Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Flash Fiction by Kristina England

Split Ends

Jennifer knew by the glint of the knife that he was ready for her.

She lowered her body and scooted under the car. She needed time to think.

She couldn’t run. He was a professional runner and her asthma would take her down in less than a mile.

Jennifer bit her lip as she watched her boyfriend’s feet emerge from the weeds.

They were supposed to be enjoying a nice picnic. Champagne. Strawberries. The cooing of Spring birds. A glimpse into the mating rituals of animals. Maybe they’d even get a little frisky themselves. Okay, probably not. He believed in that whole waiting before marriage thing.

But when you date a man with a split personality (willingly), you should probably stay in public settings for dinner.

At the moment, Jacob wasn’t Jacob. He was Ben.

Now if Ben hadn’t been jealous of Jacob, she’d be fine. But who wasn’t jealous of Jacob. He was good looking, athletic, and incredibly kind.

Earlier, Jacob had pulled over and provided his umbrella to an old lady making her way down Park.

“Oh, no, I’ll be fine,” the old lady insisted.

“Now, now. It’s supposed to pour the whole State of Texas on our town. And you know the reputation of Texas.”

The old lady smiled and took the umbrella. Then she shuffled on her way.

“I didn’t know it was supposed to rain?” Jennifer said as Jacob hopped back in the car.

“Oh, it’s not, but imagine if it did. That poor lady!”

Ben, on the other hand, would have shouted out the window, “Get on with it. We haven’t all day. The pedestrian walk isn’t for half dead grandmothers!”

Ben paced back and forth in the road.

“I’m not going to kill you, Jennifer. I just think it’s time to give you a haircut.”

Jennifer’s eyes narrowed. Jacob loved her long hair. What would he think if she let that whack job give her a crooked cut.

“Oh darling, I’ll be gentle.”

Jennifer sighed. She crawled out from under the car.

Ben chuckled.

“I didn’t know your butt could fit under there.”

Jennifer wiped mud from her dress.

Ben stared at her hair and came closer with the butter knife.

Jennifer rolled her eyes.

“You’ll never get anywhere with a butter knife. Here...”

She shuffled through her purse and removed a pair of scissors.

“But scissors are so predictable!” Ben said, stomping his feet.

“Okay, use the butter knife.”

Ben jumped up and down eagerly.

The sun set as he began to saw away at her hair. She wondered how long it would take to get even a handful of hair removed.

“Do you mind if I read?”

“No, go ahead dear.”

Jennifer didn’t actually have a book. She looked up at the sky and watched it peel back the layers of night. When the final glimmers of red began to dissolve, she frowned.

“I never noticed how dull a sunset is...” she said.

“I never noticed how dull a butter knife is...” said Ben, throwing the knife to the ground. “How ‘bout we go to a bar and drink like dirty old men?”

“Well, now you’re talking! Jacob never takes me drinking.”

Ben beamed as if he’d just won a spelling bee.
They got in the car and pulled away just as a Barred Owl began its mating call.

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Gargoyle, Haibun Today, Linguistic Erosion, Streetcake, and other journals. Visit for more on her writing.

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