Flash fiction is an appealing thing. There’s no set definition, but the general idea is a very short piece of writing, perhaps 500 words or fewer, which should be written quickly.
16th of May is National Flash Fiction Day – why not have a go at writing some?
Turns out I’d already written some flash fiction in 2008, only I didn’t know that was what it was called then. I’ve tweaked and trimmed it a bit to get it to 399 words. 401 including the title:
What is it with beautiful women and ugly blokes?
You’ve heard that before, right – some stand-up or other? But it truly happens and it makes me crazy with fury and rage at the injustice of it.
I took the 9.23 train. Every day. I used to see this couple sitting in my carriage. He was – anyone would agree with me – an ugly bloke. His physique was nothing special. His face suggested that he’d sprung forth by some process of spontaneous generation from the lower layers of silt at the bottom of the gene pool. At least you’d think that if you saw him on his own – but he wasn’t on his own, was he?
No, he was always sitting next to his girlfriend (surely not wife) – the not-quite-domestic goddess. Late 30s, I’m guessing no kids, dripping in Boden, her long dark hair framing her perfect face and lips that would kiss. She looked a bit Nigella-ish, but less playful, less – oh I don’t know…. less obvious.
I was bewitched. Maddened. Intrigued. Every morning there they were on the 9.23, every morning I was trying to figure out exactly what she saw in him. His repartee? Nothing doing there. His wealth? The shoes and watch say no. Good in bed? That must be it. Bastard. Lucky, lucky bastard. I hate you. I wish bad things upon you. I want you out of her life. I want her for myself.
Then one day he got on the train with his arm in plaster. After that he wasn’t on the train so much. I still saw her, though, every day at 9.23, she pitched up just in time. She was what Jerry Seinfeld would call a ‘close stander’. I must have unknowingly taken the spot on the platform that she had decided long ago was her spot. I was always there long before her, and always, even if the platform was empty, she would stand unfeasibly close to me. And then when we got on the train she always turned right, I always turned left.
I never saw him on the train again. Not once.
Then last week, I was wandering home in the twilight and saw him ahead of me. Ugly bloke. Ugly bloke more dishevelled than normal, shuffling down my street with a handful of old carrier bags.
Walking up my path. Knocking on my door.