Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Authentic Replicas" - flash fiction

Here's the latest PLOTTO entry. I have to admit that the one that did win is very clever. This is a tough contest. The winners have all been pros or writing instructors. If I want to make a living at this I have to raise my game, do better than my best. This obviously wasn't the one to do it. But I liked this one. I took a chance. No writing is wasted. It all makes you a better writer. Don't give up, never give up.

Last week’s prompt: {B} receives, in a mysterious manner, a photograph, not of herself but of someone greatly resembling her.

My story:

Authentic Replicas
Bill Bibo Jr

Marci stands at the heart of this city, her adopted New York, unseen by the multitudes pulsing by her endless in their number, faceless for all their need to be seen. Times Square. The billboards beat their chest, roaring like giants, shouting for attention now so common that no one looks up except the tourists, the visitors, or the bored. She glances at the time on her phone. She is early, perpetually so, a fault she often laughs. But she knows she will not change, cannot change. It is a habit too ingrained from childhood traumas. She glances again at her phone.

She waits for Tim, her Tim. Together nearly three years, they've become inseparable, a steady fixture in her comfortable life.  He texted her. Meet him here. He has something special for her. But as she arrives early, he is always late, always making her wait for his arrival, his entrance.

An older couple bends over a blanket filled with a mosaic of handbags and purses. A young man, no more than a boy really, proudly points to his display. Each is an authentic replica so close even the designer could not tell the difference he tells them. The woman smiles and selects one.

Down the block there is a commotion. It flows toward them gathering speed as it goes. People are stopping, staring at the billboard screen above them. The woman points while the boy gathers up his blanket, running into the crowd. The woman is still holding the handbag, the man still with his wallet in his hands as a motorcycle cop rolls by following the boy, unseen for all eyes point up.

Marci looks up too.

Forty feet above her standing forty feet tall is her face smiling out to world. She looks around for the camera but there is none. Letters appear below her smile, one by one the message forms. "Will. You. Marry. ME?"

Tim? She spins around looking for him. Just like him to be late for his own proposal. Marci stops. Proposal? The weight of the word settles on her. Sure she had always assumed that something like this would happen, that they might eventually take this step. But here it is. He's flung it at her for all to see, not really giving her an option. The city was staring, waiting for her response.

A delighted scream on the opposite corner makes the world go silent for just a moment. "Yes! A thousand times yes!" A young woman jumps into the arms of her boyfriend and the city applauds.

Marci looks up again. How stupid, it wasn't her at all. Why hadn't she seen it right away? Had she wanted it to be her? Presented like this she wouldn't have to decide for herself, the city did it for her. Is this what she wants?

She looks around and sees Tim watching the happy couple. He hasn't seen her yet. Marci ducks into the corner store and leaves by another exit.

The Plotto contest is taking a rest until April now while the past weekly winners fight a literary Battle Royale. I'm curious to see what happens next.

As always you can read the winning story here:

And never fear, the writing doesn't end. It just gets better.
- fingers crossed -

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