Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest Winner -- "Miscommunication" by Janel Gradowski

Clarissa stirred sugar into her coffee. She watched the dark, swirling liquid and imagined it was a black hole. Getting sucked into a black hole would explain why she felt like she was living in an alternative-reality version of her own life. Brian had become distant and distracted. He used to pay attention to her. Sincere, two-sided conversations were routine two months ago. Now he barely acknowledged her presence.

I’m overreacting. He’s busy with work. It’s just my hormones. He still loves me. The battle raged in her mind, so she decided to test him one more time.

“I was shopping downtown today and saw a little, green alien pulling a rickshaw. I paid him five dollars and he took me to Mars and back. What a bargain.”

She took a sip of scalding coffee and ignored the pain. Brian was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the Sunday paper, munching on toast with strawberry jam, not paying any attention to her again. His expression changed slightly. A flicker of recognition? Did he figure out a crossword clue or realize she said something?

“Who’s Rick?”

“What are you talking about?” Wonderful. He was finally communicating and made absolutely no sense.

“You said Rick saw something. Who’s Rick?”

“You idiot! I said rickshaw. Those little taxi things pulled by people, or in my case, aliens.”


A crimson wave of embarrassment emerged from his robe collar and engulfed his face. He scribbled an incorrect word onto the puzzle. Had she just said alien? Did she know the truth?

It was a stupid idea to take this assignment. Human disguises were notoriously difficult to operate. Two months into the research stage and he still didn’t have the audio receiving system properly calibrated. The human mate was getting progressively difficult and currently staring at a large knife sitting on the counter. So many complicated emotions and mating rituals for primitive creatures.

Just one more month and he could return home with an insightful report for The Leaders. For now, he needed to figure out why she was talking about aliens. Those addictive, little crossword puzzles were so much more interesting than conversing with his wife. Wife, such an odd name classification for a mate.

He sighed, adjusted a dial on the receiving system panel and flipped the Smile switch, “So what where you saying about aliens, my dear?”

Janel Gradowski blogs at Janel's Jumble. She is a wife and mother living among the corn fields in central Michigan. Her non-fiction work has appeared in several consumer magazines. Her fiction has recently appeared in Six Sentences and 50 to 1.

Stop by Fiction For Dessert tomorrow through Friday to see our three Honorable Mentions for this very fun Flash Fiction Contest!


Laura Sherman said...

Wow, that's a great story! Gosh, I wonder what happened to the real Brian!! Hope he gets to go back to Clarissa after the alien returns. I'm going to go inspect my husband very carefully when he gets home...

BECKY said...

Fantastic story!! What a wonderful, imaginative plot!
I, too, want more info!! :D

Leslie M. Brown said...

Absolutely loved it!

Anonymous said...

Great flash, congrats!!!