Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Insomnia’s treating me like a redheaded stepchild. Scratch that — I’m nobody’s stepchild. Not anymore. My hair, however…that color is dyed-in-the-wool.
During NaNoWriMo2016, I wrote a YA-dystopian-scifi-fantasy-LGBT-romance-suspense-seriocomedy hybrid called Nobody Knows. By hand. At some point, I’ll come up with a clever sub-genre to assign my baby, but today is not that day. Hey, at least I won. Virtual certificate of achievement and all.
During this tumultuous 30 days of carpal tunnel, aching spine, and speedy scribbles, I penned “Imperfections”, a 150-word flash fiction that recounts a hitman’s musings on his (undeserving) target. I have excellent horror writer Michael Frost to thank for providing the inspiration to post my own work, which toys with a similar subject matter as his shiver-inducing horror-noir short story, My Angel Across the Way, but takes a vastly different approach.
If you feel like surrendering to your darker urges — at least in theory — please drop by Michael’s blog and show his work the appreciation it deserves. The prose: sensual and luminous, despite its pitch-dark undertones…romantic in the way that will appeal to your inner Lothario assassin; and possibly your inner death siren, too. My Angel Across the Way strongly calls to mind “The Customer Is Always Right (Part 1)”, the opening segment in Sin City, (one of my favorite) movies based on the titular neo-noir comic series by Frank Miller. I have yet to even crack open the first page, but Sin City is on my endless mental TBR-list. I’ll have a list of this year’s books I’ve read and enjoyed ready when the mood strikes.
And now, for a literary jaunt down my side alley: a sinister stretch of gritty pavement, illuminated by a single flash of gunfire…
Mrs. Blackburn’s crumbling visage, a roadmap of creased folds and cracks renting her fissured forehead, fortified Vladimir’s resolution. Observing the minute details of her tresses — curly, catawampus corkscrews — quieted the core of his ruthless omniscience. All-knowing, all-seeing, all-killing third eye categorized the target’s nimiety of imperfections as mounting evidence of Darwinism on the brink of public demonstration.
Mistaking the hitman’s attention for an inexplicable series of œillades, the target flashed a coquettish half-smile tailored to invite conversation. Vladimir quick-checked his frontal lobe for hesitation. None.
Mrs. Blackburn embodied the quintessential elderly American allegiant, blindly trusting in the kakistocracy to practice compassion. A daring voice’s dissent: an atrocity equal to pedophilia (so they claimed). Still, Vladimir would avoid sensationalizing her death. Propaganda would oblige; unprompted.
The assassin pulled the trigger dead-on, slaughtering Mrs. Blackburn as a pig farmer slays a sow: with perfunctory mercy.
Absent regret. Easy paycheck.
“Imperfections” © Jane Bled
Written 11/16/16. Edits finalized 6/6/17.
Have you known a Mrs. Blackburn? Or for that matter, a Vladimir? Spill (not your guts, not this time — just your thoughts). My insatiable curiosity wants to know.