May 13, 2010

Needle Magazine's First Flash Fiction Challenge





The folks who run Needle: A Magazine of Noir issued a flash fiction challenge. For the details of the challenge, head on over there.

Keep reading below for my untitled entry.

***


“I’ve never been here before,” the girl said.

“The Space Needle? You live in Seattle.”

“It’s a touristy place. We never go—went to touristy places.”

The woman put the menu down and smiled with white teeth. “You never had the money. Now, you’ll go to a lot of touristy places.”

“When everything’s paid back,” the girl said and she smiled.

“You need to use the Crest Strips I gave you,” the woman said. “They don’t want to see yellow teeth.”

The girl closed her mouth and watched the city spin below her. She felt dizzy. “The yellow doesn’t really bother me,” she said. “I never liked the gap and the chip right here in front, but St—“

“They don’t want to hear about other men.”

“Oh.” She nodded.

“You’re nervous aren’t you?” The woman asked. “Do you want a drink?”

“Yes.”

Like the devil, the waitress appeared. The woman ordered and when the waitress was gone, she patted the girl’s hand. “You’ll get used to it.” She opened her purse and handed her a pill. “Take this,” she said. “With your drink when it comes.”

The girl started to smile. She stopped and swallowed the pill dry. “It’s hard.”

“The money helps.”

The waitress brought their drinks.

The girl raised hers. Her mouth tasted bitter. “When it finally comes,” she said and then drank.

The woman laughed. “Something always comes.”

“I didn’t think I’d ever be doing something like this.”

The woman sipped her wine and then said, “Eating here?”

The girl sucked on her Long Island. She swirled the ice with her straw. “Both,” she said.

The waitress brought their dates.

She expected the older one to sit by the woman. He didn’t. The younger one did. The older sat by her and touched her back, her neck and the sweep of her hair.

“I see you’ve already started with drinks,” the younger one said. He snapped his fingers and the waitress appeared.

The girl wondered how she did that. Maybe I’ll ask, she thought.

When she left, the girl hiccupped. “I was nervous,” she said.

The back rubber smiled. “No reason to be nervous.”

She grabbed his hand and scooted her chair away from him but closer to the window. She leaned her face to the glass. “I’ve never been this high up before,” she said.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of.” The young one said.

“Don’t tell me—you know this because you’re an architect. I’ve never met an architect. I was starting to wonder if they were real. I’ve never seen one or known anyone who was an architect, but it seems like there are tons of characters on television who are architects. You must not do a lot as an architect, it seems like they’re always home.”

“I won’t know,” the young one said.

She craned her neck at the old one.

“Oh,” he said, “me either.”

“You know,” the young one said, “I heard, there’s some group that claims to have plans from the ‘62 World's Fair. Apparently these plans show the Space Needle was designed to send transmissions to aliens in other galaxies.”

The girl laughed and looked back out through the glass. “It’s nothing that interesting,” she said. “Do you know what it is?”

No one said anything.

She scooted her chair back. “Do you know what it is?”

The old one shook his head. “What?” He asked.

She was aware of him watching her mouth. He's probably thinking about me—she killed her thoughts by saying, “It’s simple. No aliens. No secret plans. It’s just—we’re always trying to fuck something. That’s it.”

“Yes, we are,” the one old said.

The girl smiled and waited for the pill to kick in.

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