Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blinded by the Flash.

This is a piece written for a journal put out by the Fiction Collective, of which I am now president. The journal followed a theme, which each member wrote a flash piece on. This volume's theme was "jumping bridges." There were many interpretations of this, including a story which involved bridges literally jumping about. AubrieAnne designed the cover for this print and it came out fantastically. Glad I knew to get in touch with her. Here's a draft:


Anyway, I decided to take a less literal bridge-jumping. Something more akin to "jumping the gun." So enjoy, please.


Tim nervously fiddled with his tie and the silverware on the table. This would be his first blind date and he was worried that it would not go well. He glanced at his cell phone; she was five minutes late. Small beads of sweat pushed out from his pores.

“Would you like an appetizer, sir?”

Tim jumped in his seat as he had been too preoccupied to notice the waiter’s approach.

“Uh…uh, yeah. Some bread, please.”

“Right away, sir.”

Tim slumped down in his seat and wiped the perspiration from his brow. He snatched the towel which had wrapped the wares and wrung his hand through it. His anxiety turned to mild frustration. He pulled his sleeve back to look at his watch; she was now seven minutes late.

He had made certain to reserve a table within view of the host’s station so that he could see anyone and everyone who entered. He perked up when he saw a short-haired brunette woman enter. She was alone. When the host pointed to him, Tim immediately adjusted his posture and re-aligned the utensils on the table.

The woman smiled politely as she approached. Tim raised a corner of his mouth in a shoddy attempt to return the favor.

“Hello, Tim?” she asked.

“Yep, that’s me, Timothy,” he laughed nervously. He knew it was a dumb rhyme. He felt more assured when he heard her chuckle, albeit politely.

“Well, I’m Betty.”

“It’s a pleasure.” He offered his hand to shake hers. She awkwardly accepted. There was a pause afterward as Betty tapped the chair before her expectantly.

“Oh, yes, I’m sorry!” Tim stood from his seat, neglecting to push it out first. He nearly stumbled to the floor.

He regained his composure and reached for Betty’s chair. As she stepped aside, he pulled it out.

“There you go,” he said with a smile.

“Thanks…” She ran her hands down the skirt of her dress to straighten it as she sat.

Tim tried to push her in to the table, but the chair’s legs were held fast by the carpeting. He gave it a shove and it skipped across the carpet, thrusting Betty into the table.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!”

“It’s fine, thank you.”

Tim pulled at his collar as he walked around to his seat.

“So, Betty, tell me about yourself.”

“Well, I’m in college, studying to become a nurse.”

“College, huh? When I was in college, I had to pay for every semester with loans. I’m still payin’ them back,” he laughed. “Know what I mean?”

“My schooling is paid for with grants and scholarships.”

“Oh…You must be pretty smart, then?”

“I suppose,” she smirked with pride.

“What else do you do?”

“I love to read.”

“You would have to to read all those medical texts,” he laughed again.

“Yeah, right…” she laughed awkwardly.

“I have to say, you look be-a-utiful.” He smiled nervously.

“Well, thank you. I just kind of threw myself together.”

“Is that why you’re late?”

There was an awkward pause as Betty stared at him wide-eyed.

“Um, no, actually. If I am late, it’s because of traffic.”

“Oh, yeah. Who drives a car in New York? I don’t…”

“Hmm…” Her mouth shifted to one side. “Tell me about yourself, Timothy.”

“Well, what can I say? Tim’s just Tim. There isn’t much to say, really.” He looked down at the table. Betty anticipated more, but it never came.

“Well, what do you do for a living?” she asked.

“Oh, a little of this, a little of that…”


“I take on odd jobs. They’re mostly short-lived.”

“I see.”

At this time, the waiter returned with the bread.

“Would you like a beverage, miss?” inquired the waiter.

Betty hesitated before finally confirming.

“I’ll have a beer.”

“Whoa,” Tim remarked. “We got a partier here.”

Betty smiled reluctantly.

“Very well, miss.” The waiter swiveled in place and returned to the bar.

“So, here’s a crazy thought,” Tim proposed. “How do you feel about marriage?”

Betty closed her eyes and sighed in disbelief. She pushed out her seat and left.

Tim grabbed his head in both hands and placed his elbows on the table.

“Aw, dang. Mom’s gonna be so disappointed.”


DawnZhang said...

Aaah sounds intriguing! I am sure it is one hell of an interesting read! :)

Matt Dimitroff said...

Do you mean the whole journal or the story I posted?

DawnZhang said...

The story you posted! And I love your Banners too! :)

Matt Dimitroff said...

That's the whole story, haha. And thanks, Aubrie made them. You should ask her to do some for you!

AubrieAnne said...

i'd love to do some for you, Dawn. Just let me know on my blog.

Gosh, I'm really happy I got to do that cover. It was a good theme to work with. I'm also very excited to be doing this years cover as well!!!

Great story too, Matt. I read it from the book when I got my copy. BTW, I want a copy of this years as well when it is printed. Just getting that out there. I don't care if I have to pay for it.

Matt Dimitroff said...

Of course you're getting one! You don't plan to charge for any of them, so stow your wallet.

I can't remember, did I workshop Spookerstition in Roberson's class? If not, what'd you think when you read it?

AubrieAnne said...

Yes, you workshopped it, and then at one of Mark's dinners you brought the manuscript over and I read it and drew purple ink all over it (In a good way).

Matt Dimitroff said...

That's right. Roberson affectionately refers to you as "Purple-Pen Aubrie." The draft published in the 1029 was actually not the one I wanted them to publish. It had a different ending.