In Response to The Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge

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In response to Chuck Wendig’s Flash fiction challenge this week, we present to you Cheryl Anne Gardner’s flash fiction piece titled:

Modus Vivendi

I tried not to flinch at the screaming and the echo of gunshots off in the distance. I tried not to stare at the rats picking through the rancid pile of maggot infested garbage on the front porch, either. From the car park, even with binoculars, you don’t see any of this. You’ve got a name, an address, and an order, and that order doesn’t come with any pre-conceived notions. Well, maybe it does, but I still tried to be professional as I extended my hand to him. His was bloody from wiping his nose and slapping at the mosquitoes that kept landing on his scabby bald head. I didn’t want to hand him the paper, didn’t want him to take it from me, either. I always felt bad for some reason, after I met them in person. You see, in my shoes, you’re just a piece of paper to serve. You don’t know what falsehoods have flourished, who was in control, or who had dragged who through the vomitous mire that had once been a life. You’re supposed to look at the floor and just see the floor. I can’t remember who said that, but it’s true. He was just another OFP — contemptible, pathetic — nothing more, and he smelled like shit and wet-house serenity. He didn’t even push back or want to hear the arguments. He just wanted to know “How many feet?” as if that made all the difference in the world … and maybe it did, to someone other than me.

© 2011 Cheryl Anne Gardner, All Rights Reserved

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