Must Contain FFC

Flash Fiction time! Chuck sez “must contain.” I got “faithful hound” & “pair of detectives.” Warning, this flash is rated PG-13. At 1111 words, here it is:

* * *

“Traffic is slow and go on thirteenth avenue.”

I roll over and stare at the flickering red digits.

“We have an overturned vehicle at the intersection of Main and Maple; Use Concorde to avoid that…”

I hit the button and silence the droning from the newscaster. His voice is grating and I feel a headache coming on. I cast aside the covers and immediately feel a chill. My wife, Amanda, keeps the temperature low to save a few dollars on the electric bill.

Why would she care? I think to myself, She left for work two hours ago.

My faithful hound, Jeeves, is sprawled on the floor, his eyes following my movements.

“Morning Jeeves.”

His response is to lazily raise his tail and bring it down with a thump. I make my way to the shower, the cold tile reminding me to adjust the temperature before closing the bathroom door.

* * *

The daily housework that’s required of me doesn’t take long. After being married for five years, it moves along quickly, Jeeves following me as I get my tasks done. I look at the thermometer posted outside a front window.

Seventy-four degrees.

I decide to wear Bermuda shorts, a polo and crocs. All of them blue and all of them matching. I walk my bike to the door, pat Jeeves on the head and step through, closing the door behind me.

As I prepare a bungee cord to strap my grocery bags to a rear basket, I see a topless woman jogging down the street. She moves without a care in the world, oblivious to the inequity that forces me to cover my body.

“Hey Chico, looking good today!”

I ignore the catcall, mount my bike and start pedaling toward the grocery store. I need to get this over quickly, Amanda expects to come home to a clean house and a freshly prepared meal. I need to prepare it, and workout to maintain my figure.

Another demand I must meet. I scowl as the thought forms in my head.

“Hey good lookin’ don’t be sad, let a real woman make you happy!”

I ignore the latest sexism thrown in my direction and focus on the last two blocks until my destination.

There’s an alley between the grocer and the next building. As I lean my bike against the corner, my cellphone rings.


“Hey Stephen, how’s married life treatin’ you?”

I mentally sigh. Rawles and I graduated university at the same time. He and I started working at the bank together and earned our promotions and raises at the same time. When Amanda and I married, she insisted I quit my job to maintain the household. After five years, Rawles was now a branch manager and I toiled away my day away from all my friends.

“You know, living the dream.”

“Your dream, maybe.” He laughed, “Not mine.”

I release a disgusted snort.

“Hey, you married the gal, deal with it.”

“It’s not that, there’s a woman pissing in the alley.”

“Disgusting! Well, I need to get back to the grind. Let’s get together this weekend.”

“See you then, Rawles. I love you man.”

“Back at you dude.” He disconnected the call.

I was unaware I was still looking down the alley. The woman pissing had finished and three of her friends were walking towards me.

“You like what you see, boy?”

It takes me a moment to realize she’s yelling at me. “No, I was, uh… Talking to my buddy.”

“So, you didn’t like what you saw?”

“It’s not that! Listen, I need to get my shopping done.”

“Oh, well excuse me, I was just trying to be friendly. Come on, ladies, let’s go.”

They all laughed as they passed me. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until I let it out. I said under my breath, “Bitches.”

“What did you say, fatherfucker?”

Oh shit! I said it too loud.

The four of them moved quickly and pushed me into the alley.

“Let’s teach this bastard some respect!” The one who was pissing in the alley said as she pressed her body against me.

One of her friends looked worried, saying, “Come on, gals, let him go.”

The one pressed against me placed my hand on her breast. “Go on, give it a squeeze.”

“Please, no.”

“Squeeze, bastard!”

I complied, worried what they would do to me.

“He likes it!”

Another pulled down my shorts.

“Please let me go!”

She laughed as two of her friends continued to molest me.

“Come on! I’m getting the hell outta here!” The worried one declared.

“Jane, you cunt! Get back here!”

Two of them chased after Jane. The last one pushed me to the ground and strode confidentially out of the alley. I lie there shorts around my knees, sprawled in filth.

* * *

“Then one of them took my penis into her mouth and bit it. That really happen?”

I looked up at the female detective reading my statement. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“No one saw this happen?”

“No, Ma’am.”

“Cause, you know, it was broad daylight.”

“They dragged me into an alley.”

“Excuse me, here’s that coffee you wanted.”

We both looked up to see a man, barely in his twenties hand the Detective a coffee.”

“Thanks, Sean. You wearing new slacks?”

Sean smiled, gazed into the detective’s eyes and said, “They are. Thanks for noticing, Connie.”

As Sean walked away, Connie stared at his ass. She watched him until he disappeared around a corner. Another female detective leaned over from the next desk, phone cradled under her chin and winked at Connie. Connie smiled, nodded and returned her attention to me.

“If you’ll sign this statement, I can get it filed. With no witnesses, I doubt we’ll get anywhere.”

I stared at my bruised knees and torn shorts. Amanda would not be happy about this.

* * *

I stared out the vestibule. It was getting dark and Amanda was just arriving to the police station.

“What took you so long?” I demanded.

“I couldn’t get out of work. You were safe here.”

“It’s not about safety!” I yelled at her. “I needed you and you took your sweet time. Where the hell’s the car?”

“I have responsibilities to this family. The car is around the block. I’ll pull it up. Just wait here.”

“Ashamed to be see with me? I hate this feminist society.”

“You’re emotional right now, we’ll talk about it in the car.”

Amanda smoothed her form-fitting dress and started down the street. Her heels echoing off the building. She couldn’t know our relationship was now irrevocably harmed. In a society that blames the victim, how could it not be so?

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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