Here is my flash fiction for this week. Please share any constructive criticism you can offer, and thanks so much for reading. To read more flash fiction from a great group of writers, search #fridayflash on Twitter or visit Mad Utopia.
It’s 4 A.M.
By Olivia Tejeda
Early this morning, just before 4 a.m., as the Estates at Vineyard Glen settled in for a final stretch of darkness before sunrise and the last of the fat bodied moths withered away from the street light outside 803 Grapevine Court, Mary Ann Barnes lay silently in her bed after waking up too early – mind racing – for the sixteenth night in a row.
Sleep came with no problem. By 11 o’clock, midnight, she was out, but these past few weeks, her sleep ends at 4, and her brain starts working like it’s slept for hours.
Today’s Tuesday, right? Damn, Tuesday is taco day, I need to make Dillinger lunch. Do I have anything? I should have shopped yesterday. Why can’t he just eat the goddamm tacos? Kids love tacos.
And why the hell did we name him Dillinger? Was I drinking? Why not just call him Berkowitz or Oswald?
She thought of her sweet-faced, blond boy.
Fourth grade already. How is that possible? If he doesn’t start behaving he’s won’t make it to fifth.
If I don’t get some sleep soon, I won’t either.
She took in a deep breath to sigh, but kept inhaling, turning it into the cleansing breath she learned in her yoga class. She wanted to fill up on relaxation now and store her energy before giving in to the demands of the day, but it was useless. She was already exhausted.
What did that doctor on Oprah say? If you’re not sleeping, you’re not dreaming, and then something happens and you could have a heart attack or stroke.
I’m too young for a heart attack.
Probably should exercise more. The yoga’s great, but it does nothing for my heart. Or my ass. My instructor’s ass, though. Boy, she’s got an ass. Even in my best days, my ass couldn’t touch hers.
Pete has a great ass. Is he gonna flirt with me today? That smile. He’s so sexy.
She looked over at her husband. His back was to her, exposed, and she listened to him snore.
Maybe I can rub off a quick one before he wakes up.
Her eyes moved along the path of his spine from his neck down to his waist, the sheets obscured the rest of him.
I could scratch four long welts into his back if I wanted.
She brought her hand to his neck, fingers like claws, ready to tear at him. She held it there, looking at his smooth skin.
Oh, the hell with it.
Should I have an affair? Karen is, and she looks great. I’m not good at lying, though. And I’d have to shave my legs. I haven’t done that since Labor Day.
Oh! Chicken fingers. I can nuke chicken fingers for Dillie’s lunch. Stop calling him Dillie. He hates that. I do, too. Oh, fuck it, I haven’t slept in weeks. The kid can eat a friggin’ taco.
I wonder if Michelle Obama make her kids lunch. Does she shave her legs? She hates pantyhose, so she probably does. I bet she does yoga, too. My instructor has a better ass, though.
The news said Obama is considering sending more troops. God, how do those mothers sleep? Maybe we’ll all have heart attacks and the troops will come home to take care of everything the dead mothers used to take care of.
Did Eric tell me Annie’s Civil War project is done or did I imagine that?
She looked at her husband again. She loved him most of the time, but at that moment she wanted to kick him for being able to sleep like that.
I wish he’d wake up. I’m the tired one. I’m going to wake him up early to make sure Annie’s project is done. And he can help her pack it up before he leaves for work.
I hope he’s not having an affair.
There’s something else I need to tell him. What was it? What was it? I can’t remember anything anymore.
I definitely have to shop today. Fruit, stuff for lunches, face cream, milk, dog biscuits. Five things. I can remember that. And canned goods for the Thanksgiving drive. Six things. I need to get more donations for that. And we still need to put up signs. Shit, we didn’t make the signs. I should ask Karen if they can make them. She’s got time to fool around, she’s got time to make some signs, right?
Is Mom coming for Thanksgiving?
She said her furnace smelled like it’s burning. I wonder if she called the plumber yet. I hope that doesn’t cost her a fortune. I have to remember to call her today.
I should keep a notepad by this bed.
That’s what I needed to ask Eric. Did he pay the cell bill?
Is he having an affair?
I need eggs, too.
I won’t remember all that.
Make a list.
It’s so quiet I could lose my mind. If I listen too long it scares me. Feels lonely.
Oh, the birds. They’re starting to sing.
© Olivia Tejeda and Liv Loves Lit, 2008-2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Olivia Tejeda and Liv Loves Lit with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
15 thoughts on “Friday Flash: It’s 4 A.M.”
No wonder she can’t sleep, her mind is running, running, running! You’re correct; Dr. Oz does tell viewers on Oprah that lack of sleep brings on heart attacks, hehe.
Her thinking about naming Dillinger Berkowitz or Oswald made me laugh.
Love how your last line shows the break of day.
My first laugh: “Why not just call him Berkowitz or Oswald?” I loved that. Great stream-of-conscious piece here, Liv. I can call you Liv, right? Why do I say it’s great? Because it’s lively and interesting. You didn’t go and stay one place, you jumped around. It’s like flashes of flash within flash, little pieces jumbled and connected only through your character. I like that. Very satisfying. Very well done.
Now stop jacking around and get back to your NaNo.
Olivia, I’ve a feeling you’ve tapped into the minds of millions of women here. Great job!
“And I’d have to shave my legs. I haven’t done that since Labor Day.”
Oh, that is so good! It is the little things that hold us back. 😉
The first graph is wonderful. I really enjoyed this, and will read more of your work when I can grab some time.
Phew, that was some mind racing reading. I really like the last several paragraphs; brief shots setting up for the ending thought on listening to the quiet and birds signaling the coming dawn.
Great inner monologue playing on the fears of many wives and mothers.
Boy I’m glad there’s a 1,000 word limit. For her sake, for her sake!
Really, I enjoyed that (although it’s a little close for comfort).
Do the men ever do this? As Deanna said, you’ve tapped into the minds of millions of women.
Heh, I have the opposite problem and lie awake ages before falling asleep 🙂
Great inner monologue!
Thanks for all the great comments. My mind is a jumble with Nanowrimo this month, so this flash came a little more naturally than some of the others. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s a woman thing, but I know all my women friends go through this mind-racing insanity, either not being able to fall asleep or not being able to stay asleep. Do men go through it, too?
luved it luved it- because I often live it- the racing mind in a tired body,been there, done that- the Dillenger line is great (oswald etc)!
Also liked ‘side story’ of friend having affair- if she has time for affair she has time to make the damn signs!
A perfect read on grown women’s minds…….
Oh, my. What a wild ride through a steam of conciseness. I was laughing all the way through; the poor woman. We sure can drive ourselves crazy, can’t we?
I like the line about the names too. And I know that some men lie awake with their minds racing, but I’m not normal.
Yeah, I also lie awake quite a lot before I finally fall asleep, but I loved how you presented how her mind works!
Men stay awake at night, their minds racing, wondering what crazy thing the woman next to them will come up with in the morning. And it’s never sex. Never.