As followers of this blog are no doubt aware, back in March of this year, I participated in a Flash Fiction writing challenge known as “Four by Flash,” which had the goal of producing sixteen flash fiction pieces (four a week for four weeks) in a single calendar month. However, the full extent of that challenge was to repeat that schedule four times in a calendar year for a total of sixty-four pieces. I had earmarked June as my second month to attempt this feat, vowing to do better than I did in March, where a late start meant that pieces were still dribbling out in April.
With today being the fifteenth, I should have seven or eight pieces completed and posted by now. As ever, my flexible approach to deadlines renders this somewhat inaccurate, as this is my second piece for this set.
Working from the “prompt bingo” card I mentioned in the last entry, I’ve opted to maximize my chances by opting to use the center square as my prompt. Here’s the card:
The center square is a song lyric prompt and reads:
“And you can trust me not to think
And not to sleep around
If you don’t expect too much from me
You might not be let down.”
The source of these lyrics is this 1990’s track:
So, without further ado, here’s the 376 word piece:
A hush descended upon the church. Brice stood at the altar, his eyes fixed dead ahead, staring at Father Heslop. As the strains of Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” on the pipe organ reverberated around the building, all eyes but Brice’s stared at the recessional doorway.
Muriel, Brice’s bride-to-be, failed to appear. The organist slowed down the tempo of the music as much as he prudently could. Still no sign of Muriel as the Wagner stopped and silence enveloped the congregation. Whispers soon filled the quiet as the various wedding guests murmured among themselves. Brice could feel the creeping red blush of embarrassment heat up his hairline and travel down his face. Brice tried to shake off his reddening face but was thwarted when the cell phone in his breast pocket proved not to be silenced after all and began blaring out Billy Idol’s “White Wedding.”
As the echoes of the 1980’s hit bounced around the church’s alcoves, Brice answered the call, casting a furtive glance at Father Heslop. The priest just shrugged his shoulders.
“Brice, it’s me,” Muriel said.
“Where the he- where are you?” Brice asked.
“Two doors down. I can’t deal with people right now.”
“Your father’s going to hate you for this one,” Brice said, disconnecting the call. He bolted back up the aisle and ran out the door. After a couple of moments of hesitation, the congregation figured the wedding wasn’t happening and began to file out.
‘Two doors down’ from the church meant the county courthouse, where Muriel stood with a Justice of the Peace. She wore her wedding dress but the veil was stained with tears and her eyes rimmed with red.
“Thank God you’re here,” she said.
“I just left His house to get here…” Brice began.
“I know, but I couldn’t do something that big, even with your help.”
“What? Get married?”
“Oh, no, I can do that. Just not with more than these five people,” Muriel said.
Brice acquiesced to her wishes and the two of them became man and wife in the courthouse. Now all he had to do was explain this to the sixty-plus guests they left at the church.
“Do you think you can handle a hostile reception, Mrs. Nobes?” he asked.
“Let’s find out.”
Stock photo by Rob Darby