Her shoes Digital artwork ©2013 Michael DickelFlash Fiction

Flash Fiction—Character Actor

Flash Fiction Month IconContinuing in a more conventional narrative mode, this Flash Fiction Month post gives a bit of a vignette that reveals more about the characters, probably, than anything else. The action follows a pattern in a number of these posts, of someone leaving a relationship, with some trivial insight serving as catalyst. Call me cynical. As always, I’m interested in your comments. If you like this, please share it on your social networks. If you don’t like it, feel free to say why in a comment. Just be nice about it, please.

Character Actor

He thought he was a loner, but he always liked to have a woman at his side, preferably wearing high heels and a top with a low-neck. And he wanted other men to see her there.

His mother called him in California once a week and they chatted about nothing for ten minutes or so before saying goodbye. She gave up on asking about details of his life when he was in high school.

They spoke mostly about the weather, sports, current events, and a bit of gossip about his old friends she’d picked up from the neighbors back in Hopkins, Minnesota, where the grass was always greener.

The woman sleeping next to him at the moment seemed sweet, but his heart wasn’t in it. It never was. She stirred.

He got out of bed, dragged a comb through his thinning hair, and went to the kitchen. He didn’t make her a cup of coffee, so she made herself one when she stumbled in a few minutes later.

“I think it’s time to move on,” she said as she added milk to her cup.

“Yeah, I know what you mean.”

“This is kind of a shallow life you live, don’t you think?”

“It suits me.”

“I guess.”

“Must suit you, you play the game.”

“It’s a game?”

“Isn’t that what the movies call it?”

“I keep thinking maybe one of you guys will stick. The spark will ignite, you know?”

“You mean like fireworks in bed?”

“No, more like a blaze of glory—fame, fortune. I think maybe you’ll land a movie part that sets you up for stardom, all of that.”

“I don’t act.”

“Okay. But maybe you’ll write something, a book that gets optioned for a hit movie. We could have a couple of mansions, live the big life.”

“I don’t write.”

“What do you do?”

“Mostly I screw around, wait tables when I have to, do odd jobs around town for shady characters when I can.”

“Sounds like a character actor.”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

She shrugged.

“I want a leading man.”

After breakfast, and a little morning-goodbye screwing around, she clicked out of the house. Her high heels glittered. The low-cut blouse ruffled in the breeze as she wheeled her overnight bag behind her.

He watched her from his bedroom window, scratching his balls.

A character actor can get steady work, he thought, and shrugged his shoulders.


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