Friday Flash Fiction by Samantha Shippee

Here’s the 3rd place winner in our recent Sudden Fiction Contest. It’s really growing on me. One of the prompts was the picture below (by HCC alum Aliea Wallace – www.aliea.com), which Samantha uses in an interesting way…

 

Town

By Samantha Shippee

My name is Jane. I’m a sixteen year old male who lives in a town without a name.  I live in the middle of nowhere. My town is a full of people who don’t care, who would rather let someone die than to help them even if it means helping them in the simplest way. 

In my town, there isn’t even a police station or fire department or hospital. That’s how much the law doesn’t exist in our town. It is run by the people, which in some ways isn’t a bad thing. We get to do what we want.

You are probably wondering why my name is Jane. Before I was born, my mother wanted a girl but she had me instead. The town doctor, Doze, delivered me. She ended up dying due to a stroke. If only there was a hospital, she might have been saved. But with Doze and his little office (not to mention people stealing his supplies all the time) it wasn’t possible. My mother begged Doze to give me the name Mary Jane. I just took the Jane part. 

There is the mayor’s office. I’ve been in there a couple of times with my best friend Mogen. We go in there to all the time to see if there is anything valuable in there. But what I don’t tell him is that I love looking at this painting that is held above the mayor’s office.   It’s really weird. It’s a messy, dark painting. There looks like there are dead trees in it.  It’s signed by Aliea Wallace.

I wonder what it would be like to meet her. Or him. Mogen says I should just steal the painting and hang it up in my room. But I feel like it would take away from the fluttering of my heart if I’m able to see it everyday like that. I like the feeling of doing something bad and getting a good feeling out of it.

Usually Mogen and me would hang out together at my father’s house. My father doesn’t like me too much. First of all, he thinks that Jane is too girly of a name for a boy. But what can I say? A messed up name for a boy in a messed up town.  Every once in a while he would beat me to toughen me up. But it’s like Henry Hill once said, “Everyone has to take a beating once in a while.”

Skipping school is nothing. No one really goes to school. Only people who try to make something of themselves go. I like my English teacher however. He’s the only person who doesn’t look down at me and think I’m trash. His determination to get us to be good kids makes me laugh. It’s not going to happen.

Ever.

That was until He showed up. A war veteran who believes he can turn this town around. He used to be a Judge, so he knows the law books by heart. Not only that, he’s a billionaire trying to make a good name for himself. His name is Jonathon De Jones. I hate him. He comes into the town, thinking that he can fix us.  Fix the town. Make it in to an American dream town.

Those words make me vomit. We are fine the way we are. However, the adults of the town don’t think so. They like De Jones. They want jobs, they want to work, they want to live in safe streets. So they elected him mayor.

He tore down the school. I can’t say that it doesn’t bother me. I liked that school. It represented a lot of the things our town is worth. Me and Mogen both watched them tear it down. They are going to rebuild a much bigger better school, they said.

Honestly, after a while, it stopped bothering me. I liked seeing people smile. No longer did they cry themselves to sleep at night.

I decided to thank him. He deserved it. He turned our town into something that people wouldn’t spit at and pass by. I stopped by his office in fresh new clothes that my father bought, no longer the raggy jeans and jacket that I would wear sitting on my front porch of my father’s house.

I walked into his office, and there he was sitting there. He smiled at me, stood up and said, “Welcome! What can I do for you?”

I opened my mouth then stopped. I looked behind him. The picture was no longer there.  Instead, an ugly painting of a flower took its place.

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