Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Wrist Assessment - Flash Fiction



The perfumer sprays her scent on to her own wrist and then offers it to the man to incline towards her in order to inhale its bouquet. He only smells the aroma of the rest of her. 

Leather straps had always rotted away in time, so he had opted for the segmented metal strips to cincture his modish watch. When he removed it at the end of the day, he liked the inhuman indentations left in his skin, like an insect’s thorax, or a barcode. 

The man shot his cuffs with great deliberation. The aurora of his diamond encrusted cufflinks twinkled before their eclipse beneath the jacket’s sleeves. She was attracted to them as to the eye spots of a butterfly which draws down a predator into the miasma of confusion.

The man slammed against a wire mesh fence cutting off his escape. He beat it in despair before turning and offering his forearms for the cops to cuff. They whipped him round and bound him behind his back, spurning his supplication.

The man brought his wrists together perpendicularly, making the sign of the cross to ward off the invisible tormentors who were whispering in his ear. In his agitation, he rubbed them together like sticks, as if trying to ignite and purge himself.

The woman studied the veins in her pallid wrist. As her finger traced the filaments, she felt like she had been knitted together in yarns of blues and reds. Only somewhere along the journey she had misplaced the knit pattern.

Having scanned the room for the invigilator, the girl surreptitiously eased her blazer’s sleeve down and consulted the cheat notes she had inscribed on her wrist. Sweat had made the ink run. 

The woman raised her arm to her mouth as if to wipe away some mote, or bite off some frayed strand on her cuff, but as her jaw muscles jagged behind her half-baked occlusion, she was fooling no-one. She was conversing with her unseen controllers.

She had nails and bloodied stigmata tattooed on to the underside of both wrists. She was still awaiting her Mary Magdalene to come tenderly bathe her wounds, though there seemed legionnaires aplenty ready to skewer her with their long-stemmed spears. 

She inverted the knife so that the blunt edge was against her skin and moved it up and down the length of her wrists. The blade chafed harshly against the scarred levees of previous communions between the two.

Taken from "Extra-Curricular, Tales Told Out Of School" 45 flash fiction stories available in print and e-book from Amazon & I-Tunes


ganymeder said...

I admit I had to read this several times, but it's clever. I like the last line best; it's so fitting that it's the final line.

Nadine Maritz said...

i also had to read it more than once. I agree though - it's cleverly set out. great idea

aldersprig said...

oh, dear. O_o very intense.

Steve Green said...

Marc, you seem to be able to make an interesting story out of almost anything, although this doesn't seem like a story as such, it is still a very good read. The last paragraph made me cringe a little too, as I have known people who bear scars like these.

Larry Kollar said...

Wow, an entire anthology of stories compressed into a flash! That's a feat in itself. I especially liked the one with the cheat notes that sweated away. (I wrote those on my palm, the one time I needed them myself.)

Cindy Vaskova said...

Oh, clever! Each line has so much gravitas and tells a lot of the persons. I'm looking at my own wrists thinking have I ever stained them with cheating ink. Brilliant stuff, Marc.

Katherine Hajer said...

The structure reminded me of the play "The Dining Room," but this version isn't nearly so sweet and light.

I like works like this, because they shift the focus and show connections that aren't always visible.

Hawksword said...

I knew it was good the first time but now - second reading without the noise distractions! Now I am thinking, 'damn, I wish I'd written that!' Every one is a little gem.
Love the wristwatch man. He's just a little bit sinister, isn't he? And those veins. (looks at own very veiny wrists and hands and wonders...)
Good things come in small packages. This is a little box of delights, Marc!

Stephen said...

They say you can tell a lot about someone by the [fill in the blank]. In this case, you've told a lot about several people by the evidence on their wrists. Nicely done.

Icy Sedgwick said...

It's amazing how much you use your wrists once you see it all laid down in black and white. For me, the girl who's trying to cheat in an exam but is thwarted by sweat stood out the most.

Jon Jefferson said...

Long ago I picked up a tape from a comedy group called MCTD (Midwest Comedy Tool and Die). They were an improv group and quite funny.

Anyway, there is a song on the tape called The Watch Song. The chorus: I've got a better watch than you, just look at my wrist, cause there's a long list, of all the things my watch can do.

Yep, my mind went there.