One Minute Fiction — A Return to Normalcy

Diana was excited. She hadn’t been to an actual movie theater to see a movie since before the pandemic. She remembered the last time she’d been at this multiplex. It was right before Christmas in 2019 and the theater was packed with movie goers coming out to see the Christmas blockbusters and holiday movies. She loved going out to the movies in those pre-COVID days.

Now here she was, after an absence of more than three years, about halfway up the steps from the multiplex’s lobby on her way to the second level, where there were 14 individual auditoriums, each showing a different movie. She had a box of Raisinets in her coat pocket, a bottle of water in her left hand, and her ticket in her right hand.

She glanced at the ticket. Theater 10. The showing time was at 1:25, eight minutes from now, according to her watch. Plenty of time to get in, find her seat, take her coat off, and settle in before the previews of coming attractions started.

Diana hoped that this outing to a multiplex theater marked the beginning of the return to normalcy in her life. In all of our lives.

Written for Cyranny’s One Minute Fiction Challenge. Photo credit: Cyranny.

One Minute Fiction — Vacancy

“Do you have a room available for the night?” the man asked the clerk behind the check-in counteract the swanky hotel.

“Do you have a reservation?” The desk clerk asked the man.

“Um, no I don’t,” the man said. “I, uh, actually had an unexpected change of plans and need to stay in the city one more night. So a room, do you have a room or not?”

The desk clerk tapped on the keyboard of her computer. “We have several rooms available. Do you want a king bed, queen bed, double….”

“King,” he said, interrupting her. “Hurry it up please.” He looked around behind him, appearing to be a little nervous.

“We have a very nice king room on the eleventh floor, facing the park. It’s $240 a night. Will that due?”

“Yeah, fine, just give me the key.”

“I’ll need a credit card for that, Mister….”

“Smith, Mr. Smith,” he said. “I’m paying cash,” and he put two hundred dollar bills and two twenties on the counter.

“I’ll need a credit card, Mr. Smith, for incidental expenses, like the minibar or room service,” she said.

Mr. Smith pulled another hundred dollar bill out of his wallet. “This is for incidentals” he said. “I’ll square up when I check out in the morning. Just give me the fucking room key.”

The flustered desk clerk gave the man a keycard for the room. He took it from her, walked across the lobby to where a tall, sexually dressed, strawberry blonde woman was waiting for him. When he got to her, the blonde woman hugged the man, took his arm, and the two started walking toward the elevators. As they passed the check-in desk, the blonde smiled and winked at the desk clerk.

Written for Cyranny’s One Minute Fiction Challenge. Photo credit: Cyranny. (Yes, this took me more than a minute to write.)

One Minute Fiction — I Gotcha

I gotcha, Sam said to himself when he peered around the thick concrete column. He aimed his digital camera toward the couple sitting on the bench. This is going to earn me a pretty penny, he thought, smiling as the shutter snapped.

Early the next morning, Sam went to the editor’s office of the tabloid he sells a lot of his photos to. Sam pulled pulled out his camera and handed it to the editor. “You wanted proof that the young trophy wife of that senator is having an affair? Well here it is!”

The editor looked at the image on Sam’s digital camera and said, “What’s this? A photo of some brunette with a ponytail sitting with some guy on a bench beneath a roadway underpass? They could be any two people. Where’s the close-up so I can see their faces? This is worthless.”

“They saw me after I took this shot,” Sam said defensively, “and ran off. But I swear it’s her.”

“Sorry, Sam, I can’t use it. You want cash, bring me something I can use,” the editor said. “Now get the hell outta my office.”

Written for Cyranny’s One Minute Fiction Challenge. Photo credit: Cyranny.

One Minute Fiction — The Arbitrator’s Office

Millie was torn. Her parents said it wouldn’t take too long and instructed her to sit and wait for them in the hallway outside of the arbitrator’s office. But it had been more than two hours and the thirteen year old girl was getting hungry.

She remembered them passing a small doughnut shop in the building’s lobby when they first walked in, so to assuage her growing hunger, she decided to go get a doughnut to tide her over until her parents were done.

Millie bought the doughnut and a boxed drink, brought them back with her to the seat outside of the arbitrator’s office, and was about halfway through the doughnut when she heard what sounded like gunshots coming from across the hall.

Instinctively Millie knew what had just happened inside the arbitrator’s office. She calmly finished her doughnut and took some sips from the boxed drink as two security guards busted through the door to the arbitrator’s office.

Written for Cyranny’s One Minute Fiction Challenge. Photo credit: Cyranny.

One Minute Fiction — Birds on the Wires

Cyranny offered up her photo above for this week’s One Minute Fiction challenge. The objective of this challenge is to prompt us to take a minute to write a piece of flash fiction inspired by the photo. I’m not doing that this week. Instead, I’m going to respond with a bit of a stream of consciousness post.

When I saw Cyranny’s photo, two things came to mind. First, I saw three birds on telephone wires on a rainy, cold day. My view of them was through a raindrops-covered window with bare tree branches in the background, making me think it was a winter rain. And then I just felt sorry for these three birds outside in the rain on a cold winter day. Those poor birdies.

Second, the 1990 movie starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson, “Bird on a Wire,” popped into my head.

I know I saw the movie, but I don’t remember it at all. So I looked up the synopsis on IMDB and here’s what it said…

Rick has been given a new identity by the FBI for helping convict a drug dealing FBI agent. Fifteen years later, his former fiancé recognizes him. Rick’s FBI ‘minder’ has been replaced by a corrupt agent who helps the drug dealing FBI agent and his accomplice locate him. There are many subsequent chase scenes as Rick and girlfriend revisit his former haunts.

That didn’t help. I still don’t recall anything about the movie. And I have no interest in watching it again, as it apparently wasn’t a very memorable movie. It only got a 6.0 (out of 10) star rating from IMDB, a Metascore of 36 (out of 100) from movie critics, and a 26% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer.

Apologies to Cyranny and anyone else who was expecting a piece of short flash fiction.