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Flash Fiction Friday: Friction

by Brian Auspice

I flip a switch and turn off friction. I slide into a wall. The wall slides into me. Everything and everyone slides into everything and everyone else. We all get a good laugh out of it. I flip the switch again and begin to untangle the mess I’ve caused.

“Ultimately,” some pundit on some station says to the camera. “Ultimately, this whole situation has brought us closer together.” He sticks a revolver in his mouth and blows his brains out.

I turn off the television and stare at my reflection in the black screen. My face melts, dripping prismatic wax onto a checkered tile floor. It coagulates into liquid gold. I scoop it into a mason jar, make a poorly-timed knock-knock joke to an empty room, and dive out an open window.

CUT TO: EXT. SKYSCRAPER – DAY

Seven-thousand hour slow-motion establishing shot of stunt double falling to the city below.

I land on my feet. I twist my ankle. I untwist my ankle and do a one-handed cartwheel. Bystanders applaud. I flip them off and tell them I wasn’t trying to impress them.

“I did it for the lulz,” I say, turning and deliriously skipping down the street, head cocked back to belt out a long and unpunctuated series of psychotic laughs.

I reach the corner of Lo and Main. I sucker punch a pedestrian in the crosswalk. He staggers back and stumbles into a crowd of nuns, setting off a chain reaction of human dominos that wraps around the world twice, coming to a fiery, apocalyptic conclusion at Burning Man.

“All good things must come to an end,” I say, shrugging uncontrollably for seventy-two hours.

I wander off into a junkyard. Scrap metal. Tires. Frames. Fumes, toxic and otherwise.

RECLAIMER ->
<- THIS WAY

I follow the sign, weaving serpentine through the mounds of rust and rubber. I come to a clearing. A shack sits at the edge of a sludge pond. A flickering neon sign hangs above its door. A series of saturated wood shipping pallets float on the surface of the pond. I leapfrog across them, landing on the opposite muddy bank. I lose my footing and slide into the shack’s door. It opens. I tumble inside, leaving a skid of slime in my wake.

“Welcome,” says a man behind the counter. “I,” he pauses, clears his throat. “I am the Reclaimer.” He spreads his arms like a messiah. “This is my domain.”

I survey the room. Dented tin cans, broken toys, half-magazines, warped instruments, discarded personal hygiene products, previous generation iPhones – a collection of temporary one-time relics tossed, lost, and forgotten.

“I’ve come to barter,” I declare. I stand, stride across the room, and place my jar of liquid gold on the counter.

Reclaimer eyes it. He strokes his chin. He reaches under the counter and retrieves a pair of unnecessarily complex magnifying goggles. He straps them to his head and examines the jar.

“Few imperfections,” he mutters. “Some pitting here, bubbling. Otherwise,” he removes the goggles. “Otherwise, of good quality. The contents are useless, of course. Dime-a-dozen.” He places a rusted hubcap on the counter, dumping a handful of chipped plastic coat buttons on top. “And that’s generous.”

I laugh. He laughs. I slam my fist on the counter. The buttons tiddlywink. We stare at one another for five years.

“Very well,” he says. He places a previous generation iPhone on the counter. “My final offer.”

I nod. He nods. I hand him the jar and take the iPhone. I awkwardly bow and exit the shack. I stand at the edge of the pond. I power on the device and immediately download an app that allows me to remotely flip switches. I tap the touchscreen and turn off friction. I slide into the sludge. The sludge slides into me.

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Brian Auspice exists in an impermeable void between time and space. He is the author of Deep Blue, which was published as a part of the New Bizarro Author Series in 2014. 01001010 01101111 01101000 01101110 00100000 01110011 01110101 01100011 01100011 01110101 01101101 01100010 01110011 00101110

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