Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Expert

Sometimes I need to stretch other writing skills so I write flash fiction via the Absolutewrite forum --they give topics every Sunday Night at 9:00 pm. You have one hour to create a piece. This was my most successful piece; the topic given, "The Expert." Enjoy.

This is crazy.” Susan said to herself, “But you need help. You’ll never make it through today if you don’t.” she answered herself. Practically, she had examined the schedule and with her husband out of town and her oldest required to play in a high school concert or be docked two grades, there was no avoiding the obligation. She didn’t want to bring a toddler and a newborn plus two older children to a building where every squeal would be super amplified. It was a great opportunity for her son to be sure, to play at the Kennedy Center, and it wasn’t that she hadn’t tried to secure a babysitter, but people looked at the number of children involved and got very busy with their schedules. The woman had stopped her at church to say to call if she ever needed help, and pressed the paper into her hand.

Unfolding the paper, Susan dialed the number. “Hello?” a male voice answered, he sounded annoyed or at the very least, stressed. “Can I speak to Anne?” Susan asked. “One moment.” The male voice had switched to business professional.

“Hello?” a sort of familiar voice came on the phone. “Hello Anne, this is Susan. You gave me your phone number to call if I need help.”
“Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m so glad you called. What can I do for you?”

Susan poured out the whole insane schedule to Anne who was properly sympathetic to the craziness of it all. “What time do you need me?” Grateful for the rescue, Susan promised to order pizza and have the kids ready for bed to make it easier. “It’s a good thing you caught me today, tomorrow my husband and I fly to Chicago.”

“Oh. To see family or see an exhibit?” Susan asked, she loved Chicago and always liked hearing about people going there.

“No. “ Anne’s voice softened. “My oldest daughter is struggling with depression and we’re flying there to help her. She’s seeing things that aren’t there.”

“Oh!” Susan felt a hammer on her heart, just thinking about the amount of pain in that simple statement. “I will pray for you.” Susan said.
“Thank you. I’ll be at your home tonight at six.”

Susan took out her rosary and began the familiar prayers. “Rain on the heavens with the rosary.” She thought. “I need my brother.” She thought of her long deceased brother that had lost his battle with madness on Earth. “You know the pain you caused Mom, see if you can talk some sense into this woman’s daughter.”

And somewhere in Chicago, a hung over woman brushing her teeth in her apartment had a vision of a cigarette smoking skinny black haired boy with an avenging naked red headed arch angel tattoo on his left arm. He took a long drag and then he looked her straight in the face, his blood shot eyes matching hers. “You don’t want to go down this dark road.” He said and flicked some ashes. “Trust me, I’m an expert.” Then he faded from her view and her memory, leaving only the whiff of air where someone had been smoking.


Rob said...

Very nice!

Amy said...

Wow! You did that in an hour? I especially enjoyed the unexpected twist at the end. I thought the "expert" was going to be the babysitter.

reprehriestless warillever said...


Anonymous said...

Very moving, Sherry. I pray that some good does come from that kind of pain. Thanks.

Anne Mumey

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