Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dan O'Shea Flash Fiction Contest Submission: Christopher Grant

REVERBERATIONS - CHRISTOPHER GRANT

I feel him as he approaches the restaurant table. His steps cause a sort of echo effect, a sound wave. Everything does. I haven’t heard anything since birth, didn’t hear my mother say she loved me or my father say goodbye (though neither did my mother; he just left us). I’ve never known music, not really, and I’ve never heard the result of what I do.

He sits across from me and takes out a notepad. The first time we met, he was introduced to me by a friend who suggested I might be able to take care of his problem. Jerry is forever looking out for my interests.

My client rips off the page and slides it across the tabletop. I put down the forkful of eggs and look at what he’s written.

HE’S THERE NOW.

I raise my eyebrows and my client nods. I pick up my fork and pop the eggs into my mouth. Exactly how I like them, which they ought to be; I’ve been coming to this place for twenty years.

My client reaches into his jacket and pulls out an envelope. He slides this across the table, too, then stands and walks away, through the door of the restaurant. His steps are lighter now that he has finally concluded his business with me. He gets in his car and drives away.

I grab a slice of toast, butter it and chew vigorously while I open the envelope. It appears as if he’s given me his life savings. I stash the envelope in my own jacket, take another bite of eggs, a sip of orange juice and stand. I pull out a hundred dollar bill and leave it on the table.

*

I cannot remember the last time I stood before a cathedral. A long time ago, that’s all I know. The steeple reaches for the heavens and falls short, a fitting metaphor for the institution that owns the property. Inside, the glass ceilings mimic the steeple, the stained glass depicts how the world supposedly was once. Turns out that it’s all open to interpretation. Personally, I think it’s a bunch of shit.

There are very few people here this early in the morning and those that are are either lighting candles, bowing their heads in prayer or waiting on line for Father O’Reilly to hear their confession. I can feel the light echo of everyone’s footsteps and their whispered words. I move to stand behind a middle-aged man that shifts from foot to foot, as if he’s in a hurry or extremely nervous about what he has to say to the good father. A blonde woman brushes against me as she moves to stand behind me. I like her smile and she smells immaculate. I think I can guess what her confession might sound like.

When it is finally my turn, I enter the booth and kneel on the padded plank of wood. This is an old school confessional; the new ones have chairs. I keep my eyes on the wood seperation beyond the latticework.

After what seems like eons, the divider slides open and I watch his lips move.

I leave the confessional a moment later and the cathedral a moment after that, relieved that I cannot hear the blonde woman’s screams.

26 comments:

Matthew McBride said...

Great story..for a min there, I was afraid he was going to ask for Forgivness. Glad he didn't. Nice

Richard Godwin said...

Great stuff. An original idea skilfully executed, it keeps you guessing right until the ending,it would be nice to see more from the you Christopher.

Christopher Grant said...

Thank you, Matthew and Richard.

Richard, if you want to read any of my other stuff, take a look at the side tool bar under CRIMES COMMITTED BY YOURS TRULY.

Unless you've already read those, in which case, I should really start getting back behind the keyboard.

Richard Godwin said...

I've read some Christopher.Please start getting back to the keyboard.

David Barber said...

Top writing indeed, Christopher. I'll be looking at your sidebar as well. My attempt is up on my blog if you fancy a look. Regards.

(Should have something to send you soon.)

Al Tucher said...

Relax, Christopher. Nobody's going to complain when you post something this good.

Keith Rawson said...

solid tension, brother, swift pacing. Excellent as always.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Very nice-you need to take off the editor's hat more often.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Tightly done and a very clever idea.

sandra seamans said...

Nice one, Christopher! My first thought? Someone should have told him about silencers :-) Wonderful story.

Steve Weddle said...

Heck yeah. Tight and tense. Well paced and tons of flavor.

Eric Beetner said...

A deaf hit man is just crying out for a novel series. Seriously. Get on this before someone else does.

Chris said...

I liked that he dropped the hundred to pay for breakfast. Nice touch.

Four Dinners said...

Now this IS writing.

I was drawn in with little idea of where it was going and then it just went!!!

Great stuff old bean!

MRMacrum said...

The steeple reaches for the heavens and falls short, a fitting metaphor for the institution that owns the property. Awesome line guy. Just awesome.

I really enjoyed the deaf aspect of this. It made it seem darker somehow.

Evan Lewis said...

The deafness made it whole new brand of creepy. Nice.

Christopher Pimental said...

Christopher, if this is some sort of actual contest, you get my vote. Solid. Solid. Solid.

Miss Alister said...

You were so tidy, there’s nothin’ to clean up but my drool. Nice!

Joyce said...

What a character. There really does need to be more of him out there. A series immediately comes to mind. He's perfect. Calm, professional, cold as ice and being deaf, even more detached than another in his position might be. I never saw that ending coming either. This is amazing.

Robert187 said...

Christopher,
Good one! I liked the very matter-of-fact tone leading up.

Dottie (My Blog 2.0-Tink's Place) said...

Excellently executed. A deaf hitman, what a kick! Loved it.

Dottie

Jimmy Callaway said...

Beetner's right, sonny. Get on that, or I'll fuckin' steal it.

Here's Lookin' at the Deaf Guy!

Mike Wilkerson said...

Your best yet. You've really made progress in tightening up your sentences and getting rid of the bloat in your work.

It's pure.

Col Bury said...

A more tighter write has never seen daylight. Truly top notch!

Cormac Brown said...

Nice, short and vivid, Chris. Excellent work.

David Cranmer said...

The line (and image) "and I’ve never heard the result of what I do" will stick with me for some time to come.

Big time congrats Chris.