t ask, did I? Still he blithely filled my silence by saying that he missed me. He missed the intelligent conversations we used to have. He missed us. He wondered if we might be able to rekindle our relationship, to get back what we once had. I let him talk.
“Come over tomorrow night,” I cooed. “Let’s spend some intimate time together and see where it takes us.”
I’m ready now. I spent the better part of last night and this morning dictating into my computer’s microphone. It took some practice to match my speech pattern and speed to his. The time spent was worth it though. Now I have a very good idea of how long it will take him to reach 500 words if allowed to spew without interruption. I’m certain I can retrieve the gun and get off several shots to the chest long before he makes it to 1,000. It will be a fine flash finish. Not subtle. Not complex. But loud and gratifying all the same.
© Karen Kleis – All Rights Reserved
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