Tag Archives: flash fiction

Wolfrom Writes: Mulligans Wake (Flash Fiction)

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Each time she’d ended their marriage for good.

It’s been a while since I threw up some flash fiction. For whatever reason, I’ve been too busy with some novel series about comets and wildfires and a SIG Sauer P227.

Mulligans Wake

by Regan Wolfrom

She was standing by the flat-top stove, Hector’s phone in her hand. He’d forgotten to change last week’s passcode. A mistake he’d made a dozen times before.

Each time she’d ended their marriage for good.

He knew what was coming. He didn’t stop it.

“How many mistresses do you have?” she asked.

“I’m sorry.”

He was sorry. Every time. In every replay.

It had always felt raw.

How could being unfaithful hurt the one who’d done it?

“How many?”

“It doesn’t matter. I love you.”

“Don’t bother.”

“Angie, please…”

He’d always had time to duck.

He never did.

The hardcover edition of Stephen King’s The Stand slammed into his right cheek, a thousand pages breaking into three uneven chunks before slapping down on the floor.

“Get out,” she said.

Hector nodded.

And reset the app his brother had made.

Hector cancelled Netflix and HBO to save money.

He took on a second phone. No bells and whistles. Probably a good thing.

He knew he was lucky, to get a thousand new chances at his thirties after ten more years of experience. If only his life past age thirty-six had been more than overtime at work and high definition porn…

The extra phone bought him an extra month, long enough to spend Katja’s seventh birthday as the respected patriarch of a family of four, not as a broken man calling his daughter from a cigarette-soaked room at the Flamingo Motel.

Eventually the end came, as it always did, this time when he made an off-color joke to straightlaced Steph that he’d actually meant for fun-time Maria.

There’s no room to be sloppy, now that everyone’s on Facebook.

Angie met him at the door that time, and after some measured words in the living room it was a dusty copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses that she threw at his head.

God, that woman loved her hardbacks.

That’s what you get for getting caught.

Hector reset the app again, knowing his brother was wrong. Knowing that he was making progress.

It was the new penguins at the zoo that brought him down the next time. He’d asked Zara, the short-skirted waitress who liked to stick fake flowers in her hair, to come along on his trip with the kids. She’d been young and dumb enough to say yes.

Katja drew a half dozen pictures that night before dinner, her trip to the zoo with Daddy, and in each one beside the iron fence and assorted wildlife there was a woman with long dark hair and a yellow flower.

Angie hadn’t needed to ask; she knew, and Hector was spared the expected assault, only because the kids were in the room.

She tried not to cry and she asked him to go, and he took advantage of that quiet moment to brush aside her short blond hair and kiss her one last time on the neck.

She bristled, but she didn’t stop him.

Sometimes it was hard to remember the real story, the do-overs clouding his memory. But Hector remembered well enough that Angie had left in 2013, or rather, that was when she’d told him to pack up his shit and leave everything of value behind.

Back then he’d felt free for a little while, until he realized that he’d left most of himself back at the house, and that no woman worth having would want the sobbing mess that he was well on his way to becoming.

“I’m not a homewrecker,” fun-time Maria had told him. “Go find a way to work it out.”

“I’m just not feeling it,” straitlaced Steph had said when he’d asked if she wanted a roommate. “It’s just not fun anymore… you know?”

Zara hadn’t even bothered answering his texts; she wasn’t ready for anything real.

“You can’t keep doing this,” his brother said. “This isn’t real.”

He was shaking his head in judgement as always, sitting high on his pleather recliner like he was presiding over an obscenity trial.

Hector countered, leaning back even more on the matching brown sofa, taking effort to show he didn’t care.

“I’ll get it right someday,” Hector said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

“The house always wins.”

“We don’t know that for sure.”

“You’re hopeless,” his brother said. “But I’ll help you anyway. I’ve written a new app. I’ve changed the rules… to give you a fighting chance.”

“I want it to be like real.”

“Just try it.”

Hector nodded. He put on his glasses and the earpiece.

His brother tapped it in.

Hector’s world went dark for a second, and then he was back at home on Fleet Street with a can of Coke Zero and that episode of Archer with the cancer drug rampage.

He’d still do his best to get it right; he wouldn’t screw it up just to see what kind of changes his brother had put in.

If he played things well enough, he wouldn’t need the extra bump.

When Angie found his second phone, she didn’t demand his passcode or scream at him for an explanation. She just told him to be more careful.

“Don’t let the kids find this,” she said. “Katja’s getting old enough to know when something’s off.”

Hector stared blankly at his wife, wondering how long it would be before the knives came out. Or the ten-pound books.

“You’ll be late for work,” she said. “The kids aren’t even dressed yet and I’ve got a call with Boston in fifteen minutes. At least pretend to be a decent father.”

Hector pocketed his second phone.

Then he took a deep breath and reset the app.

Angie was standing by the flat-top stove. She spoke flatly as she held up his phone. She threw the cookbook squarely at Hector’s right cheek.

Angie would never forgive him. As long as she kept catching him, she’d keep launching a hardback and tossing him out on his ass.

That was who she was.
Hector smiled to himself as he reset the app again.

Wolfrom Writes: Maddy McKay and the Elves in Her House (Flash Fiction)

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A heartwarming story about a woman and her miniature companions? Or a cautionary tale on the dangers of non-union house elves?

Maddy McKay and the Elves in Her House

by Regan Wolfrom

The scale was broken… that had to be it. How could it say that Maddy McKay was losing weight when everything else told her she was inflating like a balloon? Even her five tiny house-elves had noticed the lack of progress, though they had been far too polite to mention it… or most had been; Alberich Blue-hat often mooed now whenever Maddy walked into the room. Evidently, he thought he was being funny.

Maddy had done it all, Atkins and the South Beach Diet, the Subway diet and the one where you only eat cauliflower and raw salmon… and she’d been blasting her calves so hard they felt like two flabby rolls of patent leather. Alberich had even quipped that Maddy’s best chance of losing weight would be to saw off her legs and sew them into fine Italian handbags. She began to worry once she found his stash of sewing patterns and hacksaws of various tooth lengths.

So Maddy went further.

She now would skip lunch and then she’d skip dinner, trying to motivate herself with visions of the wondrous new clothes she could buy. Wondrous new clothes to attract all sorts of men, up to and including the dreamy Benjamin Trasett who lived across the hall.

One day soon, she told herself… one day soon… skinny jeans for oh so skinny legs, nice short skirts that flare out and stay miles higher than her knees, swimsuits that didn’t even come with matching shoulder covers… if only her body would cooperate.

At first Maddy knew nothing about it; she’d starve herself and exercise until she bled, going to bed exhausted and hungry, falling asleep to the skinny person clothes and inspirational strains of Project Runway and then dreaming of Tim Gunn’s shining smile and silvery coif.

And then she’d wake up the next day and drag herself into the bathroom, ignoring the creaks in her joints, the pains in her muscles, and the Holstein bellows of a sadistic blue-hatted house-elf; once there, she’d climb onto that scale once again.

And then she’d see exactly what she wanted to see:  pound by pound dropping away — she’d gone far past her goal, or so the little numbers told her. And the elves would rejoice, Elfriede and Vena hugging her ankles, Elga and Durin humping her heels. Even Alberich would seem touched by her progress, choosing those very moments to remind her that even cows have value beyond their flank steaks.

But though her weight seemed lower, Maddy’s clothes were never looser; in fact, they felt tighter, her shirts and her jeans squeezing her tightly like a full-body corset. It was like all her work was making things worse.

But after a month she had an idea; if mornings were rough, she’d switch to the evenings. The weigh-in moved to after her dinner, now a meal of hot water soup with a hint of scotch whiskey, and after she’d done slurping she would try on her clothes.

And so she did, and while the scale told the same lies the clothes now fit her better. So much better, in fact, that she felt like a woman again and not a tightly cased sausage. So she squealed with delight, knowing that this time it was different; this time her body was listening. And then she turned on the TV and soon fell asleep.

The next day she awoke with a smile and a deep pain in her stomach, and after a heavy breakfast of four oversized grapes, Maddy went to her closet to dress for work.

And the clothes didn’t fit; the clothes were too tight.

Maddy squealed in frustration.

And Alberich laughed. And then he mooed. And then he laughed again.

And Maddy felt he was acting a little suspicious.

She left her apartment and went across the hall, making sure that her house-elves had not come along. She knocked on the door of dreamy Benjamin Trasett, and he answered with a smile and a welcome fib about all the weight she had lost.

She asked for a favour, and Benjamin said yes; he always said yes, with a dumbfounded smile and a bulge of his eyes.

She went back to her apartment to lay out the trap. She needed a distraction, so she spun up her Tivo for the elves’ favorite show. And as every last house elf sat on the couch, eyes glued to The Donald and his tower of hair, Maddy laid out the sticky pads at the door to her closet.

And then she changed over to Runway and got ready for bed.

♥♥♥

The next morning came and Maddy’s life changed. She passed on the grapes and a reheating of last night’s soup of hot water; she got out the frying pan and a big stick of butter. And she made a new breakfast to kick off her new life.

She’d used up all five of the sticky pads at once. She found five tiny house-elves stuck to those pads, each one brimming over with remorse and carrying a tiny needle and thread. She’d realized only then that it had been a team effort.

And for the first morning in months her pants weren’t too tight. And her shirts hung too loosely, and even her socks felt too big. Just one night was enough to show her what’s what.

Maddy McKay really was skinny; her time had finally come.

In fact, she could probably stand to gain a few pounds.

Maddy looked back to her breakfast, in the frying pan she’d rediscovered at long last. She’d had a full serving of food, at least. But she could eat more.

She went back for seconds, and thirds, fourths, and fifths. It was the best meal she’d had in forever.

Her five tiny house-elves were completely delicious.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥