Y’all would’ve missed a chance to laugh.
It was right here, on this very page, free gratis and formatted in pristine Arial font. The single most mind-blowingly epic flash fiction piece to appear on this blog since Wild Radish was right here, and it seems to have been entirely overlooked.
It has alienation, estrangement and the abject stagnation of the human soul. It has lizards and weeds, bad coffee, an unnamed protagonist waiting in vain for rescue or redemption. There’s a named character who never even appears. I’m telling you people, it’s Waiting for Godot revisited for the single serving crowd. There’s lost love, existential pathos, and an unlocked but unapproachable garage, which may or may not be the portal to some life-rending metamorphosis.
It has the fall of night and the pall of midnight, hopeless except for the prospect of breakfast. So that finally after a wandering generation has forgotten him, we see that Kerouac was right about how evening comes
… just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody else besides the forlorn rags of growing old.
This story is what Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf could have been, if only that shrewish Martha had had the decency to decamp with her pity party and leave that poor bastard George in solitude and in peace.
We might all end up wearing those forlorn rags by the end of my tale, but for that breakfast teetering on the very cusp of oblivion. And some tiny mustard seed of faith that – as Cormac McCarthy wrote – the right and God-made sun might rise for all and without distinction.
And finally – O wonders! – the whole misbegotten story of bleak humanity on the edge of a lake framed like a great lidless eye, will if printed out in a standard font fit on but the two sides of a single sheet of cheapass paper. I’m sayin’ it’s short.
Anyway, I don’t know what brought you here, or what you might be looking for, but here it is:
The story of two men withdrawn to contemplation on the shore of a nameless, remote and treeless lake in California’s high desert. The fun starts when one of the hermits fails to show up for the story at all.
The sky is beautiful and clear. From the Santa Lucias to Tehachapi, it stands disaffected, unashamed, unchallenged by impertinent clouds. How can a man look on all that sky and not feel drawn to self examination, called to make accounting of himself? Our man is thinking about his shoes. …
No man passes through this world and leaves the fabric of existence just the same. There is a ripple or a wave; for better or not, things can never be the same. And he does worry about that, about how he might accidentally cause damage. He has seen the chaos that a careless word can bring, and the churning of the wind in just the smallest dose of hate. …
Now he’s not so sure that time exists at all, except when he’s waiting – like tonight – or seeing how the lines around his eyes are getting deep. Reminds him not so much of crows as of a confluence of rivers.
Yeah, OK, I’m kidding around. But it would be cool if some people would read it and let me know what they think.