Wednesday, January 28, 2015

California, No More

I've become a little obsessed with Flash Fiction.  Honestly, I think of it mostly as a writing exercise for me: a challenge.  I've always told myself I'm not a short story writer.  I'm a novelist.  I write long stories, about conflicted characters, and they are in no way funny. Humor sells, or so I'm told.  I have a really good sense of humor in real life.  I'm not sure why my books are mostly serious, but that's just the way they are.  In real life, I'm sarcastic and I'm fairly good at sticking in a little comment to elicit a laugh at just the right moment, sometimes an inappropriate comment. For some reason, that's hard for me to figure into my writing. I took a stab at it yesterday day, over on Alissa Leonard's blog: 

I wasn't crazy about the first sentence prompt: 

None of us really believed in [UFOs] until the night [the cameraman] went missing.

Those little brackets mean the pronouns can be changed.  Thank goodness for that, because I am not a Sci-Fi writer (even less than I am a humor writer).  

So I went for it, and this is what I came up with. I'm sorry to my friends who live in California, nothing against you, it was just where the prompt took me!

California, No More

None of us really believed in global climate change until the night California went missing. I was sitting at my kitchen table, eating a piece of chocolate cake left over from Ethan’s birthday party.  It was a night like any other: my overweight tabby cat, Slippers, was sitting in the recliner licking her leg incessantly, as was her habit, and my husband was nodding away on the couch. 

I had heard on the news a few days before that the winter storm had been dumping buckets of rain on the West Coast.

“Four to five inches more and California might disappear altogether,” my brother-in-law had said.

My husband and I had laughed.  We didn’t believe him. We knew global climate change was just a liberal ploy.
The phone rang, and it was my brother-in-law, Pete.

“I’m wondering where we’ll be getting our stuff now that Amazon is in the Pacific Ocean,” he said.

“What are you talking about?” I asked, mouth half-full of cake.

“Turn on the news. California is no more.”

“Amazon’s in Washington,” I said.

“I’m not joking. California is in the ocean.”

“The next thing you’ll be telling me is that the planet Mars has disappeared,” I said, hanging up the phone and chuckling to myself.

He obviously had no idea what he was talking about: Amazon in Washington, seriously what was he talking about?

I put my dirty dish in the sink, and walked into the living room, running my hand across my husband’s sleeping face. I found the remote, stuck securely underneath him, and all he did was groan and turn away from me as I removed it from underneath his back fat.

I clicked the power button.

“Yes Scott. That’s right. It’s gone. There wasn’t even time to evacuate. Dropped off the face of the earth into the Pacific Ocean. No Golden Gate bridge, no Oakland Raiders, no more Napa valley.  This is a sad day for wine drinkers everywhere.”

My mouth gaped open in shock as I took it all in: Pete was right. I glanced back at my husband snoring away on the couch, and my cat looked up at me with her bright green eyes then went back to licking her leg as if nothing had happened.  

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