August 2014 Flashes
A.C. Monks attends Endicott College for Communication (major) and Creative Writing (minor). She also has an on-campus job as a peer-tutor at the school’s Writing Center. Prior to college, she made it into her high school’s literary magazine twice and won one of the writing contests before trading the competitive life for the presidential spot in Creative Writing Club. She finds that college has truly pushed her towards working on a more professional career. Her most entertained day-dream is to publish one of her novels before graduating.
The Invisible Middle
The middle child is on the middle swing. She reads. She reads so many books, mostly about heroic first-borns and prodigal last-borns. She knows the books about middle-borns don’t always paint her kind with pretty colors or happy endings.
The two swings next to her are empty. They are lonely. They are lonely because her siblings are busy with soccer and dance, with being beautiful and being cheerful, with acting oldest and acting youngest.
The middle child’s brain starts forgetting to soak in the words she sees. It ponders a different train of thought—the kind that runs straight off the tracks, knocks over seven cars, and manages to find a cliff with a white-water river at its base. The train doesn’t chug. The train whispers idly. It reminds the middle child that she could be the oldest child in a month, or the youngest in a year, or maybe even a spoiled one-and-only. The middle child dismisses the train and continues to read.
A fresh paper airplane is jammed nose-first into the sand of Bawn Cliff Beach. He is clearly the culmination of many lesser planes before him, and is decorated with words. Left wing: “I’m sorry, Ty.” Right: “I have to do this.” Then, “ER,” “Measure up,” “Gone.” But the largest word is “LAKE.”
In the fifteen feet surrounding LAKE, six of his brethren slump in various states of decomposition. MONEY has a wing half-eaten by seawater. Most of SCHOOL’s ink is illegible. FAMILY is almost a pile of mush. The triplets—MISTAKE, MISTAKE, MISTAKE—are safer at the base of the cliff. They’re older, unevenly constructed, and despite being mostly intact, no stray breeze carries them far.
LAKE, MONEY, SCHOOL, FAMILY, MISTAKE, MISTAKE, and MISTAKE flutter collectively as a sharp new shape dithers overhead. Will he join their Cove Clan, they wonder, or make it to the Shovel Rock Crew? He leans left, dips right, loops, then dives to an elegant stop five shells away from the second of the MISTAKE triplets. The older planes marvel at his pristine craftsmanship. His name is HEAVEN-QUESTION-MARK. They like that. They think, with a good breeze, he might be able to escape.