The Exchange

This story came about from a book I’m reading intersecting with a conversation I had, a TV show Susan and I watched, and a desire to practice my flash storytelling techniques.

Hope you enjoy.


The Exchange

Dolan stood beside her Chevy Suburban’s open driver door and watched the woman approach. The black Suburban, the government plates, the fogged windows, it was a magnet to some people. Usually men, though. Their eyes lit up like kids on Christmas morning. “Hey, you with the Government?”

The woman stopped on the other side of the Suburban and held up a mobile so Dolan could see her son on the screen, sitting at a table playing with some building blocks. Behind him a window showed a cityscape.

“As you can see, Ms. Gelina, your son is quite safe and happy. How long he stays that way is completely up to you.”

Dolan kept her eyes on the screen. “What do you want?”

“What we want is for you to do exactly what we tell you to do. Do what we tell you to do and your son will be safe and home in twenty-four hours. Don’t do what we ask, you’ll never see him again.”

Dolan swallowed.

“And if anything happens to me, anything at all, your son dies.”

Dolan nodded. She opened her purse.

The woman shook her head. “We don’t want money.”

Dolan removed a pistol, aimed it at the woman’s vagina and pulled the trigger. The woman fell, her mobile falling from her grasp.


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Is your work product or art?

Bit of a trick question, that.

Art is also a product. The question has more to do with production values. There’s a difference in the care put into producing a Velvet Elvis versus the Mona Lisa. It has nothing to do with Da Vinci thinking, “Yeah, some day, hot dang, I’ll be remembered for this.” I doubt he did. It was commissioned work. But he definitely put more time into it than he made on the commission. He wanted to do a good job.

Not sure anybody on the Velvet Elvis production line has such thoughts. Ever heard anybody at a burgerjoint call from out back, “Wow, Charlie! That’s one damn good fry you made!”?

The “work versus product” question has been with me since January of this year (2020). I took a class with a recognized, award winning author.
Continue reading “Is your work product or art?”

The Shackled Man

I’m taking a two-week course in flash fiction writing with the definition of flash fiction being “You can read it in under three minutes.” The Shackled Man is my offering. I’ve got it down to 2m46s.

Let me know what you think, and thanks.

Creator and above level members can listen to my test read.


The Shackled Man

 
Saturday mornings. That was our time.

Dad tiptoed into my room and knelt beside my bed. I could smell him before my eyes opened. A good smell, a night’s sweat just washed away.

I kept my eyes shut until I felt the bristles of his mustache when he kissed my cheek. I’d open my eyes and see the twinkle in his.

“Want to go for a ride?”

There were four places we’d go. South, Logan Airport. West, French King Bridge. North, Queechee Gorge. East, L.L. Bean.

We always stopped at a Dunkin Donuts. If we started a little late it’d be a Dunkin Donuts half way there, about an hour out, half hour at the least. Or sometimes it’d be at the edge of town, right before we hit the highway.

Dad knew where all the Dunkins were. Nobody had breakfast sandwiches or drivethroughs back then. You had to go inside. He’d get a medium coffee, two sugars, two creams, and I’d get a chocolate milk and a bavarian creme, the first bite and it oozed out and into your mouth.

And then off we’d go, listening to the radio or singing songs. Didn’t matter the weather, every Saturday morning we’d go, always sure to be out of the house by seven, no later.

West and north we’d get to the bridges. There were parking areas and we’d get out and walk around. Dad would stay close to the rails, look over. “How far down do you think that is, son?”

I was too small, I couldn’t see.

“Be a long drop from here.”

East we’d get to L.L. Bean. It was totally different back then. Only locals and hunters knew of it. How my dad knew I’ll never know.

You could talk to guides, men who knew the lakes and rivers and mountains. Dad listened to their stories, about going so far out in the woods it seemed there was no coming back, then he’d check his watch.

“Come on, son. Time to be getting back.”


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O’ Happy Day – Narration

I attended a small con in November 2019 and had a chance to read some of my flash pieces to a group of fellow writers.

I told them prior to the reading, “This will be your chance to tell a fellow author, ‘My god, that sucks!’ and get away with it because I really want to know if I have any skill or if I’m fooling myself.”

Seven folks showed up to let me know if I sucked.

I read Sanctuary, It’s a Man’s World, Grafton’s Ghost Child, Owen and Jessica, Lessons Learned, and O’ Happy Day.

You can read the story along with my narration here.

Evidently my work doesn’t suck.

Enjoy (and leave a comment. I love comments).

By the way, this work was recently rejected by a magazine. I give their reason after the narration.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

Owen and Jessica – Narration

Oh, dear! You’ve cut yourself!

I shared the written Owen and Jessica in a previous post. This recording was done at a Fiction Slam held at a local pub (I got 2nd place).

(we’re still taking a break from the steady diet of Empty Sky. I’ll return to it in next week, promise).

Do let me know what you think. Suggestions for improving this are quite welcome.

Click on the “post” above to open the story in a separate tab/window if you wish to read along side.


Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!