Thursday, May 17, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday #8: I Guess 73's My Year

I've been wanting for some time to write a short, powerful death scene in the first person. It was harder than I thought. Can't really say "Enjoy!" to my readers on this one. I suppose "Appreciate" would be more apt. Yeah. Appreciate...

"I don't feel good," I said to the little kid in the school hallway. What's his name again?

"What's wrong?" the kid asked.

"It''s my heart. I think. I think you better get an ambulance...go...get--"

"I'll go to the principal's office!"

I slumped to the linoleum floor. I haven't had heart issues since '64. That's what my wife, Franny, called it, my problem - heart issues. It sounded like something I just heard on the evening news with David Brinkley: "Tonight, viewers, we have issues in the oval office. President Nixon stated once again the fact he was not involved in the Watergate Hotel break-in..."

Issues. Issues! God, this hurts!

I'm looking at my green overalls. I'm thinking: my life is flashing before my eyes...

Flashing. Flashes. I'm seeing Franny. We're getting married. I love her.

It wasn't like this last time. It was more...I dunno, around my heart. Now it's in my arm. And I feel sick. I can't breathe!

I'm six again. Growing up in South Dakota. My older brother is dunking me under water. Jack! Stop it!! I can't breathe!

The bell rings.

Kids are coming out of their classrooms.

"Mrs. Finnicum! Come fast! Mr. Westermeyer's on the floor!!"

Mrs. Finnicum comes quickly. What a class act! That lady. Still wore makeup in her forties and everything. Not like those liberated women. Look at me. Can't even stand up for that lady. I'm so weak. So...

Her face. What's wrong with her face?

Oh yeah. I'm having a heart attack! I'm dying!! Jesus, help me!!

"Luke, go to the principal's office and call an, what's that they use now? Nine-one-one!! Call them!" Mrs. Finnicum said.

I think I'm passing out. The pain. My arm. Is this what it's like? I thought I'd pass easy. Why can't it be easy? Help me!


"Don't worry, Mr. Westermeyer, we're getting help for you!"

"Why's he turning blue?"

"Quiet, Susan!" Mrs. Finnicum barked.

"Jack. Jack! Can you hear me?"


"Don't speak. Just wait." Mrs. Finnicum reached behind my head.

"Susan! Get Mr. Smith...the fourth grade teacher, now! He knows CPR."

Susan ran. The kids were all around me now.

And then...


The pain was gone.

I heard a rushing sound, like when you're a kid and you hold your breath and then finally let it out. The sound in your ears. You know that sound? It's a rushing sound in your ears!

I feel okay now! Hey! I'm okay!

Except I'm not saying it. Why not?

The kid's all have glowing lights around them. They look like little angels. Little, corduroy-clad angels.

And Mrs. Finnicum. She's an angel too. Are you crying? Don't cry. I'm okay now. Franklin Elementary's Janitor, Mr. W, Jack W, he's okay now! What's happening to me? Everything's weird.

And it's okay.

That wasn't so bad.


The stars...

1 comment:

Kari said...

Nicely done. Love the little details, like the corduroy pants and the comments about Mrs. Finnicum. I also like that it didn't end with him saying "I'm dead" or something along those lines.