The following is a flash fiction story based on a prompt at a writers group meeting Saturday a week ago. The prompts were randomly generated around the table, each of us adding a word and then passing it along to the next writer. My list contained bra, airplane, hedgehog, author book signing, garbage disposal, Scotland. I liked the idea of a hedge to The Question.
I have polished it a good bit, but it was very much fun to write a whole short story in 20 minutes from scratch. I’ll try this again some time. I wonder if it makes a difference to be in the presence of other writers?
Maxine adjusted her bra strap again. It cut into her sore shoulder, keeping her from relaxing into a nap on the airplane. Only a short trip from Dublin to Glasgow, but she needed to rest before the author book signing. Her hand was already sore from the Dublin signing, thank goodness for all her fans. That she could manage with a bit of tiger balm and an aspirin, but she’d wrenched her shoulder stuffing the remains of the hedgehog down the garbage disposal.
How the nasty animal had gotten into her hotel room, she had no idea, but it had frightened her so much that she smacked it with a frying pan, leaving a bloody mess on the tile floor. She couldn’t leave that for the cleaning crew, so she chopped it up as well as she could with the limited cutlery available and used the broom to push it down the sink.
Such a smell! She thought she would never get the blood off the floor. Thank goodness it wasn’t on the carpet. She could still hear the grinding noise…it was a wonder no one had come to check on her then. She’d plunged the broomstick at the sink over and over, and the grinding would endarken her nights for weeks. She grimaced to think of the sweet old lady persona she would present to her fans in Scotland.
She rolled her shoulder again, wincing in pain, and disturbing the woman next to her, trying to read. The woman gave her a cold glance, then stared back at her book.
Maxine wondered if human parts would fit down the disposal. No, it would take too long for her perpetrator to chop them up. A bigger disposal might work, maybe one from some industrial kitchen, or slaughter house. She’d have to research it.
She rubbed her hand, working out the soreness, and it began to seep a bit of blood. She must have scratched herself in the confusion. The motor of the plane grew louder, reminding her of the grinding, grinding, grinding. She’d use that in her next novel, wherever it took place. She wiped the blood with her thumb.
“You’re bleeding,” said the woman next to her. She handed over a napkin.
“It’s just a scratch,” Maxine said. “Thank you. That was very kind.”
The woman looked her over, clearly too interrupted to go back to reading. “So what do you do? First trip to Glasgow?”
“Yes, I’m going to a book signing. I’m an author.” Maxine said, pressing the napkin tight to her hand. “I write thrillers.”
“How interesting.” The woman’s face broadened into the smile as she asked The Question. “Where do you get your ideas?”
“Mostly while I’m in the kitchen.”
I’d love to know what you think. Share a comment below.
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