An Average Day in the Life of Matt Summers – Flash Fiction

An Average Day - Flash Fiction
Matt Summers lived in an average house on an average street where nothing ever happened.

His mother would wake him by opening his curtains, allowing the light to stream in. Only today, his mother snapped them shut shortly after opening them.

“Wha’s going on?” asked a bleary-eyed Matt.

“Oh nothing,” said his mother. “I just realized that it’s Saturday and thought you could use a little extra rest this morning. I couldn’t help but notice how much you’re still growing.”

Matt smiled. He had every intention of burrowing back under his covers, but then remembered how close he’d come to beating level twelve on his favorite video game the day before. Unable to go back to sleep, he slid off the bed and padded into the den where he found his mother pulling a decorative sword off the wall. “What’cha doing?” he asked.

“Just pulling this down to give it a cleaning,” said his mother after a slight pause. “I noticed a bit of tarnish.” She tittered, though whatever the joke was, it went over Matt’s head. “Er. Why don’t you go and get yourself a bit of breakfast?”

Matt nodded and went into the kitchen where he poured himself a bowl of cereal. His father entered the room. “Have you seen your mother?” he asked.

“She’s in the den,” Matt said, spilling a bit of milk on the counter. “Acting weird. Taking the sword off the wall so she can polish it.”

“Ah,” said his father, his face taking on a severe expression.

Matt looked at the spot of milk on the counter. “Don’t worry, I’ll clean that up.”

His father blinked. “Right. I’ll go see if I can help your mother.” He turned and exited the room, leaving Matt to finish his breakfast in peace.

After shoveling the cereal into his mouth, Matt went into the den and fired up his video game console. His dad re-appeared, briefly holding a large dusty leather-bound book. Matt guessed his mother must have found another cleaning project for his father to do. “You’re blocking the screen,” said Matt.

His father started. “Sorry,” he said “I must have been distracted. Didn’t see you there.” before exiting the room in the direction of the front door.

The game’s intro music blasted over the speakers. “Alright,” said Matt to himself. “Let’s do this thing.”

Several hours, Matt jumped around the room. He’d done it. Not only had he beaten level twelve, he’d defeated the baddie on level thirteen and fourteen too. He couldn’t wait to tell his friend, Oscar, on Monday all about it. The game’s sound designers had really pulled out all the stops on level thirteen. At times, it had seemed as if the sound of explosions were coming from outside of his house rather than on the small screen in front of him. However, the game designers must have spent their entire budget on level thirteen as fourteen had sounded dull and dead by comparison outside of a single, solitary crash.

His stomach rumbled realizing he’d played his game well past lunch. On his way to the pantry, he noticed the trashcan was full. His mouth twisted and his nose wrinkled, but he grabbed the sack. Taking the garbage out was his responsibility and his mom was obviously in one of her whole house cleaning moods. If he didn’t take the initiative to take it out to the curb on his own, he knew from experience more chores would follow.

Outside, the air smelled of smoke. One of the neighbors must be smoking a pork shoulder. There was something else, though Matt couldn’t quite place it. It was like eggs and milk gone bad. He glanced at the bag of garbage he held in one hand. The stench was probably from that, he just hadn’t noticed it inside.

Rounding the corner, he found his father leaning against the home’s brick wall. “Taking a break?” Matt asked.

“I guess you can say that,” said his dad, picking up the book from where it lay on the ground, still as dusty as it had earlier that day.

“You got something on your shirt,” said Matt pointing at a large oily-looking stain.

His father looked down. “So I do,” he said. “I should probably go and get this cleaned up before it sets.” His father then turned and went inside taking the book with him.

Matt spotted the little old woman who lived at the end of the street standing in the middle of the road. She was staring at their house. He waved. The woman scowled and scurried away. Matt shrugged and returned inside where he found his mother re-attaching the freshly cleaned blade to its place on the wall.

“Sorry, sweetie,” she said noticing him there. “That took longer than I thought it would.”

“That’s okay, mom,” he said, picking up his controller and returning to his game, which he played through dinner. Later that night, Matt lay on his average-sized bed, in his average-sized room feeling he’d accomplished a lot, and yet at the same time, it was as if he had missed something more. He turned over on his side. Giving into dreams, he let the feeling go. After all, it had been just another day on a street where nothing ever happened.

Nikki Kan’t Quit – Rocky Row Flash Fiction

The following is a scene featuring a supporting character from the world of An Uncertain Confidence, a Rocky Row Novel.


Nikki Kan't Quit - www.alliepottswrites.comNikki Kant drummed her fingers on her desk’s cheap veneer while she listened to the city liaison ramble on her voicemail. The desk was one of those cheap particle board models you order over the internet and assemble yourself and had a tendency to wobble if her daily paperwork and personal clutter wasn’t placed on its surface just right. The vibration from her finger’s impact sent a pen rolling off its edge. She didn’t bother to pick it up.

The liaison’s voice increased in volume, becoming more clipped by the second as he worked himself into a rage. Apparently, helping a friend was the sort of thing that was frowned upon in the eyes of the city. She’d heard enough. Returning the out-dated handset to its cradle, she pulled out a desk drawer. Her fingers paused over the accordion folder that hid her secret stash of dark chocolate covered caramel seasoned with sea salt. I’m going to need this. She pulled out the accordion folder out as well as a second file folder.

The drawer stuck when she tried to shove it close. Nikki tried again. The drawer remained firmly in its position. Figures, she thought. Folders in hand, Nikki walked over to her boss’ office. By the look of his expression through the glass window, he was off to a similar morning. She tapped on the door with her knuckle before letting herself in without waiting for him to wave.

“Chief.”

“Do you realize I’ve had five reporters call me already?” He glanced at the clock hanging on the wall over her head. “It’s not even nine.” His desk phone rang. The chief frowned. “I’m guessing that’s another one now. Do you want to explain what you were thinking?”

“Not particularly, no. It shouldn’t matter. I was off duty.”

“Off duty or not, what you do reflects on this department. I hope you understand how serious this situation is.”

“I don’t, actually. All I did was go for a run.”

“That’s not all you did and you and I both know it.”

Nikki shrugged.

The chief stood and placed his hands on his desk. “You’re on your way to a suspension pending a full investigation into your behavior over the last few weeks – you understand that, don’t you.”

“That won’t be necessary, sir,” said Nikki separating the accordion holding her stash from the second folder containing a single sheet of paper.

The chief’s eyebrow shot up. “You’re quitting?” He sat back in his chair. It creaked under his weight. “I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. I thought it would take more to break you.”

Nikki snorted. She opened the thin folder and pulled out its contents. “I’m anything but broken,” she said placing the resignation letter on his desk. “I suggest you read it.” She tucked the accordion folder under her arm. She wasn’t going to need reinforcements after all. Finally going through with her decision after drafting the letter days ago felt better than eating a dozen chocolate bars.

The chief stared at the piece of paper. “This changes nothing,” he said.

“Oh, I’m pretty sure it changes everything.” She removed the badge from her breast and placed it on the desk next to her resignation letter.

“You walk out that door, and you’re on your own. I won’t be able to protect you anymore.”

Nikki smiled. “I survived three tours. I think I can manage.”

A brief knock on the door announced their meeting. Rangle poked his head in. “Chief, I just heard-” He noticed Nikki’s presence then his gaze moved to the chief’s desk. He couldn’t have missed the badge nor the sheet of paper. “I knew it,” he said. “I pegged you as a quitter your first day.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Nikki. “You’ve always been a terrible detective.”

Rangle’s face took on a shade of puce. He turned to the chief. “So, as I was saying, I just heard that we got a lead on that bomb threat last week.”

“It’s a distraction,” said Nikki. “If either of you had only listened–”

“That’s enough, Ms. Kant.” The chief slammed his palm down on the desk. “You’ve made your decision.” He nodded at her resignation letter. “Now, how about you get out of my office so the rest of us can do the job you’re walking away from.”

I’m not walking away from anything, she thought. She turned on her heel and opened the office door. I’m just not following your rules anymore. She closed the door with a bang. A few of the other officers lingering nearby glanced her way at the sound, but no one stopped her as she made her way past the main desk and out the door. Nikki smiled. It was just as well. They wouldn’t have been able to stop her now, even if they’d tried.

The Knock – A Short Story and Flash Fiction Fun

The problem writing non-fiction full-time, particularly when it is geared around a very narrow set of keywords, is that occasionally you feel as if you’ve run out of ways to explain a topic differently than you had the week before. You start feeling redundant, and possibly a little uninspired.

The fact of the matter is, you are totally being redundant, but that’s kind of the point. You have to keep in mind that the person visiting those sites or reading those types of articles are typically are looking for an answer to their question and are only visiting you for a short time. Lots and lots of articles on the same thing can help increase your rank and makes your content more likely to reach those in need of answers.

Therefore, you do what you have to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also indulge in a little bit of creative writing fun. That being said, I decided this week to make use of some random story generators I found online. The following is the result.


The Knock short story flash fiction - www.alliepottswrites.comShe knelt on the carpet in her new living-room, a big cardboard box in front of her, unwrapping ornaments, photographs, and other mementos. The fan overhead rattled as it spun. She’d congratulated herself after installing it earlier that morning, with a mimosa, celebrating the fact she hadn’t called her parents a single time, or worse, her ex-boyfriend. The last thing she needed was to give him an excuse to work his way back into her life.

Unfortunately, she had to concede she hadn’t spent long enough verifying its blades were balanced before turning it on. She made a mental note to add fixing that to the ever-growing to-do list.

There was a knock at the door. She jumped. Most of her possessions were still packed away in boxes, so the knock had resulted in an echoing boom. She had no more than taken two steps when the knock sounded a second time.

“I’m coming,” she called out. “Coming.”

She was just about to open the door when she thought it might be better to first see who her visitor might be through the peephole instead. The breezeway on the other side of the door appeared empty.

Guess they had the wrong apartment, she thought, returning to her labor. She knelt beside the box of ornaments and pulled out a figurine of a dancing girl her grandmother had gifted her on her sixteenth birthday. She held it up, loving how the light shining through the glass made patterns on the room’s freshly installed carpets. Holding the figurine in her hand, she dug through the box, looking for its hook so that she might hang it next to the apartment’s kitchen window.

The boom of a heavy-handed knock on the door startled her again. She gently placed the dancer on the box and returned to the front door, but once again the breezeway on the other side appeared empty.

She pursed her lips. She’d several kids playing ball down the street the day before as she’d begun moving in. They must have decided to play a prank on her. Opening the door a crack, she shouted, “go home.”

Her eye caught the box of juice on the kitchen countertop. She frowned. She must have forgotten to put it away after making her drink earlier. She glanced back at the door and shrugged. “Why not?” She poured herself a second drink that was more champagne than juice and raised her glass. “Here’s to the next chapter,” she said out loud. She tipped the glass back and draining its contents. The combination of pulp and bubbles tickled her tongue.

She took a step toward the main room and bumped into the wall. She giggled. “I made that drink too strong.”

She stepped on the carpet, loving how its plush weave surrounded her toes. Another round of knocking boomed from the front door, this time even louder and more insistent. She turned her head and shouted, “go away, whoever you are.” Her ears detected the sound of a siren in the distance. Good, she thought, maybe someone else got tired of those kids and called in a complaint.

She returned to the box of ornaments. The room began to spin. Yeah, that drink was way too strong. Lesson learned. She sat down in an attempt to reclaim her equilibrium, but the dizziness increased. She looked for something to center her gaze on.

Only then did she realize the figurine was gone.

 

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Eight

I love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate link) and its creative games, even if they always cause me to end on a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately, all games must come to an end. While I may choose to revisit these characters one day and continue their story, the following is a conclusion to this particular series.

Once again I would like to thank Jamie Cat Callan of the Writer’s Toolbox for sponsoring the original posts, in spite of them going a little dark, and for creating such a fun and easy tool for priming the creative process. 

May you all have a safe and happy new year.

To read from the beginning, visit the first post here.


A Writers Toolbox #ShortStory - conclusion - www.alliepottswrites.com

An ear-piercing squeal jarred Margaret back from the darkness. As another dose of adrenaline spiked her bloodstream, her vision cleared enough to see the unguarded doorway. Thoughts were difficult to string together. Margaret didn’t need them. Animalistic instinct took over.

She could sense an overwhelming pain as she pulled herself out of the chair, but it was as if the pain belonged to someone else. One foot dragged behind the other as she crossed the room. She barely noticed. A man’s voice complained about a sticky wheel in the background. It was all she needed to fuel the urge to get away.

The knob turned in her hand, opening to a kitchen staffed by many who’d long since learned to turn a blind eye to the goings-on of the back room. All it would take one to raise the alarm. Though it was empty, she dropped to the ground. The brown tile floor bit into her knees as she crawled through the narrow pathways separating the stainless counter-tops.

She glanced over her shoulder. Her captors had not yet noticed her disappearance. A trail of red marked her progress. Margaret risked rising up into a crouch as she looked around the kitchen for anything that might aid in her escape.

Aprons marred with spots of gray from contact with grease hung from a line of hooks on the wall. A pair of rags draped over the edge of an industrial sink within easy reach.

She grabbed the rags scented thick with bleach and tied one around her largest wound. Margaret tried used the other to wipe away the trail leading to her but only managed to create a pink blur. Wrapping the rest of her body with one of the aprons, she made her way toward the swinging door of the kitchen’s exit, hoping the disguise would be enough to keep her from being noticed.

A foursome blocked her final path to freedom.

One of the four spotted her. “Daisy?” His face drained of color. “You were here this whole time?”

“Out of my way Bill,” Margaret growled. Muddled thoughts continued to swirl, forbidding her from letting her guard down. It didn’t matter if he was her brother. If he was here, he could be one of them. She couldn’t afford to lose her edge now. Not when she was so close.

One of the others raced to her side, pulling her into a crushing embrace that made her eyes water. “I thought I lost you.” He relaxed his hold. “I mean, I thought we lost you.”

The warmth of his arms was unbearable. “Not you too, Larry,” Margaret whimpered as tears filled her vision. “Let me go.” She fought against his hold as a new sort of pain entered into the mix.

Her brother’s best friend released her with wide eyes. Larry’s gaze dropped to the apron, now spotted with pink as well as gray. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He took another step back. “I’d never–I’m not–”

Light spilled into the dining room as the kitchen door swung open once more. Margaret didn’t have to turn to know that a large man stood on the other side. She screamed as she attempted to push past Larry, only to be caught by her brother as her legs gave out.

“Donald.” The woman standing closest to Bill smiled, stepping between them and the man. “If you are here, does that mean Frank is close by?” The woman’s voice was smoke and honey. “Ah, there’s my favorite artist.”

“Laurie?” A voice that would haunt Margaret’s dreams, spoke up from behind the large man. “And here I thought you still held hard feelings.”

“Tough day at the office?”

The man shrugged. “I’ve had better. Speaking of work,” He nodded in Margaret’s direction. “I’ve got a delivery to make, but if that past business is behind us… Afterward it can be like before.”

“Oh, I’ve learned a lot since then,” the woman practically purred. She reached into her purse and rummaged around until she pulled out a tube of lip gloss. She coated her lips in slow meaningful strokes as she crossed the room before pulling Frank’s head down to meet his lips with hers.

Frank broke the kiss first. “Now that’s my kind of hello.”

Laurie shrugged. “If you say so.” She walked to Donald and kissed him on the cheek. “I choose to think of it as goodbye.” She returned to Bill’s side.

Frank grabbed at his throat as bloated hives broke out across purpling skin. Donald scratched his cheek where Laurie kissed him, then clawed at his pockets before similarly turning red followed by blue.

“Looking for this?” Laurie asked brandishing a tube in one hand as both men dropped to the ground. Gone was the warmth from her voice. “I keep a package of peanuts in my purse, to keep my metabolism up while dieting. Good for me, but bad for those with allergies.” She let the injection tool taken from Donald’s pocket fall to the ground and crushed it under a shoe. She looked down at the men gasping for breath on the floor. “The next time either of you see Leslie, be sure to tell him I can too act.”

Returning her attention back to the group she smiled. “It is time we all enjoyed a change of scenery, don’t you think?”

Margaret was reminded of their childhood as her older brother scooped her up and carried her out of the diner. Police cars raced by in the direction of Leslie’s penthouse. She’d traded more than cooking tips at the class in Duluth. Her lips turned up as she allowed the darkness take over once more. And now, the scenery wasn’t the only thing that would be changing.

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Seven

As much as I absolutely love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience), I have found it always makes me end on a cliff-hanger. As I am curious as to the story’s end (and hope you are too), I have decided to continue the series with a few more posts. While these posts are not sponsored and do not conform to the rules of the game, I hope you enjoy them all the same.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.


A Writers-toolbox inspired short story - www.alliepottswrites.com

A crimson ribbon swirled in the sink as Frank rinsed off the tools of his trade. He twisted the faucet knob, slowing the flow of water to allow the color to expand and formed intricate shapes before contracting once more and disappearing down the drain. He sighed as the water ran clear. As much as he tried, he could never quite capture the raw beauty created by the drowning art on his canvas with paint.

A grunt behind him reminded him of the task at hand. Frank turned to his partner, Donald, who was still standing guard by the door. “The girl’s tougher than she looks,” he gestured at the crumpled figure in the chair. “Stupid — but tough. Leslie isn’t going to be happy.”

Donald didn’t need a tongue to tell Frank his feelings on the subject. The expression on his face spoke volumes enough.

Frank looked at the girl again. “Guess there’s nothing left to do but clean up.” The girl. Margaret was her name. Emphasis on was, Frank thought as he shook his head. He remembered how she’d looked when she’d arrived with eyes that flashed between hope and fear. And those pouty lips.., he savored the thought as he would a snifter full of high-end brandy later that night. At one point he’d found himself almost ready to believe her. He shrugged, dismissing the image. Such a waste. Thoughts like that served no one and they still had work to do.

Donald’s face was once again a mask of granite as walked over to one of the large plastic drum style containers the restaurant hiding the back room used to transport leftover grease to the biodiesel processing plant. He picked up the drum and positioned it on the hand truck with an ease that came from years of practice.

An aroma of freshly baked bread tickled Frank’s nose and made his mouth water as he dried the last of his instruments. The kitchen’s really stepped up their game today, he thought as he packed his tools back into their leather case. The scent of rosemary was normally not so strong. His stomach rumbled. It would have to remain empty a while longer. In his line of work, it was never a good decision to delay sharing the results of an interview, no matter how enticing a meal was.

Frank winced as an ear-piercing screech came from the direction of the hand truck. “Stop, stop, stop,” he said coming to Donald’s side. He crouched down to examine the base. “Here’s the problem. The wheel’s stuck.” He poked at the wheel, looking for whatever was blocking its axle. The cool metal rim was tacky to the touch with strands of matted hair stuck to its surface. “Is this the same one you used on the last job?” He pushed on the rubber of the tire, but the wheel stubbornly refused to turn.

He frowned. If they didn’t clear whatever it was out now, there would be no way to get the container out of the room once it was filled. Then again, Donald had more muscle in a finger than most did in their entire arms. He might not even need the cart. The girl probably only weighs one hundred sixty or so, he thought as he glanced over his shoulder.

The chair was empty. Frank jumped up and spun on his heel. His gaze followed a trail of red spatter from the chair to the unguarded door.

Donald grunted.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Frank whistled. Donald wasn’t the only one getting sloppy. “Maybe she’s not so stupid after all.”

His partner snorted.

“Well, don’t just stand there.” He gestured at the open door. “Go get her. She can’t have gone far.”


Read the conclusion here