My latest entry into the Angry Hourglass Flash Fiction weekly contest wherein they supply the above photo prompt and you supply the story, which can’t exceed 360 words. I was lucky enough to receive 2nd runner up and the generous feedback:
“the line about shadowing the “molten surface” of the coffee lassoed me as I suspected there was more than rich imagery going on here, that something else was lurking under that molten surface. I was not at all disappointed. The voice was very American-Psycho in its dispassionate flippant relaying of brutal details and its narcissism. You touch upon the twisted psychology here. I loved the dynamics of power and how waiting affects the perception of power. He has to control the charade in the relationship, yet allows it from cab drivers (he accepts the subversion of his power on a racial level but not at all on a gender level). The close is pitch-perfect, dialing up a mistress so he can “win” in a way he couldn’t—not even through killing her—with the wife.”
And then on the 2nd runner up bit:
“for the dense writing, where nearly every sentence is doing at least double-duty, tackling a mind that rationalizes horrific actions.”
Quite grateful that she took the time to give such quality, extensive feedback. On to the story:
Waiting. Wasn’t that life? Just a series of protracted waiting punctuated by brief, immersive moments of action. Waiting for the hot coffee to cool just enough to shadow your lips above its molten surface. Waiting for your wife to pick just the right dress, the right makeup and the right hairstyle.
Waiting for the taxi because in your luggage, you carried the remains of that wife that took too damn long. Okay, most of us don’t have that type of waiting problem. Then again, most of us don’t kill our wife after she changes dresses for the 15th time. But for fuck’s sake, if only she knew how much I raged inside to tear the dress off anyway, then she likely would have stopped caring.
But she did care and it enraged me in a different way. No, not the crime of passion, impulse way. I’m not impulsive, I promise. In the way that, we had danced this charade enough times that I no longer heard the music.
When your foot stops tapping to the music, then you know it’s time to react. That’s when the waiting stops and the fun action beings. I used the ice bucket.
Admittedly, that method took a while. Involved lot of waiting for the gurgling to cease.
Some will call me a woman-hater, a feminist-killer. Go on, labels don’t change the lack of blood flowing to my dead wife’s brain.
But damn if my shoulder wasn’t beginning to strain. I knew I had the black-guy-doesn’t-get-a-taxi-in-New-York thing going on, but I had a nice suit and I was standing outside a Hilton. That had to count for something.
I whistled again as a flash of yellow approached. This time it stopped in front of me.
“Can you pop the trunk?” I say to the bearded man.
He does and I plop my wife — all seven parts to be exact — into the trunk and close it shut.
In the backseat of the taxi, I text my mistress, Susan, a bit of an ugly name for something as sexy as a mistress, to tell her I was running late.
That she would have to wait.