Meddlers (Flash Fiction)

He took another shot and rubbed his temples. The room was quiet and dark. It was a pleasant inversion to what was happening in his mind. Inside, the war raged in a dull constant. Inside, the limits of control were growing increasingly difficult to find. Bob heaved out a quick sigh and took another sip, but there was no point in getting drunk. It wasn’t going to do the trick.

Bob thumbed at his phone. He picked it up and he set it down. He paced the small table in rested on like a shark circling some poor soul lost at sea. “Just let it go,” he said to himself. “Just let it blow over. Give it a couple of weeks.”

He poured himself another glass and stepped outside to flare a cigarette. The smoke bit at his eyes as he took long drags. The early evening air was hot and still. The smoke he exhaled hung around him like a cloud. He enjoyed breathing smoke; it seemed to soothe the fire burning in his belly.

The air conditioner kicked on, and he ducked inside to avoid its mechanical drone. Two vibrations shot from his phone. The screen came alive with the notification of a new text message. Bob gave it a dead stare and sipped down more of the golden fluid. He pictured himself smashing it onto the tile flooring, right then and there. He could see the shattered pieces flying under the table, into the kitchen, and small bits falling as far as the carpet of the living room. The idea brought a smile to his face, but it brought no relief to the feelings stirring inside. Two more buzzes shook the phone. Bob shook his head, dumped his glass, and made his way upstairs.

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