Category Archives: Flash

Losing Clint Eastwood

February 2, 2017

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Nighties, sweatpants, and mismatched socks fly from the dresser in a polyester storm. She runs to the closet, shoves aside dusty his and hers towels, pulls down winter coats as though she’s urgent to get warm. For the third time in an hour, she opens the plastic tub of Christmas decorations; another ornament shatters, the garland is by now a tight knot of synthetic green. Damn it.

A sudden thought intrudes. Yes, that’s it, and skins her knee on the nightstand as she turns. A spatter of blood follows her to the bed. Her arms grope madly beneath the big four-poster, but she encounters nothing more than Bill’s abandoned paperbacks and a lazy heap of photographs, shoved there after the divorce. Where the hell was it?

It was only last week that she’d stood before the display case, the eyes of the store owner running from her ass to her tits and down again. “I want that one,” she said at last.

“A .45 cal? Are you…”

Her best Dirty Harry voice cut him off. “Make my day,” she said, laughing nervously.

He shrugged. “Whatever you want lady,” and took her credit card and ID. Ten minutes later, he handed her a heavy paper bag.

“I want to try it. Where can I go?”

After the range, she stopped at Home Depot for a fireproof safe. She wrestled it into the garage and bolted it to the wall beneath Bill’s workbench. Finished, she stacked her purchases inside, setting the combination with numbers Bill would never guess…

Read the rest: http://www.indianavoicejournal.com/2017/02/flash-fiction-by-kip-hanson-losing.html

After the Movie

March 23, 2013

It was the stupid commercial that finally pushed her over the edge. The hot office broad, up on her desk like a pole dancer, and those goofy executive types leering at her. Be more attractive to your employers, it said, and I laughed.

Rachel jumped up off the couch and took a few jerky steps toward the kitchen. I thought at first she was going for more snacks. Then she turned on me, hair flying around her head in a pale yellow storm.

“You goddamned men. You’re all the same.”

I didn’t stand a chance. “Rach…it was just a commercial. What’s the big deal?” Is this another one of your rape things? I almost said.

“If you’d been with me that night, instead of out drinking with your fucking football buddies, it never would have happened.”

I could only stare up at her, my mouth stopped up tight, my hands making these little butterfly motions. Was she broken for good?

Seeing that yet another apology wasn’t forthcoming, she stomped off to the bedroom, her slight form refusing to lend an ounce of floor-pounding credence to her anger. I heard the bath water, and then the snick of the lock. Looked like I was sleeping on the couch again.

Read the rest: http://www.pendulinepress.com/author-article-archives/after-the-movie/

Ten after seven on a Sunday night. Tomorrow’s the first day of school. My wife says Billy needs stuff for a sandwich. He wants some potato chips, too. Ever since we lost Janey, she’s pampered the kid. Lets him sit in his room and play video games. When I was his age, I had a job. Washing dishes, delivering papers. I’d gladly work one of those jobs now. I take a piss the color of Kentucky bourbon and step into the high-nineties of late summer. My piece of shit car sits in the drive, broken and brooding. Worthless.

The clerk at the grocery store is cute. Trailer simple. She flirts, I flirt back, and I hope she doesn’t remember me tomorrow. Five minutes later, a lumpy sack of bologna, Wonder bread, and melting American cheese dangles from my left hand. From my right, a fresh pint of Jack. My last twenty bucks is gone until Wednesday. Maybe there’s some change under the couch cushions.

My flip-flops are loose. They chafe, and a small blister forms, between my toes. Bits of sand, like glass, collect there. The cool, fruity smell of the grocery store lies behind me. I miss it already. The Arizona sun hangs low on the horizon, bloated and lazy, but still bright enough to burn blazing pinholes of light into my brain. My head throbs like a whiny bitch.

Read the rest: http://www.fiction365.com/2013/01/build-a-teepee-come-inside/

Yesterday my wife caught me with a picture of her best friend Liz. It was the one of her at the Christmas party, wearing the skimpy red dress and the reindeer antlers. It’s my favorite photo.

So I’m standing there, the photo of Liz propped against the bottle of expensive hand cream Jen always buys, and she busts through the bathroom door like it’s the last toilet on earth.

“Jesus, Jen. Ever heard of knocking?”

She takes one look at the photo and starts bawling. “That was my favorite picture of her,” she says. I try to explain, telling her that even though I’ve been seeing Liz for five years, nearly as long as Jen and I’ve been married, it’s not what she thinks.

She doesn’t buy it. “Bastard,” she says, and runs for the car keys.

My belt buckle scrapes across the kitchen floor as I follow her. She tries to jam her shoes on but the laces have knotted. As I reach to help she pushes me away, furious. “Pull up your pants, pervert.”

I want to tell her she looks like Patty Duke when she’s mad. “I love you, Jennifer,” I plead.

She opens the door to leave and I offer up a last ditch cliché. “She doesn’t mean anything,” I say. But we both know that’s a lie. Liz means everything to me.

Read the rest: http://www.redfez.net/fiction/492

Finals Week

March 4, 2013

Darius Fletcher woke from a dream of Elvis Presley in a leotard. Don’t be cruel, sang the
King of Rock and Roll. Lisa’s ringtone. The blue glow of the cable box said 3:55 AM. Why
was she calling?

Fletcher gently slid his arm from beneath the mass of blonde hair lying next to
him. Mary Beth was a light sleeper. He picked up his cell phone and padded out to the
living room.

“Hello?” Light from the Starbuck’s sign across the street filtered in through the
blinds, painting the apartment’s shag an ugly fluorescent green. It reminded him of St
Patrick’s day.

“Good morning, sleepy head.”

A dark chasm of dread open at the sound of her voice. “Lisa. What’s wrong?” She was halfway across the country, at the University of Chicago. “Why are you calling?”

A sharp squeal of laughter. “Oh, no! Did I wake you? Gosh darn it, I forgot about
the time change thing again.”

“What’s wrong?” he repeated.

She emitted a huff of impatience at the question, like a miniature freight train. The little engine that could. “Nothing’s wrong, Honey. It’s just that…well, I have some good news, and I have a little bad news.”

Read the rest: http://foliateoak.weebly.com/kip-hanson.html

Three weeks ago, I bought a new barbeque grill. It’s one of those big stainless steel jobs, with three burners, a flush-mount auxiliary burner, and 10,000 BTU. That was right before I burned off my facial hair. I’m not talking about a flash of heat and a quick curl of the eyelashes here. I leaned down to push the starter…click, click, click, and WHOOSH! It was like Ground Zero at the Trinity nuclear test site. My neighbor Jim laughed so hard he fell off the picnic table. What a jerk.

I’ve been learning to grill since I got married. I’d be happy eating casseroles and TV dinners, but Marie is in love with grilled meat.  Ribs, chicken, brisket—you name it. Once she even made me grill the Thanksgiving turkey. That was the year we had Chinese takeout, after I got her to agree the bird was beyond salvage.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind cooking for her. But I’d rather do it indoors, where it’s safe. Grilling is dangerous. Charcoal briquettes are chock full of toxic chemicals. Those long-handled cooking implements? You could put an eye out with the fork Marie bought for my birthday last year. And everyone knows that grilled meat causes cancer. I tell her these things and she rolls her eyes, then hands me a platter of raw cow meat.

“Get outside. I’m hungry.”

Read the rest: http://www.clevermag.com/essays2/barbecue.htm

Many people struggle with small talk, especially on a city bus. To Mark Hallman, the bus was like a family reunion where you can’t remember the name of your gap-toothed cousin, or that of the drunk uncle in the Chicago Bears jersey. Every weekday he left the quiet of the Lynwood Mall Park ‘n Ride and, with the apprehension of a visit to the proctologist, climbed into the echoing anonymity of the 13E. From there he rode twenty-five minutes to his job at the credit union, silent and uncomfortable among familiar strangers. Today, Mark would change all that.

To his left sat the young man with the sailor tattoo—Mark called him Popeye (never to his face, of course). Three seats back, the noisy couple who stepped off every day at Murdock Street argued again about who would cook dinner that night. In the very rear of the bus was a plump but not unattractive girl in a tartan knee-length dress and thick Harry Potter glasses. She was staring at him, again. And two seats before Mark was the woman he would someday marry.

Read the rest at First Stop Fiction: http://www.firststopfiction.com/?p=282

Until the Road Ends

September 9, 2011

When I was eighteen, I bought a 67’ Chevelle for five hundred bucks from a guy at work who was looking for some quick cash to score a pound of bitching Columbian.

My buddy Paul and I towed the car back to the apartment building and worked on it every weekend, tearing it down into a greasy mountain of parts and hopeful that we could put it all back together again, but better, faster – bolting on a wicked intake manifold and roaring headers and lifters that went tick-tick-tick, a thirsty 4-barrel and a screaming cam, and fat sticky tires wrapped around mag wheels that glittered in the summer sun.

Read the rest at Six Sentences http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/2010/09/until-road-ends.html

The Last Carol

July 7, 2011

My brother is a real baby sometimes. I can understand the kid’s only nine, but…okay, it’s like this. It was two days before Christmas. He’d been bugging me since breakfast, saying it was Christmas Eve-Eve. And that night, we were sitting around the tree: arranging the presents, hanging tinsel, stringing the lights. Mom and Dad and Kyle and me. Of course, Dad had come home late – another executive advertising meeting, he claimed – so Mom was a little bitchy. He told her if she didn’t like it, she could always get a job of her own. She shut up after that.

But there we were, and it was okay for a while. Listening to Christmas carols. Drinking hot apple cider with those little cinnamon sticks. Dad was slurping away at some eggnog. Normally I don’t go in for all this family stuff. I would rather have been in my room listening to some of my own music. Reading Harry Potter, playing Call of Duty, whatever. But I admit it was sort of festive. And then the whole deal with Kyle started.

Read the rest at Full of Crow http://www.fullofcrow.com/fiction/archivedstories/711hanson/

Margaret’s Daughter

May 26, 2011

The first storm of the summer rolled in as Karen walked home from her day job, waiting tables at the corner bar for two bucks an hour plus tips. From her right hand dangled a plastic grocery bag containing a jar of peanut butter, a partially smashed loaf of bread, two packs of smokes, and a pint of Jack Daniels. She was still two blocks from her door when the rain started in earnest.

With her dress clinging to her wet skin like an unwanted lover, she splashed down the sidewalk. She jammed the key into the lock and stepped into the tiny apartment where she lived alone, with her son. The smell of stale cigarettes and tired dust greeted her at the door. Slipping off her shoes, she kicked them across the kitchen and proceeded to pour two fingers of Jack into a dirty glass. She stared out the window at the rain slanting across the parking lot, and poured two more.

Read the rest at Every Day Fiction: http://www.everydayfiction.com/margarets-daughter-by-kip/

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