FLASH FICTION: Chez Franco

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“How’s the wine?”

“Tastes wonderful.”

“But does it taste expensive?

“It tastes older than you. You must know Franco pretty well.”

“You look beautiful. Really. It’s not just me. The guy by the window…”

“Frog Eyes?”

“He can’t take them off you.”

“I wish he would.”

“No worries. They’ll cook him up shortly.”

“So you’re a friend of Franco’s? I mean, to get a free bottle. You must be well-acquainted?”

“Not really. I’ve known him … twenty years.”

“Old friends?”

“I never could stand the man.”

“Does he know that?”

“I’m guessing he’s knowledgeable. With a forehead like that.”

“Then why the wine?”

“Madeline…”

“And why come here?

“You’re a beautiful woman.”

“Frog Eyes seems to think so.”

“Franco, too. He keeps looking at you.”

“He doesn’t.”

“If we’re not vigilant, a duel could break out any minute.”

That I’d pay to see.”

“Madeline?”

“Yes?”

I only noticed the masked man when he yelled something unintelligible. He pulled out a gun and…

Franco’s head exploded.

Then we were on the floor. Under the table. Madeline… I’m sure I looked just as terrified. I’m not sure who took whose hand. Who gripped harder, with every shot.

People falling. Tables. Shattering glass.

No words. No screams.

For a minute or an hour, we didn’t move.

When we crawled out…

Frog Eyes was lying in the middle of the room. In a puddle. Breathing hard.

No one else was breathing.

We knelt beside him. In the broken glass.

He was gasping.

We each took a hand. He squeezed them. I took Madeline’s.

Shots. Somewhere outside. Faint. Fainter.

Frog Eyes stopped squeezing.

One shot, far off.

Then it was quiet.

                                                                                                  

From The Big T, a flash fiction mini-collection. Order a copy.

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FLASH FICTION: “The Theory of Gin”

piano

I’m not in the mood to talk. I don’t feel like talking.

After his breakdown, Dad played the piano when he was drunk, only. When he was too drunk to play Liszt, he played Chopin. I sat under the piano. It was damn loud under there, but I liked it. I was listening to the Ramones, in those days.

Dad was a mad scientist. He was a musicologist. He was a mad scientist. He thought … there was something mathematical about creativity, musical creativity. A formula. There were no geniuses, really, but people, lucky people, who chanced on the formula. Berlioz, Strauss…

“Imposters,” he called them. “Worse than impostors. Romantics.”

The Secret of the Secret. That’s what he named it. His theory of the formula. He spent half his life, trying to prove it.

The Secret of the Secret. That was the book, too. His colleagues… Of course they called him a lunatic. He was a lunatic. He was a musicologist.

When The Secret flopped, he bought every copy he could find. And burned them.

I just don’t feel like talking.

I was playing the piano, one night. Wagner—my favourite. By my late teens, I’d grown bored of punk. It wasn’t heavy enough.

Ride of the Valkyries. That was the piece.

I smelled gin. Dad hated Wagner.

I turned around.

Dad wasn’t… He had a strange look on his face.

He closed his eyes.

“Beautiful,” he whispered.

“Beautiful.”

Beautiful.

He kissed me—my forehead. I think … that was the first time. In years.

The Secret of the Secret.

He never proved it, of course. The theory. All he proved was the Theory of Gin. That’s how it usually is, isn’t it?

I’d rather not talk about it.

Hardly anyone went to the funeral. Not even my mother. None of his colleagues. He was an important musicologist. He was a mad scientist. He was a musicologist.

I found a notebook. Going through his things. Notes about the theory, mostly. Some lewd sketches. But on the last page… Under the heading AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

“Early in life, my ambition was to be a composer as great as Liszt or Chopin.”

That was it. He didn’t get any further.

It’s not easy, being the daughter of a musicologist. I could tell you stories.

I’m not in the mood to talk.

 

NOW AVAILABLE: Mini E-Books

My two mini-collections are at last available for purchase…

The first, The Big T, is an arrangement of twelve adult flash fictions. Several of the stories have appeared in outlets such as The Walrus, Smokelong, and Transition. Many of them are previously unpublished in any medium…

The second ebook, Jelly, is a collection of twelve children’s stories. Some of the stories have appeared in popular magazines like Spider and Ladybug. Many of these, too, have never been published…

Order The Big T and Jelly for only $2 each, today…

Remember: you don’t need a kindle to read these ebooks. You can read them on your smartphone, PC or tablet using the free Kindle app.

AWARD NEWS: Kabungo and The Sea-Wave

Learned today that my 2016 children’s novel KABUNGO has been shortlisted for the Joan Betty Stuchner – Oy Vey! – Funniest Children’s Book Award! Congrats to my fellow nominees.

Also learned today that my 2016 novella THE SEA-WAVE has been longlisted for the 2017 Saboteur Award. Congrats to those nominees, too.

PRE-ORDER: Mysterious Mini-Ebooks

Lovers of short stories,  unite…

On April 1st, I’ll have two mini-collections available for purchase…

The first, The Big T, is an arrangement of twelve adult flash fictions. Several of the stories have appeared in outlets such as The Walrus, Smokelong, and Transition. Many of them are previously unpublished in any medium…

The second ebook, Jelly, is a collection of twelve children’s stories. Some of the stories have appeared in popular magazines like Spider and Ladybug. Many of these, too, have never been published…

Pre-order The Big T and Jelly for only $2 each, today…

Remember: you don’t need a kindle to read these ebooks. You can read them on your smartphone, PC or tablet using the free Kindle app.