Friday Flash Entries October 27th Keyword: snapped

 

Here are the three entries for the October 27th “Friday Flash” fiction competition using the keyword snapped.

The entries are posted in the order they were received. Each is no longer than 350 words.

To vote for an entry, send an email to gem4sixers@gmail.com. Put the number of the entry in the subject line of your email.

All voting ends Wednesday, November 1 at 8 a.m. (GMC-5). Winners will be announced around lunchtime.

Please vote for one story only. If you are one of the contestants this week, you are expected to cast a vote, too! Just don’t vote for your own piece.

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#1.

Philosopher Murders Seven

Case number 47-221024 was a difficult one, that was clear. The man’s name was Robert Espy. He worked for humanitarian advancement, a Philosophic Master, recipient of numerous accolades, advisor to three presidents. These are the cases which would test any adjudicator’s abilities.

I was already familiar with the situation; it had been all over the news for the past two days. “Philosopher Murders Seven,” screamed the headline in the Times. This never made sense to me. The men responsible for upholding the values of our society—so often they were the ones who snapped. The job can’t be that hard.

Not like mine. I’m the Socio-economic Adjudicator for the northeast region. The murders happened under my jurisdiction, so my team got the file. No one wanted to touch it; Espy was too well known. It landed on my desk.

Among the damage: four CEOs and two vice presidents of major corporations, and one senator. All seven were valuable. I began to assess the monetary worth of their social contributions. Business records, reviews of performance, awards: these things factored into the equation. The figure was significant. Those lives represented forty billion dollars in economic activity last year—activity that would be absent from the market, next fiscal year.

Espy, however, was quite the producer himself. Over his lifetime, his contributions in business ethics and game theory gave him a productive worth equal to nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars. This sort of money can not be comprehended. But he had been retired when he committed the murders.

Reports were that he ranted about the social situation today. In our insistence on strict bureaucracy and material accumulation, we have killed our souls. Humanity is lost. That was the conclusion he had reached since retirement. I don’t know; it’s not so bad. I ran the numbers.

He was an intelligent man and a national treasure, no doubt about it. But there was no way he could make up a forty billion dollar debt in the remainder of his projected natural life. He had outlived his usefulness. I ordered death by lethal injection.

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#2.

In the Gutter

“Yo, Tim. What’s going on man?”

“Nothing much. You guys seen Johnny?”

“Naw man, you didn’t hear?”

“Hear what?”

“Aw man, let me tell you! You know about Johnny and Sarah breaking up a week ago, right?”

“Yeah, so. Things happen.”

“True, but not like this.”

“Like what…what happened?”

“Johnny and Sarah had a big fight over him thinking she was cheating and stuff, and Sarah basically told him that if he didn’t stop accusing her, she was going to cheat for real. So, Johnny decided to ease up and leave her alone about it, cause he really didn’t have any proof. He was just going off what Rob had told him…about seeing her with some other guy.”

“Well, yo, you can’t really blame Johnny for tripping. When you hear about somebody else with your girl, it kinda brings out the worst in you.”

“That’s the truest thing I ever hear, cause he did just that…trip!”

“What’d he do?”

“You know….the typical story. He was at work, got off early and decided to hurry home to surprise his lady…plus he wanted to sneak in, to see if she was up to no good. Man, when he got home, the house was madd quiet (a little too quiet for him). Her car was there, but no one was in the living room, or in the back yard. That’s when his imagination got the best of him. He started running around the house, checking every room to see what, if anything, was going on. He got to the last room that he had to check (even though he didn’t want to),which was his bedroom. He really didn’t want to look in there, because he was scarred to find her doing something she shouldn’t be…and that’s when he found her…”

“What! What!”

“Changing the baby.”

“WHAT! That’s it? Man, I thought you were going to say she was…..

“What? You thought I was going to say he saw her with another man, and snapped? Man, get your mind out of the gutter.”

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#3.

Because They Bugged Me

Why did I do it?

Why does anybody do anything? They pushed and pushed and pushed. They wouldn’t stop pushing me, and I snapped. Something went s-n-a-p! As quickly as you can snap your fingers.

It started off innocently enough. Their motives were innocuous.

So, it’s not that I’m sympathetic. Very sympathetic. Very.

Let me guess. You think Hell is a hot place. Right? A place that’s bright and white hot and lit up in every shade of red. Because that’s what the Devil with a capital “d” wants. Dressed in his fire-engine-red latex body suit, he pushes you towards an eternal flaming abyss with his red-hot pitchfork because of all the bad things you did: You didn’t call your mother on her birthday; you claimed $400 in charitable contributions when it was only $300; you watched several series on PBS last year without pledging a goddamn nickel; you fantasized about making it with your friend’s husband.

No, my idea of Hell is not like everyone else’s. It’s somewhere really cold, where you can’t get warm, no matter how many layers you wear. To me, Hell is eternity in a place that’s dark and cold and blue as frozen flesh. To me, a cold Hell is a real deterrent to sin whereas a hot Hell is a value added feature broadcasting, “Hell is hot! Hell is hot!” To which I can only think, Sin some more.

So of course I snapped. Too many of them wanted in. Only a few at first. Then five, then ten, then they’re parading up the steps. Sure, they’re harmless. They didn’t deserve it.

But I had to do it.

Hey, I was generous. I let all those damn boxelder bugs enjoy the last seconds of their earthly bug lives. In quick, shuddering strokes, I swept them all together–those harmless little black bugs storming my foyer, mind you, my new foyer–with my new corn broom, tamped them down, and pushed them out on the front stoop. Because it’s freezing out there.

Go to Hell, bugs.

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