Flash Fiction: Indirect Discourse

Apartment Building Allen Tucker - circa 1920
I wrote this specifically for a certain magazine call for submissions and it didn’t work out. I never decided if I like it much. I’ll post it since I will probably not submit it again for publication. It is a departure from my usual style but a chance to try something different so I am not sorry I did.


By William Baker

Friday June 3, 1927, 9:34 P.M. Manhattan, New York.
Him, thirty-three, dashing, blond, brawn, quick. Apartment door opens, hangs hat, calls. “Darling?”
“On the balcony.” Her, thirty-one, elegant, auburn, slight, introspective. Replies through a tumbler.
Joins her. “Beautiful night, dear. What are you drinking?”
“I forget. Have some.” Peers at courtyard below.
“Only a drop remains I’m afraid.” Him, sets down bottle. “Should you be drinking with the medication from Dr. Eddinger?”
“Maybe.” Her, changing it. “How is she?”
Him, frustration, sighs. “You musn’t say that darling, there is no one. You can always reach me by telephone.”
She, dismissing to the vacant night. “The evening.”
Him, steps close behind. “Quiet.”
“Dark. Not a soul in the building save us. I like it this way.” She, not turning to him.
“I spoke with the Superintendent. Construction is complete on other units, we will have neighbors soon and a doorman.” Him, takes her empty glass to the patio table.
“Too bad.” Her, staring out.
“It is nice being the first but a relief to have others, don’t you think, love?” Him, attempting joviality.
“The first, with the most money.” Her, sneering at the night. “What difference does it make?”
“Darling!” His dismay. “We will have a grand time of it. Parties, friends, you’ll see, just the thing for you.”
Her, turns to the balcony railing, again. “What difference does it make?”
His caress on her shoulder. “But haven’t we been happy this year, my little one? No financial struggles, no fighting your parents. The wretched, ghastly people, the only good thing they did is die and leave it to you.”
“A bank account, a new fourth floor apartment in Manhattan is not atonement. Not a cure for a lifetime…”
“No my darling, of course not.” Sympathy, looks over her shoulder.
She, at the emptiness beyond. “The nightmare is returned, every night.”
“Oh my love!” His lament.
Her, speaking over the railing. “I step out. Out there. You come home late, hang your hat and think I am visiting friends. Next morning they find me in the courtyard.”
“My darling, only a dream.” His agony. “Have you told Dr. Eddinger, what does he say?”
“He gives me pills and says don’t drink.” Her reply to the evening void. “How much better for you to endure me no longer.”
“No dearest, please don’t say it.” Pleading, a light touch on her back.
“You will be free.” Her proposal.
Him, gentle hand on her shoulder, loving hand to her waist, fervent whisper in her ear. “My life! How can I go on without you?”
“Yes, how?” She, sighing relief leans back to him relaxed, resigned.
Him, lifts and drops her over the balcony rail.



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