What a fitting way to usher in the new year: with it’s inevitable demise. Well at least with some hyperbolic social commentary, one of flash fiction’s many strengths. And as it turns out perhaps it does end with a whimper instead of a bang.
Help make 2012 another watershed year for excellent stories: keep sending your flash to email@example.com. Always feel free to contact me with questions, comments or concerns.
Eric by Barry Huff
You wanna know when I realized the world was over?
Not over in an apocalyptic, Jesus Christ-fire-and-brimstone, kind of way. It was over when Eric Miller got his cell phone.
I know what you're thinking: who gives a shit about Eric Miller's cell phone? How does that insignificant event signal the end of the world?
You see, before Eric got his phone, everything was right with the world:
1.Humans needed oxygen.
2.Working for someone other than yourself sucked.
3.People who could barely afford to keep electricity and food in their house didn't buy cell phones.
So when Eric showed up that Monday in his scuffed up Converse (two of his toes bubbling out of a hole in the front of the shoe) showing us pictures he took with his phone the night before, I shuddered fearfully.
Picture after picture of bland, shirtless self-portraits of him flexing his skinny, malnutrition arms in front of a mirror in his bathroom. The same type of self-portraits Benny Toepperwein, the school's richest kid, regularly posted since fifth grade.
Eric's building looked like a damn haunted house. A section of its roof was caved-in above an empty apartment with no effort of repair on the horizon. Daily Eric's clothes reeked of fermented sweat, but his phone's pictures never betrayed his obvious need. Not one image of pest infestations, an empty refrigerator, or drunken, neglectful parents.
Instead, like Benny, each of Eric's photos displayed frozen smiles, friendly hugs from pretty girls, and ample good times. Eric became the director of a life he never had.
Yeah... that was my signal of the end. And I didn't even need one zombie to tell me that.
Lyle Rosdahl, a writer living in San Antonio, edits the flash fiction blog & best of in print for the Current. He created, facilitates and participates in Postcard Fiction Collaborative, a monthly flash fiction response to a photo. You can see more of his work, including photos, paintings and writing, at lylerosdahl.com.
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