In 2006, this was my first stab at flash fiction. The body of the piece is 591 words; it had to be under 600 words for a contest held by Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Blue Earth Review. I did not even receive a ‘gee, thanks for entering.’ If I remember correctly, the contest announcement said they were looking for works that were edgy. Well, judging by the items they published, my definition of edgy was quite distant from their definition; more like they wanted you to take a Henri Matisse and add a few extra flowers in pale orange, while I gave them a Matisse interspaced with some dead flowers and with a sign saying “Please Pick Up After Your Dog.”
Two Bars of Mistakes
Walking into the bar was distasteful; oppressive, dank, smoke-ridden air. The new purple shirt already reeks of cheep beer and cigarettes. ‘Damn, the bitch is seated at a table in the far corner.’ The thought of being landlocked at a back table mingled mournfully with other depressing reflections. He had tried bars once or twice; miscues…then, seeing her glass. Maybe three’s the charm. She’ll get drunk and, like at the party, he’ll lean her against a wall. She’s talking to a low life; probably hitting on her. Her eyes make contact. Talker walks away. He cares not about talker because he owns her.
She grins to herself; how cute, the two hundred dollar purple shirt really fits in well with the bar’s seedy clientele. Why she picked this bar. She owned purple-shirted Dork; owned any man she so damn well pleased. Take the bartender, grabbed him as property the moment she walked in.
Her body played hide-an-seek beneath a drop dead outfit. Bartender smiled, she smiled. Yes, he told her, she was free to smoke and reached under the bar for the cigs. Started to hand her the pack. Smirk on her face. He nicked a cig, lit it, and handed it to her lips. Watched her walk to a table.
Watched her hips sway, keeping beat to the music. He once tried out for a jazz combo; missed two bars. Two friggen bars and the mistake ended his dream. Bartender sees a regular make his way to her table and ask her something. Too far away to hear; but who cares, the way her hips had moved for him said he owned her.
The regular had made no attempt to hide his stare as he watched her cross the room. When she sat down she smiled. Taking the cue he walked over. Now, standing above her, his eyes have a clear shot down the front of the dress. The regular asks if she wants some company. She looks up at him; no move to adjust the dress. Says she’s waiting for someone. The regular asks what’s going on later. Her eyes move towards the door. Regular waits. Her tanned, braless breasts remind him of his last job; taught elementary school. The police said he was looking up the dresses of the girls on the monkey bars. Told them it was a mistake; well, two mistakes. Mesmerizing breasts reinforce the regular’s knowledge he owns her.
She observes purple shirt walk into the bar. Savers the way the smoke, sounds, the very closeness of human flesh crushes in on him. She momentarily looks at the regular and says she’ll think about it; then ends the conversation with a flick of her steal blue eyes. She owns him; saw the way the dribble formed at the side of his mouth as he watched them rise and fall.
And the others, they just didn’t have the nerve to approach her. Him, the one with the large biceps, he’d drop down and kiss her toes if she simply pointed.
Purple shirt walks over; so full of himself. She raises her eyes…slides her hand sensuously through her hair; he’s aroused. He wants a double. She’ll get them and downs her own.
Bartender asks if she wants another ginger ale; lifts his eyes towards her table. She has chosen this bar well. She walks past the large biceps, smiles. She had made the mistake of hitting two bars before going to the party. Who would she pick to kick the bastard’s ass for the wall incident.
(Two Bars of Mistakes, copyright Steven S. Walsky 2006, all rights reserved.)