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Flash Fiction: Over My Dead Body!

the-perfect-enabler-rebels

I love writing flash fiction because anything goes. Flash fiction is a double-edged sword in that the writer can't build characters for lack of word space. On the other hand, a feel for the character must allow the reader to resonate or the story will be lost. For this reason it can be most difficult to write.

This story has been tumbling around in my head for a couple of years and actually started out to be literally a piece of poetic justice. But as I've admitted before, I'm not a poet and I know it, so ended up as a short story. I've had little success with short stories on HubPages, but I am very pleased with the acceptance of my flash fiction. I cut it down for this publication despite the fact that my muse is having conniptions. So be it.

I hope you enjoy this little piece of irony.


The Bride Wore Black

Selma Bunch shivered. Pulling her coat tightly around her midsection, she stared woodenly at the last shovel full of clay dirt being dropped onto the grave. Her hand felt lost in the big hand of Dylan Welch, who held it tightly. After Reverend Hobbs finished saying the final Amen over the deceased, the body was lowered gently into the grave and the pallbearers packed the soil tightly. Regrets? Selma had none especially not for what she was about to do.

The Reverend nodded complicitly at Selma, who, still holding tightly onto Dylan’s hand, with a determined expression stood upon the grave. Dylan stepped up beside her and centered the couple over the newly buried coffin. The Reverend began:

“Dearly Beloved,

We are gathered here today not only to bury Sarah Bunch, but to celebrate the union of Dylan and Selma. If any man objects to this marriage, let him speak or forever hold his peace.”

The already curious crowd huffed a gasp in unison, but the spectacle had their full attention. A few knowing smiles and even a couple of snickers went around. Not one person exited, nor was there a dry eye when he finished with: “Dylan, you may kiss your bride.”

the-perfect-enabler-rebels

No Tulle Veil, just Lace with Irony

No person in the community was unaware of the story of Dylan Welch and Selma Bunch. The gossips likened them unto Romeo and Juliet, except for the surprise ending.

The high school sweethearts had wanted to marry; had even waited years. Dylan’s parents had given their blessings and so did Selma’s father, but Sarah, Selma’s emotionally unstable mother, flew into a rage. “Absolutely not!” she had screamed. Selma's gentle father gave his blessings as long as they waited until they turned 18 and graduated from school.

But ah, fickle fate, Selma’s father died the next year, and her acerbic mother turned even more bitter. Sarah tightened her grip on Selma. For, you see, the comfortable Bunches lived on Nob Hill, while the Welches lived on the side of the little town with common laborers and a few ill reputes.

Upon turning 18, Selma reminded her mother of her father’s approval. Sarah replied that no self respectin’ daughter of hers was going to marry that old reprobate’s pup! The rumor that Tom Welch was the biggest bootlegger and crook in the county rang true, but there was no evidence that Mrs. Welch was anything but a beleaguered loving mother of eight kids. Sarah immediately went into her “I’m so sick and if you marry him you’ll kill me” mode.

You’re sick in the head, Selma thought, but she held her tongue, “You have Lena. She takes good care of you when I’m not here.” Lena was their housekeeper and only servant.

“I cannot spare you. You are not marryin' that White Trash!”

It didn’t matter that Dylan was becoming a success. He was the first in his family to graduate high school, as valedictorian no less, and had acquired a position as bookkeeper at the bank. He had a promising future ahead. No reason to object, but obstinance pure and simple.

Sarah had Selma somewhat in her grip, but Selma continued to sneak out to see Dylan, who reluctantly accepted the situation. Strangely, the arrangement continued for years. Sometimes Selma wished that she would become pregnant, which would force her to make a choice between a family of her own and her mother. However, Dylan was a considerate lover and a very careful one.

A number of similar arguments ensued as the years went by. Selma was terrified of losing Dylan, but not enough to overcome Sarah's guilt trip. You might say that Selma was the perfect enabler until one day when a particularly heated argument ended in a louder than usual screaming match.

"You will NOT marry Dylan Welch!"

“Yes, I will, Mama, I’m tired of waiting. Dylan’s tired of waiting. I’ve let you dominate me too many years! I’m going to tell him to get the license. We will be married immediately at the courthouse. You can't stop us!"

“You will marry him over my DEAD BODY!"

“OK, Mama, if that’s what your li'l ole heart desires!” A determined Selma turned her back on her mother and stalked out the door.

“Selma, you come back here! You can’t do this! Come baaack…," Sarah gasped.

The last sound Sarah made was the “whump” when her body hit the floor.

© 2017 Doris James MizBejabbers

Comments

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on October 05, 2018:

That's very true, Shauna. Before I retired I had a boss who used to tell us, "be careful what you wish for, you might get it." Thanks for reading and your comment.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 05, 2018:

Great story, MizB! Selma was a good daughter to respect her mother's last wishes. How appropriate to marry her love OVER HER MOTHER'S DEAD BODY!

Ha ha. Careful what you wish for, right?

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on January 13, 2018:

Nadine, sorry to get back with you so late, but I've been in bed all week with computer shoulder and mouse elbow (repetitive motion pain). Thank you for your descriptive comment; that's the kind I like! Better late than never, I guess.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on January 08, 2018:

Wow! Your entry is gripping, then the middle of your story made me smile, but the ending was even better. You nailed it! Well done! Wow! Must share this!

Robert Sacchi on December 21, 2017:

It is par for the course that only a small fraction of the people who hit a page comment on it.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 21, 2017:

I still get a lot of hits but very few comments on those.

Robert Sacchi on December 20, 2017:

That makes sense because many of the people who read HubPages write for HubPages and are interesting in improving their writing.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 20, 2017:

Possibly true. The few that I've done on grammar and law are still hanging on. They weren't DIY, but they were informational.

Robert Sacchi on December 18, 2017:

Probably some of both. I think HubPages claims DIYs do the best. It does seem articles related to politics and religion do well.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 18, 2017:

Your comment seems to back up my findings. Could this be that people are either looking for information or they just don't have the time to read a regular length story? Thanks for reading my flash fiction and commenting, Robert.

Robert Sacchi on December 17, 2017:

Yes, it is a good story of poetic justice, and being careful of what one says.

I think short stories don't do well as a general rule on HubPages.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 17, 2017:

Kari, glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas!

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 17, 2017:

Thank you Nikki, I love being told that!

Kari Poulsen from Ohio on December 16, 2017:

I love it. :)

Nikki Khan from London on December 16, 2017:

What a great story and been told in an amazing way.I must say your writing style is creative and very interesting.

God Bless you.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 15, 2017:

Nell, glad you enjoyed my little satire. Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Nell Rose from England on December 14, 2017:

LOL! Ooh you evil....! great story, and loved the way your mind works!

Mizbejabbers on December 14, 2017:

Thank you, Zulma, I didn't have enough room to develop a setting, but I'd intended it to be turn of the 20th Century when daughters were dutiful and did what was expected.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on December 14, 2017:

You have to admire such a dutiful daughter. She did everything her Mama asked of her. Right to the end.

This was brilliant. :D

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Chris, coming from the master of flash fiction, that means a lot to me. Thank you and have a great evening!

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Patricia, Hitchcock, I love that description. Thanks for reading and for the angels along with your comment.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 13, 2017:

This is a great FF storyline. I love how it played out, and the daughter had the guts to follow through.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 13, 2017:

This has a Hitchcock ring to it. You really nailed it with this one. Angels are on the way to you today ps

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Elijah, I understand what you are saying, but the writer can't build characters or the story in flash fiction. I do plan on saving a version of the approximately 1500 word version that would explain the mother's snobbishness and the reticence of the daughter. There's also the willingness of the young man to go along with the situation. All of this could be explained in a short story but not in flash fiction. But sometimes some people like the mother are just insane.

I've found that my regular length fiction stories don't do too well as far as readership goes, so they aren't worth the effort to publish on HubPages. People seem to read the flash fiction because it doesn't take much of their time. I'm sorry you feel short-changed but that is why I publish short here. Thank you for reading. I do appreciate your opinion.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Thank you, Manatita. I try not to make a big deal of it. I don't think I could handle the repercussions.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on December 13, 2017:

I think I would have enjoyed reading the whole version, I guessed, incorrectly the mother's discarnating, and was elated to know just the thought of loosing her daughter to her beloved would end her mother's life.

Well done is not anywhere near what, if I knew something better which is not a judgment, to say. I enjoy it.

manatita44 from london on December 13, 2017:

So sorry, Miz.

I had no idea. It is a painful, extremely painful thing for any mom. Please accept by condolences. Higher blessings to all.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Bill, I really hope to write more now that I'm getting my life situated. This is why I say that I don't worry about it and I don't force myself when I don't feel like writing. My son's death took the wind out of my writing sails, at least for awhile. I seem to be getting my head organized now and I promise more. Thank you for reading and for your encouraging comment, dear friend. Happy holidays to you and Bev!

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Manatita, I have to really have the muse nagging me to get a piece of poetry out of me. It isn't the inspiration, I've tried several pieces lately and haven't succeeded. That's why I switched this one to prose. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, you beautiful soul.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Thanks, John, I'm finally coming out of hibernation and starting to write again. I appreciate the comment.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Yves, I guess you could say that. It would have been a backhanded honoring though. Thanks for commenting.

Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 13, 2017:

Flourish and Jackie, thank you for reading and commenting. It was a fun piece to write.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 13, 2017:

Be careful what you wish for . . . or suggest! Thump!

An enjoyable read, my friend. I wish you had the time to write more like this. You never disappoint!

Happy Holidays, MizB!

manatita44 from london on December 13, 2017:

Miz,

You told this quite well. An exquisite piece!

Now, who says that you are not a poet. Billy says that too. Yet some of his prose lines are sheer poetry. I always say that any good creative writer, is also a poet. I guess it's just a matter of focus. Let's say, perhaps, that your sweet Heart does not feel the need right now. Brilliant prose though. Peace.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 12, 2017:

Loved it MizB. A very enjoyable and well-written piece of flash fiction.

Yves on December 12, 2017:

I wondered why she stood upon the grave. Turns out, she honored her mother's last word.

What a clever piece. I love a good punch line. Well done, Miz!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 12, 2017:

What a great imagination, MizB!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 12, 2017:

This was great! I loved the veiled humor amidst the somber topic. So glad you got this one out.