Abortive Fiction

He stared at the mottled sky until his eyes glazed and thoughtlessness seized him. He allowed himself to float freely in the frost of his disassociation and the world to grow fainter. Before long, the gentle undercurrent of an afternoon breeze and the chatter and playful yells of summertime revelers were the only reminders of the world around him.

They walked at a brisk pace, each one carrying a bag or a tote full of drinks and finger food. It had been close to a year since the pandemic was deemed over, and they were eager to make the most of each seasonable day. The summer was proving to be particularly favorable for outdoor enjoyment; more than one person could be heard commenting on the goodliness of one god or another, or whatever force it was that they believed controlled the universe. One of the group had spied a lone patch of the field, and they all wormed their way through the gathered people. As they neared their chosen spot, one from the group cast a side glance at a man lying nearly spread eagle on the grass and staring into the sky. That one group member didn’t have a passing thought about that man; in less than a second, they had forgotten the man and were setting themself to enjoying the rest of their day.

15-Minute Fiction

His tweet was tactless. Maybe not offensive, but sufficiently annoying that Dre decided to block him from his feed. Dre didn’t even follow him; his tweet had been promoted by Twitter’s algorithms. Twitter had conspicuously inserted the tweet among others about the frailty of the modern republican system of government. But the moment Dre blocked the tweet’s originator, his Twitter application froze. Dre tapped the screen of his phone, at first with purpose but then with a dumbness reminiscent of an early homo poking at a new object. Dre was accustomed to his technology just working, and his phone’s failure to respond to his commands kindled a dormant frustration that boiled greater with every passing second of non-responsiveness. As Dre touched the various soft-keys that normally elicited an appropriate and satisfactory response, he realized that something more serious had transpired. His phone appeared bricked, and the culprit was a tweet, a blocked Twitter account, an account owned by Stephen King. Dre’s frustration broke momentarily as he considered the irony. A modern horror, Dre thought, caused by a modern horror writer. It felt suitable, nearly forgivable. But a true horror was never confined to the benign.

15-Minute Fiction

He stared at his coffee and swirled it around with the straw.
     “I was expecting more,” were the words coming from his girlfriend. It was a Monday and he was supposed to be at work, but he had allowed her to coax him away from it. She lifted up her purse and withdrew the ring. “This is it? This is all I’m worth?”
     “It’s a nice ring.”
     She didn’t say a word, simply held the ring in her hand as if offering it to him. He looked up at her.
     “I can get another, you know. It might take some time—”
     “I don’t want a-fucking-nother! I told you what I expected and you went and got this anyway. How stupid can you be?”
     There was a moment of silence and he looked away. Outside it began to rain.
     “It was too much.”
     “What do you mean it was too much? It was a simple request.”
     “Do you know how much work goes into getting one?” He looked back at her and tried to feign anger. “It’s not a simple matter. I have to find it first, then figure out the finances, then how—”
     “I don’t care what goes into it. Everyone has one and I’m not going to be left out. Just do it.”
     She put the ring back into her bag and began sliding out of the booth.
     “Bell, wait,” he said, reaching for her hand.
     “Don’t touch me. Don’t talk to me. Text me when you have it.” She flipped her hair and made her way for the door. Across the diner their waitress eyed them impassively.
     He watched her slip out the door into the overcast day, stopping momentarily to frown at the sky. She then dashed to her car while unlocking it with her remote key fob. Inside she drew out her phone and placed a call, exchanging some words before starting her car and pulling away.
     He sighed and looked back at his coffee, no longer steaming. He wasn’t going to get it; he didn’t want to. But he was stuck with her. It was now a question of how to remove her from the equation.

Astoria Blvd to Manhattan

Here I try to write a short story before I enter the tunnel:

All she wanted was ketamine. Never mind that she wasn’t in pain, nor the fact that it was hardly addictive. She had first experienced it after a car accident, its effects dampened by the excruciating pain she had experienced at the time. Yet there was a hint of something else, a pleasurable journey that she believed she could control.

Whoa. Much failure.

Astoria-Ditmars Blvd to Manhattan

Here I attempt to write a story before I enter the tunnel:

A storm-front could be seen racing towards the harbor that morning, the dark expanse laden with rain and punctuated with intermittent flashing. Joel studied the clouds only briefly, then turned again to his duties on the dock. His father’s small fishing company had weathered storms like the one that approached now, but only barely. Securing the boats, a meager fleet of three, would only do so much against hurricane strength winds and waves. Joel knew that the best his father could hope for was the fleet being dashed against the docks, not sunk underneath.

Tunnel approaching.

Astoria Blvd to Manhattan

Here I attempt to write a story before entering the tunnel:

There was quiet, and then there was quiet. He knew something was not right by the way even the wind ceased to whisper, sucked away by some unseen force lurking in the darkness. He shifted uneasily in his seat, moving his weight from one ass cheek to the other, alternating as soon as one became numb. His shoes had been discarded after so many days of trudging along the creek bed. They had become hopelessly soaked and caked with mud, and he had placed them neatly on a rock when he decided they were more hindrance than help. Now, as he rocked in his seat and strained to hear anything, he nervously dug his toes deep into the soil.

Tunnel not quite approaching; I’ve bored myself.

36 Ave to Manhattan

Short story before I hit the tunnel:

He was abused. A poor boy with nothing to his name but a rotten banana and the clothes he wore. His flatmates had asked him—well, flatmates only because they allowed him to stay in their home indefinitely—but in any case, his flatmates asked him constantly why he never did anything with that banana. It’d been healthy once, flush and firm, ripe and ready. Yes. It had been healthy once. He could have made good use of it before it turned foul and mushy. Put it in a blender, made a smoothie. Stuck it in the oven, baked a pie. Instead he let it flop around in its rotten state. One flatmate suggested he freeze it and throw it at a bum, although this didn’t make much sense to the poor boy. His other flatmates had laughed at the proposal.

Tunnel approaching.


For the Intermittent Writer


Short books about albums. Published by Bloomsbury.

The Wink

This Week in Kink