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

war machine

Alpha

Flash fiction inspired by Christy Mack and our tendency to blame the victims of domestic abuse:

He was standing in the mirror thinking about all of the reasons why this wasn’t his fault as he washed the blood away from his knuckles.

“I love her,” he thought. That was reason number one. He loved her and if things had gone differently he would have been down on one knee about now. But she had to ruin it all.

“Why did she have to invite him over?” he thought. That was reason number two. She said that he was just a friend but he saw the way that she looked at him. He had walked in unannounced, he was planning to surprise her, and found them sitting on the couch next to the fire. Her hand was on his knee. His eyes were on her chest. What else was he supposed to do?

“It was just alpha male shit,” he thought. That was reason number three. He was an alpha male and she was a whore and she didn’t listen to what he had to say. If only she had listened. He would have explained that he was the right man for her and that this other guy was just a chump and she would have leaped into his arms and everything would have been perfect. But she had to ruin it all.

He stared at himself in the mirror as steam rose from the hot bloody water in the sink. His eyes were red. His muscles were huge. There was a small red stain on the collar of his shirt and another across his chest.

“This was my favorite shirt,” he groaned, before pushing his fist through the mirror. “Shit, now look what she’s made me do.”

***

Flash fiction inspired by Christy Mack and our tendency to blame the victims of domestic abuse: A few days after Christy Mack allegedly suffered a brutal beating at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, the victim blaming has already begun.

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Pagliacci

Flash fiction inspired by the death of Robin Williams:

He had taken a few pills that morning. His doctor had given them to him to help with anxiety. They were small and pink and when the doctor placed them in his hand he had said, “Cheer up, Pagliacci. Everybody loves you.”

It made him smile.

The pills were the second option that the doctor offered. The first was a concert. A performance, really. A clown was in town and it was a sure fire way, according to the doctor, to chase away sadness.

“You should go see Pagliacci,” the doctor had said. “He’s in town tonight and I hear that everyone walks out of the theater with a smile.”

It made him cry.

Pagliacci was standing behind the curtain thinking about the doctor and the pills and sadness and pain when he heard the roar of the crowd. They were chanting his name. Thousands of people were sitting in the audience waiting for him to take their pain away. Waiting for him to make them laugh. Waiting for him to help them forget, for just a few hours, about life and strife and struggle.

The curtains started to part and he watched a bright light as it slowly chased away the shadows. The light grew and grew until it covered the entire stage including the tips of Pagliacci’s shoes.

He felt like running then. He wanted to take a step backward and fall into the darkness but he couldn’t. The crowd was chanting and the lights were getting brighter and before he knew it he was stepping forward and into the light.

He made them laugh for two straight hours in that theater and for hours more at home. He gave them memories that they would share for days and stories they would tell for years. But then the curtain fell, and the darkness spread back across the stage, and Pagliacci stood alone in the corner.

***

Flash fiction inspired by the death of Robin Williams: Yesterday, the world lost the great actor and comedian Robin Williams to apparent suicide following a long struggle with depression.