Flash Fiction

Fables From Moving in With My Boyfriend

Many years ago, a young boy was wandering through a deep, dark forest. As he trekked on alone, armed only with a small canteen of Mountain Dew Code Red and a careworn book of spells drafted during his biweekly D&D campaign, he stumbled upon a demon most foul. The demon reared its head and snarled, plumes of sulfuric smoke smelling faintly of Marlboro 27’s billowing from its flared nostrils. The boy was frightened but stood firm, ready to fight. He brandished a mechanical keyboard above his head, hoping to deafen the demon into submission. His attempts at banishing the demon only spurred its monstrous ire. Seeing the boy would not back down, the demon cast a curse upon him. The boy collapsed to the earth, his vision blurred and his head howling in pain. The demon cackled as it ascended into the gloomy forest canopy, its raspy voice bellowing through the air. “Someday, young fool, you will meet a woman. You will fall in love, and then and only then will you know what is to become of you. Farewell!”

The demon vanished into the misty darkness. The boy dragged himself to his feet, rubbing his temples. Had there truly been a demon? Was this not some deception of the dark forest? Only time would tell.

Years passed in a relative calm, until one fateful afternoon when the boy, now a handsome young man with a cute tush, decided to wile away the hours on Bumble. There he came upon a passably attractive young lady who tried only a little too hard in her bio, and without hesitation, his hand did swipe right. They met and fell instantly in love, and a year was spent in the most joyous bliss. Until one afternoon when the pair gathered their earthly belongings and moved in together, and thus their fate was sealed.

At first the woman noticed nothing. Small things here and there, nothing to remark upon. Until one evening when the young man was out and the woman had decided to take her third stress nap of the day. She peeled back the comforter and a scream escaped her lips. There, burned into the fitted sheet as though by the devil himself, just below where one of the cats had yarfed in a hot pile for the four hundredth time, was an inscription. Terror rising in her throat, the woman read the hideous message:

“It is I, the forest demon whom you offended years ago. Surprise, bitch! The terms of the curse have come to pass, as follows:

Every time you grocery shop, you must touch and remark upon every object you come across, though they may number in the many hundreds, lest every morsel of food you consume thenceforth be turned to dust.

When you are defrosting a chicken breast, you must forget to check if the plug is in the bottom of the sink before you run water over it. The water shall rise like a demon tide and spill forth from the sink, causing a biblical flood in the kitchen of such magnitude that it shall require your girlfriend’s bath towels to quell the ferocious tides. You shall do this two times within a very short span, forever to be known as The “I Suppose I’ll Shower Later Then” Epoch, which is honestly a lot of times to flood the kitchen if you really think about it. Do so or lose your chicken privileges.

When retrieving items stowed away in your cupboards, you must leave the cabinet doors wide open and saunter blissfully away so that your kitchen looks like the Sixth Sense, to pay homage to the supreme ruler of the underworld, Haley Joel Osment.

When you walk beside your girlfriend, your body will transfigure into the set of Speed 3, and should you slow to a pace befitting a human mortal, your body will explode and all who are near shall perish.

You have been warned!”

Trembling, the woman collapsed onto the bed. How could this be? How could this man whom she loved so much be entrenched in such horrors? Suddenly, she felt her legs begin to burn. Shrieking, she leapt from the bed. Below the cursed message, in letters glowing red like hot coals, a new missive appeared (it was a long bed). She crept nearer and read its ghostly tale:

“A final warning: Should you remain silent during a video game, should your mouth refuse the shouts and yelps and hoo boy’s and what the fuck’s that have pierced the peaceful silence of your shared abode for many months now, your tongue will curl up and shrivel and die and will never again utter for the seventeenth time this hour that your girlfriend’s minor, indistinguishable change in makeup regimen really does look okay, I promise, honey why would I tell you it looks okay if it looks bad, we are late though… yeah, you can change it...

Thus it shall be!”

As if on cue, the front door flung open and the young man emerged from the threshold. Looking her deeply in the eyes, he cleared his throat to speak.

“Red Dead Online dropped today, so there goes my next month!”

She fainted.

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Bob Breaks up with His Office Girlfriend

Hi Carol. Thank you for coming in. Please shut the door behind you and have a seat. How’s the day treating you? I know, I’m absolutely swamped. Hopkins used the wrong slide deck template again, so I’ve been playing catch up all day. TGIF, am I right?

Look, I wanted to touch base with you this afternoon because I don’t like the direction we’re going in. To be honest, I’m not finding you to be much of a value add anymore. We’ve gotten way off target over the last few months, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think it’s time to table this relationship. In Q3, I was willing to give you another chance. We put you on a PIP, and it really did seem like things were improving. You tried to double down your efforts, you really did, but if I can speak frankly, your performance has been less than satisfactory, and going forward, I think we should see other people. I know this is unpleasant, but come next fiscal year, I think you’ll see a lot of growth. Give it some time. You’ll love the margins.

To your point about the apartment, I’ve already terminated your access and had you removed from the lease. I’m sure you’ll find another apartment in no time. It’s a great market for it and demand for your pay grade is high this year, so I wouldn’t worry too much. You can always stay with a friend and live remote. I think you’ll find that’s more than reasonable.

I’m sorry, I just don’t have the bandwidth to follow up on this anymore. I’ve used all my cycles reaching out to you, and, I have to be honest here, I’ve been pinging Jeanine. I know you’re going to want to circle back with our mutual friends, but there’s been a re-org, and they now all report to me. I can reevaluate your candidacy next quarter if you stay heads down working on a solution, but for now, let’s put a pin in this. I’ll give you back the rest of your hour, if you can close the door behind you. Kindest regards, Bob.

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A Most Satisfying Tale of Revenge: The Blu Cantrell Story

Writer’s note: As I have sent this to a few friends for review, it has come to my attention that the inspiration for this story, this absolute masterpiece of a song (also embedded below), may not be as widely recognized as I had hoped in writing this. I feared that an introduction might sap some of the drama of the story itself, but then I thought, who gives a shit? Everyone should listen to this song every day. In fact, how do you NOT know this song? Blu Cantrell is a genius and a treasure. I burned this song on three consecutive mix CD’s in high school because it’s a banger, and because I don’t know a lot of other music. And the story is utter nonsense without context, so just do me a favor and give it a listen. You probably already know it, you just don’t know you know it. I bet you grinded on some sweaty guy in a puka shell necklace at your freshman turnabout to this song, clammy palms hoverhanding over your rainbow spaghetti straps, your platform clogs putting you a solid three inches above his sticky middle part. You remember. Either way, this is a story of betrayal, unabashed misdeeds, and the most gratifying vengeance. This is thrilling stuff. This could be Shakespeare. But it’s not, it’s a one hit wonder from 2001 (but one that I truly adore.) And with that, I’ll leave you to it…

Written After Four Days of Quarantine Due to a Nasty Bout of the Flu in Which I Have Had Zero Social Contact with Actual Human Beings and Am Starting to Freak Out

Captain's Log: Day Four

Cabin fever is beginning to set in. I haven't seen the sunlight or known a man's touch in four endless days. The cat paces wearily about the apartment, longing desperately for the stimulation and companionship my enfeebled mind can no longer provide. As the sun stretches lazily across the afternoon sky, I seize an opportunity. Clad only in soup-stained sweats and salty snow boots, I descend the stairs with the tepid anticipation of one who has nothing left, a husk of the woman I had once striven to be. Timidly, I open the door and the wind rushes my face, stealing my breath. I set an intrepid course for CVS, strangers floating past me like ghosts, as if in a dream, their faces contorting before me with such hideously transparent ponderings as, "The shadow of death is imminent upon her" and "Egads! What’s that smell?" I can no longer comprehend their horror. I have been gone away too long.

I return fifteen minutes later…