nail polish

The Color Of Responsibility

Flash fiction inspired by a new nail polish that can detect date rape drugs:

It was her sixth drink that night although she had only finished one. She did get to taste three others. They all started as gin and tonics but at some point in the night an extra ingredient was added. She could tell because her fingernails turned from red to black when they detected Rohypnol. Her fingernails were turning black now.

“Bartender,” she sighed. “It happened again. Someone keeps spiking my drink.”

She wasn’t angry. Just bored. By her count it was the 132nd time since Friday night that someone had tried to spike her drink. The real number was closer to 23 but still, it was tiresome.

The bartender put down a fresh gin and tonic in front of her and apologized for the roofies.

“Men,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “What can you do?”

She spun her pinkie finger around the edge of the glass, it was the only finger left with red nail polish, then counted to ten to make sure that it wasn’t the bartender who was tossing drugs into her drink. Her fingernail stayed red and she took a sip.

It was the fourth drink that she had tasted that night. The other two were bought for her by men she had met at the bar. She was sitting at a table and they came over, at separate times, and struck up a conversation. Eventually they asked if they could buy her a drink and then went to the bar to get it.

She should have known right away but she had been trying to meet someone and she decided that she had to give someone a chance. The first guy only lasted three seconds. As soon as he saw her dip her finger into the glass he turned and disappeared into the crowd. The second guy actually stayed to apologize.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But you’re so pretty and I really wanted to have sex with you tonight?”

He stayed for a moment, expecting her to blush, then shook his head and walked away.

She moved to the bar after that and ordered a drink straight from the bartender. She told him what happened and he just shrugged his shoulders. “Men,” he said. “What can you do?”

***

Flash fiction inspired by a new nail polish that can detect date rape drugs: Four undergraduate students at North Carolina University came up with a fashionable attempt at preventing violence against women, and stumbled into a broader, fiery debate about rape and how society addresses it.

photo credit: Lelê Breveglieri via photopin cc

josh shaw lied

The Birth Of A Lie

Flash fiction inspired by USC’s Josh Shaw who lied about saving his nephew:

No, no no. Not now. Not today. 

He was lying on his back on the grass staring up at a line of dark clouds that were spreading across the grey sky. He had landed on the pavement, a big thud that knocked the wind from his lungs, and had rolled and rolled and rolled until he came to rest on a patch of green grass beneath the balcony.

There were two people looking over the railing. They were blurry and he couldn’t quite tell who they were but he could hear them calling out to him. “Josh,” they said. “Josh, are you OK?”

OK, OK. It’s OK. It wasn’t that far. Two floors? That’s twenty feet. You can’t get seriously injured from 20 feet. OK. Left leg first. Right. Bend. Up. Down… 

He tried to stand but a searing pain through his left shin sent him back to the ground. He screamed through clenched teeth then called out to the two heads sticking out over the railing of the balcony.

“I’m OK,” he said. That was the first lie.

This isn’t good. This isn’t good. One week before the season and this? Two broken ankles. Don’t get ahead of yourself. They may not be broken. May just be sprained. A couple of weeks. Back on the field by week three. 

He rolled over to his stomach then pushed himself up so that he was on his knees. He tried to stand up again, this time on the other ankle, but the pressure caused something to crack and he fell onto his face in the grass.

This is bad. Really, really bad. They were counting on me. They made me captain. They expected me to lead and now this. A week from kick off and here I am on my back with two broken ankles. And coach? He’s going to kill me. I’ll roll into his office on Monday and tell him what happened and he’ll kick my ass. 

A crash of thunder sounded over the horizon as he rolled on his back in defeat. The wave of dark clouds had covered the sky and in a few minutes it would start to rain.

“Josh,” someone called out. “Do you need help?”

He placed his hand around two burly shoulders and asked: “Yeah, can you guys keep a secret?”

***

Flash fiction inspired by USC’s Josh Shaw who lied about saving his nephew: USC cornerback Josh Shaw admitted to school officials on Wednesday that the story involving him saving his nephew from drowing in a pool was completely fabricated.

 

The first lie came while he was lying on the ground, dirt on his face, blood on his knees, a series of successive curses on the tip of his tongue. Someone called down from the balcony, “Shit, Josh, are you OK?” And he responded. “Yeah man, I’m fine.” Then laughed.

The second lie came after the pain had gone. He was lying on his back with his feet in the air, a bag of peas on each of his ankle, when he

michael sam football

Newsworthy

Flash fiction inspired by ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam’s shower habits:

What do people want to know about it?

She leaned over his desk and started to write out a list.

“Strategy,” she wrote. “Starters. Game plans. Injuries.”

She started to write out the word “expectations” but her pen stopped somewhere between the “a” and the second “t.”

“It’s pre-season,” she thought. “Everyone has the same expectations.”

She scratched her pen across the words on her list until each item was unreadable. Then she started again.

“Heads on the chopping block,” she wrote. “Who’s in. Who’s out. Who’s fighting for a spot. Who’s just fighting. Favorites? Unlikely stories.”

Her pen moved quicker as the words flowed in and out and of her brain. There were so many different directions he could go. They weren’t a good team last season but after a solid draft there was hope.

She wrote the word “Hope” in big bold letters then leaned back in her chair. She pictured a big spread in the magazine. A photo of the stadium. A photo of the field. A photo of fans with their faces painted blue and gold. And above it all would be the words “Hope comes home to St. Louis.”

But that isn’t what people want to know about.

She scratched her pen across the words on her list until each item was unreadable. Then started again.

“Sex,” she wrote. “Controversy. Scandal. Fear. Phobia. Strange. Different. Michael Sam.”

***

Flash fiction inspired by ESPN’s coverage of Michael Sam’s shower habits: Michael Sam is going to be a talking point this season by virtue of being the NFL’s first openly homosexual player, but his Rams teammates were asked some unusual questions in how Sam fits into the locker room.

[Image Via Wikipedia]

Air

Flash fiction inspired by the unnecessary death of Jorge Azucena:

There is someone standing on his chest. Well, not actually on his chest but the pressure is growing and they are standing close enough that they might as well be. It hurts for him to breathe. But he tries. He sucks in and blows out. The air scratches his throat and makes a squeaky sound with every breath.

The officers tell him to keep quiet.

“I can’t breath,” he says. “Help.”

“If you can talk,” the officer says. “You can breathe.”

The officer laughs to himself. It was a good joke and he’s proud of himself for thinking of it so quickly. He says it again as he pours a cup of coffee. Another officer is there. He’s smiling too. The first officer tells his joke again and they laugh at the young man in the cell.

He’s wheezing still. Complaining still. Breathing still. But the breaths are short and harsh and he isn’t sure how many more he has in him because someone is pinching his throat closed and someone else is standing on his chest and if someone, anyone, everyone could just get his inhaler out of his pocket everything would be just… read more

reading

The Best Flash Fiction Websites On The Internet

Do you want to read the best flash fiction on the internet? There are plenty of novels, short stories, fan fiction and even novellas available around the web but flash fiction can be a little harder to find.

Here are a few of my favorite sites to find the best flash fiction. read more

police officer badge

The Badge Or…

Flash fiction inspired by a police officer who allegedly sexually assaulted multiple women in Oklahoma City:

There was no other choice. It was the badge or… She didn’t know what she would have to do. He was unzipping his pants. He was fondling his gun. He was telling her that he was doing her a favor.

“I could arrest you,” he said. “I could put you behind bars.” read more

military weapons

Training

Flash fiction inspired by a Ferguson police officer who threatened to kill a protester

“Never, under any circumstances, point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.”

The crowd made him nervous. They were rowdy and loud and when he looked at them he saw a threat. Their protest signs turned to weapons. Their voices turned to bullets. He raised his weapon, nervously scanning the crowd, then in a loud voice called out for everyone to get back.

It only made it worse. The barrel of the gun made them angrier and louder.

“Keep your finger off the trigger unless you intent to shoot.” read more

homeless

A New Man

Flash fiction inspired by a New York barber who gives free haircuts to the homeless

You can tell a lot about a man by the length of his beard. You know his politics, his financial status, and his mental capacity. You know his demeanor, his past, and his future. The length of a man’s beard can tell you everything you need to know about a man. Even his worth.

He was sitting in a plastic chair underneath the bridge on Ninth and Main. There was a large plastic sheet covering his chest and behind him was a man with a pair of scissors.

“Do you remember,” the man with the scissors said. “The last time you had a haircut?” read more

police tape

A Bad Man

Flash fiction inspired by a car thief who had a change of heart

He was driving down the 105 when he remembered stealing a candy bar from the corner shop across from his school. It was a chocolate bar. He couldn’t remember what kind but he did remember placing it in the inside pocket of his jacket while his friends piled up change on the counter.

They had $2.47 between them. It was enough for five pieces of candy (the store owner said that he’d pay give them the three extra cents they needed) but there were six of them. So he stole a candy bar while the storekeeper turned his back to get to the register.  read more

A Box Of Toys

Flash fiction inspired by the use of military equipment during the Ferguson protests:

The crate was delivered via armored truck on the last Friday of the month and the entire squad had turned out to see it. Some of the officers were drinking beer from a big blue cooler while others were smoking cigarettes and taking bets. The captain was standing with a clipboard, waving the truck back to the loading dock, and trying not to smile.

They needed a forklift to get the crate off of the truck and a big metal crowbar to pry it open. A man in a soldier’s uniform oversaw the proceedings and when the lid was popped open he cleared his throat and said: “The United States military has authorized me to train you, the Ferguson Police Department, to care, maintain, clean, store, and use the armory withheld in this case. Tear gas, AK-47s, M16s, flash bombs, grenades, and enough riot gear to control a stadium of unruly protesters. These are not toys.”

He reached into the crate and picked up one of the grenades. He tossed it back and forth in his hands then smiled at the officers who had circled closely around the crate.

“But they sure as shit are fun.”

He tossed the grenade to one of the officers who smiled like a child when he caught it. He turned it in his hands then passed it to the officer to his left. The grenade slowly made its way around the circle as the officers examined it with delight. It was so heavy and hard and deadly and when they held it they felt the same sense of power that they had felt the first time they put on their badges.

“This is why I joined the police force,” one of the officers whispers. “Now this is some serious stuff.”

“Gentleman,” the soldier said, as the grenade made it’s way back to the crate. “I’ve been instructed to train each and everyone of you to properly use these weapons. You will learn how they work, why they work, and how you can use them to protect your community.”

He closed the lid of the crate and then smiled.

“Now,” he said. “Who’s ready to blow something up?”

***

Flash fiction inspired by the use of military equipment during the Ferguson protests: President Barack Obama said Monday he is open to reviewing U.S. federal support for local police departments that has been used to purchase military-style equipment, in the wake of intense clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Mo.

photo credit: enigmabadger via photopin cc