prompt: matter, title: time spent in los angeles in "the next big thing" flash fiction

  • Nov. 11, 2021, 2:04 p.m.
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  • Public

“And then what happened?” I asked the sasquatch, as he stopped to listen to the distant sounds of people insulting each other in different dialects of Spanish, in the diner’s back-of-house. “That’s a hell of a place to cut the story off, Frank.” He picked at his salad a bit, focused on the tumult in the kitchen. Frank knew Spanish, I never managed to pick it up.

“My people, y’know,” he changed the subject, “they believed themselves so superior to humans, for so very many bullshit reasons. They thought us innately smarter, wiser, more in tune with the Earth and divinity. But they were wrong. Their disappearance proves it, if nothing else. There is only one thing they have, we had, over you all.”

The fight in the back ebbed and then dissipated. Did you know that dominant Mexican culture is deeply racist against Guatemalans in a disturbingly similar manner to America’s racism against Mexicans? I learned that, through time spent in Los Angeles, even if I never did learn Spanish.

“You’re being cryptic for effect, Frank.” He smiled. “It’s a weakness of mine.” He put down the fork. “The only thing they had over you was just the matter of time. We lived a whole lot longer, we had a lot longer to grow up, to learn, make mistakes, ruminate, linger on things. To whatever extent we were or weren’t better than humans, that’s all.” Did you know the siege of the Alamo was just a bunch of white Americans fighting to maintain slavery in Texas? Did you know they begged for living surrender but Santa Anna felt the need to make an example of the bastards?

“You live such short lives, so little time to screw up then apply lessons learned from disasters. Imagine if Hollywood had given you the dreams you were sold, Mike, what would you have? Your name in the fine print as co-writer on posters for terrible children’s films? At the cost of what, your creativity or conscience? What loves gone unloved? What real life would you have missed as A Success, while sucking up to moguls who’d later be jailed for sex crimes? Would you’ve have shared your dad’s final years with him if you hadn’t failed your way back home?”

Did you know that we’re just all just falling through this life, like a cartoon character kicked out of an airplane without a chute, just trying to angle to a hay bale or a swimming pool, some other soft target, where instead of dying on impact, we might just break every bone in our body?

“We got to screw up like that a dozen times and still re-make ourselves again. I can’t imagine the hell you go through only getting one or two shots at becoming yourself.” In the face of all that, I did what I always do when faced with something that disquieting: I excused myself to the restroom.

Did you know that the anxiety shits are a real thing?


Last updated November 16, 2021


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