Afternoon Sunset, photo montage/ digital art, ©2013 Michael DickelDigital Art

Afternoon—flash (?)

2013 Short Story MonthDan Wicket has posted on FaceBook that May is Short Story month. The Emerging Writers Network is onboard, not surprising as that’s Dan’s project, too. I saw that the Pen/Faulkner Foundation also posted something about it, a cartoon. And it has its own Twitter hash tag. Must be official. So, below, my fourth post in something maybe like fiction. I don’t know quite what this is, I think flash (fiction? experimental writing?). This is new work for me (other than the first paragraph of the first one, Tomorrow, which was a response to a prompt from Meg Pokras on FaceBook. (Her micro-fiction is amazing, and it’s worth visiting Meg’s website here.) As this work has been flying off my keyboard each day, your comments, thoughts, questions, ideas all are welcome.

Please leave your response before you go. Thank you.


Rain falls into the morning, fizzles as clouds disperse and heat glares out at the world. Afternoon sun follows channels, another flash flood eroding the side of a wadi. Past its zenith, gold fades. Too many additives alloyed to gravity pull poised carats out. She watches the dry hot day blanch as though it would faint. The ring of light plays through her irises, turns those eyes, once tiger bright, into broken agates.

Past Its Zenith, photo montage / digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel

Past Its Zenith
photo montage / digital art
©2013 Michael Dickel

So, the woman with a beard thinks, 1969 ended it all. Music faded. Smoke rose up and drifted away. Nomadic lovers left no memories but a sort of longing that leaned up against the door and looked through slit eyes. Ah, that one had a black pony tail pulled back tight around his head, a death skull skirting skirmishes, sulking sidelong glances, startling glazed-doe eyes. Hendrix kissed good-bye, played jazz riffs while laying on the bed, idly. Perhaps something familiar passed notes this way, the key. G. Light burning out.

The smooth-faced lover lost most recently danced. Bars bounced outside his body, it seemed, his movements so collected contained all movements to the point of still. Her eyes glued to his fluid interpretations of the world, she missed the tug that took her in, off balance, to this gravitational field. Magnetic charm cheated words, left her breathless, motionless, lost.

Face Sketch blues iii, iPad Sketch plus Adobe PhotoShop, ©2013

Face Sketch blues iii
iPad sketch

She loses the train, tracks melting in the heat, of thought. Her boss presses forward in straight lines of commodification, codification, commerce, copulation replacement communication, closing the sale, consumption. Repeat. From here to there and there to somewhere else. Hard on logic, soft on value, all contented encapsulation of energy, power, money—conservation of energy, momentum, synergy, entropy—hammered into an out-of-the-box lack of creation that boxes frying pan and fire into tiny wavelets of frozen food convenience.

She longs to slip out of this job, her clothes, her skin, to touch possibilities, connections, resonances, vibrating through her, pulsating into her—trust. Touch. Know.

Beach Bar, photo and digital art montage, ©2013 Michael Dickel

Beach Bar
photo and digital art montage
©2013 Michael Dickel

After work, the sea calls, the beach cries out in a lover’s response. Beach-bar crowd, single-malt pacification, calming of the invasion. The aliens, indeed, came in business suits. Warships hover just over the horizon, lost from sight but always present, the sense of them, the shadows projected up through an orange globe sun. Worshippers come drumming and dancing to see it fall, this red-shifting star, into the sea. No steam rises.

She watches dancers. They let the room define them, do not defy the music, deify the steps. She sips, slips into reverie revolving around revolutions that fell apart. Jobs shrunk back, everyone panicked, and the masters of corporate feudalism again controlled the serfs. As the surf calms for sunset, she relaxes. What else to do?

The sellers marketed everything they could, pushed away everything they could not, attacked what threatened to return. They scared us all into convincing them we were unworthy of their miserly support but would give everything for this chance at livelihood. Like rich relatives who don’t want to acknowledge you, they allowed us to serve them, she thinks, according to their will and whim. The bonfires went unattended, mostly. The revolutionary sparks spread too thin. She sips her whiskey.

The sun sets.

Afternoon Sunset, photo montage/ digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel

Afternoon Sunset, photo montage/ digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel

The series, Chicken and Egg, has six installments for now, in this order:

Tomorrow | Today | Morning | Afternoon | Evening | Yesterday


You can read this story
and other Flash Fiction by Michael Dickel
in The Palm Reading after the Toad’s Garden

12 replies »

  1. ah, yes, and it was 1969 when it all ended. wasn’t it? yet the music lingered in my heart for many years. until recently. sent silent. good piece michael. ah, and yes, a good piece…


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