Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Flash Fiction--title to come

So at BlogHer I did this writing exercise. It became this little flash fiction story.

Here is the flash fiction story--draft one. I might polish it up to try to sell it to a magazine. Curious what you might make of it.

The writing prompt was about sensory writing.
The one I received were the following:

  • A 90 year old
  • McDonalds
  • The sound of breaking glass
  • The scent of orange peels
  • Taste of something sour

Here is the flash fiction story. 

Hands which used to cup the faces of the most desired men in Hollywood now searched for the simple warmth of a McDonalds cup of coffee. Though her nails were still meticulously buffed and polished, the fingers were long and thin. The skin had liver spots, and no one would mistake them for a young woman’s hands.  They were 90 years old, like the rest of her.

They didn’t shake as she emptied two of the creams and four packets of sugar into the coffee and took a sip. The coffee wasn’t as tasty as Cary Grant. Nor as gorgeous as Brando in his prime, but it was hot and wasn’t likely to disappoint.

The timer on her erroneously named smartphone went off. Time for the pill of the hour. She reached into the purse that had been a diaper bag and dug for her pill holder. It had each pill for the days of the week. She opened the little square and put the small disc on her tongue. She gulped the coffee and liquid and pill went down.  Then she dropped the smartphone and the glass cracked. Stupid smartphone.

She dug into the diaper bag where she kept extra Ziploc bags. She opened one without thinking and was assaulted with the smell of decaying orange peels. She must have forgotten to throw them out. She’d forget her own name next. She put the cracked smartphone in an empty bag and zipped it closed.

“Here, honey.” Half of a McDonald’s cherry “pie” appeared on a napkin in front of her. Audrey slipped into the booth across from her.

Ah, youth. She thought – rather uncharitably. Audrey was only eight years younger than she was, but it seemed like decades. Audrey’s less-than-perfectly manicured hand took one of hers to give strength, no, to share strength. They had shared everything. Audrey had been her beloved friend and her sweetest lover since the beginning of that long-ago television show had launched their careers.

She picked up the cherry “pie” with her free hand and bit in. Savoring the sweet-tart mess. She looked into her lover’s eyes and savored Audrey. They ate in companionable silence. Despite the coffee, she felt herself beginning to drowse. Her eyes closed for a short time longer than a blink.

“Melissa!” She heard Audrey say. “You’ll catch your death!” She opened her eyes to see the silver hair of their daughter. She was wearing an attractive blue swing coat that Audrey was buttoning. Their daughter was sixty-two, and a grandmother, but there Audrey was buttoning her coat.

“Aunt Aud, I’m fine.” Melissa’s strident Brooklyn accent reminded her of Melissa’s father, a co-star who agreed to “stud duty” as he called it for the three months it took for her to become pregnant.

“Ma?” Melissa’s voice took her from her memories and she smiled into the eyes that were so like her own. She put her hand over her daughters. She remembered when Melissa’s hands were so little, now they were larger then her own. When did that happen.

 “You said it was important. Is everything okay?” Melissa said. The peevish annoyed tone had entered her voice. Such a good daughter, she thought. She had been so very blessed to have such a good daughter. 

“It is important. We need you here to witness a signing.” The daughter straightened up, and the lawyer came out.

“Are you two changing your wills? I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that because I’m mentioned in your will, I can’t stand as witness.”

“No darling.” Audrey said. “This.” She put the simple piece of paper down in front of her daughter who was reaching to get her glasses. She then took her lover’s hand so they could watch together when the light went on.

It wasn’t long. Melissa was straightening her glasses and saw the document. She looked up at the two women who raised her. Her mother and Aunt who were the most married people she had ever known. Melissa’s eyes filled.

“Oh Mom!” She breathed and enfolded her mother in a tight hug.

“Aunt Aud!” She said and hugged the other woman.

“But, but everyone should be here!” Melissa said as she searched through her bag to find a tissue. She found it and sniffed into it.  “Why now? Why after all this time? It’s been legal for some time.”

“She finally said yes.” She said, squeezing Audrey’s hand. “Come along now and take pictures on your phone.

Audrey slid out of the booth and took her lover’s cane. Melissa positioned it so her mother could stand. Leaning her weight on it she stood. Audrey took her arm leaving the girl she raised to get the certificate of marriage and follow after them to city hall. 


This is based on one of the days of my internship. I interned at a theatrical production agency and the year was 1994. My boss had taken me to lunch and we saw Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph eating lunch together. I had grown up watching Honeymooners reruns but it was my boss who recognized Ms. Meadows and then Ms. Randolph. 

As we left the restaurant we walked by their table and asked their pardon for our interruption, and then we said how much we enjoyed their work. Then we apologized again. Ms. Meadows took my hand. 

"Honey, you recognized us from performances we did decades ago. There's no greater complement for an old woman." She patted my hand and signed autographs for us and then we left. 

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