KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Micro-Fiction: 296 words

Bad Call

by Adam Trodd

I can’t believe I used that word. I’m mortified. Here comes my wife now, backlit by the sun, her hair a flaming halo. I’d fall down and worship her sandaled feet if she wasn’t so livid. I love how the sand sticks to her toes. I want to be the sand. Is that crazy? It was a mixture of alcohol and the heat I tell her but she is doing the fist-on-hip stance. I know where she really wants to plant those knuckles but I keep digging myself a hole like a blind, blunt-headed worm. Her other, dangling hand holds the phone. The sunlight sings in my eyes. Sweat shifts incrementally and makes my skin prickle.

The boy. He heard it all. He has been whisked away by Auntie May and is catching the sea in a bucket. An impossible task but he keeps trying, until suddenly he stops, drops the bucket, straightens his back, and shouts.

“Stay away from my wife you smarmy c—”

“That’s enough now!” chides Auntie May before that single syllable, as effective as a scythe, is released to slash my nerves afresh.

I turn back. Too late. My wife is walking away, her Frida Kahlo beach dress snapping in the wind, strained silence tensing her sun-honeyed shoulders. I watch her diminishing form and in that moment we are two remote planets linked only by a taut and fraying thread.

He’s her lifelong male friend. Since school. His text, the one I saw, said, “Sorry I kissed you last week.” I had exploded. Called him. Said that word.

The “k” is so close to the “m” on a smartphone, a mere slip of the thumb. My stomach shrank when I realised. He’d missed her call. That’s all it was.

Adam Trodd
Issue 8, August 2017

lives in Dublin where he works as a university administrator and writes fiction in the tiny spaces between work and family. His fiction has appeared in The Powers Short Story Collection Volume 1, The Irish Times, The Incubator Journal, 100 Words 100 Books, Molotov Cocktail, KYSO Flash, and Crannóg Magazine. He was shortlisted for the 2015 Cúirt New Writing Prize, and his chapbook Little Canute was released in 2017 by In Short Publishing Company.

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