If You Write 450+ Words for a Weekly Flash Fiction Contest and No One Is In the Comment Section to Read it ...
I never feel 100%, alpha-male confident in the pieces I submit to contests--this submission was no different.
I liked it okay, but I know I'll reread it today and smack my forehead while thinking of all the mistakes I made in it.
Then I'll reread it tomorrow and see the illogical flow I'd somehow managed to weave in and asked readers to follow and smack my forehead wondering how I could have been so dumb. And then, forgetting my own strength and that a propensity for genetically weak neck muscles run in my family tree, I'll smack my forehead again and my head will pop back, tilt up and expose the giant slot in my throat where I hide all my PEZ candy.
Anyway, I submitted the piece an entire day late. An. Entire. Day. And didn't realize it until two hours later. Forehead smack! (Don't take my candy!)
As best as I can tell, here's what happened ...
While scanning Rebekah Postupak's (who, btw, has the perfect last name for a self service mail and package store) Flash Universe page for flash fiction contests, I conflated the date and time of a different contest with the date and time of #FinishThatThought.
Besides feeling a bit silly, no harm was done. The upside is, anything that compels me to write words and show them publicly is a win.
Prompt: start with--[I] didn't know who [he] was, but [he] was definitely not my [husband].
Mrs. Washington Itches for a Fight
Eighty-eight year old Mabelle Washington didn't know who he was, but he was definitely not her postman. The four o'clock summer rays beat down mercilessly and the glare bouncing from the cracked white sidewalk in front of her faded pink house made her squint. Even still, Mabelle was certain, the man coming up her walkway was not her mailman. And she ought to know.
For the last fifteen years, come rain or shine, except for the Lord's Day, she'd spent every afternoon on her front porch in the wicker rocker Joe'd made her for her sixtieth birthday. Since retiring from her job as a teacher at the county middle school in the summer of fifty-eight and Joe up and leaving this world two years after, she had nothing better to do most days than to sit in her rocker and watch the night sky squeeze the light from the sun.
She inched forward in her rocker to size up the imposter. He was strange looking, like he'd jumped right off the front cover of that idiotic MAD magazine, all ears and freckles donning that hormone-induced, sex-crazed, half boy, half man, imbecilic grin she'd watched every seventh grade male child wear for the three months after his balls dropped. Damn little perverts.
She'd heard about this type of thing on the nightly news. Sexual deviants buying fake badges and knocking on doors pretending to look for lost neighborhood children so they could get inside a house and prey on naive housewives and widows. The world was fast becoming a terrible place and she was glad Joe didn't stick around to see it.
As the charlatan climbed the first step, moving ever closer, she was certain. This fellow didn't look at all like her postman. HIs gait was too long, his shoulders too slouched and he carried an air of trouble about him that she could smell just like she could smell those dope smoking hippies in the park. She tightened her grip on her heavy wooden cane and shifted her weight forward preparing for the fight. By god, if he wanted trouble she knew she was just the one to pack it, wrap it and deliver it to him with bells on it ...
"Afternoon, Mabelle. How're you this fine day?"
He knew her name. She fell back into her chair and opened her mouth to speak. But her tongue was as dry as if someone had just shoved the world's thickest saltine cracker down her gullet and chased it with a fistful of sawdust. The most she could muster was a weak "Harrumph." that sounded more like she was conjuring a wad of phlegm than delivering a stern rebuke.
"Mrs. Mabelle, this package came for you from Dr. Waterman's. Just need you to sign for it. You told me last week to be on the lookout for it and rush it over if I could.".