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Flash Fantastic!

No. 18April 2005

By Wesley Lambert

“Look, Maurice!”

Elaine’s husband followed her pointing finger with his eyes. A train of ants stretched from the picnic basket, across the blanket, disappearing into the grass.

“Amazing, aren’t they?” Elaine said. “I read somewhere they can carry up to one hundred times their weight.”

“Wow,” he said, yawning. He heard a clicking sound.

She faced away from him, absorbed in the mundane hunter/gatherer display.

The chitinous arms that clamped over his mouth stifled Maurice’s screams. A horse-sized ant bore him away, kicking and flailing.

Elaine heard the commotion. “Honey,” over her shoulder, “they’re harmless, ok? Typical of you, always making a mountain out of an anthill.”

By Kristin Kraus

John Casper entered the hospital for work, gun in the waistband of his scrubbies. The gun held one bullet for his least favorite psychiatric patient, Miss Cache.

Miss Cache had been John’s grade four teacher, a monolithic woman with cats-eye glasses. Miss Cache would start each day by examining children’s fingernails; John’s had never been clean. John fumed as he pressed the button on the elevator. He remembered vividly how Miss Cache had belittled his messy hair, the hole in the knee of his jeans.

In his teen years, John got himself a job as an orderly in the hospital, eventually saving enough money to put him through the nursing diploma program at the college. Miss Cache used to say in front of the whole class that John would come to no good, called him “pea-brain”. But, John had done just fine after all, even if he could grow potatoes and beans in the dirt of his ear holes.

The sun shone brightly through the hospital windows, illuminating the sea-green walls. It was a regular morning on the psych ward, if there is such a thing.

Miss Cache was awake and sitting up in her bed when he entered her room. Her former beehive was grey and matted.

“I want some oatmeal.” Miss Cache demanded, staring at him with beady eyes.

“First, a fingernail check.” John said. He lifted her liver-spotted hands and made a show of peering carefully at the nails.

“Oh, oh.” He said, shaking his head, making a tsk tsk sound. “Dirty.”

Miss Cache gaped at him, mouth hanging open. She looked so dismayed that John was caught off-guard. Forgiveness flitted about the room like a rare blue butterfly, and then vanished before John could catch it.

John held her fragile, large head in the crook of his left elbow, while he nuzzled the gun to her right temple. Kissing the top of her head hard and smelling the scent of her scalp for a few moments, his former teacher whimpered. Glimpsing the blue butterfly once again, John lowered the gun and tucked it back into his pants. He set her bowl of Red River cereal on the table beside her bed.

“Miss Cache has fainted in room 7.” John told the nurse as he walked by the ward desk. The freight elevator took him down to the hospital parkade where he sat in his car until he felt more calm. John got out of his vehicle and tossed his gun in the nearby garbage can.

In the staff bathroom, John washed his hands with the industrial-strength hospital soap, paying particular attention to the space under his fingernails. He returned to his ward and checked his patients’ charts.

“How’s Miss Cache?” He asked a fellow nurse casually.

“She died.”

John looked at the nurse for reaction, censure perhaps. There was none.

“That’s unfortunate.” He said, reading files as though what was written on them was the key to salvation.

By Bobby Blades

Karen Winters raised her Glock 9MM and pointed it at Thomas Wells head and screamed "Move and I'll blow your freakin' brains out."

She was teetering on the edge of sanity. Her hands trembled slightly; she'd never handled a gun before. Even though she gave off a shaky appearance she exuded a kind of eerie confidence that rocked Thomas to his core. This woman was on a mission and he knew it.

"Ok. Ok. I won't move. Just stay calm down and relax," He said with his eyes transfixed on her gun.

"You killed my child! Do you have any idea what that does to a parent? Huh? You ripped the heart right out of me."

There was a raging war in the sky. Sheets of rain came pouring down on them as Thomas tried to think of who this lady could be and why she knew him while trying not to push her ever-so-fragile psyche over the edge.

"I'm sorry lady I don't know who you are or how you know me but I didn't kill anyone." He said with hands up in the air to show his compliance.

Karen wiped the mess of blonde hair that hung over her face like wet strands of spaghetti with her left hand then wrapped it firmly back around the gun and said, "Don't play games with me. I know you're the scumbag drug lord that killed my son. I hired a private investigator to find you, that's how I know who and what you really are mister phony bologna art dealer."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You want to play games with me? I know I'm just some fat old housewife but see this," she said shaking the gun in the air. "This thing gives me the power to tell you to fuck off; I'm the boss; I make the rules; and you answer to me because I'm one pissed off mother. Do you catch my drift now?"


"Good. Now answer my question. Do you know what it's like to lose a child?"

Thomas stood there, rain dripping down his face, arms beginning to tire, and started to contemplate not her question but whether or not he could grab the gun he had tucked in the back of his pants.

"No, I can't say that I do. I'm really sorry for your loss. Why don't you put the gun down and let’s talk about it?" He said in a real smooth coaxing tone of voice. Thomas began to lower his arms in confidence that he wouldn't be shot and stepped gingerly toward her, almost stalking her, sensing that she was emotionally weak.

"Didn't I tell you not to move?" Karen said aiming the gun right at his groin.

Thomas stopped dead in his tracks. Only about fifteen feet away From Karen he didn't want to chance getting shot in the balls. "All right. All right. Don't shoot."

"Did you think you could sweet talk this old broad into giving you the gun? Do you think I'm stupid? Answer me!"

"No. I just wanted to-"

"Shut your damn mouth. I don't want to hear any of your bullshit. I came here for answers and answers I will get. But maybe you don't think I'm serious. Perhaps you don't even think my gun is loaded. Well it most assuredly is." Karen said as she raised the gun towards Thomas's head and pulled the trigger. The shot went wildly over his head and ricocheted off the brick wall and down the alley. He fell to his knees as he ducked his head and he instantly didn't take Karen for granted anymore, even though it was unwillingly.

Karen got real close to him but not close enough that he could lunge out and grab her and pointed the gun at his head. "Answers - now, got it? Tell me why you killed my son?"

Thomas bowed his head and laughed then looked up at Karen and said, "Because I could. Because I needed to."

"Why did you need to? No riddles."

"You don't really want to hear what I have to say. It won't take your heartache away. It will only take the luster off the memory of your boy."

"You tell me right now." Karen said gritting her teeth.

"You really want to know?"


"Are you sure you want the truth? It hurts real fucking bad."

"Yes, damn it yes. I have to know, why my boy?"

"Because he was a BAD."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm sorry to awaken you from your middle class slumber mommy dearest but your perfect little Johnny wasn't so perfect. He killed an associate of mine in a deal that went sour. Yes, Johnny was a murderer."

Karen was stunned. "I don't believe it."

"What Johnny boy didn't know or didn't care to know was that this guy borrowed the cash and drugs from me on credit so in essence Johnny stole my drugs and my money and then had the nerve to try and peddle my stuff to my customers. That's why I killed your beloved son."

A flood of emotion came over Karen. "No. It couldn't be. He was a good boy. I don't believe you. You're lying to save your life. I think I'm just going to take satisfaction in killing you regardless if I ever know the truth." She said as she aimed the gun for his heart.

Now was Thomas's only chance, it was do or die, and he reached for the gun in his belt.

Karen saw his sudden movement and pulled the trigger several times.

Click. Click. Click.

Annoyed, a man's voice yelled. "Cut. Great job, but we'll have to do that take one more time." He looked around and said sarcastically, "Maybe the prop master will get the gun to work on cue this time."

THIS ISSUE OF FLASH FANTASTIC -- "Smorgasbord" is ©2005 by Wesley Lambert.  "A Gift For Miss Cache" is ©2005 by Kristin Kraus.  "Drama" is ©2005 by Bobby Blades.  All contents of Flash Fantastic 2005 are edited by Art Brown. Please send all submissions to FF editor, Art Brown.  Final formatting and additional graphics by Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Crazed Fanboy dotcom and Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.

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