By Liz Betz
Fiction is fiction but an intriguing fact can add authenticity and also increases the reader’s engagement as this group of stories illustrates.
I raised Cameron whole-food vegan, despite his complaints. My son, now grown and healthy, tells me ‘Marcy’ is the one; a beautiful person and, I will be pleased to know, a vegan.
She, being the one or not, is out to impress me in our first meeting with the meal she’s prepared. The décor is lovely, candles flicker as we chat. Cameron and Marcy fetch the food. Something new they say. An unusual aroma wafts from the covered platters.
Voila. Mock meat, fake cheese. It’s… junk – vegan! They exchange smiles, as I choke down a bite.
I will not be winning at their table.
Author notes- Truthfully, I didn’t set out to research the various versions of vegan, but when I discovered the extremities within the term, I sensed there could be a story. Who better to have food conflicts than a parent and child? Then my question was how could I make this disagreement even more loaded. I may dress this up and call it ‘reverse research’ but it’s nothing more than finding inspiration in my reading material. The first sentences of this flash fiction story are packed with details as the background and conflict are presented.
Love and Dogs
Stymied by my patient’s distorted view of love, after her history of bad relationships, I suggest she get herself a dog. I tell her that the companionship a dog provides might give her a different perspective. I don’t tell her that it is something sorely needed. I suggest she make notes of the experience.
First, she reports his love-bombing, (I discover she means that the dog licks her) his grandiosity (it is poorly leash trained), manipulative behavior (the dog prefers her bed to his) and mentions his silent treatment (I assume this is the dog at rest.)
Desperate I ask, are there any positives?
“Well…” She begins as I hold my breath. “I think that narcissism is different in a dog. He holds no grudges.”
Let’s start with that.
Author notes: sometimes my online time leads me to very personal information. I thought there was a delightfully twisted aspect to this forum post. The person actually thought her dog was a narcissist. To tell the story, I chose a more objective person as the point of view narrator but at the same time, the concept of a doctor/ patient relationship gives the story my desired slant.
Her wedding pictures will be spoilt by my problem. Right here, I say, pointing to the area around my mouth. One, if luck permits, or a whole cluster of ugly, nasty, cold sores.
I’m her choice as bridesmaid, she insists, cold sores or not. Anyway, didn’t I see a doctor?
I’m to avoid stress. But that’s impossible, if I’m in the wedding party. Your pictures…
Can be casual. We can take them this weekend, we’ll be together, it’s perfect!
This is a fantastic plan. But it means my face and I are in a race. Which comes first – the weekend or the outbreak?
I must remain calm.
Author notes; it was a browse through a woman’s health book that inspired this story. The premise is even a simple thing can be traumatic, IF it occurs at the at the worst possible moment. But sometimes the choices are taken away from the protagonist. The title? What else does a person say in times like this?
Liz Betz is a retired rancher who loves to write fiction. Her pastime seems to help her days go by, her brain to stay active and sometimes keeps her out of trouble. An overactive imagination is a wonderful thing to harness, but left alone…Her publication credits are many and varied as she explores the fictional world of mostly somewhat older but not necessarily mature characters.