Blue -“Flash Fiction”August 12, 2011
Flash fiction is a genre in which a complete story is told in 1000 words or less . I am not sure if this qualifies, as it is not so much a story as a sketch. It is pulled from my journal in the early 2000’s. While my fiction of course, has roots in reality, and I did in fact, write this while sitting alone in a bar, it is still fiction. So, there’s your disclaimer. 🙂
In a bar, somewhere South of the Han river, there’s a girl who sits alone drinking, shortening her life, cigarette by cigarette – five minutes of life knocked off at a time, so she’s been told. She wonders about the possiblity of the five minutes she’s smoking away right now.
Maybe she looks sad. Certainly, the music is sad – something in German. Imagine how this girl is, sitting in a Korean bar, listening to German music, drinking Cuervo Gold and smoking American cigarettes. Maybe she isn’t sad at all. Maybe she’s confused.
Everything feels sad though, when she’s smoking, because there’s something else she’d rather be doing with her fingers and her mouth – confused fingers, sad mouth.
She imagines a life spent kissing every sad mouth she can find. A life well spent, she imagines, and she’s already done her share. Her fingers have touched so much skin, of course she’s confused. Three bodies, she remembers, though.
She regrets the cigarette because she understands the importance of five minutes. She’s memorized those three bodies five minutes at a time. These bodies’ names are written in her fingertips. The touch of her fingertips to her lips makes her mouth sad.
Once, in another bar, an American soldier guessed her age by looking at her hands. She thought him sexy for his wisdom, his clever bar trick. He thought her sad and confused. “You seem sad,” he said, looking at her hands. ” I think you’re confused,” she answered, and he left the bar, leaving her fingerprints, for the time, unchanged. She guessed his mouth was married… too full of complaint to be properly, genuinely sad.
The girl in the bar is a little drunk right now. Tequila, being what it is, should be shared in an elaborate ritual of salt and lemon, licking and laughing. She tries out a laugh.
She thinks about the walk home from the bar, in the end-of-rainy-season drizzle, and how she’ll get home and wait for a phone call from one of the three bodies whose names are written into her fingertips. She imagines what she’ll be thinking as she waits, imagines the corners of her mouth being pressed down as she passes each minute, listening.
Imagining the possibility of five minutes, she lights another cigarette.