Flash Fiction: “Pulling the plug”

Alright all of you goths, emo kids and retired rappers. Today, in addition to grossly misjudging the demographic and social status of my core audience, I’ll be doing something a little different. Wait, come back, it’s nothing like that!

Today I’m doing fiction. Flash fiction, to be precise. I’m entering a flash fiction contest on DudeWriteYou can read the details and submissions by other writers directly on DudeWrite, but here are the two main rules my fiction piece had to follow:

1) Be under 500 words

2) Begin with the following prompt: “If you’d told (me, him, her, them) two weeks ago that…”

And with that, let’s go:

“If you’d told me two weeks ago that you’d still be keeping it around today, I would have never agreed to bring it here in the first place,” Jen’s fingers rapped rapidly on the kitchen table.

She was upset. Again. With good reason, too. I had let this madness drag on for too long.

“Look, Jen, if I can just keep him here until…”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, stop calling it a ‘he’! Do you even realise how crazythatsounds?!” Jen slammed the palms of her hands against the table in tact with the last three words to make sure I knew just how crazy I sounded. I knew.

“OK, if I can just keep…it…here until next winter, then…”

“You’re notfuckingserious!” – slam, slam, SLAM! Jen had officially turned our kitchen table into an impromptu drum kit. I couldn’t suppress a smile. Jen didn’t like that. One bit. She cocked her head to the side and squinted, evaluating whether I was even worth talking to. For a few moments we just stared at each other silently, Jen clearly contemplating spousal homicide. Then something softened in her expression. She walked over to me and took my hands into hers.

“Sean. Listen. I get it. Sometimes you have a really, really hard time letting things go. I remember when you had kept that dying frog in the house for days until it finally…”

“…croaked?” I interrupted. Jen let herself smile now too.

“Yeah, until it croaked. Well, I hope you see how this is different. You’ve taken the concept of ‘holding on’ to a whole new level now. It’s time to move on. Pull the plug, Sean.”

She was right. It was time to pull the plug…

…I opened the door to the basement and slowly made my way downstairs. The freezer was humming softly by the far wall. He was inside. As I got closer my heartbeat quickened. Bum, bum-bum, bum-bum-bum, bumbumbumbumbum.

I tentatively reached for the plug, but stopped. I couldn’t. I had to see him one more time before I did it. I opened the lid and looked inside.

There he was, lying on a clear bed of ice. So peaceful. So calm. So white. This was it. In a matter of hours there’d be nothing left of him except a pool of water, a carrot and a couple of black buttons. With one decisive motion I yanked the plug out of the socket and let it fall to the floor. It’s OK. There’d be another winter. And another one. And another after that. I’d have plenty more just like him. Plenty more.

A droplet of sweat ran down my neck as I took one last look at the already melting snowman.

“Bye, Frosty” I whispered.

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08-08-2012: I now proudly announce that this little piece has been picked as the winner by 2 out of 3 judges and also by popular vote. Check out the results at DudeWrite.

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Newton’s Apple

Short sketch written for a “Creative Writing” class. The exercise was to describe in detail a historical person doing something mundane.

One summer day Sir Isaac Newton was enjoying the sun in his garden. He sat by his favourite apple tree, savouring the warm breeze upon his face. Suddenly, he heard a thump nearby and saw a round object rolling slowly toward him. Upon taking a closer look Sir Newton realised that he was looking at an apple that just fell from the apple tree above. “My oh my”, he thought, “that could have hit me on my head, it could!”

It was positively the largest apple Isaac had ever seen. One thing he loved was apples. He loved that each sort of apple would surprise him with a new sensation of taste. Isaac knew that this one would not disappoint him. He stretched his hand to reach the apple, but realised he could not do so without moving his whole body. Lazily, without getting up, he pushed himself forward until his hand could grab the fruit.

He brought the apple close to his face, and examined it meticulously. He rotated the apple very deliberately, appreciating its smooth texture pressing against his skin, and squinting to see the minute details of its surface. “It is a beauty!”, Isaac concluded. He had always been fascinated by nature and its creations. For a few short seconds Isaac contemplated not eating the apple after all, so amazed he was.

Finally, with one decisive motion Isaac brought the apple up to his mouth and let his teeth sink into it. He took a large bite out of the apple and began to chew unhurriedly. He tasted the delicious fresh pulp and let the taste linger before taking another bite. With the next bite, Sir Newton closed his eyes and his mouth shaped into a smile. He leaned back against the apple tree and proceeded to take more bites out of the juicy fruit. As the apple slowly diminished in size, Isaac’s smile grew wider. He stretched out his legs and was by now lying down, with his head firmly propped up against the tree.

Once Isaac was finished with the apple, he carefully placed what was left of the fruit by his side. He rolled his tongue inside his mouth to collect the remaining bits of his tasty treat. He let out a loud smacking sound to show his appreciation, and then slowly rose up. His legs have been failing him of late, so this action came with much effort. Pondering upon the gravity of his physical condition, Sir Isaac Newton went on about his day.