My manager did well, booking me here. Unlike most joints where I’ve done my routine, the marquee here looks professional — bold letters against a white background free of holes and dead lights. Many stand-ups would consider performing at a place like this a sign of their arrival.
But for me, this is the end. After too many years pursuing what had been a dream, I’ve woken up into a nightmare of disappointment. Working at my cousin’s insurance agency may not be fulfilling, but it will pay the bills.
One last performance, then on to a world without punch lines.
Twenty minutes from boarding, and there’s no adjacent pair of unoccupied seats at Gate 24. Turbulent landing from the last flight has pushed my introversion over into misanthropy. Can’t bear sitting next to a stranger.
Already went to the bathroom, stomach’s too upset for food, and the newsstand holds no interest. There’s fewer people in Gate 26; I can probably find a seat there, and pay close attention to the announcements.
“Excuse me?” The woman looks like she came from my grandmother’s bridge game. She waves to the seat next to hers.
I shrug, and sit, realizing how introverts make poor martyrs.
As a frequent participant in Friday Fictioneers, I thought it was time for me to show the variety of stories that come out of these contests. Below are ten randomly-selected entries for this week’s contest, for which I had submitted Artistic Vision:
She began cartooning in preschool, and for her fourth birthday illustrated all 22 invitations. After completing her first comic book the following year, the 43-page space opera Beyond the Stars, Wylie discovered she was more interested in coloring than drawing.
Shen then began painting, but grew dissatisfied. Her lines were clean, the images vibrant — the colors, though, weren’t right. In frustration, one day she painted with eyes closed, and when finished, she opened her eyes, and smiled.
Wylie then began coloring blindfolded, with both crayons and paints. And an artist found her vision.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest. You’re limited to 100 words, but keeping your eyes open is entirely up to you.
One day eighteen winters ago, Jackie Shen dared me to crawl under a barbed wire fence, walk into an abandoned building, and return with evidence of the structure’s former life as a military laboratory.
When I refused, Jackie laughed at my trepidation. “Wait here,” he said, getting down on his belly. Clearing the fence, he stood and ran, disappearing into the derelict structure.
After waiting two hours, I ran home and told my parents. They called Jackie’s parents. Three days later, his body was found in a ditch ten miles away. No arrests were ever made.
I’ve never forgiven myself.
I usually don’t get this dark for Friday Fictioneers, but the photo prompt for this week called for a different approach to my 100 word story.
Daniel shook snow off his pant leg as he crossed the street, not noticing until he had reached the sidewalk that Miriam was still standing outside their car, her face filled with anxiety.
“You OK?” Daniel squinted in the late afternoon sunlight.
“I… didn’t think it would be this hard.” She brushed away a lock of hair blown across her face. “Weddings, bar mitzvahs — ”
“B’nai mitzvah, dear.”
“Right. But a Shabbat service? Not since I was eight. I don’t feel like I belong here.”
Daniel held out his hand. “If you choose to be by my side, you belong anywhere I’ll go.”
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest which challenges you to write a complete story of up to 100 words based on a photo prompt. You know you want to participate, so what’s holding you up?