George T. Mormann

Tag: flash fiction

Flyover Country

After my Aunt, Uncle, cousin, my cousin’s wife, my sister, and I had finished our dinner, home movies featuring my deceased Grandfather and other long dead relatives were played to loll us to sleep as we digested casserole and cornish hens. I’ve seen it before. They too have seen it before, and they still cry at the same parts. I got up and took a walk.

The sidewalks were smooth and un-cracked for everyone drove because nothing whatsoever was in strolling distance.

I smoked my last cigarette and flicked the butt into the street. It was the greatest crime that town had ever witnessed in history. But nobody was around to see it, and I fled the scene of the smoldering butt as I walked alongside a retention pond. Quack! A mallard duck said to me, startled as I disturbed him while he crapped onto grass beside the sidewalk. “I promise not to tell if you don’t,” I said. He scuttled off toward the mud shore that overlooked that sea of idle rain water, and proceeded to take flight. I remember seeing a gas station when I arrived yesterday, so I followed the glow of franchise lights above the trees of these cookie-cutter subdivisions.

There was a Red Lobster by the interstate exit. As I had thought, there was a gas station, but I did not know that it closed at eight o’clock on Sundays. A mallard duck was right; such a town is no better than to shit on, and leave.

“Sweet Disasters of our Prophetic Youth”

Sweet like innocence and harmless play. Sweet as in awesome and gratuitous destruction. This story began as one of my text poems that I had sent to someone. It was a cousin of mine from a family that has since broken apart and no longer remains in touch with one another. As children, my cousin and I used to take armymen and action figures down to the creek in his yard and play war games and what not.

Word Count: 21.

                                               “Sweet Disasters of our Prophetic Youth”

                                                                By George T. Mormann

                                           Published in Issue 46 of Short, Fast, and Deadly

Short, Fast, and Deadly is a journal that publishes very very short fiction that does not exceed 420 characters in length. Littles bits of prose that packs a punch. Not to forget really short poetry, too.


        “I’M NOT REALLY DEAD. Meet me at Marconi’s. At 6:30. Keep it between you and me.”

        Without a doubt, this was the most outrageous post-it note found attached to a front door, but Howard wasn’t phased by the incredulous nature of it, muttering to himself, “Dirty bastard’s gonna want his DVDs back.” Upon tossing the note onto the kitchen counter, it occurred to him, “Wait, Marconi’s is still in business?” Howard picked the note up again and reread it, confirming that the name was, in fact, Marconi’s. He turned his head, stared out the window and spoke to his eclipsed, half-clear relection, “Why the hell is Sammy not dead?”
        Howard was overcome, as if the weight of his body had dropped to his feet. Marconi’s had a mean pepperoni pie. They didn’t skimp on the extra ingredients, too. Too bad an “electrical fire” sent Marconi’s brick ovens to hell not four months ago. His hands trembled as he lit a cigarette and exhaled a plume of smoke toward the ground where, not moments ago, he believed his friend’s spirit had gone far below only days past.
        Recalling the day of the funeral, Howard did find it odd that it was a closed casket, when Sammy had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. A suicide: Sammy closed up the garage, sat in his car, and hit the switch. No one had seen it coming. He was such a fun, loving guy. What else would you expect someone to say about a guy who made like a goldfish and jumped out of the bowl? That got Howard thinking, if that’s really how he died, who found him? It certainly wasn’t his wife. Why Sammy’s wife, Joan, seemed pretty convinced that her husband was dead. She probably wouldn’t have slept with Howard in a state of drunken grief two nights ago had she known otherwise. And if Howard hadn’t been sure that Sammy was dead, he might have thought twice about doing it, even if it was a suppressed temptation all those years. All this thinking made Howard take a last drag of his cigarette and murmur aloud, “I sure hope Joan didn’t get a post-it too.”
        Howard was right. Marconi’s had closed down a long time ago. As he drove past the now burned up, boarded up pizzeria, a vaguely familiar face glanced his way. Howard’s eyes bulged at the sight of the woman standing in front of the decrepit building, and said to himself, “You gotta be fucking kidding me.” He looked into his rearview mirror and saw his ex-wife staring back at him as he drove away. She died mysteriously a year after their divorce (or so went that story), way back in the day when Marconi’s was still selling pizza by the slice.
        Well Howard had nothing to say to her, dead or alive. He didn’t attend her funeral, and only visited her grave once when terribly drunk and with a full bladder, wanting to finally fulfill that promise he always made to her during their nightly arguments. He took solace in knowing that he could keep late Sammy’s DVDs. Lighting a cigarette, Howard drove back home and forgot about the note and reminisced about how delicious that Marconi’s pizza used to be. “There’s Stone Oven’s Pizza up the road,” Howard whispered like somebody was eavesdropping, “I wonder what Joan is doing tonight…”

“Foolish Sentiment”

     It was a garage sale find. Not a lucky one. Just a find. Sitting on a fold-up card table with floral linens, a retro Mr. Coffee with tainted water rings, and rooster décor. Typical possessions of a dead Grandmother. Maybe even a dead Great-Grandmother, given that the woman selling these items, speaking fondly of her dead mother, looked to be well into her sixties. One of those glass blown, amber hued ashtrays. Twenty-five cents and looked brand new. It’ll go in the bag with this set of demitasse coffee cups and saucers, all wrapped gently in newspaper. As she wrapped the coffee cups, the woman reminisced on Sunday morning tea with her dead mother, using these very cups. Have a nice day and enjoy the rest of the Summer months.
     There was no need for another ashtray, in fact, it looked a lot like this one, which was a thrift store find several weeks ago. Those thrift store finds with their unknown origins, but long stories no doubt. Who else had hung this lithograph on their wall? The dust was still caked up at the top of the frame. Six dollars and a story that’ll never be heard by anyone. The previous owner was probably dead, too. Perhaps another Grandparent who passed down treasures to children without a use for it. It wasn’t their style. A print of a steamship on the Mississippi certainly has more meaning than an ashtray or set of coffee cups. It was a cheap find. A lucky one. It looked nice above the bookshelf and visitors asked where it had come from, or if it was a family heirloom, while sipping from these demitasse coffee cups.