Fiction

Rallentando

This is a piece I wrote in February of 2015. With help from some friends I rewrote a few parts, gave it some polish and found it a name. It was originally published in Volume 9. No. 2 of Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. I hope you enjoy.

Two cars were parked side by side in the drive of a quaint off-white house in a neighborhood lined by young oak trees. A flagstone walk led to a front door, still ajar, painted a welcoming shade of red. Over the threshold a single ordered pair of shoes lay on a mat beside the door.

Droplets from the faucet plinked into the metal bowl of the kitchen sink, each one ringing out with a hollow ping. Curtains at the windows fluttered in a lazy dance upon the breeze, streetlights blinking into existence as the evening wore on. A crème brûlée toasted to a flawless burnt orange rested on a serving dish beside the sink.

Scattered across a dining room table were the remnants of place settings for two, silverware and ornamental porcelain. The shards of a bottle along the floor, wine splashed across the wall, staining the rug below a deep blood red.

Soothing piano notes were floating out from the speakers of an old fashioned record player spinning in the sitting room corner. The last coals of a fire smoldered in the fireplace.

Fragments of a vase lay on the floor beside an accent table in the hallway, trampled roses strewn about, broken stems and crushed petals. The frame of a portrait was split having been jarred from the wall, cracks spidering through the glass pane.

Orange and lavender scents mixed with the roses in the air in the doorway into a spacious bedroom. On a nightstand a square box wrapped in cream-colored paper adorned with pale blue silk ribbon lay abandoned.

The tan covers and pillows on an ornate oak bed were still in perfect place, folded and tucked just so. A burgundy stain spread over the bedding, dripping onto the carpet beneath the bed.

From the adjoined bathroom steam bellowed into the air, the wall mirror fogged over, the shower still running. The steam was blown away by the evening breeze from the open bedroom window.

Streaks of red swirled around and into the drain of the shower.

Comedic Voice

I try to write every day, my goal is usually 500 words or two pages in my composition notebook. I write smaller than most so two pages will usually land somewhere in the 500 range. Some days it goes by in what seems like mere moments, other days it drags on as I fight to get the words on the page. What I wrote today came out in a different style than I have ever written before: comedy.

Figaro was a small boy. Not the smallest but he was close. In fact he might as well have been the smallest. You know what, scratch those other shrimpy kids out, Figaro is the smallest boy. Smallest there ever was.

Being the smallest did not stop him from being a lovely boy who lived life to the fullest. In truth being short and small doesn't make life any less fun. It just makes cupboards and store shelves difficult to manage. Oh, and clothes shopping. Proper sized pants are about near impossible to find.

Figaro didn't have to worry about that though. As he was a young boy there were clothes aplenty in his size. Plus his mother would do the shopping. I say would since Figaro's parents had vanished a long time ago.

Oh don't get me wrong, they had not been murdered or anything gruesome such as that. Nor had they abandoned little Figaro and run off, how despicable. No, it had been Figaro who had done the running away. I am quite certain his parents are still rather broken up over the whole affair.

I cannot claim to know why Figaro ran away from his loving home. (In truth he had run away from the park, not home. Just a difference. Neither here nor there.) Perhaps it was a dislike for homework, or having to eat peas. Lord knows broccoli has lead many a child to consider a life without cries of “Eat your vegetables!” from monsters better known as parents. Whatever it was Figaro had not even left a note to explain. Or if he had it was blown away by the wind, he did run away from the park after all.

The police had ruled out foul play. No sinister motives were at work here, they claimed. How they came to that conclusion I have not a foggiest clue, I’m not a detective after all. I just write the story. Though I must admit a kidnapping story might be filled with more drama and excitement.

On the other hand it might not. Could just be pages of drivel filled with ransom demands, sobbing parents, gruff FBI hostage negotiators, botched rescue attempts and nervous angst amongst the kidnapping crew. Who wants to read that? Sounds like some Hollywood action film to me.

Nope, Figaro ran away from home (park, whatever) bound for whatever glory little (the littlest!) boys dream of. Perhaps Figaro dreamed of being a pirate on the high seas, or a dashing and suave secret agent, maybe even an airline pilot, jet setting across the world. (Atlanta to Los Angeles, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.)

I have never written comedy before, though I have read my fair share. A friend of mine claims it sounds “very Douglas Adams” and I do quite like Terry Pratchett. I don’t know how funny my “comedic voice” is, or whether it’s even amusing. What do you think?