SNARKY RESPONSE: Then who were those glowering, black tee-shirted dudes at the backstage doors who wouldn't let me see Michael Buble after his concert? I mean, they were seriously not believing my story about knowing him through my second cousin's half-sister's son's girlfriend. Hey, I was only trying to take advantage of an opportunity!
THERE IS NO SECURITY IN LIFE, ONLY OPPORTUNITY.
My monthly critique group, Writers Endeavor, agreed to give it a whirl and submit our efforts. Writing short is hard and flash fiction is even harder. While I did not make it out of the slush pile, I wanted to go ahead and share it with you.
Hello? Maria? Maria, I know you don't want to talk to me right now. I can't blame you, but I wanted to ask for one last chance. I'm sitting here in the airport, and all I see is you, sitting on the other side of that booth last night, your smile fading to tears then rising to anger. Your beautiful face is so expressive.
I know it was a shock, but I couldn't tell you the truth about my job when we met, so I hedged by lying about the crazy assignments and how I didn't know how long I'd be in town. And I warned you, warned me, that, in my line of work, I've never been able to maintain a relationship. I never wanted to until now, and then I wanted to think this was doable. That somehow we'd bridge the gap, beat the odds, something. I wanted this to work with you, with us, but then they sent me this assignment.
So, last night, sitting across from you with your smile so trusting as you leaned forward to hear me over that damned football game, I knew I had to say it. I knew I had to tell you, but it was hard. You don't know how hard it was. Okay, yeah, not as hard as it was for you to hear it, but I had to tell you because if I didn't tell you, we definitely wouldn't have a chance. And I want us to have a chance. Even if it's only a snowball's chance in hell, and believe me I understand hell, I want this to work. With you. I still do. I know I lied about my job, my life, but when we got serious, when I got serious, I should have told you the rest, the harsh reality, the truth. From the beginning. Not at the end. Not like last night. Not with another airline ticket to another destination for another contract breathing down my neck.
Maria, I wanted to tell you lots of times about the other stuff, but I enjoyed just being with you. It was a miracle, just being, just living like a regular couple with regular jobs. I love how you'll hunt and destroy every bit of green pepper on a slice of everything pizza. I could watch you rumble your way through that chocolate dessert at the CanCan every night. Smelling your hair on my pillow on lazy Sunday mornings with nowhere to go, no one to deal with but each other. God, I love waking up next to you and that's why I'm calling.
To ask one last time if you can accept who I was, and give me a chance to be who I can be with you. But first, I've got to finish this last job, this last contract and then I'm out. I'm done. No more.
So, call me back. My flight doesn't leave for about another hour and then I'll be out of reach for a while. If I don't hear from you, I'll know you can't move past what I told you. What I do. And I'll have to understand. But I hope you'll call me. Call me.”
<BEEP – Message Received Two Days Ago. No return number. Number disconnected.>