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Thread: Caesar's Short Fictions

  1. #1

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    Caesar's Short Fictions

    I guess I'll get this going first.

    I'll post two flash fictions and a short story I wrote last semester. For those of you (probably everyone because I didn't know what the fuck it was) wondering what a flash fiction is, "it's a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity." Some people say the word limit to a flash fiction is as low as 300 words some say it is as many as 1000. Either way, the entire story is told in as few words as possible. These two are 263 and 324 words.

    Also, this is general fiction. The plot isn't as important as the character development.

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  3. #2

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    Stench (Flash Fiction)

    Joe was jolted awake by the sound of knocking at the door. He listened longer, waiting for more banging, but nothing came. No one would be knocking at the door at this time of night. Not since she left. He stood up, pushing the mangled foot rest of the recliner back in place with a few well-placed kicks, and headed to the kitchen. Beer bottles littered the floor and he did well to not step on any of the glass scattered across the floor. Rotten food overflowed from the garbage can and the pungent smell of filth hung in the air, suffocating anything that hadn’t been born in a sewer or garbage dump.

    He pried open the refrigerator, hitting the light bulb when it didn’t instantly illuminate the rows of cheap beer he’d lined up inside. Like a connoisseur of fine wines, he carefully selected one of the bottles, popped the cap off and chugged its contents before reaching for another and closing the refrigerator door.

    He took a moment to glance at the calendar on the freezer, a relic from when she still lived with him years ago. She would be getting married to the man with the dreams of a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a dog on Saturday.

    “She’ll be back,” Joe said, flashing a yellowing smile at the calendar. He walked back to his recliner, worn and tattered as he was. He sat down and looked at the sun-aged picture on the end table. “She’ll be back.”
    Last edited by Caesar; 11-22-2015 at 8:19 PM.

  4. #3

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    His or Her Plan (Flash Fiction)

    Scott sat in the recliner, whiskey in hand. The whiskey had become a necessity to make it through the night over the past few months. Months of working as late as possible, late night trip to the grocery store or simply driving around in circles, all in an effort to spend as much time apart from his wife and away from their home as possible. That night was one of the nights when he tried to sneak in half-past-midnight and duck into the guest bedroom before she caught him creeping through the house like a thief. He hadn’t been so lucky.

    “You can’t keep sleeping in the guest room,” Kirsten said. Her voice was quiet, but it still pained him to hear her speaking in hushed tones to keep the neighbors from hearing them argue. She was always one to do things for the sake of appearances.

    “You’re right.” He drank some of the whiskey. “The wallpaper in there is pretty ugly. Probably the reason why people don’t want to stay with us.”

    “Where were you?”

    “With your sister.”

    “Everything is a joke with you.”

    He could only shrug and continue to drink his whiskey. He didn’t feel as if he owed her an explanation about his whereabouts, even if what he said was the truth. Once their marriage began falling apart, he had begun to spend more time with his sister-in-law. She was nothing like Kirsten.

    “I’m tired of this passive aggressive bullshit, Scott,” she said.

    He looked at the whiskey, rolling the liquid around the tumbler. “I could have said the same thing to you after you went behind my back to the clinic.”

    “That wasn—”

    “Part of the plan. Yeah, I know.” He placed the tumbler on the end table next to the recliner and stood up. “I’m done. See you tomorrow.”

    He knew he wouldn’t.
    Last edited by Caesar; 07-19-2014 at 6:32 PM.

  5. #4

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    Fourth Street (Short Story)

    Distin stared across the table at the man opposite him. His face was partially hidden by the cards he held up, staring at them as if he could will them to change. That was his tell, but

    Distin refused to take the bait. His hand was decent, decent enough to win the pot. The nerves bubbled in his stomach as had happened so many times before. There was enough money on the table to pay the rent for a couple months. He had to–needed to–win this hand. With his right hand tucked under his left arm, he thumbed an old, worn poker chip. Faded and darkened over the years of using the chip to keep himself grounded. It was a remnant of the days when five-card draw was a past time with friends, played with quarters and dollars instead of twenties, fifties and hundreds.

    “That’s a lot of money,” the other man said, lowering his hand. “You sure you can afford to lose that much?”

    Distin only shrugged. There was no turning back now. If he was truly worried about losing the money, he would have chosen to walk away after the first draw like the rest of the table had. Walking away had always been difficult for him. “Don’t you have a wife to get home to? Might as well get this over with before she comes looking for you.”

    “Cocky little bastard.” The man laid down the cards.

    Distin’s thumb grew still on the chip as he looked at the five cards: ace of spades, ace of hearts, queen of clubs, king of diamonds and the nine of spades. One pair. He placed his hand down and struggled to keep his face passive. He had a pair of eights and a pair of twos. Fate was in his corner again tonight. “Looks like this is mine,” he said, starting to pick up the crumpled bills.

    Over the last few years, he had become a regular presence at illegal poker games around the city. Playing in a casino just wasn’t something that he enjoyed. Casinos were skewed in the house’s favor. These games could go to anyone. However, he would never say that he had a gambling problem. People with gambling problems were addicted to the thrill of winning money. For him, gambling took his mind off everything outside of the cards on the table. He didn’t have to worry about keeping a job or putting food on the table for him and his girlfriend, Persephone. He didn’t have to think about finding a pick-me-up when his mood soured. It was a way to give himself a few hours break from a reality that he never thought would be his.

    He shoved the money into his pocket and headed for the door before the man decided to try to persuade him to give the winnings back. He’d have to wait to count the night’s take.

    “Where have you been?” Persephone asked him only moments after he stepped into the apartment. It was part of her routine. She knew where he was. Maybe she thought that the answer would eventually change or maybe she was seeing if he would lie to her.

    Distin only spared her a passing glance as he walked into the kitchen, emptying the contents of his pockets on the counter. Fishing a cigarette out of the pack, he unnecessarily flattened the waded up bills so he could count them.

    He could feel Persephone watching him, but didn’t bother acknowledging her. It was another part of their routine. She watched as he straightened worn bills. She’d told him on more than a few occasions that it was a useless task. No one would care what the money looked like, but he cared so he did it every night.

    After counting the money three times, all $3,275 of it, he pushed the bills into a neat little stack, arranged in ascending order by denomination, and set the worn poker chip on top of it. He grabbed a glass out of the cabinet and turned to the sink for a bit of water from the tap, then he noticed the lone knife lying in the basin. For the most part, Persephone handled the cleaning and did a good job. She was meticulous, borderline obsessive even. Dirty knives were just not left in the sink for him to deal with. He looked over his shoulder at her. “Come here.”

    She stood still, eyes wide and frightened. She walked around the counter to stand next to him.

    “What’s this?” he pointed to the knife.

    “I must have left it when I washed earlier.”

    “Let me see your arms.”

    “I didn’t–”

    “You always make this so damn difficult. Just let me see your arms.”

    “No, Dis.”

    He reached for her wrist, but she pulled her arm away before he could get a hold of her. He made a second grab for her arm and succeeded but she turned around, making him wrench the limb behind her back. “Stop it. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

    “Then let me go.”

    He shook his head and pushed the sleeve of her sweater up, scrutinizing every inch of skin. No new cuts. Only the old scars, still red and angry, stared back at him.

    She jerked away from him when she felt his grip loosen. “I told you I haven’t been doing that.”

    Distin ran his hands down his face. He wanted to trust her. He really did, but he just couldn’t. Not at the moment.

    “I want to go home,” she said after a few moments of silence.

    “We can’t and you know that.”

    “It’s been three years.”

    “We can’t.” He grabbed the glass and filled it to the brim with water, downing half of it in one gulp. It was the only way he could drink from the tap. He didn’t like the murky color nor the occasional sewage bouquet.

    “It’s lonely here, Dis. I’m lonely here.”

    “You don’t think I feel the same way?”

    “Then why don’t you want to go home? We don’t have anyone here.”

    “We have each other. Your parents would have you committed to keep you away from me.”

    “They might feel differently now.”

    “I bet they do. They probably want me thrown in jail for kidnapping you.”

    “You make it sound like they are terrible people.”

    “They aren’t?”

    “They’re my parents. I think I would know.”

    “Just like you knew then, right?” he asked, looking at her over the glass.

    “Fuck you,” and with that Persephone walked down the hall to the bedroom in the way she did every time she was angry with him, her footfalls gradually getting heavier until she got to the room, a crescendo to the slam of the door.

    He’d be sleeping on the couch tonight. Putting the glass down, he dropped his head into his hands. Persephone had been mentioning their hometown more often recently. Years ago, when they were both still college students and still in the early stages of new love, he’d rubbed her parents the wrong way. Her parents didn’t understand that he could relate to what Persephone was dealing with as he dealt with it himself, albeit where her coping mechanism was self-harm, his used to be drug use before the gambling. They thought he was stopping her from properly dealing with her illness, leading her down the path that he’d gone down himself.

    Her family was typically Southern and Catholic. For them, there wasn’t a single problem Jesus couldn’t fix. They sent her to a priest when they first found out about her depression and kept her on a regimented schedule to keep her away from the “Devil’s work.” The message was right, but the execution was wrong.

    He was raised in an environment of forgotten birthdays, violent arguments and a sparse few utterances of “I love you.” Tapes of childhood memories were replaced by daytime soaps and his first trip to jail for possession at fifteen earned nothing more than a shrug and a threat to not wake them up in the middle of night again from his parents. A few months later, he was sleeping on his drug dealer’s couch. When he graduated from college, he decided to leave town in hopes of finding a fresh start and despite his strongest protests, Persephone left with him. He doubted his family knew or cared that he’d disappeared, but he could remember Persephone’s mom calling her five times a day until she decided to get a new phone to keep their move to Baton Rouge a secret.

    Sometimes, he felt like a trapped animal. Afraid to go outside and run into someone he knew, but afraid to stay in the apartment and risk going stir crazy. Every so often, Persephone would call him on their lack of a social life outside of each other. He’d lie and tell her that he didn’t want her getting hurt by someone he’d won money from. She’d accuse him of being a coward and trying to hide his life. He never argued the point.

    These were the times when he used to turn to drugs. Weed, hallucinogens, pills, it never made a difference to him as long as it staved off the depression. This reminded him of coming down from a high. Things were great for hours, but once you were sober, shit sucked. As he sat down on the sofa to turn in for the night, he had to resist the urge to cry or fly off in a rage. He hated causing her pain and heartache. It would be easier to apologize to Persephone in the morning if he wasn’t worried about his feelings from the night before.

    It felt good for Distin to be back at the table. The week he’d gone without gambling had been hell, worse than when he tried to kick his past addictions. Sleep had been hard to come by, bordering on impossible. He’d spent hours on end staring at the ceiling and contemplating life. It didn’t help matters that Persephone was still cold towards him after their last argument.

    He would never be able to explain being more comfortable in a derelict warehouse in a bad part of town than in his own apartment. He could smell the mold and animal droppings. The lone light over the table flickered every so often and the men at the table looked like they’d all down a few stints in the state penitentiary. Some people liked to read to relax. He liked to try to take money from ex-cons.

    Unfortunately, while it was soothing to him to play poker again, he had dropped his lucky poker chip during his shift at the bar.

    “Distin, we’re locking up,” the manager of the bar, Chuck, said to him.

    “Give me a minute. I’m looking for something.” Distin looked on the floor for his chip, but the poor lighting would have made it hard to pick it out from a bottle cap or any other circular object.

    “You look a little pale, man. Are you alright?”

    Distin jerked away from Chuck’s touch on his shoulder. Realizing what he’d done, he pulled on his collar and faked a laugh. “Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. It’s just been a long night.”

    “I got some stuff to help you sleep if you ne—“

    “No,” he’d said it a little louder and a little faster than he’d meant to. Pills would lead him down that path again, even if he’d taken them for medical use. “I mean, I’m going to be alright. Just need to get home.”

    “Alright, let’s get out of here then.”

    Distin nodded and followed him out of the bar, taking a few last glances around the bar hoping to catch a glimpse of the chip.

    He wasn’t able to keep his composure throughout the game without it and ended up losing a little more than he could afford to.

    “The last time I saw you here, I wanted to snap your neck but now I want to name my first born after you,” a balding man with a food-stained beard and bad breath said, stopping in front of Distin. “You lose your mojo tonight?”

    Distin vaguely recognized the man from a few other games he’d played around the city. He was an angry player. He’d lose a few hands and start huffing and puffing, threatening to blow your house down. That’s not why he was unique enough to register in Distin’s memory, though. Plenty old men got angry with him when he took their money. It was because of the biker hag he always had hanging on his arm.

    “I forgot you were the silent type. That’s alright. My old lady will be happy that you bought a nice steak dinner tonight.” The man’s neck shook with his laughter. When he realized Distin wasn’t sharing in his joke, he spit a yellowed-mass of phlegm at his feet and walked off to celebrate with his “old lady.”

    Distin watched the man with the haggard woman. They had probably seen much better days and probably had one foot in the grave, but they seemed content with one another. He imagined they would go home to some weathered trailer, where their little biker offspring would be waiting for them with dirty and smiling faces.

    He headed to his car and hoped that Persephone would be in a more forgiving mood.

    Distin stepped into the quiet apartment and looked around. He’d never noticed how unlived in it looked before. It seemed more like a show unit than one with tenants. Only the shower running provided proof that it wasn’t empty. The sparkling counter tops and spotless floors, the linen scent that hung in the air, it all made him nauseous. Everything was too clean, too distant. The apartment suddenly reminded him of a hospice, a place someone goes to live out the end of their days, not to enjoy life.

    He went into the bedroom and felt the same need to vomit. Spartan would have been an understatement. Nothing was out of place. Clothes were neatly packed into the dresser. The bed was made to military standards, tight enough to bounce a quarter off. His ears were ringing, his heart racing and his breaths were coming quickly. Going to a nearby truck stop to play the slots crossed his mind, but he’d already lost too much money. His mind was in overdrive and rarely did anything good come from that.

    Distin took a step towards the bed and fisted his hand in the sheets, yanking them free. That wasn’t good enough to quell his stomach. He kicked the box spring, once then again when he noticed the frame move underneath. He kicked until the frame snapped apart and the bed collapsed under the weight of the mattress and box spring.

    He turned his attention to the other pieces of furniture in the room. He broke the full-length mirror in the corner, the dresser was tipped over and clothes were strewn about the room as if a horde of barbarians had come and gone.

    He took a step back from his handiwork, hand bleeding from hitting the mirror. He needed to leave. They needed to leave. This wasn’t where they were supposed to be. It wasn’t how they were supposed to be living.

    He all but ran to the bathroom. Persephone was leaning against the wall when he burst in, “Where’s the boxes? We’re going home.”

    She blinked slowly but didn’t answer.

    “Persephone,” he snapped in front of her face. “Did you hear me?”

    When she didn’t respond again, he stepped in front of her to get a better look. Pale face, bluish lips, cold to the touch. He looked at the sink and saw an empty pill bottle in the basin. “Fucking hell.” He laid her on her side and grabbed his phone out of his pocket.

    He could already imagine the looks on the paramedics’ faces when they walked into the apartment with a girl who had overdosed, a guy with a bloody hand, and a bedroom that had been destroyed. He hoped he wouldn’t have to spend the night in jail.

    His decision to move would have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. He didn’t want to deal with her parents after this.

    “Maybe we should get a dog,” he said even though he knew she wouldn’t answer him. It was a stupid thing to say given the situation.

    Distin gripped the cup of coffee in his hand a little too tightly and some of the room temperature, cheap roast liquid splashed on his skin. The nurses had thought he was nervous because Persephone was going to need her stomach pumped to survive the night and gave him the disgusting drink and a few calming words, but he was fine as long as she was breathing. His being in a hospital was what was causing his foot to tap uncontrollably and his heart to race.

    The part of him that he’d worked hard to bury deep inside of his soul was jumping around like a kid in a candy store with a blank check. It’d be easy to sweet talk one of those nice nurses into giving him something to take the edge off. A Xanax or Klonopin would sort out his nerves until he needed more to keep himself level.

    He decided to take his mind off it by staring at the crying couple in the opposite corner of the waiting room probably mourning the death of a loved one or preparing themselves for an impending death. They looked like they were holding one another together, arms wrapped in a tight ball around one collective body.

    Feeling like he was intruding on a private moment, he looked away. He was again reminded that Persephone only had him and he only had her. Who would be sitting in the waiting room with her holding her together if something happened to him?

    He dug her phone out of his pocket, having picked it up from the counter as the paramedics wheeled her out of the apartment, and opened her contacts list. There were only a handful of names: his, her psychiatrist’s, the Domino’s down the road from their apartment and her mom. He wasn’t in the mood for pizza and he had his own psychiatrist—whenever he actually kept an appointment.

    The line connected just as he was about to hang up. He heard the voice of a half-asleep woman shush her husband. “Who is this?”

    “She’s in Baton Rouge.” Then he hung up. He tossed the phone on the end table next to his chair. The buzzing of an incoming phone call faded away as he closed his eyes to finally get the sleep his manager had suggested.
    Last edited by Caesar; 07-19-2014 at 6:36 PM.

  6. #5
    cold ass honkey djp73's Avatar

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    Nice works man. I like the short format.

  7. #6

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    Nomad (Flash Fiction)

    This wasn’t permanent. It was only a home for a night. A much better home than a bench in the park and a way to get out of the cold. Malorie had to keep telling herself that or she’d never get out of the bed.

    She rolled out from under the arm thrown across her back, wincing when her bruised shins banged against the bed frame. She walked across the room, picking up and putting on her clothes. Grabbing the cracked iPhone from the nightstand, she turned to the window and readied herself for a long climb down.

    “Where are you going?”

    She cursed under her breath and took her hand off the lock, but refused to turn around. “You know where I’m going, Geoff.”

    The bed creaked under his weight as he threw his feet to the floor. “This is getting old. One look at you from a cop and they’ll be breaking down doors all over the neighborhood.”

    “It’s not that bad.”

    “What are you going to say? You should see the other guy?”

    “That’s not funny.”

    “You know I didn’t mean it like that. Just get back in the fucking bed.”

    “I c—can’t.”

    He sighed, stood up, walked over to the window and nudged her aside as if he were touching a fragile relic of past civilizations. He unlocked the window and slid the pane up. “Go on.”

    She swung one leg out of the window. “This is the last time, Geoff. I promise.”

    “No, it’s not. You’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll leave the window open.”
    Last edited by Caesar; 11-22-2015 at 8:36 PM.

  8. #7
    G.O.A.T. Soapy's Avatar

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    I hope to some day write as good as you do.
    Last edited by Soapy; 08-02-2014 at 5:28 PM.

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  9. #8
    Stand On Guard For Thee Captain Canada's Avatar

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    Interesting little piece there, makes you intrigued to know the whole story.

  10. #9
    Glad I clicked this thread. Always loved your work Caesar.

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