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  • Writer's pictureJason Haskins

A break from the norm with short fiction

Updated: Jun 23

Blue and orange sky, with clouds mixed in and the shadowing of trees with no leaves

Wrote the following piece of short fiction for an entry into a contest. Alas, it wasn't selected so I figured I'd toss it on the website.


“If it sounds right, I’ll repeat it.”

Trailing off, the sentence remained suspended on the lips, a juicy morsel ready to be ejected into the universe. Once it was out there, the possible word vomit could never be sucked back in.

I stopped, briefly debating whether or not to continue this thread. Deletion might be the wiser choice.

Internal debating at its finest, fingernails tapping on the edge of the keyboard and all.

“What are you doing?”

I ignore this question. Wait a little bit longer. Existential deliberations have been sucked into a vacuum. Minutes pass, my thoughts already an avalanche of opinions I can no longer control. Get back on point and deliver the final sermon.

“Hey. Are you listening to me?”

“Yeah. Sure,” I replied, blankly.

“You were saying something about a nice piece of gossip.” Mary was relentless, reeked of freshly cut grass and gasoline. The odor reminded me of home. And my father. I hate it when they do yard work. Mary. Not my father.

This intermittent passing of time in between responses was not helping matters. “I was typing. Shouldn’t have said anything out loud.” No mention of the fact I should have never called Mary in from outside.

“You brought me inside for this,” Mary asked, pulling a beer out of the icebox. I try calling things as they were called years ago. To me, it’s romance. Mary calls it annoying. “Ten minutes you’ve been talking. Finish your thought.”

Charlatan. “I was online,” I started another statement before rudely being interrupted by the pressing of a cold bottle against neck flesh. It must be 85 degrees in here, the sensation of condensation on the back of my neck nearly orgasmic. I swallow my feelings, my eyes now closed as I relax all my troubles away.

“What’s this?” Mary says, peering over my shoulder at the open laptop. Crap.

“Nothing.” I say, quickly reaching out to close the laptop. Her reach is quicker and more precise in aim. We briefly tussle, a push and pull in which neither of us exerts too much strength. After all, laptops are expensive.

I don’t even remember why I called Mary inside the house to begin with. Too late now, for everything.

She won the battle for the laptop, in turn allowing her excess to my innermost thoughts. Mary rarely gets online, she would have never seen it otherwise. From my mind to the blank universe. There was nothing left for me to do but sit in torturous silence. The kind of torture only a dentist could inflict while digging away at your bleeding gums with imprudence.

My anger, my venting, all laid out in front of her. I could delete it later, but we’d always know. A fight over nothing, turned into our own social media nightmare.

“Hmm,” was all Mary said, washing that judgment down with a final swig of beer.

It sounded right, coming from her. No need to repeat it.

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