Showing posts with label flash fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flash fiction. Show all posts


In myself

As usual, I enter the apartment at night. Everything is sepia, as in old sepia photographs, with that old-fashioned, dusty feel. Things are dusty and old-fashioned in the apartment, from the whiskey glass with the dry residue at the bottom to the face-down paperback mystery next to it, the floor lamp with its thin bronze stalk and faded cylindrical shade, the small framed photos on the wall. Who is that? Looks a bit like Hedy Lamarr. And the man with her, smirk on face, hat at rakish angle and cigarette elegantly held in gloved hand? Is that me in a different incarnation?

I find that there’s nothing to do here, nothing that can be done in the short time I have for this apartment. Cleaning it up would take days, so let’s not even get started. I could go on reading the mystery. It’s The Root of his Evil by James M. Cain, and I’m on page sixty apparently. Or is it open to that page only because the spine is broken there? I have no recollection of what the book is about, none whatsoever.

Now’s the time something would happen in a book by Cain or Chandler or Hammett. A car would drive up outside, the phone would ring, or I would discover a set of toes underneath a floor-length curtain, something blunt would hit the back of my head and I’d pass out.

Nothing of the sort. I will remember the visit when I wake up. I will remember having gone back there repeatedly. I will remember that I’ll have to return there. I will remember the apartment with some feeling of guilt, as something I neglect, something I tend to forget, even though I shouldn’t. Only to remember and have to go back, with nothing ever changing in this dusty brown apartment.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 25. The task was to “write an autobiographical poem.” I would call the above an autobiographical prose poem. Autobiographical because it is about a recurrent dream I used to have. A poem because it's more poetic than prose usually is.
I haven't returned to that apartment in a long time. I’ve turned it into reality – I’ve rented a space in a place downtown, nominally to work there, but I’m hardly ever there.

James M. Cain, The Root of his Evil, first published in 1951.


Somewhere near Teec Nos Pos

“Oh my God,” James thought, “what am I doing all by myself in this neo-apocalyptic landscape?”

“But at least there’s a three-legged chair keeping me company, and it’s talking – telling me about the pain of a lost leg.

“The lips are brown and wooden, and the language is strange – a bit like Hopi.

“But hey, who am I to complain?”

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2010)

Inspired by read write prompt #111, which came with the following photo by Sepulture: