Fortune Cookie Flash Fiction Friday – 28 august 2015

No job is so simple that it cannot be done wrong.

My hands smell of mint I trimmed to keep in the hip pockets of my cargo shorts I had to retrieve from the hamper.  They’re not washed.  I know I sweated into them enough to wet the fronts, I’d meant to wash them today, they’re my only pair and it’s going to be hot.  I was so tired last night, I didn’t forget I just… I just couldn’t get out of bed.

They smell all right.  Alive, but not foul.  Human smell, neither good nor bad.  The mint doesn’t come through as much as I’d like.  I should have torn open the pouch of cedar shavings at the bottom of the closet and stuffed those in, too.  I don’t use the hip pockets for anything but my keys, my knife, and my hands, anyway.  I wouldn’t be spilling chips all over the floor, even if I’d thought of it.  I wish the mint smelled more.

I hate being late, I really hate it.  The alarm, then the missing keys, then finding my wallet, then, and then, and on, and finally the pants.  Have to pick one.  Litany sounds worse than a single good excuse.  Traffic usually works, even riding a bike.

Fucking DUI.

I hate this feeling.  Having so much time to get somewhere and knowing the whole time you’re going to be late.  It’s an hour ride.  I have to be there at nine.  It’s ten of eight now.  So hard not to think I have an hour and ten minutes left at home.  Hour and nine.

“Evaluation tomorrow, Frank. Don’t be late.”

Like usual, he meant; tomorrow it matters.  Maybe it’d’ve been better if it had seemed to matter all along.  Now I felt like I had to get up early.

I don’t know if there’s going to be someone higher up or if today it just has to be official.

They don’t know I lost my license, I couldn’t keep the job if they knew.  Just two more weeks, more than half way through.  I guess the park isn’t private property, so it’s technically illegal when I drive the truck.

I can fix anything they’ve got.  I can build a trail as good as anyone.  I knew half the trees, knew them personally from coming as a kid, before I even started working, and I can’t manage a fucking ten minute drive.

When there’s a need, when I have to do something, I can make it out of nothing, I can adapt.  Grocery store too far? Vegetable garden, chicken coop.  License pulled for six weeks? Bicycle, strong legs.  Heat stopped working? Firewood and extra layers.

But then there’s the times when I’m supposed to self motivate and I sit at home getting stoned on bad beer staring at a screen full of stolen internet.  Why is just doing shit so hard?

I’d be really good in a zombie apocalypse.  I’d be the guy outfitting everybody.  Doing the food, filtering the water.  But when there’s no pressure I’m just… stalled.


Frank the park ranger and I share a problem with motivation.  I’m smart enough not to drink and drive, though.

Frank is the sort of catch all schlub I write frequently.  I sympathize with his sort of sense of entrapment.  The trick or the trouble, is getting his motivations across when 1) one wishes to avoid ad nauseam litanies of exposition, 2) his motivations are so similar to my own as for me to feel I needn’t explain them as I already know my own problems and mistake them for the character’s, and 3) then differentiating the character’s issues from my own without losing my grip on them.

I’m a firm believer nearly ever person in a piece of fiction is some reflection of the author.

That isn’t to say that each character is somehow a facet directly traceable to psyche of the author, but with any art what makes it good or bad is the directing process the creator’s mind puts accepted data through.  His or her spin on his or her experiences.

Sometimes a character is lifted straight from something observed, from a friend or an overheard conversation, but even then, when they’re translated into fiction the motivations for their utterance are up to the author.

Anyway, there’s no resolution to my line of thought, just something which I’ve been considering.

Happy reading and writing.

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