Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt pavement.
She tells me there are two of them. One is speckled like an egg; the other I met at a church service held on the swimming pool bleachers. But about that one. . . itʼs loud and I can't really hear her. Thinking about it now, at five-thirty AM, I can make out something about the Soweto train tracks and chalkboard dreams. Maybe it was "soccer teams". She could have melted right into the bench she was sitting on, with her tan pants.
Neither of us had gotten what weʼd ordered. I, the chicken instead of prawns, and she, well, like I said. Itʼs futile trying to figure it all out now. Maybe that window of time closed and latched firmly about eight hours ago. Now Iʼm fingering through reels of memories better kept in attic archives, rewinding to pause on a moment like the one when a cousin is seen naked at a family reunion.
Someone once told me there's a special place in hell for people who don't tip well—one Dante overlooked in his Inferno. Maybe the guilty are doomed to be bridged-over while people eat off their stomachs ceaselessly. But some people are into that. Apparently itʼs called a “Spanish breakfast”. Maybe fetishists would intentionally tip poorly in hopes that they make it the way down.
One time she and I were on campus. She was wearing those same coppertone pants. If right then a sandstorm had come, I'd be sure to have lost her. Not because she'd have blown away, but because she would be invisible from the legs beyond.
Between heaves on the sidewalk all I can think about is that enigmatic speckled one and curse the waiter. I hang my head over the sidewalk and think both of us got what we needed even if it wasn't what we asked for. Itʼs more likely that people who donʼt tip well just get sick anyway. Hopefully we'll both come out honest, because she needs her legs and I canʼt hold up a bridge.
Kimberly Watson was born and raised in Vermont. She is a Creative Writing and English Literature student at Concordia University. Her interests are bees, ecocriticism and post colonial studies. She loves to fly, keep warm and stay busy.
For more Flash Fiction prompts and winners, visit soliloquies.ca/flash-fiction.