Maybe, Once

Maybe, Once
On our way out the door

Monkey's Creative Writing 263 class presented their work this Thursday at Writers & Books, a literary space in Rochester. They've been working on flash fiction as well as longer forms. Flash fiction is short work; 500 words or so that introduce a concept, a conceit, a location, a character or two. It's a three-panel comic form of writing.

This piece is impressionistic. It's a plunge into the cool water of a place, a drawn out moment.

Maybe, Once

35 minutes.

The overcast day wears them like a parka, a drop of rain running into their nose. They change the hand holding the umbrella, left fingers bone-white, right fingers fresh red. The shuffle-splash-thud marks another victim of the corner’s icy trap. First a heart-leap, then a snicker, from beneath the umbrella.

30 minutes.

Left foot first, right foot second. Weight leaned scale-wise, never balanced. An engine rumbles, pours water over their toes, and black eyes goggle, but no. Bus 12, not 13, as usual, a press around for a moment of boarding, then isolation. A tree creaks over a lifted head, a shower of old leaves too stubborn for the fall splats slimy against the upturned ground, the upturned face, the downturned eyes.

25 minutes.

That ugly old sign. Hands change again, right stuffed in an almost-warming pocket slit through by an ugly old patch. The sign blinks faster than eyes catch, except that it causes a headache. An ugly old cloud dims the sky more, with a rumble of thunder. A car burns past, throwing up water, a moment later familiar sirens.

20 minutes.

A cop-car drives by. They sneeze. Once, twice, thrice. Shoes to the left shuffle away, shuffle-splash-thud, serves the shoes right. Right hand scrabbles uselessly at dead-phone weight in the pocket, the eyes that stare at the sky curse not having a cord, not having an outlet, not having stayed inside. 

15 minutes.

In the left hand again, wind flipping at a hem like a dying bird, fingers as tight as the chest, as the heart, as the shoes from a sale bought too cheap and too late. Another press tight, black jacket here and fancy boots there, a pair of green crocs jumps in half-iced puddles that splash high up thin and shaking legs. Bus 17, right on time.

10 minutes. 

Shy, stupid sun peeks from behind a cloud, and they duck the umbrella closer. Too little, too bright, lying old thing. Shy, stupid eyes peek at a watch, shake the wrist, and then they stare back at the sky. Lying old thing, can’t even keep time. The last bus-shelter-sitter leaves in a cab. They could sit… but they sit usually. They stand.

5 minutes.

Shuffle. Splash. Thud. Right on schedule. From left hand to right. Right on schedule. The bus sign blinks out, flickers, shudders, back on again. Right on schedule. A phone stands on the left, blaring music too ugly to like. They rock their shoulders back and forth to the rhythm. They tilt themself back and forth to the rhythm. They bounce their head-- a pair of earbuds yells at the phone. The argument drowns out the music, the phone turns it off. The earbuds leave in a cab.


13 pulls up. A crush pushes back the umbrella-holder, fighting to close the piece of bad luck. Heavy work boots tread on their foot, shoved, back of the line, back of the pack. 13 closes its doors. 13 pulls away. The umbrella sits on the ground alone, and another rotten leaf-shower falls. 

Here's Monkey reading this piece.