Here is chapter 1 of a flash fiction novel/short story collection. Whatever it ends up being. This was written a long time ago, well not that long ago. But starting with this one, I’ll be writing once a day to finish it. No outline, no plan, no nothing. Just a goal to write a chapter a day (minimum of 750 words). That’s it. Where will it lead? Your guess is as good as mine. I just want to have a goal, and achieve it. So, here it is. A goal. The achievement part? We’ll see … enjoy…
“You’re 40 years old and you still sing along to Descendents songs?” the girl in the red dress asked me. We were sitting in a field waiting for the Lucero show to start somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas. The Descendents’ “I’m a Bear” was playing.
“Of course,” I said. “The day I stop doing that, is the day I’m dead inside, so I might as well die on the outside.”
She smiled and reached into her purse. She pulled out a flask, took a swig and handed it to me.
“Why thank you lady,” I said, taking the flask and putting it to my mouth.
“We’ve pretty much kissed now,” she said with a laugh. I took another swig. It was smooth stuff.
“What kind of whiskey is this?” I queried.
“Redbreast,” she said, putting her hand out to take her flask back.
I handed it back and then reached into my pocket, pulling out my flask. I handed it to her.
She screwed the top off and took a long swig. An impressive one. While doing it, I saw a tattoo on her shoulder for just a second. It said “For Tommy. It was fun while it lasted.”
After she was done she smiled.
“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “My buddy Josh got me a bottle for Christmas last year. Been a steady drinker ever since.”
“Steady, huh?” she said.
“Well, until a few of those go down the throat.”
“I hear ya,” she said, handing me my flask back.
We both leaned back on our hands and took in the scene. A flowing river was off in the distance. A small town behind us. Somewhere off to the left, the sounds of acoustic guitar filled the air. Then they started up again. “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up!” We both looked at each other and smiled. Moments like these don’t last, I thought to myself, so don’t forget to enjoy it.
The wind died down just at that moment. The girl in the red dress sighed.
“Where are you from?” I broke the silence with that lame question.
“Searcy,” she said, as if I was supposed to know where that was.
“Searcy, huh?” I said.
“Yep. What about you?”
“Originally? I’m from Hopewell, Virginia. Now, nowhere in particular. Just kind of looking for a place to stay. A place to get old and saggy and such.”
“Have you thought of Searcy?” she asked.
I laughed, but I don’t think she was joking.
“Where is this Searcy?”
“’Bout an hour south of here. You should stop in sometime.”
“Is that an invitation?”
“Well, I’m not the mayor or anything, but yeah, consider it your key to the city.”
“Thank you kindly, my lady,” I said. I took her hand and kissed it. She blushed.
I took a swig from my flask. I looked over as I wiped my mouth. She was watching me. Her eyes were green and her hair was red. I knew right then I was in deep, deep trouble.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked at just the wrong moment.
“You,” I replied, honestly. I cringed a little on the inside with that one. I felt 14 years old at that moment.
“Me too,” she said.
I smiled. She smiled.
I still didn’t know her name. She didn’t know mine. It seemed like the best thing.
The Descendents finished their playing and the crowd started to howl.
“Opening band’s coming on!” she shouted, grabbing my hand.
A surge of people rushed the stage. This girl knew how to maneuver through them, however, and by the time we stopped we were standing next to the stage.
The next six hours were filled with singing, sweating and shouting. Yeah, it’s what the song says, but it happened. We put our arms around each other and held on. Four bands came and four bands left. Then Lucero took the stage and the singing and sweating and shouting took on a whole new meaning. I was glad I had three bottles of water in my pockets and she had our two flasks in hers. By the time the sun set, we were deliriously drunk and exhausted. When the band finally left, we went back to our spot by the gazebo in the park and collapsed next to each other.
Someone started up their car and with it, their stereo.
“What’s your name, little girl?” Ronnie Van Zandt decided to sing at that moment.
We stared into each other’s eyes. We knew that at that very moment we either answered that question to each other, or we just kept going without it.
“Hey,” I said finally. “Let’s get out of here.”
“OK,” she said. “There’s a good bar a couple blocks from here. They have The Replacements on the jukebox.”
“Works on so many levels,”
“Ha, they have Level 42, too!”
We picked up my old blanket and threw it in the cab of her old pickup truck. She asked what kind of car I drove. I said “in my mind, it’s a Celica. In reality, it’s a Hyundai.”
“I won’t judge you,” she smirked.
“Yes you will,” I replied. “Yes you will.”
We walked a couple blocks and entered the bar. I ordered a couple of Lone Stars and we sat at the bar.
“Come with me,” she said about 15 minutes later as we finished our third beers.
“Where?” I asked.
I put my finger on her lips. I really wanted to kiss her at that moment. But didn’t. I never do the first time I want to. I ordered two shots of whiskey.
“To Searcy,” I said, clinking her glass. We shot the stuff down and left the bar. Never to return.