After over two years of putting it off, stop and starts, tinkering with the stories here and there, and then not looking at them for several months at a time, I'm in the middle of preparing to publish a relatively small number of them - 97 - in a strictly digital format. The working title is A Moment of Honesty Before We Destroy Each Other: 97 Flash Fiction Stories.
Below is one of the stories I was to originally include, but one I'll probably end up cutting; one of the many stories that dabbled in the oddities of time travel. Not that I don't love it. It just doesn't fit the tone of most of the others picked for the collection.
Millie's Lucky Seven
Millie walks into the bar with a new guy on her arm, her left ring finger bare, and I see that not only is she split, she's already moved on to another guy.
"Dude. You see that?" My high school self has appeared on the bar stool next to mine, looking over my shoulder.
"Yeah, I see it," I mutter under my breath, and take a sip of my Miller Lite. As I do, High School Me takes a drink of his Zima. I shoot him an embarrassed and disapproving look, but then grin in spite of myself.
"Missed our chance," he says. Millie is now sliding her hand down the backside of her beau's faded Wranglers as he orders their drinks.
"Calm down, kid. She's on her fourth divorce."
"This guy probably won't last very long."
"Dude. I can't imagine anyone dumping her."
His comment sounds naive, but I remember: I was head over heels for Millie fifteen years ago. Now? I'd be happy just to bed her once. Satisfy the curiosity.
"No matter how hot she is...," I mutter only the first part of that cliché and trail off.
"Dude, go talk to her."
"What am I supposed to say?"
"Steal her from him!"
"You steal her," I retort, jabbing him with my elbow. Great. I'm arguing with Junior Me on his level.
"You know I can't. The rules..." he fires back.
"I know," I say. "Now's not the time."
"Would you believe not for another eight years?" The speaker of these words steps to the bar, obstructing our view of Millie, his back to us.
"Eight years,” we both repeat.
"Eight years." He turns to face us, and our hearts leap momentarily from our chest, but we can’t be all that surprised, really.
"Lucky us. We're husband number seven," he says, lifting his glass of Old Forester to take a sip, a gold band on his ring finger, and a twinkle in his familiar, wrinkled eyes.
Stay tuned . . .