Thursday, May 10, 2018

Discarded Gold - a short short story

Here is a piece of flash fiction I wrote decades ago when I was heavily into experimental fiction. Don't make too much of it because I'm not even totally sure of what message I was trying to convey. Ah, youth!

Discarded Gold 

Three old men on a park bench watched as she strolled past. Blond, bouffant hair, the red ribbon tying it matching her dress, tight and short. Replacing the magazine on the rack, I hurried from the corner drugstore, chasing after her down the street.
"Wait," I said.
Executing a perfect one-eighty pirouette, she faced me, curtsying, smiling. When she blew me a kiss, I saw she was no more than eighteen, and maybe younger.
"You dropped this."
"Not mine," she said.
Withdrawing the bogus blue silk scarf, I basked in her green ephemeral eyes, desperate to bite her puffed lower lip.
"Sorry. Would you have a sundae with me?"
"Will you take me home afterward?"
"No car," I said.
"How old are you?"
"Old enough to drive."
"Can you dance?"
We both could, our swirling bodies colliding as intersecting cosmic rays beamed from a ceiling strobe. Sweat beaded my brow. Our bodies, moving in time, touching, caressing, becoming enamored, interacting, made love to the beat. The girl and I kissed.
Later, as we walked along the beach, hypnotic moonbeams splayed crystal sand. Midnight breakers crashed against the shore, rounding tiny quartz crystals surviving from seamless streams that had never twice touched the same drop of water.
A distant fire.
"I don’t even know your name."
"Emil," I said. "And yours?"
"I love your eyes, Collette."
"What else do you love?"
"The rest of you," I said, gazing across the moonlit water.
Far out across the bay, dolphins broke the rolling waves.
"I’m sixteen," she said, licking lips so red and swollen that they defied gravity.
"You’re lying."
She didn’t bother denying my accusation.
Behind us, two gulls groused over a dead fish bobbing upside down in the surf.
"Who are we, Emil?"
"Two people," I said. “Do you have to go home?”
“Do you?” When I shook my head, she said, "Are we fated, Emil?"
"Let’s have our cards read and find out."
Chipped red paint lay behind the sign on the door that said SEER, Collette’s hand feeling warm and grasping as I led her through it. A dark woman sat across a tiny table from us, greasy strands of black hair protruding from her red bandanna. She had a bulbous nose and puffy face, and her high cheeks frowned. Malignant eyes stared at us across scarred and stained oak. Liver-spotted hands nervously fingered frayed tarot cards.
"I can contact the spirits, but it will cost you fifty."
Collette punched me when I asked, "Don’t you know any cut-rate spirits?"
My pointed sarcasm failed to faze Mother Midnight. Taking my five, she dealt the magic cards.
"The moon is full," she said.
When I gazed at the ceiling only broken tiles stared back at me.
"Are we in love, Mother?"
"We are all in love," she said.
Mother’s black cat wound through my legs as we exited into the back alley. Overturned cans of trash reeked of spoiled fish. I stole a kiss and grasped Collette’s tiny hand.
"Spirits are weak tonight," I said.
"And life is fragile," she said, exciting me further with an unexpected kiss.
Multicolored rockets exploded in the distance, momentarily startling a starless sky.
Collette and I held hands. High above reality, like multicolored balloons we floated, unpunctured by sharp earthen prods.
"The streets below are dark," I said.
"But the sky above is light," she said, her smile colliding with red and green reflections bounding away from flickering streetlights. "And my heart is full." Before I could answer, she said, "I left my skates on the street."
"Leave them," I said. "Thieves be damned."
An approaching streetcar with an ancient electrical heart struggled as it climbed the steep hill on its way toward us. Raising a finger, I flagged it, grasped Collette’s hand and pulling her through the door. Above us, the lazy sun split the hazy dawn as Collette’s creamy thighs peeked from beneath her short red skirt.
"I love the dawn," she said.
"Let’s make love at my place," I said.
"We’re making love now," she said.
"But we have no music.
"Then you’re not listening."
Rush hour. Carbon monoxide wafting up from endless vehicles pointing in straight lines toward oblivion. The noise began filling my cavities of desire with mental glue.
"It’s morning," she said
"Every twenty-four hours," I said.
"Must this end?"
"Well, I should go to work."
"Does your work usurp beauty?" she asked
Encroaching noise drowned my answer as I stepped from the antique, watching as she waved from the door of the disappearing streetcar.
An old gray dog brushed my leg. When I reached to pat his head, he turned and disappeared behind trashcans lining the nearby alleyway. Probably in search of discarded gold hidden behind forgotten scraps of life.

Born near Black Bayou in the little Louisiana town of Vivian, Eric Wilder grew up listening to his grandmother’s tales of politics, corruption, and ghosts that haunt the night. He now lives in Oklahoma where he continues to pen mysteries and short stories with a southern accent. He is the author of the French Quarter Mystery Series set in New Orleans and the Paranormal Cowboy Series. Please check it out on his AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and iBook author pages. You might also like to check out his website.

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