This is a spur of the moment flash fiction story for you all. I haven’t been able to come up with interesting ideas for stories lately, but I knew I had to start somewhere so I just started writing.
I’m currently reading Catch-22, and I love how funny it is. I’ve been saying for a little while now that I’m trying to make my writing funnier, but I don’t know how successful that’s been.
I’m the kind of writer that ends up copying the writing style of whatever book I’m reading, so maybe this attempt will be a little better than the previous ones. It’s hard to be funny while reading War and Peace.
I admittedly had some trouble ending this. I have that problem a lot when it comes to writing flash fiction. I feel like I need to write more and more. My question to you is this: How do you know when a story is over?
He complained about a sharp pain in his chest, but everyone he mentioned it to passed it off as nothing. “You’re getting old, Joe,” they’d say. “Stop worrying so much, Joe,” the doctors said. “Maybe it’s an impending heart attack,” his wife would say, a little too excitedly for comfort.
Joe was a mostly-nice guy, but he had a temper. He made a point of getting on everyone’s good side, but he also made a point of making his point loud and clear for anyone within earshot, regardless of whether or not his point was right or wrong.
For example, the doctor told him he should take aspirin for his heart, which, to Joe, meant that he has a bad heart.
“Is my heart bad, Doc?” he asked.
“It’s fine, Joe. Just precautionary,” his doctor explained.
“So it’s not fine,” Joe concluded.
“No, it’s fine.”
“So what’s the aspirin for?”
“To prevent a heart attack.”
“Are you saying I’m susceptible to heart attacks? They run in my family.”
“There’s always a chance–especially when they run in your family,” the doctor admitted.
“So don’t tell me I need to take aspirin when you tell me I don’t need it,” Joe yelled.
Joe’s wife tried to tell him his fear of getting a heart attack would end up giving him a heart attack. He wasn’t buying it.
“I’m not buying it,” he told her.
“You just better leave us a lot of money before you drop dead,” she concluded.
“I’m taking the aspirin like the doctor didn’t say I shouldn’t take,” said Joe confidently.
A week later he was back in the doctor’s office. He said the pain was growing. “Possibly down my arm, Doc,” said Joe, extending his arm. The doctor grabbed his hand and pulled his arm out, watching the excess skin shake back and forth. “You’re gaining weight,” he said.
“The doctor said to watch what I eat,” said Joe. “Can you believe it?”
“Yes, Joe. I can.”
“He just wants me to keep coming back, to spend all my money on copays.”
“Yes, Joe. He has to make a living too.”
The list of symptoms kept growing. The doctor was aware of what Joe was doing. It wasn’t just his wife who was skeptical. Joe was lonely, the doctor thought. He couldn’t stand his wife. She couldn’t stand him either. He needed a friend. Someone to talk to. However, Joe was old school; his father a baby boomer who never encouraged Joe to express his feelings. Joe would never step foot in a psychologist’s office.
Joe kept going to the doctor, and the doctor never told him he was okay. As long as Joe kept paying, he would keep seeing him.
On Joe’s last day alive, he went to the doctor and told him he told his wife he really wasn’t feeling good, but she wouldn’t believe him because he always said he really wasn’t feeling good and this would be it. The doctor, so used to Joe’s stories and ramblings, nodded his head and pretended to take notes on his computer. He sent Joe home, who ended up dropping dead in his doorway, just as he imagined.
If you’re interested in submitting your own flash fiction story, see my submission guidelines for more details. I’m accepting submissions for all genres as guest posts and for the Winter Issue of Come and Go Literary. There are no fees so submit now!