Home > Uncategorized > Day One Hundred and Sixty: A Time to Talk

Day One Hundred and Sixty: A Time to Talk

This is a story for the Halloween contest over at FridayFlash.org. The rules are pretty simple: “Write a short piece of flash fiction, 500 words or less, that incorporate the title of your chosen [horror] flick.” In other words, I had to pick the title of a horror movie and put each word of that title in the story – just not all together. The fun part: guess what the movie is!


Warren couldn’t help looking around Hal’s bathroom when he got out of the shower. The place was cluttered with countless… things. Miscellaneous tchotchkes, like the little painted doll heads that were lined up in a row above the door, or a framed magazine ad for cologne that hung above the toilet and which had several cartoons drawn on sticky notes stuck to it. There were Mardi Gras beads hanging off the hook on the door and a little bowl of marbles on the toilet tank. Some of it was probably stolen, like the Denny’s sign that read, Por favor lavarse los manos ante de salir that was pasted in the corner of the mirror. Ever obedient, Warren washed his hands, adjusted the towel around his waist, and went out into the apartment.

The bedroom was the same as the bathroom, only larger. The bookcase probably held more miscellaneous knickknacks than it did books, and he’d had trouble the night before finding his way through the stacks of stuff that were on the floor. If it all weren’t so interesting, he would have to leave. No one wants to date a hoarder. Not that Warren was feeling too secure in his dating habits right now as it was. The thoughts he’d tried to wash away in the shower were back, and they made his stomach hurt.

“You okay?” Hal asked. He was lying on the bed, barely covered by a thin sheet, and for all that it covered him, it didn’t really hide anything. He stretched like a cat, and Warren had to look away for a moment. There were things to do, he had to go to work, and if he watched Hal stretch, then none of that would get done. Of course, that was really part of the problem.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and said, “Hal. I think we should talk.”

Hal sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees. “Uh-oh,” he said. “That’s never good.”

“No, no,” Warren said. “It’s just…” He shrugged, and a moment later felt a hand on his shoulder. “I just want to know where this is going, you know?” He patted the bed. “I mean, this is fun and all, but still.” He turned around, and saw his own concern mirrored in Hal’s face, and that gave him some measure of hope. Perhaps Hal the collector was willing to give him a chance. “Where do we go from here, Hal? What do we tell people?”

They sat in silence for a little while. “I don’t know,” Hal finally said. “I guess we just have to trust to fate on this one.” He knelt upright on the bed and held Warren close. Warren let himself lay back in his cousin’s arms, and felt the tingle of skin contact. “Some things just… happen.”

Warren nodded. “Fate,” he said. “Right.” And it was then that he knew that this – whatever it was – wasn’t going to last.

  1. October 28, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Aww…. those poor fellows. I will give them hugs and tell them their love is okay.

    • October 28, 2011 at 9:28 PM

      They’ll certainly appreciate it. *smile* Though the more their personalities blossom in my head, the more interesting their relationship gets. They’ll either be perfect for each other or completely mutually destructive.

  2. October 28, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    This certainly left me wondering but more about your intentions, as the author, than the story itself. It seems to me that you’re going for the shock factor, just by writing a story about a relationship that’s not only homosexual, it would also be considered incest by many people. Of course, it’s been proven that there’d be no genetic detriments to a child born of cousins, hence why the laws been changed in certain American States but I think the taboo around it remains. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, in itself, it’s just the fact that you write about it in such a nonchalant way – as though not expecting anyone to be shocked – that’s what made me wonder. I guess my point is that I want to be left wondering about the story – about the characters – and not about your intentions. There’s too much of an authorial presence for this to work. Your writing is good. It’s very visual – I can see the scene. It’s also about something pretty much everyone can relate to. I just think it would work better without the word ‘cousin’. Or maybe if you brought it in right at the start. As it is, it strikes me as a gimmick.

    Either way, though, you’ve got me thinking and I want to read more by you. Surely the goal of any piece of writing.

    Thanks for this.

    • October 28, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      Many thanks for the good words.

      To be honest, their extra-sexual relationship was tough to work out. I kept trying out combinations, and for reasons that will probably one day provide a good therapist with a yacht, incest is what seemed to fit them best. It was probably as surprising to me as anyone else. If you look through my back catalog here, you’ll see pretty quickly that pushing cultural hot-buttons isn’t something I really do a lot of. *smile*

      I’m certainly aware of the double-taboo going on in this story, which I think makes it intriguing. The restrictions of the contest it was written for kind of squashed a lot of introspection as to why they’re in this sort of relationship and how they feel about it, which are really the most interesting questions that need to be explored. How did they get together? Why is Warren having trouble with it while Hal seems to be okay, and what does his “collector” nature have to do with it, if anything? Then there’s all the external issues – what do they do for a living, who are their family and what would be the fallout – personal, professional, social – if their relationship is discovered? There are tons of places to go with it, and it will probably find itself on the list of Stories to Work On once this writing project is over.

      I really appreciate the thoughtful comments!

  3. November 2, 2011 at 2:29 AM

    This is a well written story and leaves a lot of questions for the reader. The gay angle is not so much taboo nowadays, but incest certainly is. Coming out as gay is one thing, but as incestuous… well, that would be a very hard thing for most people they know to accept. I sort of got the feeling Hal was “collecting” Warren, which you may not have intended at all. Just how it felt to me.

    Thank you so much for participating in the Name That Horror Movie Contest. I have no clue on the title. You’ve woven it in very well.

    • November 2, 2011 at 5:16 AM

      Many thanks! I agree that Hal is “collecting” Warren, but I’m not entirely sure he (Hal) knows what he’s doing. We shall see, someday…

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