Four By Flash Piece 12: So, Are You Guys Dating?

As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now past the end of the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should have finished already. I didn’t and am a bloody-minded fool, so I’m cheating a little to get all sixteen pieces done by today.  Here’s the twelfth piece. This one clocks in at 328 words, which fits in my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.”

So, Are You Guys Dating?

The computer played the *ding* sound of an incoming message. Jack had almost fallen asleep when the sound pierced the apartment. He went over to the computer and checked the message on the monitor. If someone contacted him this late at night it must be important, he reasoned.

Wrong. The message was from Diane, his ex-wife and read “So, are you guys dating or what?”

Jack blinked in confusion and typed “What guys?” as an answer before muting the system and switching off for the night. This wasn’t anything important enough that it couldn’t wait until morning.

Once Jack got out of the shower and blinked away the sleep dust in his eyes, he turned the computer system back on. After he finished getting dressed for the office, Jack saw that Diane had followed up last night’s exchange with another message.

“Oh, come on. You know who I mean. She’s all over your online stuff.”

Well, yeah, Jack thought, but so are you and we definitely aren’t dating.

Diane was partially right, though. Alice was all over his “online stuff.” Of course they were reasons for that. They were friends, and their free time overlapped. They just lived far enough apart that meeting up didn’t happen much.

Jack humored Diane with a reply.

“She’s married. I wouldn’t do that,” he typed. That was more your thing, Di, he thought.

“Like marriage means anything these days.” Diane messaged back.

“Does to me. Anyway, online is different from reality. I’m pretty sure the guy who posts as a cat is really human. Catch you later”

Jack shut the computer down. He tried to imagine himself and Alice as a couple. The plausibility of it shocked him. He could almost see why Diane had asked.

“I think the two of us should remain each other’s ‘path not taken’” he mused aloud, as he opened the door to leave.

To his surprise, Alice stood on the threshold, smirking. “Perhaps not…” Alice said.


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