“King of the Aztecs” – Flash Fiction by Stephen Crowe

Fiction, Flash Fiction



My father ran the mining operation in Chiapas before the murder; he was almost as powerful as the potbellied man, the owner of the mine.   The rule was simple: nobody crossed the Potbellied man.  But my father wasn’t one to stick to the rule.

   The mestizos waded into green water hunting fish. In the villa the Potbellied man watched them from the balcony.  Across his bed lay his brown girl casually puffing on one of his cigars. The giant blades of the ceiling fan above the bed turned silently casting a shadow like a child’s mobile onto the naked girl below. The Potbellied man sighed and returned to her.

    Down river men mined the gold and sliced away the earth with water canons turning the land into rivers of watery beige colored mud. The river ran big with this earth and killed the fish. A colored boy came to the mine from a fishing village nearby and shouted hot protests- annoying the miners.  Fed up they shot him. The boy fell dead and his blood mixed with mud and gold.  My father joined the burial party as the body was carried along a jungle trail above the mining then tossed into the river. There the body floated gently until an eddy of green water consumed it.

     I heard shouts coming from the villa the following morning a voice that sounded like my father’s was insulting the Potbellied man. “Eres un cobarde! Eres un cobarde!” over and over.   “No fui yo quien mato al chico! Tonto!” said the Potbellied man his voice sounded like Satan’s.  When I looked the Potbellied man had my father pinned against the balcony with his fat stomach.

     The matzos discovered the Potbellied man dead by the river and hour later.  There was no sign of my father. A week passed before he showed up.   The PNP questioned and released him.  It seemed the Potbellied man had more then one enemy.  As time went on, no more gold was found at Chiapas and eventually the mine was closed.   But the matzos still waded into green water hunting fish, the brown girl lay on the bed puffing on cigars and I watched the jungle from the villa for the ghost of the Potbellied man.





(Notes: The author states… “I write what ever comes to me it’s only later when I’m putting the pieces together that I find I have a story. This is especially true with Flash Fiction. What’s fun is finding a plot that you never knew was there. It’s a kind of gee whiz moment.  “King of the Aztecs” was written some years ago- first as a poem then only recently formed into a story though the poem itself started with a loose plot. I’ve had poetry published in Fresh Ink the literary journal of Naugatuck Valley Community College.” The image is from www.parabolicarc.com 


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