“Transport,” at Midwestern Gothic

Midwestern Gothic has a three-round flash fiction contest ever summer, and this summer, against all odds, I won round 2.

image of a fallout shelter in the woods
Fallout Shelter, by Caroline Gerardo

Entries for each round are based on a given photo prompt, and you can see round 2’s prompt over there on the right. The resulting story, “Transport,” came together pretty quickly, which surprised me.

I’ve been writing more flash fiction while I continue to revise my novel. Maybe it’s because flash takes less time, but it’s also because flash is damn hard for me. It’s kind of like the watercolor equivalent of prose writing. Have you ever painted watercolors? Because of the medium and how fast it dries, you paint them very quickly. At least, that was the way Betty Gearhart, my high school art teacher, taught me to do them. She said you didn’t start to get good at it until you’d done about a hundred watercolors. But, because of the nature of them, you could do them pretty quickly.

I got kind of good at them, but that was a long time ago.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy “Transport.” Be sure to read the other pieces in the contest. They’ve been really good so far.

August Flash Fiction: The Drag Queen with the Emerald Earring

August Flash Fiction prompt: ghost story, earring, tobacco shopEvery month on the first Monday of the month, ’Nathan posts a series of prompts for a flash fiction story due the following Monday. (Well, I say “due” but it’s not as if it’s a homework assignment; it’s completely no-pressure and I’ve saved up prompts and done them weeks or months later. Prompts never expire, and you can reuse them again and again. Just saying.) Anyway, he draws a card each for genre, item, and location. This month’s draw was a ghost story, involving an earring, set in a tobacconist shop. Now, I don’t smoke, and I’ve never seen a ghost, but I do wear earrings. Let’s just say I took… liberties with the prompt.

See, kids? “Write what you know” is bogus advice.

Anyway, I decided a play on words of a different title might do the trick and, well, here we go.

The Drag Queen with the Emerald Earring

The earring appeared out of thin air. Literally.

Jake was reading and when he looked up to reach for his coffee, an emerald glint in the air caught his eye. The light streaming in through the cafe’s front window caught the facet of a large, green something that hung in the air momentarily and then plummeted to the floor with a tinkling sound. It lay just next to the pickup window where the counter staff set out customer orders. It was early, Sunday morning, he was one of maybe three other people in the cafe, and on a normal day someone else would have seen it or already trampled it.

Jake set down his book—The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst; it made him feel somewhat scandalous to be reading a novel riddled with gay sex in the middle of a public place—and walked over to the trinket. It was an earring, clip-on style, heavy when he picked it up, and positively dripping with emeralds, a halo of tiny ones surrounding an obscenely large oval stone. The metal was silver, intricately carved into spirals and paisleys.

“Darling, oh you found it.”

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