We’ve got our second entry to the Noteworthy Literature flash fiction challenge. It’s an emotionally-engaging story from Jay Prew, He’s an emerging young writer from London. I hope you all enjoy. Feel free to comment, like and share. Oh, and submit your own Flash Fiction stories and we’ll post them right here on Noteworthy Literature.
Why Pretend – by Jay Prew @PrewJay
Brian’s eyes opened and all he could see were blankets of rain on the outside street. He didn’t realize that he had dozed off or ever truly believed in heaven on earth. He reached out to the fold-out table at the end of his chair and plucked out a Marlboro from its box. He notched the cigarette in the corner of his mouth and lit it with greedy puffs. He took a deep breath and reclined back deeper into the bottom of his chair. He watched and waited. He waited for the next wave of cars to pass or the rain to stop, but it never did. He breathed deeply, taking another drag from the cigarette. He filled his chest up with equal parts smoke and despair. He smoked with the fervor of an addict, but lacked the passion of someone on the back of a magazine. It was the satisfaction of having something thick and dangerous lingering near the back of his throat that kept Brian Archer in love with the Marlboro man. At least that’s what he told himself. Truth be told, it made him feel more grown up, simple as that.
Brian looked at his watch and it read ten past eleven. His shift at work started forty-five minutes ago. He sighed dramatically, as if those forty-five minutes were forty-five more than he needed. Finally, Brian gathered his skinny body beneath him and rose from his seat. He went back inside and decided he’d give living one more try. Somewhere between him putting on his khaki work pants and cotton polo work shirt, Brian remembered that today was his father’s birthday. He didn’t want to care and a part of him did wish that this special day was his father’s last. Although he couldn’t help but wonder how many new grey hairs he had or if his dad would truly miss a card from him this year. Brian remembered that his father would always pretend to forget his own birthday. He’d put on that stupid grin and bug out his eyes as if he’d been caught with his pants down. Of course, his sister Shana and his mother would go along with it like good family members should. They humored him mostly, even though they knew it was never much of a big deal to him anyway. The whole gag was for their benefit and they all knew it, only Brian never wanted to play the game.
As Brian pushed through the front door, he plucked away the cigarette. He aimed for a puddle near his porch but it ricocheted off one of the porch posts instead. The moist spring air hit Brian like a wet kiss in the face and even he had to admit it was rather pleasant. He knew that this was part of the reason Florida was so captivating. It was mystic, even when it rained. The downpour was gentle, even in a torrent and the sun lay heavily here. It was powerful and magnificent all at the same time. The sky seemed to overlap the ocean in places and perfectly compliment it in others. Noonday sky was just as beautiful as dawn or dusk and when the breeze stirred the clouds, they floated like so many bales of cotton. They would absolutely glow in the sunlight and children played straight into the night like beasts. Truly, there were no mountains for majesty but the earth overflowed with green glory. The ocean grazed the shore and God’s breath was always there in the sky. Even beneath the folds of darkness, the indigenous energy pulsed with hidden vitality, like bubbling secrets waiting to be told. Brian walked out into the wonderment, heedless to the pouring rain. He owned both a rain slicker and an umbrella, but didn’t ever use them. Everyone got a little wet anyway. Why pretend it didn’t feel good?