Flash Fiction Fridays: Wrapping Up Romance Month


Romance Month comes to a close today on Flash Fiction Fridays with a piece by, well, me. We will return to open prompt for the next several months until our usual spotlight on horror in October.

There are some wonderful stories on tap for March. I cannot wait to share them with you. The deadline for April submissions is 3/23. Remember, 1,000 words or less. Any topic, any theme. Send them to karen@karenberner.com, and please put Flash Fiction Fridays in the subject line. As always, I look forward to reading your work.

When a Young Girl’s Fancy
By Karen Wojcik Berner

He wore those kind of glasses popular back in the 1950s, black and thick-rimmed, the ones like that comedian on TV and countless guys in their early twenties sported trying to be retro. On him, however, they just were dorky. He was an ordinary-looking man. Medium height. Thin build. No butt. Irmalene never paid him any attention when he came into the dry cleaners, always with seven white shirts to wash, extra starch.

One particularly hot, steamy spring day, after setting his pile on the counter, he leaned over, looked Irmalene straight in the eye and said, “You look beautiful today.”

She was sure her hair had drooped from the humidity. Perspiration was seeping from every conceivable area of her body. And she had a sneaking suspicion her mascara was running.

You look beautiful today.

After that, Irmalene made a special effort to be pleasant when Mr. What’s His Name dropped off his shirts every Friday, a little after five o’clock, and to pick them up Monday evening, anytime before six.

“Looks like we are in for some nice weather this weekend.” Irmalene grabbed the pile of dirty shirts and a pen. “Name?”

“Jake Doyle.”

“Phone number?” Irmalene had to ask, not wanting to appear too interested, even though the information was already committed to memory. The dry cleaners had at least fifty regular customers. No one would expect her to know all fifty phone numbers, now would they?

“356-0712.” His bespectacled eyes watched her write the claim ticket. She had large, loopy printing. He imagined her signing her name with a smiley face or heart. “What time do you get off work?”

You look beautiful today.

Irmalene pretended to not hear his question and instead focused on nervously filling in every single space. She was not accustomed to men asking her that sort of thing. That only happened in the movies, right?

“Here you go, sir.”

Jake smiled and walked out.


Oh my goodness, love it. Love the moment, the tension!

John Wiswell said…
I don't know why, but I laughed at "No butt." Poor guy gets such a good description of his unimpressiveness.
I'm glad, Unpublished Life. Thank you.

Thanks for noticing that John. :)
Jennifer O. said…
Oh come on! I gotta know what happens next. :)
I love that he calls her beautiful when she's clearly not (or not as much as she could be) but I didn't quite buy that that would be enough to change her view about him, overnight (which is how it came across). I think this is worth developing into something longer.
Anonymous said…
Oh! Is it really just a flash? I would live to read more of that. I like how you repeated "you look beautiful today." It's so easy to read her thoughts that way, we all know how it feels to replay something in our minds like that. It's so cute, I love it!

Thanks for your comments, Jennifer, Louise and Chelsea. :)
Leah Griffith said…
These two must be soul mates... I feel it. I loved the preoccupation with her customer, and how she replayed his words over and over again in her mind. She simply couldn't imagine anything remarkable happening to her, but Mr. No Butt has already constructed his plan;)

This was a joy to read Karen! A perfect ending to a month of romance.
I'm so glad you liked it, Leah. Thank you!

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