Dangerously Close: Flash Fiction Volume I
100 stories about love, life, and the challenges unique to our times.
“Through the genre of Flash Fiction (stories told in 1,000 words or less), I test the conventions of story and ride the boundaries of structure to discover something more.
Join me as we watch others, in the stress of our times, discern and discover.
Hear the echoes of those things that should trouble us but that, too often and especially now, we avoid or cannot penetrate.
Realize who we’ve become and wonder who and what shapes us.”
Stephen J. Bergstrom
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Four from the Collection:
This is the Rope;
30 feet long, the length of five good-sized men, 3/4″- 1″ diameter, thick, heavy manila hemp rope, boiled and stretched, taut, no give, waxed, soaped or greased
In the morning
His unheated cell
A hole in the floor
Years in prison
The beady eyes watch as the guards place him in the glass enclosure. That’s when he sees his children…
In the deep summer, everything dries out and the wood fear the fire.
With so much to tell, Lanky Everett hurries into town. A good six foot five, Lanky runs, half coobles up the small rise, thoughts a thousand miles a minute.
“Gotta tell ’em,” he reminds himself as images pour through his brain.
Lanky is country, born and raised northern Alabama, believes in the confederacy, flies a confederate flag over his mobile. Lives deep in the woods. Goes into town ever now and then to hear the old men tell stories at the pavilion near the courthouse.
Where they ain’t watching for him. Where they ain’t listening to him.
When it gets too hot, and this is one them days, there’s no cloud cover, they got to go inside to tell their stories at the lunch hour.
And they can tell stories. The best stories that people can ever want to hear. About the ol’ days and ol’ glory. Don’t let anybody tell you different about the South. Those were glory days.
Well now, he has something to tell.
~ ~ ~
Too much and you know you’ve had too much, done too much, and you know you’re going to be sick. You hear yourself saying stop.
~ ~ ~
But sometimes you can’t. Especially if you fear you’ll never see her again, never touch her, never hear her voice because you carry that happening to you and now, when she comes close, you never want to lose her, never want to experience that again, not that kind of losing, again.
You’re on your back. Your head is heavy, your legs like lead. Someone nailed you to the floor, your shirt wet and sticky and something warm drips into your throat.
“Kiss him one more time,” you hear Gregorio say and you wish your head would clear and you could do something.
Everything comes back at you, piece by piece.
You followed her. You know you shouldn’t have. You know she is dangerous but you couldn’t stop.
The stars move, the earth moves, constellations move and you moved, went too far, kissed her deeply and couldn’t stop.
~ ~ ~
My father could never be who he was. Never could take what was really inside him and be that. Faker, he faked his life.
You get off track early, you build something that isn’t you, that becomes bigger than you, that opposes you, that confuses you, the real part of you gets left behind.
I’m at the funeral home. Stillness. In the back, a tall man and woman approach the Guest Book. I’m not surprised by the minuscule turnout. When the funeral director forwards the options, I take the smallest room.
In my business, I cut words and rearrange thoughts. To get a book into print, I watch costs. No, I’m not surprised by the turnout. Costs matter. My father matters little.
People avoided him, did not want to be around him, did not want what he was to come back at them. Why would death be different?
Heaviness permeates the air. Not like a metaphor…