by jordan castillo price
A 425-WORD CHANNELING MORPHEUS FLASH FICTION
“Wild Bill? How about him?”
Michael’s oft-repeated question was starting to sound a lot like, "Are we there yet?" I didn’t call him on it—his hunger nagged at him worse than mine did me. I’d had more years to get accustomed to the pangs.
The way Michael ran through our supply of donors, I thanked our lucky stars for tourist traps. Fresh meat, served daily. The T-bone he’d been eyeing melted back into the loose crowd before I tore my eyes away from the informational plaque I’d been reading, but no biggie. There’d be more where that tidbit came from. There always was.
While Michael scanned the crowd, I gazed up at the staggering expanse of concrete. Once upon a time I wasted a good year of my life in a brickyard, so I harbor a healthy respect for masonry. Still, I hadn’t considered the sheer magnitude of the Hoover Dam until it loomed over me. Add to that mind-boggling mass of limestone and gypsum the thought that it was built with 1930’s equipment, and it couldn’t fail to impress even my weary heart.
“Know why it’s striped?” I asked Michael. “Says here they could only pour five feet of concrete at a time. If they’d done it all in one pour, the chemical reaction would’ve taken a hundred and twenty-five years to cool.”
He glanced. “Uh huh.”
“It would still be steaming now.”
Michael’s eyes were back on the late night tourists. “Maybe we could talk those two gay guys with the binoculars into going somewhere private with us.”
I admired the horizontal striations created by the five-foot molds. “Maybe.”
That hypothetical one-shot would cool down by 2050 or so. Assuming the planet hadn’t managed to get leveled by a wayward asteroid, Michael and me, we’d still be here…skulking around, scoping out our next meal. Looking fresh as a couple of poisonous daisies, too.
Once that toasty structure did chill, stress fractures would send it crumbling. The latticework of channels and grout inside its layers, the capillary system that provided suppleness, would be missing. One brittle hunk of solid concrete couldn’t withstand the pressure.
Sometimes, a little give meant everything.
Michael’s fingertips brushed the back of my hand. He was colder than me. “There’s a photographer off by himself. See, over there by that scrub? How about him?”
I glanced up. The porterhouse was already good and isolated, away from the milling of the herd. He’d do. “Looks tasty to me. Go get ’im, tiger.”
Flash fiction is a form of ultra-short storytelling. Much of the content is delivered in metaphor and subtext.
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