Thursday, April 7, 2011

"F" is for Flash Fiction

As a member of Absolute Write Water Cooler, I chat, play games and trade critiques with other writers. And every Sunday there is a Flash Fiction challenge with a prompt & a 90 minute window. Here's mine from 4/3/2011 -- "the new job"

The New Job.

I don’t know about this. There’s a marathon goin on in my stomach.

I step out on my stoop. My stoop. Eyes shoot left then slide right. I feel all conspicuous. I look down at my jeans and tennis shoes. My jeans and my tennis shoes. I tidy my shirt, givin it a tug. Shor is hot. But it really ain’t.

I stick my chin out. Look straight ahead, get where I’m goin. Nobody’s gonna say nuthin. I breathe in and snoot out. I walk down the steps. It’s only four blocks.

Just like I thought. Nobody even looked at me. I stare across the street and there it is.  Huang Fu’s. Tho I smelt it before I could see it.

I cross the street and walk to the back door, like they showed me. A cook lets me in. No smile, just a nod. He points to an apron hanging on the wall.

The steam and smoke are thick. Kshhh! The fryer is workin overtime. I slide over and put on the apron. The cooks are jibber-jabberin at each other. I can’t understand a word. They laugh, then one of them notices me just standin there.

He yells to the manager. She speaks English. She’s the nice lady who hired me.

“Mr. Frank. Right on time,” she says and smiles at me. She guides me to the dish washin machine.

“Yes, Ms. Shen.” I don’t know what else to say.

“Wonderful. You said you know how to work it, right?”

“Yes, Ms. Shen. I’ve had plenty of experience.”

“Fine. Fine. And when you run out of dishes you can help bus the tables.” She talks real fast.

I nod.

“Ok. I’ll leave you to it, then.”

There’s a couple of bins full of dishes and I go straight to work.

After six hours of workin with a break to eat some dinner, I am tired. But good tired. I wipe my brow, drippin with sweat, for the umpteenth time. I’m ready to go home to my bed.

“You did very well tonight, Mr. Frank,” Ms. Shen tells me. She still looks fresh and clean, but I know she was all over the floor workin too.

“Thank you, Ms. Shen.”

“We’ll see you tomorrow, then,” she says and bows her head.

“Thank you, Ms. Shen,” I say and bow back. I’m relieved. I made it through my first day on the job and they want me to come back. Livin on the outside might be ok after all.

Bonus: "F" is for Forget Failure! (forgive my French)

I took these inspirational quotes from the great agent Rachelle Gardner (wish she liked my genre!).

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently. ~Henry Ford

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~Thomas Edison

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

PS - if you're up for a challenge & contest visit Confessions from suite 500 (deadline is Friday)


V.R. Leavitt said...

Hey Tara,

Great stuff!! You created such a believable scene, I wondered about half way through if the guy was just out of jail. Very well done!

C R Ward said...

Well done! I love that you told us all kinds of things about Frank without directly telling us. And I love the line: I breathe in and snoot out

TS Hendrik said...

Great story. You really humanized the main character in so few words.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, I really liked this piece--great topic and character. You did this well!

Christa Desir said...

Nice work- impressive after only 90 minutes. Keep it up!

Cherie Reich said...

Great voice in this piece.

Erin M. Hartshorn said...

Very nice! I loved "and they want me to come back."

Erin's blog

Michelle Wallace said...

Hey Tara ~~ I know and love your light-hearted writing style ~ it's nice to read a piece of your work that is more on the serious side .


India Drummond said...

I have always loved that Eidson quote!

Tara Tyler said...

you guys make me feel so good! thanks for all your encouraging words!

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