Flash fiction, post-everything noire in this, the next installment for Flash Fiction Month. The rain dripped without enthusiasm, and this pretty much sums up the main character’s experience of the story. Until she takes over and let’s her anger out. Bang bang, shoot shoot, happiness is a warm gun…and, yes, you may laugh if you like. Meanwhile, I’ll be belly to the bar, sipping a bourbon on the rocks, grateful the dame missed me.
A Warm Gun
The rain dripped without enthusiasm, barely wetting her head as she slipped out of the car and up the front walk. She might almost have escaped detection, except for the man across the street standing out of the rain under a store’s shade canopy. He watched her enter the house before walking away.
She entered the house without making a commotion. From upstairs, she could just make out a few sounds.
Making little noise herself, she walked to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, took out a carton of pretend lemonade, pulled a glass from the drain board, and started drinking it. It was not her house, her glass, or her lemonade.
She sat at a table in the kitchen, finishing the fake lemonade. She wished the almost-rain would fade and give way to sunshine. It didn’t, though. The rain seemed just a cliché, but no matter.
She waited a bit more, then set the glass in the sink and made her way up the stairs.
From his bedroom, she heard a murmuring of voices. Two voices, no more, no less, but she couldn’t quite tell whose. She opened the door without knocking.
He lay naked in the bed, of course. This is what you and she expected. His lover was a gangly man, wearing a half-slip and nothing else. You might not have expected this, but she wasn’t surprised. The writer of this little fiction tended to bend gender expectations as a trope or theme, she wasn’t sure which it was.
She was surprised that it was her slip the lover wore. She must have left it here last weekend. Then, she thought, perhaps not. Perhaps he had taken it from her place.
You would expect her to make a scene here, an argument to ensue, jealous words thrown in spite. She would have thought that would be her reaction, too. But, no, the writer took a different path. So, she looked at the humorous scene in front of her and laughed, shaking her head.
“It keeps the Company satisfied. No fags allowed.”
“Ah. Well, I think that I’ll shave now, if you don’t mind.”
She walked to the closet, pulled off a few items she had left there, then over to the dresser and grabbed a few things that were hers from a drawer.
“You can keep what’s in the bathroom—souvenirs, or camouflage, whatever. Oh, and keep the slip. I don’t want to think about the warm gun that just fired in it.”
And she went downstairs, out the door. She dropped the key in the mailbox.
She did not notice that the man, who had stood across the street before, now sauntered down the sidewalk on her side of the street. As she unlocked her car, he walked up to her.
“That was quick for a lover’s tryst,” he said.
She looked up, startled. He looked too corporate somehow. Company.
“Tryst tonight. I just needed to pick up a few things for the cleaners,” she spat, tossing her bundle into the back seat. “Not that it’s any of your fucking business.”
“I’m jealous. I thought he’d be with me tonight.”
“I doubt you thought any such thing, if you ever think.” She ducked into the car, started the engine, and drove off without waiting for a reply.
This isn’t the end you expected. She didn’t like it, either. She thought that it would be nice to weave some sort of sense from all of this. She told the writer he was an idiot.
It’s a political caricature, she yelled in the car, a bit of argument against corporate control of our private lives and the complicity of the government.
But, it bent her life out of shape without any concern. Her body had to absorb the lies against it. She may not have been in love with him, but she thinks it’s possible. Why else did she leave so calmly, and protect him?
No, she didn’t like being a character in this story, not at all.
The man who betrayed her didn’t mind, his part was small—a silly moment in bed with another man wearing her slip. He might move up from this sort of part, get something good, a supporting role in a novel, perhaps even be the hero. Or anti-hero. It’s all good for him.
The man in the slip didn’t have any lines, and didn’t care either way about the story. It was another fiction gig. He wanted to make it in poetry, something erotic and romantic. Maybe a poet would notice him here.
She, however, remained stuck in the role of the betrayed lover who takes it well. The sensible woman. The victim.
So, she stopped the car just after that ending. She turned around, nearly hitting two cars, and drove back.
This time, she noticed the man standing under the awning.
She reached into her glove box and pulled out a small automatic pistol. It doesn’t matter what brand, the company won’t send this author the best model to add to his toy collection, and they certainly don’t care about her. It’s a good thing that she, at least, went to the firing range and learned how to shoot.
She stands up straight when she exits the car, lifts her arms up, pointing at the Company geek, and fires three rounds into his chest.
She goes up the sidewalk, pulls the key back out of the mailbox, and lets herself in. The men stand on the stairs, lover with a slip looking out to the right, the liar checking down and to the left.
“Did you hear the gun shots?” Her faux-boy friend calls out. “Get down.”
“Sorry boys. I don’t own a silencer.” She shoots the remaining six shots in rapid succession, three into one, three into the other, all closely grouped near the heart.
Categories: Flash Fiction