Flash Fiction

Alley Cats

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

A mind like an alley cat.

It was the Summer of Love—1967, and there was no telling what those kids were up to, so Marge the Mom looked out her kitchen window at the alley behind their house on the South Side of the big city by the big body of water, and she was not surprised to see her rebellious daughter Bethie standing there with her hellcat of a friend from down the alley—Susie, but she was surprised to see that the two 17-year-olds had somehow attracted handsome Jack O’Malley to join them, and Marge could just tell by their furtive actions that they were up to no good—no good ‘t all, and so she went out to investigate and when she got there, she found out just why all the kids in the neighborhood were constantly calling her wild banshee of a daughter Bethie and her hellcat friend Susie a pair of alley cats, and that Jack O’Malley, a good boy to be sure, to be joining them in sin, oh, Saints in Heaven preserve uswhat was the world coming to?!?!?!?

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TRAINING FILM

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

The wild,blue yonder.

She greeted him at the door, motioned at the raked theatrical seating, and said: “Make yourself comfortable. The film will begin shortly.”

“The film?!?”

“The training film, Silly. You’re in training for advancement. You’ll see. Now find a seat, and we’ll screen your film shortly.”

He picked a wide-bodied seat in the center of aisle 11, made himself comfortable in the incredibly comfortable chair, and, as the house lights went down, waited for the film—his film—to begin.

And waited for his film to begin.

And waited for his film to begin.

And waited for his film to—

“Hey!” he cried, “when’s the frickin’ film going to begin?”

“Sorry,” she called in the darkness. “Technical difficulties. All right—here goes.”

And so it went, just for him.

His very own training film.

And, in his very own training film, there was a man who looked and sounded just like him standing by a gate at a busy big-city airport handing a beautiful young woman a brightly decorated package and telling it was his special gift to her.

“Don’t open it until you get home,” he said. “It’s a surprise. A big, big surprise.”

Oh how that tender-hearted young woman smiled so big and so wide. “Really?” she said. “For me?”

“Yes, My Love, for you. Now you’d better go. They’re making the final boarding call.”

“Right. I should go, but before I do—“

She embraced him until his bulbous eyes bugged out even farther. Then she ran off down the jetway with her brightly decorated package to fly off into the wild, blue yonder.

The following scene showed a 747 taking off to a thunderous score, and then, as the massive aircraft climbed above the clouds, the film score turned to a darker key.

The jet bearing the beautiful young woman and her brightly decorated package flew off camera, and then there was a massive explosion.

A TRULY MASSIVE EXPLOSION.

Segue to an earnest talking head pressing her hand to the bud in her ear and intoning: “This just in: Am Pan Flight 666 has blown up in mid-air over the tiny island nation of Pacifica and early reports are of massive casualties both in the air and on the ground. More details as they—“

Then a tight close-up in slow motion of the obliterated remains of his beloved plummeting to earth. All that he can recognize of her is her lovely red hair. She has been blown to bits by the bomb he so cleverly planted in the brightly decorated package and entrusted to her safe keeping. She was his mule. His scapegoat. His go-to bomber in the innocent days before September 11, 2001.

BOOM!!!

And in his training film, she is just part of the debris of the once mighty airliner and its full complement of passengers and crew raining death down on a crowded school yard some 30,000 feet below.

“Stop the film,” he cries. “I’ve seen enough.”

“No,” the disembodied voice calls in the darkness. “We’ll let you know when you’ve seen enough.”

As the documentary of his dastardly deed continues, he tries to turn his head away, but iron hands hold his head facing forward. He tries to close his eyes, but steely fingers pull his lids back.

He is made to watch his training film over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over—until he has gone over every rotten thing he ever did in his life, and when he is truly sorry—really, really, really contrite and sobbingly sorry for his each and every sin—why then the lights come up; the steely fingers and iron hands disappear, and the woman who greeted him at the door in the first place reappears and says: “Welcome, good and contrite servant. Step into the light. You’re in for some happy surprises, and you can trust me on that.”

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WITHOUT A TRACE

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

Gone, without a trace.

They could track everyone, everywhere.

Piece of cake, because everyone went everywhere with his or her device turned on, tuned in, and on full vibrate.

Beep, beep, beep, beep . . . . .

Everyone went everywhere leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for them to track and trace and record and monitor.

And so, when they needed to bring in someone for questioning and to hold indefinitely in secure locations without charges, they just flipped a switch or two, tweaked a dial or two, and—presto, bingo, bongo—they had their man.

Or woman.

It was so, so easy to find everyone everywhere because the sheeple all had to be wired 24/7.

Everyone except Harry.

Harry was an exception, a true hard case.

Sure, they had tracked him to the train station, because he had left his flip phone on. (Yes, flip phone. We’re talking a true hard case here.)

Anyway, the man they suspected of seditious sentiments went and turned off his so-yesterday flip phone when he got to the train station. And, despite the custom of the day, he left the danged thing in his car.

And then he boarded the train into the city, bare nekked as it were.

Well, bare nekked as far as they were concerned.

They could trace, intercept, and otherwise profile everyone last one of the sheeple on the train but Harry.

Harry?

They had no clue.

All they knew for true was that he had turned off his device—his radio transmitter—and left it in his rattletrap of a car.

Harry had gone dark.

Disappeared from the proverbial radar screen.

They reckoned he had to be on that train into the city with all those other easily traceable suspects.

And so they listened in, but they didn’t hear any of them talking to Harry. They didn’t intercept one text message to Harry, because Harry had left his friggin’ phone in his car.

You know.

So they had to resort to old-school methods, and find an old-school gumshoe to actually get on the train at the next stop and find their man and bring him to their idea of justice.

But they couldn’t get Gus the Gumshoe on the proverbial line because Gus was so old-school that he only used a landline phone with an old-school answering machine, complete with a cassette tape.

And so when they got Gus’s old-school answering machine, they were so frustrated by Gus’s unavailability, that all they could say was: “You let a dangerous enemy of the state get away, you fool.”

Gus, of course, was there listening to their message, and all he could do was sigh and go back to sleep.

As for Harry, why he went and went off the grid.

Disappeared from the radar screen.

Went dark.

POOF!!!

Who knows where Harry is, or what he’s up to?

They certainly don’t.

And, you know, that’s not such a bad thing after all.

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Based on a true story.

Pour It!                                                        Copyright 2017 Charles McKelvy

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

 

They were of one race, and he was of another, and, unbeknownst to the two of them, he was a stone-cold sociopath who moonlighted as a hit man.

So, when they gave him—their foreman—a load of back talk on the job, he ordered the two street punks to go down to the bottom of the caisson and clear it out so concrete could be poured into it.

We’re talking about a footing for a massive skyscraper here, so it was deep.

Really, really deep.

The two trash-talkers obeyed, and when they were all the way down there in the bottom of that deep, dark caisson, the heartless foreman nodded at the man on the concrete chute and said: “Pour it.”

And pour it on those unsuspecting trash-talkers they did.

And no one was the wiser, except for you.

But just to be on the safe side, you might want to keep it to yourself.

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Mel

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

“There’s a bloody fingerprint on the cover of this book.”

“No, it’s just jelly. I was eating a jelly donut in the truck on the way here. It’s just jelly. I assure you.”

The associate librarian wasn’t buying it. She knew a bloody fingerprint from a jelly-donut fingerprint. So she said: “I don’t believe you.”

The mild-mannered man was named Mel, and he was the one who delivered books to local libraries in the Mid-state Electric Library cooperative, as well as organs to hospitals. Librarians knew not to ask Mel too many questions, but this associate wasn’t buying it, so Mel fingered his tightly trimmed mustache and said: “I tell you—it’s jelly—not blood.”

The associate librarian still wasn’t buying it, so she said: “I want to look in your truck. If it’s all the same to you.”

Mel eyed the fearless librarian and fidgeted some more with his neat little mustache. He sighed and said: “I’m sorry, but that’s entirely out of the question. No one looks in the truck but authorized medical personnel. And you don’t—“

“Oh, but I AM an authorized library professional, and I AM going to go have a look, if it’s all the same to you.”

And before Mel could cough, the little lady was off to inspect his truck.

She never returned.

So Mel shrugged and went off to the next library on his rounds where another nosy associate librarian said: “There’s a bloody fingerprint on the cover of this book.”

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Paper Cuts

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

“You are hereby sentenced to death by paper cuts.”

“Excuse me?!?”

“You will die a death by paper cuts.”

“That’s ridiculous!”

“Excuse me?!?”

“You can’t die from paper cuts. It would take too—“

“—long? Long we have. Lots and lots of long. And, as you can see by those bundles, we have all the paper we need, and then some. Shall we proceed?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Only if you want to die a death by Q-tips. Or French onion soup. Or dental floss. Or—“

“I’ll take paper cuts.”

“Good choice. And remember—”

“What?!?”

“It’s not the last cut that kills you, but the first.”

“Thanks. I needed that.”

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One Bag Full

Flash Fiction

by Charles McKelvy

“Hey, buddy?”

“What?!? Can’t you see—I’m eatin’ here?”

“Yeah, you’re always eatin’ here. Anyway, how many bags you see over there?”

The eternally eating other looked up from his meal of the moment. “Where?”

“Over there. By the big oak tree.”

“Well, it’s pretty obvious to anyone with eyes—one bag full.”

“Okay. Now look over there. Across the road.”

“Yeah. I see.”

“What do you see?”

“A bunch a bags. Six or seven, if you ask me. Six or seven bags full.”

“Full of what?”

“You know what they’re full of, unless you’re as full of bull hockey as I think you are.”

“They’re full of food, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, of course, but—“

“There are six or seven bags full across the road for them what only give milk. And here, in our little corner of paradise, why we gots only one bag full.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning: pack on the pounds big boy, because we’re shipping out sooner than you can say double cheeseburger with fries.”

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