I love flash fiction. Typically, the little tales run between 55 and 1,000 words and capture an odd bit of life and story in those few words. The following is a 300-word story I wrote for a contest sponsored by "Dream People," an eccentric and eclectic journal of surreal tales. I made the cut and was pubbed there back in 2005.
The writing prompt was "Decapitated Cat Soup." I know, just roll with me, I think you'll be amused, or possibly appalled.
I'm an artist. Visual arts mostly, I like to incorporate the remains of once living things into my sculptures. I'm quite popular. My latest work, "Gerbil-Head Barbie ~ Mint In Box," is nominated for a national award.
I carry gloves, tongs and plastic bags at all times, because I never know when I'm going to find pieces of something dead on the side of the road. Today was no exception.
Freeze it, skin it, boil it, scrape it . . . An artist's work is never done. However, today's find can simmer in a big pot on the back burner, because I'm expecting important guests. The kind of guests that carry fat checkbooks.
After the catering-service maids serve the soup course, conversation flows nicely. Everything is perfect. The wine is just the right temperature. The chunky meat soup is on the bland side, but tasty. Everything seems perfect, that is, until I feel a jabbing pain in my mouth as my teeth grind on something metal. Surreptitiously, I spit the offending object into my napkin. Disgusted and fascinated, I wipe off the spit and bits of broken tooth that obscure the writing on the small flat metal heart:
"My name is Fluffy. If found, please call 'Meow-Minders' at the number on the reverse side."
Grossed out, I'm about to speak, when one of my guests, a pale lady stuffed into an undersized satin sheath, says, "This soup is delightful. So . . . piquant, vibrant and earthy! What do you call it?"
My stomach turns and rumbles as I see what could only be a tuft of fur bobbing in the corner of her mouth as she speaks. I think fast and smile, "Thank you Mrs. Coventry. I'm glad you like it. It's a special recipe, just developed today. I call it 'Sopa de Gato Descabezado'."
Their eyes widen at the exotic name, and they dig in with gusto. Soon my table resounds with babble as each tries to outdo the other with fulsome praise. I harbor no doubt that each will be bragging tomorrow about their dinner with me, the famous artist who made a special dish just for them.
I aimlessly stir the globby gray mass in my bowl as I run my tongue over the jagged edge of my broken tooth and watch these sophisticated patrons of the arts relish their meal. It wouldn't be the first time I'd sacrificed something in the name of my craft. I guess tonight I specialize in performance art.