Small Talks #FlashFiction #6

 

Small Talks 

500 words

The mall was scrambling with people as always. So many faces, so many shops.

So what were the odds of me running into her in that very shop, in that very moment?

“Hey!” she screamed. But in a calm way. “Hi! How are you?”

“I’m alright,” I managed, not so calm. “It’s, uh, it’s good to see you. Shopping?”

“Nah. Just checking out boys.”

I opened my mouth to speak but closed them quickly. There was a knowing smirk in her face.  I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. “I’m just going to believe you didn’t mean a satire.”

“I did not.” Her dramatic tone said otherwise. “So. Where have you been these days? What are you up to?”

“I’m, uh, I’m just… hanging in there, you know?”

“Mm-hmm, I know. I know all about those.”

“And you?” I said. “Did you land that bank job, by the way?”

“I did,” she nodded, not so excited. “It lasted for exactly eight months.”

“Why?” I wasn’t one bit interested in knowing why she could not continue her dream job for more than eight months, but I was afraid of the awkward silence.

She began explaining about something to do with her career plans and then about her passion and then a hefty argument about how passion and career were two different things not to be mixed. Textbook stuff, really.

“Do you think I shouldn’t have quit the job?” she said.

I snapped. “Huh? Oh.” The fuck would I know. “Are you happy?”

She made a thinking face. It suited her well. She was a smart woman, and the last thing she needed was my wisdom. Perhaps she too was afraid of that silence. “Hmm. Not any more than I was before.” She shrugged. “But I do get time for a plenty of mall visits!”

“And isn’t it all that matters?” I made a dramatic arc in air with my hand.

She laughed.

Ah, and finally it was there. The part I dreaded the most. That awkward silence.

She watched my face. I mean really watched. Like there was no pressure on her mind to bring up something to talk. Like it was just okay to stand and stare at each other. Like it didn’t spark any old memories. Like she didn’t care.

My mind, on the other hand, was doing thousands of computations, trying to come up with anything smart to say. The mall is exceptionally well-lit today. Was that stall here a few days ago? Don’t you think the babies shouldn’t be allowed in here?

“How’s your husband?” Oh, great. “I mean… how he’s doing? Not, uh, not how he is.

She smiled. “He’s good.” She shook her head as if to say ‘meh’. “He’s all right, actually. He says marrying me has been, um, really painful. Worst decision.” She forced a few extra nods at the end of that statement.

I let out a snort. “You always have the right things to say.”

She feigned a bow. Then a moment of silence later, said, “I miss you. Well, sometimes. Can’t we be like this… again?”

I didn’t bother thinking about it. I had done it enough. “No.”

She nodded. I knew she understood that. Ever so practical, the two of us. Too practical, some would say.

Silence.

“So,” she said, smiling a sad smile for the first time. “I guess I’ll run into you some place else then?”

“I look forward to it.”

The Invader #FlashFiction (No. 4)

 

The Invader

As I watched around my room, silent and tranquil, it struck me for the first time that I’d perhaps won the war over the cockroaches.

The battle began three days ago, with a single spray of a bottled pesticide. Soon after, the roaches had begun coming out from the hiding, in numbers I never imagined possible. Showing up beside my bedside, my bookshelf, my work desk, and at every nooks and corners of the apartment. And I would go running around with the spray and a broomstick like a lunatic, but it would never be enough. Every half-an-hour or so, a gang of them would crawl out, as if swapping one hide-out for the other, going right beneath my feet, teasing me.

I could have stopped it all, you know. When the first wave of invaders had just begun showing up, when they were few and fragile.

But I’d chosen to do nothing. I wasn’t much at home – I left early and came back late in the night from work, only to have a good night’s sleep. So I didn’t care if a few cockroaches roamed my kitchen – a kitchen that I barely used. I imagined myself to be this good-hearted but crazed philosopher type, who meant well even for the pest infecting his home. Awwww. And I felt quite happy about it.

But the matters had quickly escalated from then on.

The bloody pests had begun taking advantage of the liberty and hospitality I offered. Lately, they had stopped even being scared, and would come out from their hiding at any hours, nibbling away at my food or climbing onto my body while I slept – one of them even tried to chew on me one night. Guess, I didn’t make for a good dinner, and it left me alone with only a nasty wound.

Perhaps, it was their way of showing appreciation, I wouldn’t know, but it frightened the hell out of me.

Consequently, I raised the war. I sat with a broomstick beside me, at all times, and squashed up the petty insects every time they dared approach me. And I sprayed the hell out of them from each of their dark corners and secret hide-outs. Then I gathered all of them together, and I watched them burn.

But now as I watch them writhe in the toxic air I sprayed all over them, and listen to their body cringe and creak in the heat, (and with a deep satisfaction in my heart as well!) I can’t help but feel like a sadist.

See, it wasn’t their fault entirely. It wasn’t like they had entered my home without my knowledge. They made it abundantly clear that they had come. But I had chosen to do nothing. Then, perhaps thinking that I was totally cool with this, they had begun raising their families, building homes, and had finally found a life for themselves in my little apartment.

Come to think of it, they had been living there more than me. No doubt, the next generation of them must have been totally convinced that it actually was their home, and I was the hostile invader who showed up at odd hours of the night with a broomstick and a funny scream.

Daddy Knows Best (Flash Fiction – Day 2, #FF2)

 

Daddy Knows Best

“Look, mommy! Look what I drew?” Little Naomi pushed the drawing pad at her mother’s face.

“Ah…” Sara’s expression turned from feigned enthusiasm to genuine disgust. “Uh. And just what in God’s name is that?”

“Not God, mommy. It’s the Devil!”

“Goodness, girl,” she let out an exasperated sigh. “What should I ever do with your fascination with demons?”

“Not demons, mommy.” She looked disappointed. “The Devil.”

“And now you’re getting technical at it.”

“I don’t think you like my art.”

“Oh, no, baby.” She dropped to her knee and hugged her little girl. “I do admire your… drawings. It’s just—” She clasped her hands. “Couldn’t you draw dragons or something? Or the Warrior Princess! You love that show, right? Why not draw her?

“Because she is lame. She always needs help from that stupid Sir Knight. She’s weak. I love the show but I hate her, mommy.” She stomped her foot, perhaps just so Sara would get her hatred right.

She watched, unblinking.

“You know what’s not lame?” The little girl’s eyes lightened up.

And Sara already knew the answer. “The Devil, darling,” she sighed. “The Devil is so not-lame.”

“That’s right, mommy!” She embraced her mother tightly, and skittered away outside the room, shutting the door behind her.

And there he stood, behind the shut door, looming large in his dark suit, smoky eyes and proud smug, smiling contently at Sara.

“What a time to drop by,” she said.

“You know I’m always around,” he said, voice deep and calm. He held his stare at her, hands resting behind his back.

“What?” she spat.

“Say it.”

“There’s nothing to say. You poisoned her thoughts, that’s it.”

“You’re accusing me of dishonoring my deal? Careful, now.” He stopped smiling. “You know I get touchy about these matters.”

Sara narrowed her eyes, anger boiling up right through her gut.

But then she swallowed it all down. “Alright, alright. I loose, okay?”

“Say them proper, babe,” he teased, almost in a sing-song way.

“I lost the bet, Lu. I took her out of Hell, but couldn’t take the Hell out of her. Our daughter is her father’s girl, after all. There. Happy?” She took a step. “Now can we finally leave this weakling world? Just take us home.”

“Told you, babe,” he laughed, offering Sara a hand. “Daddy knows best.”

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A little suggestion, please? Do you think it’d have been better if the title was “The Bet”?  Would it add something or does it not matter at all? Thanks! 🙂