A very happy Flash Fiction Day to you all! To celebrate the world of tiny tales I would like to share a recent piece of fiction that I wrote last week, I am unsure whether it can be officially named a flash piece as it has a short story feel to it, but I did want to share it anyway in the hope that you enjoy it. I also wanted to dedicate it to a dear friend of mine, Aaron Simon, who I wish would get his fine self over to England and set up that Deli already..
Also, I would like to promote some exciting things going on around National Flash Fiction day, namely that of the Flash Flood Journal, which is posting fabulous flashes all day today. Go to: http://flashfloodjournal.blogspot.co.uk/
Only one more bit of promotion I promise.. I would like to ask you all to either purchase or download (available for free on the 16th May 2012) the National Flash Fiction Day anthology- available from the National Flash Fiction Day Website, http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/ The anthology, entitled Jawbreakers, includes some of my favourite writers, including Ali Smith and Tania Hershman, and a story from myself (so thrilled to be included!) and contains some wonderful stories.
Here's to fiction, large and small..
On the day that Carole left Daniel, Carole received a letter. Daniel believed this letter to be the catalyst for their separation. When Daniel asked Carole about the letter, Carole cried and refused to answer. Daniel noted that Carole’s tears were slow to form and rolled sluggishly down her face, this he took for a sign of guilt.
Carole left the house with only one suitcase in her left hand and the letter, crumpled and now damp, in her right. Daniel believed the letter to be from an ex-boyfriend. When Daniel and Carole first met, she had told him of her first love, a man that made triple layered sandwiches in a deli in Chicago. This man also played the trumpet, albeit badly Carole had told him. Daniel never did tell Carole that jazz was forever being mistaken for bad music.
Carole told Daniel that the first thing she had fallen in love with was this man’s hands. This man’s hands were covered in tiny scratches from the knives at work, tiny lines of life, and this man knew the story for every one of them. Carole liked the story of the scratch just in the crease of skin by this man’s thumb the best. This scratch the man had made while crafting a sandwich for a writer, and not just any writer, but a writer who this man loved. This man twice inspected the lettuce for green bugs and dirt, thinking that no one likes the crunch of the unexpected, not even a writer. This man used the freshest slices he could find and layered thick pickle until the far corners were covered and the bread was sticky. This man then layered the salad and the meat, ripping and pulling at the pieces wanting to create a sandwich whose insides looked like a river: flowing, heavy and alive.
It was the cheese that had broken this man. This man had forgotten the cheese. This man couldn’t believe he had forgotten something so fundamental. This man had to hold back the tears as he grated the cheese. This man’s palm grazed the dark steel of the grater. Tiny spots of blood left smears of brown on the counter. This man added the cheese to the sandwich. This man thought the cheese made the river look dry and dead. This man picked at the scratch left in the crease of his hand.
This man set the sandwich down. The writer ate. The writer left. The writer tipped $20.00 and left a cigarette for the man who made the best sandwich he had ever eaten.
Daniel knows that it is the memory of this story among others that will have persuaded Carole to leave him. Daniel never had stories to tell Carole. Apart from the one he told when he met her- he had, in fact, never once been to Chicago.