Don’t Say a Word

This flash fiction is something I wrote as a practice piece in the writing group I’m in. It is in response to three prompts: 1)  A character needs to display at least three clearly identifiable emotions; 2) Two characters are engaging in conversation, but one never speaks; and 3) Only 5 sentences can be longer than 10 words. And it has to be less than 500 words. (Note that I used italics on the longer sentences.)

I was having a bad day, one episode in a bad week. Thank god for Freddie. We met at our usual place, for a few beers. It was Friday. He was waiting for me, sipping a Bud. He didn’t look up as I sat across from him. Something was wrong. I let it go and ordered a Bud Light. I knew what was wrong, why the silent treatment. Marital issues. I kept my mouth shut until my beer arrived. 

“Was it about last weekend? Did Lisa go ballistic because we got drunk?”

He nodded but didn’t look up. White knuckles said that this was worse than I thought. Freddie wasn’t a violent man, but Lisa was a handful. “Did she…like…you know…?”

His dark eyes met mine in confirmation. His fist suddenly slammed the mug into the table. Beer splashed. The server came quickly to clean up. The young woman knew Freddie. 

I finished my Bud Light. “Another round. He’s cool…”

A nod from Freddie, acknowledgment, a moment to reconnect with my best friend since high school. We had always used subvocal communications to share our feelings. “You don’t have to say a word. We’ve been through this before. Lisa is really hot, right?”

He nodded, started to speak, but I interjected, “You hate each other, right?”

Another nod.

“But you both like the sex, am I right?”

His face lit up, illuminated by memories of his and Lisa’s sexual activity, which wasn’t limited to the bedroom. His brow furrowed in deep thought. I knew what he was thinking, so I added, “I don’t get it, Dude! You and Lisa are like wolves, the way you fuck and fight. But it works for you… Did she throw you out?”

A shake of his blonde head confirmed my suspicions.  

“It was that Mexican chick, wasn’t it? Did you fuck her?”

He nodded. I threw my hands up in exasperation. “I can’t believe you fucked her for those big tits!” 

Freddie shrugged, wanting to say something he couldn’t form into a sentence. He’s like that. The strong, silent type. I’m not like that, so I let him have it. “You are an asshole! Do you understand that simple fact?”

He nodded and his gaze focused on his beer. 

I hadn’t finished. “I would kill you to fuck Lisa, she’s that hot. Well…you know what? Your most-recent extramarital affair isn’t such big news. I have a bulletin for you. I lost my job today. I’m out of work.”

Tears appeared at the corners of Freddie’s blue eyes. His marital concerns morphed into empathy. He does that naturally. He hugged me, offering to do whatever he could to help. His sofa was at my disposal.

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