The phone rang and I reached over to grab it so fast that I nearly fell out of my chair. “Hello?” I answered, but all I heard was a loud, high-pitched tone. “Damn!” I pulled the phone away from my ear. “What the hell-“ I was cut off when a smooth female voice started to speak. “Emergency. This is a worldwide emergency. All beings are in danger due to imminent comet approaching in 6 hours.” I scoffed. This is probably a prank call from a bored 12 year old. “This is not a joke.” the voice continued. “Comet will make a direct hit in 6 hours. Please stay calm and stay with your loved ones. Further information can be found online through all news channels and keep updated through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.” My hands began to shake slightly. I could’ve imagined it, but the final words that came from my phone will always haunt me. “You have one life and it’s going to end soon. Make the most of it.” And with a final click, the voice was gone.
For the first hour, my phone continued to ring off the hook as I sat still and motionless in front of my TV with my laptop quietly heating up on my lap. Messages flooded into my inbox from bosses, old lovers and high school classmates saying that I was a great worker, apologies with reasons I don’t recall and an onslaught of memories that I had long filed away. As I watched the reporter talk about the axis and momentum of the comet, a part of me wanted to believe that it was all a hoax. The government wanted everyone to stop complaining and pay more mind to them or maybe it was a rich guy’s sad idea of teaching everyone gratitude. For all I know, the comet could even miss. I couldn’t accept that six hours was all I was going to get. Yet, I continued to diligently answer each call, reassuring, crying and yelling with everyone. What else can I do?
For the next hour, I wandered the street and tried my best not to lose my faith in humanity. Broken glass lay strewn all over the ground, couples straight up naked in the middle of the road while cars honked endlessly at them. Discounts filled stores still with clothes still swinging, but stores with bold red letters screamed, “Take it all! It doesn’t matter anyways!” with things like novelty garbage pails gone within minutes — one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There was no point in driving because of the amount of people wandering the streets, carefree and carelessly. It was like the illusion of safety was popped and what we were left was who were truly were. By now, my phone had generally quieted down, so I was surprised when I received a call from an unknown number. “Hello?” I answered, hoping it was the same cool voice from 3 hours ago taking everything back. “Hello?” No one responded. I tried a third time. “Hello? Is anyone there? The world is ending and I don’t want to be that jerk that hangs up on you. For all I know, you might be someone pretty important who needs company.” There was a sigh on the phone and a voice so small and fragile that I had to lean in to hear. “I love you. You were the first person I thought of when the mess of the world started to unravel because to me, you are the calamity and color of the world.” A final click ended the call. The final words comforted my soul and I walked down the street under the rapidly deteriorating and fearfully raw world, their screams lifting up to meet the incoming comet.
I hope you enjoyed that piece!
Surprise, surprise. This piece was inspired by my trip to the grocery store and it was pouring. The rain was so sudden and I was also grocery shopping when I was hungry. While I was shopping, I kept on seeing the same people, but I wasn’t intentionally following them. I would be down the toilet paper aisle and I would see that same middle aged woman and then I would be down the meat aisle and see the couple again. Maybe it was because I would hustle around the store, trying to remember if I forgot anything, so I would end up running into the same people.
Basically this story is about someone who somehow finds peace within themselves just by their routine grocery shopping. I wanted it to feel very routine and have the thoughts familiar. This story is full of little snippets of life from the random memory of the green bean to running into the couple who can’t decide on which cereal. Sometimes the wrong people hear your thoughts and you feel like a fool. You may not realize it, but each little moment as tiny as they are can influence how you are throughout the day. In this case, the protagonist eventually lets go of their unnecessary doubts after battling it.
If today was your last day, how would you live it? If you had one more week to live, how would you approach it? If you had six months to live or even five years, would every day be special to you?
Don’t take life for granted.
Thanks for reading,
As I drove through the storm, the swishing of the windshield wipers reverberated the rapid thoughts fluttering in my heart. “Give me a break.” I muttered as I squinted at the road as the lines slowly disappeared. “I’m just trying to buy some groceries!” The droplets pelted at the windshield, reminding me of things to do, things I haven’t done and things I’ve half-assed. I aggressively flicked on the left turn signal as a subtle F-you! to the doubts in my head. I finally pulled into the parking lot and with a rumble, the car sighed to a stop. In waves, the rain hammered at my car. The wind howled like a ghost whispering about my impending fate, yet the rain continues to pelt, Finish your work! Get out there! You’re wasting your life! And I shout back, “You ass, I don’t want to get soaking wet!”
I pushed my faithful cart down the vegetable aisle, thinking back to the time when I nearly choked and died on a long green bean. My mother told me to eat my vegetables and as a seven year old, I thought I would “rebel” against her by shoving all the green beans she made into my mouth. My logic was that the faster I ate my veggies, the less time I would have to deal with them. My plan was foiled when one strand decided to hang out in my throat. I shuddered as I headed towards the fruits, picked out a couple almost ripe apricots and picked up a couple mangos. “These would be great in a smoothie.” I said while weighing them the palm of my heads and gently squeezing them. “Or I could straight up eat them.” I wandered around the store for a little longer, passing by the many chip bags and the craft beers. “I like this brand. They put a little more granola in the cereal than that one.” the girl said, waving the cereal box in front of her boyfriend’s face. I passed by and he glanced at me and I just shrugged. “Fine. Let’s get that one.,” he said, throwing the box into the cart. I sighed and remembered when I had someone to bother. “It’s okay.” I said standing in the check out line. “I can always bug myself.” “Excuse me?” an old lady in front of me turned around and looked me up and down. “Are you okay, ma’am?” I nodded and smiled as I watch her pay and wheel her groceries away, her little grey bun bouncing up and down.
I walked out to my car and noticed that it stopped pouring. Little lakes and oceans littered the parking lot, capturing a sliver of the blooming sun in each of them. I glanced at the vibrant blue sky to see a full and beautiful rainbow. And with that, my doubts melted away and splashed into the puddles.
Note: This story contains images of crime, violence and grief/loss. If you are sensitive to these issues, I would suggest not reading this piece. Please read my Quick Piece Breakdown for further explanation. I wanted to give a warning because of what’s happening overseas.
We were watching our usual crime scene show with the faux blue and red flashing before our eyes as the police step out of their cars to face the crime scene. I looked at my girlfriend, Jolie, her eyes widening as the crime scene slowly unfolded with the shining red dripping from all corners of the room. Cue the credits and ending music as well as a loud groan from Jolie. “That was so good!” she said as she stretched, her beautiful hair cascading down her back. “I’m not sure if I can wait for next week!” I jumped up from the couch and started stretching with her, purposely bumping my arms into her. “Man, I’m so tired right now!” she yawned and sat on the floor. We sat together in silence, listening to the throbbing of our apartment complex. “Do you think people are inherently bad?” she said. I couldn’t see her face anymore, but something wavered in her voice. “That episode must’ve really gotten to you.” I said, feeling her breathing. She shook her head and got up to get ready for bed. By the time I finished getting ready, she was already fast asleep.
“What is it?” I called down the hall while rubbing the gunk out of my eyes. “What’s happening?” Loud pounding sounded at my door and when I cracked it open, a brisk morning breeze and two police officers met me. “Can I help you?” I mumbled. It was still too early for me to comprehend anything. “Mr. Berry, we have some unfortunate news.” the officer on the left said. I looked up at him and saw his eyes stern, but hurt. “You probably want to sit down for this.” I was still confused about what was happening, but I lead them inside where they perched themselves onto my couch. I sat in front of them and the next fifteen minutes were the worst moment of my life. They started off slow, but the story picked up pace as they explained to me that my dear Jolie set the neighbor’s house on fire, the neighbors who had just moved in and then burst into the house in an attempt to save them. They explained to me that they weren’t sure about her intentions, but they were sorry for my lost. As if their sorry would mean anything to me. As if they understood what it felt like to suddenly be devoid of my beloved. And as quickly as they had arrived, they left. The house fell silent, but the silence was so painful with the ringing in my ears, reminding me of Jolie.
It’s been a week since the incident. My beard has grown long and patchy, take-out boxes litter my floor with small biospheres starting to form. I read through the text messages last sent from Jolie for the thousandth time today. I can do whatever I want.
I’m back and writing stories again! I hope you didn’t miss me too much! This summer, I’m really going to try my hardest to make sure I write every week whether it be a story, poem or a vignette. Hey, maybe you can keep me accountable.
This story was inspired about some birds that were having a conversation outside of my window. From there, it spiraled into this story you just read. I also incorporated my time being alone in my apartment into this character and how it can shift your mentality and be all about you.
Basically, this story is about a man who is recalling small aspects of his life. He’s basically all alone in his room and going about the day. He had an argument with his mother, but he doesn’t seem as concerned with it as he is with his seperation from his best friend and not being able to partake in different stages of his best friend’s life all because he had simply rejected him. At the end, he is shown to have some aspect of emotion when he laughs at seeing his best friend’s daughter, Belle, but he ends up crying himself to sleep.
A sad story? Yes, I’m sorry.
A lot could be interpreted from this story from friendship to depression to how someone so small could bring someone so much joy to isolation. My main idea for this story as I continued to write it from my initial sentence about chirping birds is that people aren’t always who they’re perceived to be even the darkest and saddest of individuals or even those who don’t appear to be sad at all. There’s a backstory to everything (including that flash fiction/short story).
Fun Fact: Bella means promise and beautiful, so in a way, the main character is promising to himself that things will get better somehow.
I hope you enjoy this piece!
Outside the window, the birds happily flitted around announcing their cheer for the world to everyone who was listening. I just happened to be listening, but I wasn’t too happy that I had no choice. I stared at my blank computer screen and saw a sad reflection of myself. I wiggled my eyebrow like a mother would to entertain her child, but I felt no joy erupt from within me. I picked up my phone and checked the time even though I had a clock sitting on the shelf above me. It read 3:20pm, too early for dinner, too late for lunch. My eyes refocused from the numbers and onto the smiling face I had set as my wallpaper. Every part of her was radiating with joy that was matched with a brilliant smile. At the corners of her eyes, they crinkle with a gentle reminder that she was a woman with a story. Perhaps she was a mother or a sister or someone’s lover. I cracked a smile, but the phone’s screen shut off, brutally reminding me of my balding head, unshaven face and acne broken face. I resisted the urge to fling my phone into the wall like I did with my old phone and put it down on my stack of World War II books. My mother gave them to me every single Christmas and birthday until I stood up during one of my forced parties and announced, “I don’t read those fucking books. I don’t understand why you think I would enjoy them.” Needless to say, that was the last party and the last time I saw my mother. In fact, I see that anonymous smiling woman on my phone screen more than I see her or any other female. The last time someone came over to my place was a couple weeks after I was unofficially denounced from the family. That someone was my best friend and when I was younger, he would be the one to bring me out of my “lock-yourself-into-your-room-and-sulk” phase. When he came over, I decided that I wanted to stay in that phase, so he left. I checked up on him, through Facebook of course. He got married three years ago and another bloke was the best man even though I had agreed with him when we were twelve that I would be the one no matter what. I guess that contract was bullshit to begin with anyways. I have to admit that that was what caused me to fling my other phone into the wall. You see, I have a strict bedtime routine where I would check up on him before I fall asleep and you can piece together what happened after I was disrupted from my routine. I just went to Amazon and ordered myself a better and nicer phone and put a new girl as the wallpaper.
I looked out the window and noticed that the birds had quieted down and night had fallen before I even knew it. “Well, I must’ve been more productive than I thought I would be.” I muttered to myself before rolling into bed and pulling out my phone and checking up on my ex-best friend. He has a daughter now named Bella and yesterday he put up a video of him doing her blond curls for the first time. Her laughter echoed in my ears and for the first time, my chest erupted in joy and I burst out in laughter only to end in solitary tears. I reassured myself and whispered, “That was a good laugh. Better save that up. Don’t worry, everything will be okay.” I gently kissed the phone screen and slipped it under my pillow, closing my eyes. A single tear rolled down my cheek, bidding me good night.
A Nod to Life
Sorry about the long absence. Like I said in my previous post, it’s crackdown for my assignments. I have three projects, one of which is research and a bunch of events are popping up because the end of the semester is near. Well, I wrote something!
This piece is basically about the perils of life and how it can strike you down time and time again, but the simplest gift, but the hardest thing to realize is that you’re still alive and you still have chances. I made this piece full of reflection and quick images that prove a point and no more than that. In the timeline, none of these circumstances are any that you would like to find yourself in, more or less be involved in all of them throughout your life. In a way, it’s the worse case scenario.
This is a sad story, but the man made it to 30 years old and possibly more. There is always a possibility and presenting chances. It’s up to you and whether or not you decide to grab the opportunities and make the best out of them. Now, these opportunities may not be obvious and sometimes you have to look a little deeper to find it, but there are always chances. I don’t know about you and your stand point, but I believe that everyone deserves a second chance even those who have wronged me.
We all make mistakes, some great and some small, but in the end, they shaped our end result. Yes, I believe that everything happens for a reason and that nothing is ever wasted. From your failures, you’ll learn to not take that path and work harder towards the successes. From your complacency, you learn empathy. From your indifference, you’re taught the gift of sympathy and how it’s very necessary in human nature.
Well, I hope you learned something from my piece and I hope you enjoyed it!