Here’s my monthly installment of the “best of” Twitter fiction from my account @flashfictionist.
APOLOGIES TO MR. MORSE
“What are those dots and dashes?”
“It’s a special code the humans invented. I thought I’d announce our arrival.”
“When will they get the message?”
“In about 400 years.”
Unfortunately, by the time they discovered the strange code, no human alive knew how to decipher it.
She was proud of her skill. After 17 years in clothing retail, she could fold any shirt perfectly in a few seconds, while blindfolded.
After the layoff she took a job at a Mexican restaurant. Her burritos didn’t hold as much, but they looked so pretty nobody ever complained.
(Note: I just loved the idea of someone folding a burrito like it was a shirt…maybe I’m weird.)
She showed up on our patio with matted fur, goopy eyes, and pitiful mew; we never discovered her previous owners. It was my brother’s idea to adopt her and care for her. She died of a stomach tumor. Our patio was her hospice– our backyard her final resting place. RIP Winky…
(Note: Family members will remember this. It is not fiction.)
He’d had some special birthdays: 19 slices of pizza on his 19th. Run 26 miles on his 26th. Walked a 40-foot-high plank on his 40th. His 90th year, he made a list of 90 people and “willed” them these words: Live life today- don’t wait for a day that’s “special.”
I noticed her eyes- two colors, like my sister who had died 9 years ago. I wanted to ask about them, but shied away. She read my sister’s favorite book, and laughed- a familiar sound. She ordered a coke.
My sister hated coke.
I caught her eyes again as we landed.
BEST USE OF FREE TIME
“What if you had to live the same day over and over? Like in Groundhog Day.”
“I’d learn to speak twenty languages.”
“Eat all the pizza.”
“Date a different girl every day.”
“Learn to dance.”
“I’d get the best, longest sleep of my life.”
“…Okay, you win.”
He awoke in a white space. Strange. He looked down, relieved to see his body as he remembered it. He scratched his head, his mind a void as vast as the space he occupied. Bravely, he took a step into the unknown, creating his world as he went, filling the canvas as he saw fit.
“What’s that buzzing?”
“Breeze? Hey, slow down.”
“Now it’s a whistle; that’s the wind alert.”
“It’s just a little wind.”
“Sure, but now it’s chirping- that’s the gust advisory.”
“What’s the wailing for?”
“WHAT’S THE SILENCE MEAN?”
The gods gave him the ability to bring to life anything he imagined. His creations wouldn’t be entirely real, but real enough to fool the senses. Word spread through his community. Many came to his door, begging him to use his gift. But he could not. He had no imagination.
His best-known work was a poem about Armageddon. It had come to him one night; he wrote it all without thinking. But as strange things began to happen, the parallels were undeniable. Poem or Prophesy? the headlines asked. Angry people held up signs saying, “Death to the Poet!”
The thing had been a part of her so long, she’d forgotten the time before. Its weight at her hip was barely noticeable. Its presence gave her comfort, and a sense of being part of something greater than herself.
She pushed down a niggling fear as it vibrated in her pocket.
I stand tall and proud. My face glows hot with pleasure as the family admires my beauty. They read and sing songs together, until the little ones begin to nod their heads. As they sleep, I stand watch- their silent guardian against the darkness- until I grow too short, and die.
He awoke feeling today would be special. He smiled through breakfast- greeted strangers on his way to work. No bad mood could ruin his day. At his kids’ soccer game, he cheered louder than anyone else. His wife looked stunning. His kids were happy.
Life couldn’t get any better.
DUELING IN THE AGE OF SPACE EXPLORATION
Dressed in the ritual boots and spurs (why?), Dan walked ten paces down the ship’s corridor.
Chad would pay for his insult.
They turned, drew, and shot their tasers; then got up moments later.
Dan wondered how their ancestors had gotten any satisfaction from such dueling.
“Dad, where are black holes from? Why does wind blow? Are ghosts real?”
“I don’t know. Make a list of questions and ask God when you get to heaven.”
So Johnny did. When he grew up he wasn’t so sure about God; but he had so many unanswered questions, he didn’t dare stop believing.
“Welcome. Which ice cream flavor will you have?”
“What’s that glittery-swirly one?”
“What’s in it?”
“Not sure. Some rando dropped it off- said it would ‘open people’s eyes.'”
“Great; I’ll have it.”
“You’d be the first.”
“I don’t see why.”
“Maybe you will…”
He knew he had died, but he went back home anyway. There was unfinished business he couldn’t stand to leave undone. With a ghostly sigh, he sat at the kitchen table and stared at the chess game he and his son had started that morning. “Checkmate,” something whispered in his ear.
Over the centuries as food was scarce, many delicacies became so diluted they hardly resembled the originals. Humans evolved accordingly, until many once widely-consumed foods were rendered toxic to man. A time traveler brought back chocolate and nearly wiped out a whole village.
HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE
Whoever invented the triple-scoop ice cream cone had surely never tried to eat one. This was my final thought as I walked, before tripping over a bike and landing on my head. A man in pinstripes met me at the end of the tunnel, leaned in, and murmured “So sorry about that…”
The book of hidden pictures was magical; each time he opened it, things moved to new hiding places. Adults never believed him, and marveled that one book could hold his attention for so long. They asked if he was “daft,” but if so- he decided- then daft was the best way to be.