So maybe it’s time to take a second crack at some flash fiction.
He sprawled on a big, striped towel spread over the warm sand . Cool sea breezes, lightly perfumed with the scent of hydrangeas, fought the heat of the sun to a standstill, making the atmosphere just about right. The wind dried the light sheen of sweat on his brow as soon as it popped out. But he stared out over the calm expanse of blue-green water, listened to the lap of wavelets against the shore, and felt … nothing. Despite the clean, clear air he found it hard to breathe, drawing oxygen through his mouth like a fish out of water.
Thirty-five and washed up. He was just a piece of flotsam an errant wave had deposited on the beach. Driftwood abraded bone white and brittle by salty sea water, devoid of blood and nerves.
Great job. Gone in a flash. “Sorry, Cal, we’re having to cut back. This depression’s hit us hard. You’re young and a great programmer. I’m sure you’ll find something fast.”
Yeah, right. He nearly sobbed at the recollections.
“Sorry, Cal, you’re over-qualified for this little job we’ve got. But your resume’s solid. I’m sure you’ll latch onto something more appropriate pretty soon.”
Translation: You’re too old. Won’t fit into our corporate culture.
Fantastic marriage sunk in a sea of debt. “I can’t take it anymore, Cal. An old friend of mine in Iowa has offered me a job. It’s not much, but at least I can pay my bills.”
Yeah. Her bills. What about the ones she’d run up while times were good? And that old friend was a recently divorced old boyfriend. How could she? They'd been so involved, so wrapped up in one another ... until his job disappeared.
At least Cal still had a twenty-five hundred square foot brick with pool and exercise room. In nine months, that was gone, too. Sold to cover an underwater mortgage. Car hadn’t lasted much longer than the house. And the banker had once been a good poker and golfing buddy, too.
His entire world in ruins, he’d cashed in what few assets Marilee, the bank, and the mortgage house had left him and headed south. South to Florida, but that wasn’t south enough. So he caught a ride on a trawler probably engaged in smuggling drugs into ... and whatever was in short supply out of ... the US. Somehow he’d found himself deposited on a small, nearly deserted island somewhere short of South America billed as a “tropical paradise.”
He shook his head. Where the hell was he? Nowhere. With nothing but a few dollars in his pocket. Maybe if he sat in the sun long enough he'd die and end up a withered, forgotten, unloved mummy. A Nothing gone to Nowhere in No Time at all.
He was about to close his eyes and sink farther inside himself to maybe commence the dying process when he caught something at the edge of his vision. Someone walking. Someone with an inadequate bra and a sarong-like scrap tucked around her waist. Someone with a long, graceful stride.
She subtly altered her steps so she’d pass a little nearer. He took inventory as she approached. Dark skin. Mexican? Certainly Latin. Narrow waist. Broad hips. Barefoot. Long dark hair falling below her shoulders and bouncing as she walked. Big gold hoops in tiny earlobes. Green eyes. He couldn’t see them yet, but he was willing to bet on it.
Then she was close enough to discern features. Broad nose, wide mouth, smooth brow. She caught his eyes. And smiled.
Cal sat up straighter. He hesitated only a moment before scrambling to his feet and starting after her. He’d do that mummification thing later.
Happy holidays to you all. Please take time to check out some of the other pages on this site.
Next week: Haven’t gotten that far. I live week to week.
New posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.