Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"The Red Sedan" - flash fiction

Wow, what a week! First it was our grandson's first birthday party (Happy Birthday, Nolan) and then it was our daughter's [insert number here] birthday (Happy Birthday, Melinda). 

It is a well documented fact that when you have your first child time speeds up, the days, months, years go by faster, and you're left wondering just where it all went. No one told me that when you have your first grandchild time speeds up again. But now it goes by in a blink. 

Well, at least I managed to squeeze out another entry for this week's PLOTTO contest with Tin House. I like this entry. It was fun to write. It even has a touch of autobiographical flair. I trained as a clown for a bit, but that's a story for another time, or another contest.

Last week's prompt was :  {A’s} profession is a hazardous one—aviator, automobile racing driver, steeple jack, “human fly”—and {B} considers this fact an obstacle to their marriage. 

And, finally, here is my story for week 3. It has no title (I ran out of time, imagine that) but you can call it "The Red Sedan".

The red sedan was trouble. Cherry red, two sizes too small, it proclaimed in elaborate lettering nearly bigger than life itself "Slambini Bros - The Greatest Show This Side of Akron". Stacy peaked through the blinds in horror as it pulled into the driveway.

Alan had come anyway. She had asked him not to, begged him to stay away. What's done is done, she said. It could never work out. She couldn't watch him destroy himself. She had to end it quickly to ease both their pain.

The doorbell rang. She knew he would stand out there all night if she didn't go to the door.

Alan stood on the porch, a bouquet of balloon roses in his hands and a goofy sad smile painted on his face. He had dressed in his best, his "Sunday" outfit.  The jacket, cherry red like the car and two sizes too big, had a pink plastic flower on the lapel. His orange pants waved in the breeze unable to cover the massive shoes.  Stacy shuddered seeing those shoes, the initial cause of their problems.

She could see the car over his shoulder. He had brought his support group, his family and friends from work. Eight so far and more continued to climb out from the tiny automobile, each dressed more colorful than the last and each with the same pink plastic flower on their lapel. They stood quietly on the driveway ready to cheer and act stupid though choreographed manner if things went Alan's way. Stacy didn't think things would.

When they first met, a blind date set up by a well meaning ex-friend, Alan was dressed a bit eccentric but not too far from normal. Stacy thought him quite good looking, very charming, and he made her laugh more than anyone she had ever known. She fell quick and hard.

Months later Alan finally confessed to working in the family business. His parents owned a circus. Alan was a clown.

Remembering it now Stacy felt her stomach turn. As child her parents had taken her to a circus filled with elderly wrinkled Shriner clowns. Nightmares followed and the fear never left her. Still she agreed to go to a performance. It was worse than she could have ever prepared for.

Alan was a hapless and terrible clown. In that one performance a show dog missed Alan's pants and bit a piece of Alan, he got an eye infection from sour pie in the face he was not expecting, and tripped over his shoes hitting his head on the circus ring. The Emergency Room physician said Alan had a concussion. It was then she decided to end it.

Alan smiled at her from the porch. Stacy's heart melted. She opened the door. A stream of water rushed from the flower in his lapel hitting her full in the face.

The door slammed shut.

A collective yet comical sigh came from the driveway as the clowns turned back to the little red car.

The winning story was about a fire eater. Heck, everyone knows that's dangerous. I'll bet you hadn't considered how dangerous clowning might be. As always you can check out the winning entry (which again is pretty damn good, dammit again) and in case you decide to join me, find out more about the contest here:

Week Four’s Prompt:  
{A}, a pugilist, believes that a friend whom he killed by a chance blow in a practice bout, is present in the ring every time he has battle.

[psst: A pugilist is a boxer]

No comments:

Post a Comment