Soccer fans have a saying: "it only takes a second to score a goal." But that has its flipside. Sometimes the moments that end up changing our lives, utterly refashioning them, and not always for the better, also occur within a heartbeat of time. We might only recognize them in hindsight. I realize I am becoming addicted to flash fiction, which is another level of irony given the latest one I wrote for Dan Mader's Friday flash fiction challenge is titled Addiction. Why? I wonder. I think it's partially the brevity, the minimal time commitment in a crowded, busy world filled with deadlines. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever get to my abandoned novel, and even traditional short stories are becoming increasingly daunting in terms of time, but flash fiction? Especially timed (although I admit I often play pretty fast and loose with that part, and since Dan is a good guy he doesn't give me too much of a hard time about it). Surprisingly, you can say a hell of a lot when everything's pared down to a moment, whether it be a moment of comedy, a moment of fear, a moment of transcendence, a moment of horror, a moment of pure loss. This short piece is a nod to noir, of course, with its femme fatale and smoky barroom setting, but it's also a moment. A moment in which... Okay, that's enough. I shouldn't need to explain it. Plus, it doesn't even matter what I think. I hope someone gets something out of this. I very much enjoyed writing it, how it emerged like slow ribbons of smoke from a cigarette held between slender fingers.
The bar is dark in daylight. What paltry light there is moves sluggish, thwarted by dust motes and smoke.
"I can't help it if I have an addictive personality." Liv leans forward and presses one slender finger into my sternum. "And you don't exactly help, my lover, my partner, my significant other."
"Indulgences. Temptations. Urges."
I have no idea what she's talking about, so I decide to enjoy the view down the front of her shirt. Significant other. Ha. She's being an asshole, albeit a flirtatious one. I don't believe in addictive personalities; I believe only in strength or weakness. I smirk at her. She raises one perfect eyebrow, a brunette Lana Turner. Like she knows what I'm thinking, like she knows this postman will not only ring twice, he'll keep on ringing until somebody damn well answers.
"I can quit them all, you know."
I can feel my smirk stretching my face.
"Fuck you," she says, as if she's telling me about the weather. Her face is placid as Arctic ice.
All of a sudden I'm scared. She's out of her chair and at the door before I can think. Confused, I look down at the table.
"Wait! You forgot your cig—"