Jeremy Pocket & the See-Through Wall | Flash Fiction

Always the rebel, I chose a title from Chuck Wendig’s Flash fiction challenge that *at the time* nobody had chosen. I wanted to be different. I still am different, but for separate reasons completely un-related to my writing or the challenge because I’m just that cool  awesome  magnificent stunning strange.

Yup. Let’s go with that one. Strange.

Anyhoo, I took a more serious route with this one than I’ve done for some of my other pieces (although I still managed to slip in a good ol’ fashioned poop joke). I’m anxious to see how it plays against what I’ve already written.

Please enjoy!

Jeremy Pocket & the See-through Wall

If Jeremy Pocket had any sort of strength, he would have thrown a chair right through that damn wall.

“What the hell, Christine?” he yelled at no one, raking a hand through his hair in frustration. “What are you thinking? Why would you go back to him?” He pounded a fist on the glossy surface of the viewing wall.

Sometimes being in the control room made Jeremy feel so powerless. Sure, as a World Influence & Effects Technician he had more power than when he was human. He could push a button and change the weather, alter traffic patterns or put a thought into somebody’s head, but he couldn’t actually control someone. He could just influence them. They could do what they wanted with his inspiration. Free will and all. It was such a pain in the ass.

“Easy there, Pocket,” said a voice behind him. Jeremy whirled around. Caroline leaned against his terminal, arms folded, and smiled at him indulgently. “You might break a nail or something and ruin those pretty hands of yours.”

Jeremy gave her a half-hearted smile. If he had to spend eternity working alongside someone, he was glad it was Caroline Pierce. She never asked about his hang up with Christine. In fact, Caroline pretty much ignored everything he did on the other side of the wall so long as he completed his share of assignments.

“These aren’t pretty hands, they’re rugged and manly,” responded Jeremy in mock-offense.

Caroline rolled her eyes and headed to the control terminal next to him. “There are many words I’d use to describe you, Pocket. Rugged and manly aren’t them.”

“Well, how would you describe me then?”

“Let’s see,” she said, ticking off items with her fingers, “You’re intelligent, generous, kind… and when you aren’t being a selfish twat you’re actually pretty damn charming.”

“Don’t forget devilishly handsome,” Jeremy added jokingly.

“Uh, yeah. That too,” said Caroline, her cheeks flushing slightly. She tucked a stray lock of auburn hair behind her ears and turned to straighten a stack of instructions from their shift manager at her own terminal. “Um. Okay. There’s a thunderstorm on the books for the Midwest… A few politicians need to think about retirement… Nothing really major on the agenda today.”

Jeremy nodded, but he was focused on Christine’s mental feed. Her thoughts were on Rory Michaelson. They were always on Rory now. Just like before. She was headed to his place.

“Damn it, Christine,” he muttered. No matter how many times Jeremy reminded her of Rory’s philandering ways or how he treated her like shit, she always found a way to dismiss it. Christine thought she was imagining things. It was stupid.

Jeremy tapped a button on his terminal and the wall flashed to an untidy apartment. Rory had a girl over. The blonde again. Maybe Christine would get there before the other girl leaves. Surely, if she actually saw Rory with someone else, she wouldn’t stay with him. Jeremy pulled up Christine’s route and adjusted every traffic light on her way to green.

“So I was thinking, if you didn’t have anything planned after work today maybe we could…” Caroline’s eyes flitted to Jeremy’s terminal and her face fell, “Oh. I didn’t realize you were still-”

“Whatever. It’s nothing,” said Jeremy. He flipped a switch on his terminal and Christine’s face transformed into Midwestern weather patterns. “How big a storm are we rolling?”

She regarded him steadily, then sighed. “Not very. Just enough for a few power outages in Kansas City.” She paused a moment, her eyebrows knitting together in a thoughtful expression, “Listen. You should really-”

“I’ll adjust a high pressure system over Kansas. You do your thing,” he said hastily.

Her frown deepened and Jeremy found himself frowning in response. Why couldn’t she just leave him alone like she always did? He turned his body away from her and focused on inputting alterations in his terminal.

Tried to focus, at least. The schedule for the day was boring and his thoughts strayed back to Christine. Once Caroline was thoroughly occupied with cumulonimbus formations he switched the image on the wall.

Christine was at Rory’s now. She was arguing with him, and he was trying to explain away the blonde in his bedroom. A smile tugged at Jeremy’s mouth but quickly disappeared when he saw that Christine’s thought feed surged with doubt. She wanted to believe him.

Jeremy raked a hand angrily through his hair. “Damn it! He’s going to get away with it again!”

He felt a soft touch on his shoulder and flinched. It was Caroline. She looked at him with a sort of pained expression.

“Why don’t you take off? I got this covered today,” she said slowly, like every word took effort.

“No. It’s okay. It’s stupid. I’m fine,” he muttered, touching a few keys on the terminal to take him back to Midwestern weather.

“I mean it,” said Caroline. She whirled him around to face her, “You’re not well.”

“I’m fine,” he repeated.

“You’re not. You’re going to drive yourself crazy obsessing over her like this.”

Jeremy glared at her. Of all the days to pick a fight with him. “Just forget it, okay? Let me do my job.”

“I will when you start doing your job!” She glared back at him, “You’ve been consumed with your ex-fiancé’s love life since day one up here!”

“Let. It. Go.”

“You let it go!” Caroline was yelling now, “You died, Jeremy! She moved on. That’s how it works. You need to move on too!”

Jeremy opened his mouth to yell at her. To tell her she was wrong. But she wasn’t. “I… I can’t” he said instead, his voice barely a whisper. He buried his face in his hands.

Caroline’s expression softened. It was sympathetic. Caring.

After a long moment she said, “You can’t control her life now any more than you could when you were alive.”

“I know.”

“She makes her own decisions, even if they’re bad.”

“I know,” he said.

A roguish smile spread across Caroline’s face. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t make life down there a little difficult for a certain special asshole.”

“You don’t mean…” he started, eyes widening in shock.

“Oh, that’s totally what I mean. In fact, I have it on good authority that a certain blonde has already decided to dose Rory’s morning coffee with laxatives,” she said with a sly smirk. “Yup. It’s too bad he’s also going to get stuck in heavy traffic on the way to work. He, um, definitely won’t get to work on time.”

Jeremy laughed. He couldn’t help it. Caroline beamed at him affectionately, “That’s just the beginning. If you’re interested, I have decades of pain and torment up my sleeve.” She smiled and it lit up her whole face. Even her eyes sparkled. Jeremy wondered why he hadn’t noticed it before. She was actually sort of beautiful. He smiled back at her, whole-heartedly this time.

“Oh, you’re an evil one Ms. Pierce,” he said, chuckling.

“You don’t know the half of it, Mr. Pocket,” she said.

“Tell me more about your dastardly plans of pain and torment.”

“I’ll do you one better,” she said, flipping a few controls on his terminal. The view through the wall transformed into Rory’s apartment. “Let’s watch.”

“The Mesa Room” – Flash Fiction Friday

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter F! For Flash! And Fiction! And Friday!

I love Chuck Wendig’s blog TERRIBLEMINDS.COM. Occasionally he posts  flash fiction challenges with odd writing prompts. Today, I let a random number generator help me select a title that I would use as the inspiration for a thousand word short story. For fun! And other F words.



I had exactly 30 seconds to sweet talk the receptionist into letting me go.

Leaning against her desk, I said, “So, is there any way you… might… um…” The look on her face made me stop. I had a good foot of height on her, but she still managed to look down on me.

“Cute, kid. Just sit back down and wait for Dr. Malhotra, m’kay?”

Well, crap. Plan A was out. Plan B wasn’t much better. Plus, it relied too heavily on a distracting bulldog (didn’t have) and an unwatched helicopter on the roof (ditto).

I slumped into a well-worn leather chair against the far wall. Maybe I wasn’t dead yet. Maybe they were just calling me to the Sedona room for a checkup. You know, to make sure their merchandise was still hunky-dory. Or maybe they were just bringing me to the Phoenix room again to review my file and tell me how horrendously behind on payments my parents were. That I already knew. No surprise there.

But they couldn’t possibly be bringing me to the Mesa room. The kill room. Dr. Mal would joke about doing an early repo every time I’d get brought in by the police for my “problem behavior,” but that was just because he was a dick. It was against the law to repossess the organs of a minor, even one with a thick disciplinary record like me. I still had a year and a half until I turned eighteen. He couldn’t touch me.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. At least, I’d been pretty sure Dr. Mal was joking.

An unreasonably tall woman with grey eyes, grey hair and grey scrubs stepped into the lobby. She smiled at me, or whatever you’d call that facial expression, and read off a clipboard.

“Mason, Alex? Product 100387?”

“387 is my father’s name. Please, just call me Product,” I said. There was no use lying. The barcode was tattooed on my neck. The silent treatment would just earn me a very painful escort. That I’d learned the hard way. The best I could do was make a smart-ass remark. Her face remained blank.

I followed her down a maze of hallways. Right – left – right – right – left again – through a door – through another door – right – left. If we were headed to the Mesa room, I couldn’t escape if I wanted to. There was no way I’d remember how to get back out of this labyrinth. If the security cameras didn’t catch me, one of the many ginormous, ‘roided-up orderlies we passed definitely would.

At last, we stopped in front of a door- MESA II. She gave me the same smile as before only this time I noticed that it was definitely a sneer. Great. Even nurse Grey McGreypants had it out for me. She opened the door and my heart – the one they had given me – started racing. They were going to repo me early after all. Maybe there was some law change that I hadn’t paid attention to. Stupid, boring politics.

I wasn’t even going to get to say goodbye to anyone. Nobody knew I was here. I understood that I’d get repo’ed eventually, but I figured I had a few things to look forward to before they were legally able to take my life because my family was too poor to make payments.

I wasn’t ready to die. I had so many things I wanted to do still. I wasn’t going to be able to punch Calden Hardwell in the face for always making fun of the stutter I get when I’m mad. I wasn’t going to get the chance to feel up Mellissa Deagen behind the gym. I wasn’t going to be able to egg Dr. Mal’s Bugatti. Dang. I really wanted to do that.

The nurse cleared her throat impatiently and gestured for me to go into MESA II. I stepped inside and the door locked behind me. They all did. Kept kids like me from getting wise ideas.

The Mesa room looked like any other operating room, except that it was designed to take lives, not save them. I hadn’t expected to see it empty, though. Nobody around. That was fine by me.

If this was the last room I would ever see, I was going to enjoy the hell out of it.

I pulled out a sharpie that I always kept on me and drew a few “tasteful” images on the large lamps that hung over the gurney. I shoved a wad of paper towels in the bottom of the sink, and turned the faucet on so it would overflow. Then, I grabbed a jar of tongue depressors and began licking every single one of them.

“No reason to be inappropriate, Alex,” said a smarmy voice behind me. Dr. Malhotra. I hadn’t noticed he’d entered. He reached over me and turned the water off, then looked down at his clipboard with a smirk. “You’re over a year early. Anxious to get it done and over with?”

My heart pounded and I balled my fists. Through gritted teeth I said, “Y-y-you called m-me here.” Hell. He made me stuttering mad. I clenched my jaw, not wanting him to see me weak.

He raised an eyebrow, “Did I? My mistake. Wishful thinking, I suppose. Ah well, better luck next time, eh?” He tapped his pen against the jar of tongue depressors and left. Dick.

He shut the door before I could follow him out. It was locked again. I flipped over a few small tables and paced around the room, trying to calm down. After a few minutes, my heart slowly began returning to its normal factory authorized rhythm. About ten minutes later, Grey walked in and sneered at me to leave. She didn’t have to tell me twice.

The receptionist stopped me on the way out to hand over an appointment card. The kind that dentists use so you don’t forget a cleaning. Or that psychotic doctors use to remind you when they’re going to rip out a vital organ.

The card said, “Look forward to seeing you at your next appointment – Dr. Malhotra.”

I muttered a few inappropriate words. He really was a dick. As soon as I got outside I called home. I was alive, for now, and I needed to get busy living.

“Hey m-ma? H-how many eggs we got left?”