Welcome to the Call Me MAYbe Flash Fiction Challenge!!
All stories begin with "The phone rang" and are no more than 1,000 words. Deadline to submit is May 31. For full contest rules and prize list, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/04/next-month-call-me-maybe-flash-fiction.html
#12: Mental Blocks
The phone rang.
Or did it ring? It was ringing, or it had rung? It gets too confusing. Even when I’m looking back at past life events, my mind gets stuck on stupid minute details that have no bearing on the bigger picture. There is a story to tell, but the hamster gets a foot caught in the wheel and goes nowhere.
I know where I want it to go when I open my mouth, but I feel I can’t continue until everything is correct.
A second ring.
The tragedy is that I know where the story goes—I lived it for crying out loud—yet I cannot tell it to you. The phone interferes. At this point I’m beginning to doubt the validity of the phone’s existence. I hear the noise it makes (is making?), but I can’t bring myself to answer it and have the conversation that pushes me toward this life-altering event. My life changes 100 percent after this conversation. Maybe it’s for the best that I don’t answer and tell you the story; maybe this is my way of trying to cope and move on. Build up a wall around the event and pretend it is not happening (has not happened?).
A third and final ring.
I know my phone goes to voicemail after 3 rings, but is that rings on my end or theirs (yours?)? Did this happen before cell phones? I’ve had one for so long, it’s hard to remember a time when I used a landline with any consistency. I’m avoiding the subject, beating around the bush. Trying to divert my attention until this phone call no longer exists, until it becomes erased in my mind.
If it goes to voicemail, I never have to listen to the message. I don’t have to hear she is not coming home, there was a wreck, and I have been widowed and left childless. A few more seconds and I don’t have to deal with the anger and depression and general worthlessness of my life.
The phone stops.
There is no voicemail.
I think I won (am winning).
Today I don’t have to deal with the pain, the tragedy.
Thank God. I can’t handle it.
After a few moments of silence, I breathe deeply and exhale. I repeat the process two or three more times. I feel calm and relaxed. I feel like I can face the world without breaking down, like I can be productive.
I look around the room. There is no phone. No trace of it ever existing. No cell in my pockets and not even an outlet in my walls for a landline to be connected to. My memory is either playing tricks on me, or I’ve taken some good drugs recently. But none of that matters.
What matters is there is no phone. There is no phone call. My life does not come to a screeching halt.
Silence, beautiful silence.
There’s a knock at the door.
“Leave me alone!” I scream.
“Sir, please open up. There’s been an accident.”
“Not today.” Tears roll down my face. I contort my face and ball my hands into tight fists, trying to give myself a headache and divert my mind, my thoughts.
Just when I thought I had won, I figure out a way to lose.
My entire body trembles. My teeth chatter together as if I was sitting in sub freezing weather for hours. I stutter…
“P-P-Please, n-n-n-n-ot today.”
Serge writes often (and poorly) on his blog which discusses whatever random topics are on his mind at that particular moment.
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