FLASH FICTION: Eduardo

Blue Ocean Panorama

I was the only survivor of flight WC350.

The lady next to me on the plane had—I’m not sure. Her eyes watered constantly. They moved constantly, too.

“I was an English teacher in the 60s. I don’t remember all of my students, of course.”

“I remember Eduardo.”

“He was quiet. Not shy. He was melancholy. A melancholy child. Is there anything more thought-provoking?”

“Eduardo was a good student. A good boy. A nervous boy. I touched his shoulder—once.”

“He wouldn’t eat with anyone. He’d take his lunchbox … and stand in a corner of the room, facing the corner.”

“One day, I came up behind him. As he stood facing the corner. I didn’t want to startle him. I looked over his shoulder.”

“And he turned around. Eduardo…”

“His heart fell down. A jar fell down. And a spoon.”

“Paste. He’d been eating paste. He’d been given paste, to eat. In his lunchbox.”

Her eyes watered onto her lap.

“You look so much—you remind me of him. You have the same way about you. Something … melancholy.”

She leaned in. Tears dropped onto my shoulder.

“What’s troubling you?”

A propeller blew through one side of the plane and out the other.

I felt drunk.

*

The news explained everything. I watched it constantly, in the hospital.

The debris field was bigger than the Red Sea.

“How did it happen?”

“How did you survive?”

“How does it feel to be the only survivor?”

I was a celebrity. Finally.

It took them a month to find the pilot.

His name was Eduardo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

 

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FLASH FICTION: The Sweet Stripener

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The children don’t understand. What they live and scream for is not squeezed from the machine with stripes intact. No—they must be painted on, by hand, with so much care. It it almost unimaginable, the care.

My partner is a sweet turner. He holds the sweet, and turns it. I apply the stripes. He is my partner. But also, we are in love.

We work and live in the Cormack Candy Factory. Our region is Green Region 3, where sweets are painted, and nuts are shelled. At day’s end, we sweep up the shells, lay down blankets, and sleep. Mr. Cormack charges not too much rent. It is difficult to afford anything, at present.

Mr. Cormack is a powerful man. He is a great and a terrible man. But also, generous. Without him, we would have nothing. Not even a floor on which to sleep.

He is like a magician, this Cormack. I have never before seen his face. I have heard his voice, and when I turned … there was nothing. Is his a pleasing or a nightmarish face? When I gaze at the intercom, I wonder.

One evening, after the sweeping-up…

I was returning my broom to the cabinet in Hall 7. At the end of the hall was a man. His back to me. A black suit, he wore. There had been rumours of a black suit.

I moved forward, though slowly.

He was admiring a painting, this man.

I felt weak, but proceeded.

I was a few feet from him, now.

And suddenly, he turned. Hearing my light tread, he turned. The man in the black suit turned.

I looked at his face. But I did not see his face. For he wore a mask. A jewelled mask.

I trembled. And quit the hall quickly.

In the past, it was my duty to paint one hundred sweets per day, to keep my position. Now Mr. Cormack is insisting on two hundred.

My art is taxing. There is so little time. But if I cannot keep up, and work and live in this factory…

I do not even want to dream of that.

                                                                   

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.

FLASH FICTION: London Fog

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I love London fog.

Yesterday I was walking in the fog and thought why not open your mouth wide and swallow the whole bloody lot of it?

So I did. Just one huge sucking in, and I ballooned up with fog.

I floated above the city. I was light as a cloud. The view of London! The Thames was the signature on a prescription. St. Paul’s was a cold breast.

Everybody squinted at everybody, rubbing their eyes. My god, they could see London. They could see each other.

A young man was walking with a youngish woman dressed like a young woman.

You’re not seventeen!” he cried, dropping her hand.

“Tee hee!” laughed the woman, lifting up the skirts of her gown, and running off.

Two men were committing a lewd act against an alley wall. This became the Heimlich Manoeuvre. “Are you still choking, my friend?” cried the one man. “Mmm hmm,” said the other. “Just a little more, please.”

The prostitute was a good deal cleaner and prettier than the man from the bank thought she was. “I should be getting back to my wife,” he said, slinking into the shadows.

Long ant-lines of rats tracked through the streets, up the walls, across men’s brightly-polished and laced-up shoes. One rat wrapped itself in the folds of a lady’s fur coat and stuck its head out—like it was wearing a fur coat, too. This made the lady so nervous that she started chewing on her furred sleeve. Like a rat.

The ghost of Winston Churchill was chasing the ghost of a cigar. It slinked into a man’s left nostril, and out his right. When Churchill tried to follow it, he got stuck. Ghost legs dangled out of the man’s nostrils, like a phantom stache.

People were screaming and passing out, now. They were vomiting and slipping in vomit. Some of them hit their heads.

This was no good. No, no, no.

So I spat a fog ball at the youngish lady. “Hello, gorgeous,” said the young man, taking her by the hand again. “How about some sex?”

I spat another fog ball, a nice big one, at the men in the alley. They breathed faster and faster.

A ball for the prostitute, balls for the rats, a ball for Churchill’s ghost.

I belched up every last scrap of fog, patched every last crack. Then I plopped back down onto the street.

Everything was exactly as it was before. People were happy again. You could feel the happiness. It felt like sunshine. Even though it was fog.

I love London fog.

                                                                                

Rolli’s latest book is The Sea-Wave

Buy him a coffee.