Mix-Up

Courtesy of Flash Fiction Hive on Twitter (@FlashFicHive)

Hi there. 

Before you read my latest flash fiction piece, I want you to know that I enjoy writing these stories. I feel like I’m getting more out of the Flash Fiction Hive challenges this month. I don’t participate in every challenge, but I’m learning to be more creative and think outside the box. 

So, here’s my latest piece. Enjoy. 

Langston rushed to the gate as fast as he could.

“Wait! Wait!”

The receptionist, a petite woman with a brunette pixie cut, stopped the attendant from closing the door. He slammed his duffel bag onto the desk.

“You made it,” she said. Langston pulled his ticket out of his bag and handed it to her. She scanned it thoroughly, then handed it back to him.

“I’m sorry. I can’t accept this.”

“What’s the matter with it?” Langston’s chest tensed as he caught his breath. He peeked behind the desk as the other attendant rocked, holding the door open. 

“I’m afraid this ticket is not any good.”

“What do you mean it’s not good? I bought this ticket yesterday.”

The receptionist grabbed the ticket from him. 

“Let me see what’s going on.”

She typed away on the keyboard. Langston dug into his pocket, rifling his keys. They clanged as he squeezed them together. The receptionist looked at her monitor and then at him. 

“It seems this ticket’s already been redeemed.”

Langston shot a puzzling glare at her.

“Look…” he looked at the receptionist’s name tag. “…Laura. I bought this ticket yesterday. My family is in Hawaii right now, waiting for me.”

He stared at Laura’s icy stare and pouty mouth. Apparently, she’s heard stories like this before. 

“I was lucky to get it for today. How can this be redeemed already when I’m just now getting here?”

“I’m sorry. Let me see your ID.”

Langston pulled out his wallet and handed his license to her. Laura studied the photo and compared it to the fuming passenger standing in front of her. She handed it back to him. 

“You sure you haven’t been here before?”

Langston gawked at her question. “What? I just told you I bought this yesterday.”

Laura stared down at the screen. 

“According to this, you boarded a flight to Honolulu this morning. But I didn’t see anyone else with you.”

He cocked his head like an inquisitive puppy. How was that possible? He looked at the departure time. The time read “7:45am.”

“Hold on. This isn’t right. I was told the only time available was 2:35 this afternoon. Can you check the sales records?”

Laura twiddled her fingers on the keyboard again. She pulled up the transaction and it read the departure time as 7:45am. He waved Langston toward him and presented the results. He shook his head fervently and opened his bag. He grabbed a sheet of paper with a receipt printed on it. He handed it to Laura and she compared the two.

“See?” Langston pointed at the departure time on the receipt. “That’s the time I have on the receipt. That’s the time they told me they had available.”

Laura scanned the receipt. She picked up the phone which automatically dialed the airport office.

“Look,” Langston growled, “I don’t have time for all this nonsense. My family is waiting. Can we please get this sorted out right now?”

“You have to be patient, sir. Just have a seat and we’ll get this straightened out.”

Langston sat at the bench behind the desk. He looked out at the airplane as it stood there, curious about the mix-up. Then something flashed into his head. He walked back to the desk as Laura hung up the phone.

“Sir, I need you to stay where you are.”

“Why?” Langston asked. 

“Don’t worry. We’re going to get this straightened out.”

Laura nodded her head and the attendant closed the door. Langston’s jaw locked as he watched the plane start to back away. Then he saw a pair of security guards enter the terminal. 

“Wait. What’s going on?”

“Sir?” Laura spoke in a firm tone. “Don’t make this any harder than it has to be.”

“Just tell me. Did you see a man with a scar or not?”

She bobbed her head for a moment, recalling everyone who passed her on the last flight.

“Yeah. It was hard to tell, but he had something that looked like a scar.”

“Oh, no.”

Langston knew. He knew the doppelgänger. The security guards approached him, but he stood unwilling to budge. 

“Look, I’ve got to take this flight.”

Laura backed away at his fervent pitch. 

“Listen to me. That man is dangerous. He can’t be allowed anywhere near my family.”

The security guards grabbed him by the shoulders and escorted him out the terminal. 

“You’ve got to believe me,” he shouted. “I’ve got to get to Hawaii. My family’s depending on me.”

Unnoticed


Photo courtesy of Flash Fiction Hive. 

Good afternoon,

As one of my goals this month, I want to start posting more stories onto my blog. Fortunately, the Flash Fiction Hive on Twitter (@FlashFicHive) has been a big help to me. Though I haven’t written a lot of stories based on their prompts, they’ve at least provided the fuel for my creativity.

Today, the Hive presented a “Mix and Match” prompt. Here’s the result. I hope you enjoy it. 
Harold Starks strolled into his daughter’s school library. He brushed his too tight dress shirt and pulled up his wide slacks. As a cable repairman, wearing a uniform was no small feat. But a suit was near impossible. Still, he thought about the opportunity to observe his gifted daughter showing up the rest of the students.

Harold twisted his ring, ensuring the snug fit. The diamond shone in the artificial light. He knocked on the reception desk. The librarian, a dapper man in his late 40s, appeared startled. He looked around, wondering what made the rapping sound. Harold’s mouth froze open. What was the librarian thinking? He tapped on the desk again, and again the librarian turned his attention to the empty foyer. He shrugged and returned to filing the books on the return cart. 

“Excuse me,” Harold said. But the librarian kept working. Harold repeated his request in a more forceful tone. “Excuse me.”

The librarian dropped the books left to be filed. He approached the desk, inquisitive at who could be summoning him.

“Yes, my name is Harold Starks. I’m interested in applying for a position here.”

The librarian tilted his head. There were a pair of teachers behind the door chatting about something. He shrugged again and went about his business. Harold could feel the tension bubbling in him. He slammed his fist onto the desk. 

“Look,” Harold growled, “I know you hear me and I know you see me. Why are you ignoring me?”

Just then, another librarian, a woman as old as Harold approached her co-worker. 

“Who’s making all that noise?”

“I don’t know,” the gentleman replied. A trio of students walked by the back of the desk. The man asked if they were the source of the disruption. They said no and moved along. The librarian switched on the microphone. 

“Attention, students. This is a reminder that the library is a quiet area. There is to be no loud talking. That is all.”

Harold threw up his hands and left. As he left the library, he saw his daughter approach. He kneeled to hug her, but she passed through him. He looked back at her, confused at what he experienced. It was one thing being in an independent state, but it wasn’t like her to just ignore him. He walked to the boys’ restroom. He searched to see if anyone was around. Confirming the coast was clear, he struggled to remove the ring. Once he pulled it off, Harold manifested himself. The diamond lost its shine. His portly body sunk at his disappointment. He believed there was no way anyone would hire him in the shape he was in.