Last week I received my shiny, colorfully bird-laden copy of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction. Books like this don’t usually show up at my house: I’m a poet, through and through. But I’ve also had this little fling with fiction on the side since attending the Midwest Writers’ Conference, where I practically skipped out of Lee Martin’s brief session with a piece of fiction in hand. With the arrival of this new book, the affair has now become downright torrid. I’ve committed to Flash Fiction Fridays, when I will compose a flash piece, hell or high water, based on a writing exercise from the Field Guide. Some of these may even sneak their way into Tweetspeak. The first? A he said/she said tale. After seeing–and hearing about–the aftermath of an odd incident on our street, I imagined how a fictional “he” and “she” might process the event themselves.
He said: She had to be drunk. She said: You don’t know that. He said: What other woman hits the accelerator in her own garage? She said: It could happen to anyone. He said: She drove through the wall and the backyard and landed in the woods. She said: Cars are powerful. He said: She was sloshed. She said: Maybe she got a cell call. He said: Nope. She said: She’d been working all day. He said: Don’t we all. She said: Her kids were yelling in the backseat. He said: They were at daycare. She said: You never get their voices out of your head. He said: Someone could have been killed. She said: A woman never gets a break. He said: My God. She said: There was laundry and curriculum night and a mother with Alzheimer’s. He said: You’ve gotta be– She said: And the boss’s mean emails and her back hurting and her breasts sagging to her waist. Husband spending more time with college football than his own kids. And– He said: The cops made her walk the line. She said: Why couldn’t she just be sober and overwhelmed? He said: They led her off in handcuffs. She said: Lucky bitch.