[Flash Fiction Challenge #26]Stop by Thain in Vain’s blog to read entries from some wonderful writers. See below for info about this week’s prompt.
I don’t look up from my book. It’s an intense book–The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind—and I don’t want to stop reading. “You ask me that every time you come over and I never notice.”
“Oh, come on, Mel,” she says. Then she sticks her left hand in my face and there it is, an enormous diamond.
“You’re engaged. And he’s rich,” I say, closing the book and looking up at Missy, who is bouncing on her heels and giggling. “And you have a new dress that looks very expensive.” It’s a teal shift with darting and panels that shout tailored.
“Yes! Name is Sergei. Met at a party two weeks ago. Getting married.” Her voice shifts to a high-pitched staccato that always makes me think she’s going to break into a show tune any moment, something from Bye, Bye Birdie.
“Have you lost your mind?” I ask. When Missy moved into the apartment across from mine two years ago, I decided this was going to be a friendship where I wouldn’t mince words. I tiptoe around everyone at work and around my family. With Missy, my internal editor is away from her desk, taking a coffee break. “Do you love him?”
“What is love?”
“I call bullshit. You’re still in love with your ex. And you’re going to marry someone 42 years older than you?”
The next day, Missy stops by in the afternoon. She looks like hell, still in her pajamas, mascara hangover, hair disheveled. “He owns a yacht. A house on Martha’s Vineyard. Two Jags.” She rubs her finger, the third finger, left hand. The ring is missing.
“Where is it? The ring?” I ask.
Missy combs her thick brown hair with her hand. Even when she looks like hell, she is beautiful. “Can I have some coffee?”
“Sure. After you tell me what happened to the ring.” I sit down at the kitchen table. “Go on.”
“I pawned it,” she says, looking away from me. “I called him last night and said I lost it at the Y. He yelled at me. Can you believe it?”
“Well, yes, I can. First, he’s old enough to be your grandfather so he’s going to treat you like a child. Second, you had that ring for, what, less than 24 hours and you tell him you lost it?” I don’t know this person sitting across from me. She’s a thief?
Just then, I hear pounding on Missy’s door and a man yelling a string of expletives, followed by more pounding, and what sounds like Russian. Missy whispers, “He’s going to kill me.”
Then I hear a loud thump against my door. I open it and Sergei’s head plops onto my foot. He clutches his left arm. I gasp and jump back. “He’s dead!”
Missy sighs with relief and smiles wryly. This time I do notice something different about her.
Flash Fiction Challenge #26 at Thain in Vain
Prompt: “Do you notice anything different about me?”
Word Count: 499