Monday, August 29, 2005

FFF #5

Fellow word fetishist JJ over at Purgatorian created Flash Fiction Friday, in which he gives us a sentence fragment and we create a short fiction piece beginning with those words, due the following Monday at noon. This week: My heart broke...

“My heart broke, you know.” She jabbed the corkscrew into another bottle of Merlot and twisted. “Broke apart, right there in front of god and everybody, and you didn’t even notice.”

He stared thoughtfully at the chunk of wood in his hand, willing its shape to reveal itself to his knife. He relaxed his eyes. After a moment, the knife sprang to his bidding, chipping away slowly, steadily as he heard her pour the wine.

“I had my back to the door, so of course it was Madeleine, prissy little goody-two-shoes ‘water, lemon, no ice’ Madeleine, who happened to see you and that slut come in and sit down.” She grabbed her wineglass and marched out to the porch, standing over him.

“She says to me, hey, isn’t that Logan over there by the window? And the minute I turn to look, not only do I see you and … her, I also see Janine and Tammy, who I’m meeting later for tennis. Only they don’t see me; they’re staring at you.”

Slivers of wood piled up at his feet as the knife worked its way around and around, following an invisible outline of ridges and valleys. He liked the feel of the wood in his hand, warm, strong, yielding only when necessary.

“I want you to imagine the horror, the pure terror, of the situation I was in, Logan. Can you do that? Can you just try for one little minute to put yourself in my shoes and tell me what you would have done?”

He held the half-formed sculpture at arm’s length and studied it. “I honestly can’t put myself in your shoes, honey, but I thought the vodka cran toss in my face was a nice touch.”

“Yeah, go ahead, make jokes. Tammy’s the biggest mouth in town. By now, everybody knows we’re headed to court.” She drained the last drops of wine from her glass and went back to the kitchen to pour another. “So -- who’s the bimbo?”

The knife in his right hand suddenly sliced into the wood, a quick darting motion in, then just as suddenly out, a half-inch-deep angular cut. Thunk, another angular cut meshing with the first, and so on around a sort of elongated circle. He followed the motions of his wrist, his hand clenching the knife, engulfed in waves of pulsing energy directed to his hands.

He knew he should tell her about Cassie, and he would eventually, but now wasn’t the time. Too much shrieking and breaking of glass. Thunk, the knife plunged in and out came another tiny perfectly shaped wedge. He wondered if the surgeon in San Francisco held his knife the same way, if he tackled breast tumors with the same intensity, if he saw Cassie as a human being, as someone’s sister, as someone’s lifeline, as a beautiful shining piece of art.

He gently blew the last splinters of wood from his creation, walked into the kitchen and placed the sculpture inside her handbag, a heart-shaped sun with jagged edges and deep gashes running along the surface, raw, unfinished, yet whole.


At August 29, 2005 12:07 PM, Blogger Girl With An Alibi said...

Intense. Now is Cassie his lover? Or is she a friend who has breast cancer? That's the only part I didn't get.

But I love how he's just carving away at the little heart as she's yelling at him. That was perfectly described and a bit suspenseful since I wasn't sure if he was gonna lose and kill her. :D

At August 29, 2005 6:37 PM, Blogger The Awful Writer said...

I too am a bit confused as to who Cassie really is. Still, your story really kept my attention and I liked it alot.

At August 30, 2005 12:47 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

This was great---I could really feel the emotion of "Logan"--it seemed like he was just going through the motions, like he had already mentally checked out? Good story---

At August 30, 2005 2:53 PM, Blogger HighMaintenanceHussy said...

I admire this for a lot of reasons. One, the dialogue is realistic. Two, good characterization and three, it has a beginning and middle and an end. All very impressive in such a short piece.

At August 30, 2005 4:11 PM, Blogger The Moviequill said...

I read it, good stuff there Maynard!

At August 30, 2005 6:19 PM, Blogger Melody said...

Jenny, Hussy, Quill -- thanks for your encouraging words. I got chills, they're multiplyin'!

Alibi & Awful -- sorry for the confusion. This story was initially going to be a lot longer, but I shortened it for "flash" effect.

The way I figure it, in a story this short, every word counts. So when Logan wonders if the surgeon sees Cassie as someone's sister, someone's lifeline, I thought that would be enough of a clue as to her identity. I realize now it's not.

In the longer version, Logan's wife would be revealed as more of a shrill, clueless society woman who had never met his side of the family and never listened when he talked about his sister's battle with cancer. So naturally she wouldn't know who Cassie was when she saw them together in the restaurant.

Thanks for the heads up and I shall try harder to be more clear in the future.


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