Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 56: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

The prompt this week was to write a story about ending a relationship using dialogue only, and the genre was romance. Sometimes breaking up is easier said than done.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do


“Hey Danny, it’s me. I wanted to make sure you were all right. I drove by your building this morning and there she was, just standing there, staring up at your window. Did you ask her to leave you alone? You’d better be careful what you say and how you say it. There have been so many cases of…”

“Karen, I haven’t talked to her yet. Quit worrying about it. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

“I have the right to worry about you. That’s what older sisters do. You read the papers and watch the news. You think you know someone and what they might be capable of, but then when you least expect it, they…”

“That’s why I’m not sending her a letter or a text message. I’m going to sit down with her in a very public place and tell the crazy bitch to back off. She does know where I live though. Maybe I should hire a bodyguard to move in with me after I tell her off. I don’t need her paying me a visit in the middle of the night with a hatchet.”

“That’s not funny. She obviously has mental issues, and you do need to dump her, but even if you try to let her down decently, that doesn’t mean she’ll just walk away. She carries a camera around and no matter where you go or who you’re with, she’s clicking away taking photo after photo. What if she takes one of you talking to another woman? You need to keep track of all your female co-workers and friends. What if they suddenly begin to disappear?”

“You watch too many crime shows. I know she’s basically been stalking me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s dangerous. Crazy? Yes, but I’m not afraid of her. Besides, if she keeps following me around and snapping photos of me, I’ll just call the cops or my lawyer or both and have papers served on her to leave me alone.”

“Restraining orders, or whatever they’re called, are just pieces of paper. There was an article in the paper last week about…”

“Sis, stop. Enough. I’ve got to go. I’m meeting her in 20 minutes downtown at Rochere’s. We’ll have dinner, a few drinks, and I’ll let her know that whatever she thinks we had together never was, and that it’s time she moved on. I’ll call you when I get home to let you know I got out of there alive.”

“Fine. Make jokes. If I don’t hear from you tonight, I’m going to have the cops drag the river.”

“Go watch your murder TV show or finish your Jack the Ripper novel. Calm yourself down. I’ll call you later. Promise. Love you. Bye.”

“Love you too. Talk later, I hope.”


“Thanks so much for meeting me here, Michelle. I have some very important things to discuss with you and I didn’t want to pick you up because then this evening would seem like a date.”

“You sound so serious, Danny, as if we’re having some kind of meeting.”

“Well, in a way, it is. I do want things to go smoothly and calmly. That’s why I suggested we meet here so that we could have dinner, a few drinks, and a quiet conversation to straighten some things out.”

“What things need to be straightened out?”

“Well, Michelle, the way I see it, we met at the library after the poetry lecture two weeks ago, right? We went out for coffee and found out we had a lot in common. We went out on a couple of dates after that and had very nice time, but…”

“I don’t under…wait. I think I know where you’re going with all this. When you start detailing out every moment of our relationship like that, I get the impression that you…”

“Michelle, we don’t have a relationship. I was hoping I could say this nicely, but I don’t think that’s possible. We met, had coffee one time, went to a movie one time and to a poetry reading one time. I can’t help it if this sounds nasty, but every time I go out, I notice you following me, and it really creeps me out. If I happen to look out my window any time of day or night, there you are on the sidewalk looking up and taking pictures. That camera of yours. I’m surprised you don’t have it on you tonight, or do you?

“I don’t know a lot about you, either personally or professionally, but what I do know, and what I have seen, pisses me off to no end. I feel like I’ve lost control of my time and my life because you’re always out there, somewhere, watching and waiting. That’s the way it seems, and I’ll tell you, I don’t like it. I’m not the clingy type and I can’t stand people who are. I brought you here tonight since this is a crowded place and I didn’t want you to make a scene. Michelle, I want you to stay away from me.”

“I see. But, I did tell when we went out for coffee that one time that I was an amateur photographer and that I was taking a class at the college. True, I have run into you here and there, but that was just coincidence. Why would I follow you? As for being out in front of your building, it’s the building I’m interested in and I take lots of photographs of that too. If you were aware of what happened in your building decades ago, you’d probably be doing the same thing. I did also tell you that I’m taking a course on local history. Your building, and the events that occurred there, happen to be the topic of a paper I’m writing.”

“Yeah, but…”

“You actually thought I was stalking you?”

“Well, it just seemed strange to run into you everywhere and…”

“You said it yourself, Danny. We like a lot of the same things, so it’s natural that we would end up in many of the same places. I will admit that whenever our paths did cross, I did take a snapshot of you, but that’s partly because I liked you and partly because you’re a good subject. I also photographed other people around you and the scenery. It wasn’t always all about you.”

“I guess I wasn’t really thinking about…”

“No. I guess you weren’t really thinking, Danny. You know what? Let’s not go through the motions here; I mean, ordering dinner and dessert and dragging things out. We’ve had a cocktail and got things out into the open. Let’s not waste each other’s time trying to share a meal making small talk. It would be way too awkward. I’m going to go home and order a pizza. Why don’t you do the same?”

“No, Michelle. Please stay. We can’t leave it like this. I admit that I made too many assumptions and wasn’t looking at things logically, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least be friends.”

“Friends? Danny, you’ve got to be joking. You accuse me of following you around town – actually stalking you, and staring at your window from the sidewalk like some kind of obsessed psycho. Then, you say you want us to be friends? How can we possibly be friends?”

“I’m sorry for everything. Why don’t we put all this behind us and start over. If you’re not busy this Saturday, how about a picnic? I could pack a lunch for us and include a bottle of chilled wine, and we could sit on a blanket down by the lake. I know a spot where we could be alone and…”

“Put this behind us and start over? As if I’d agree to go anywhere alone with you after all this. I don’t think us seeing each other again would be a good idea, Danny. I’ll just put this $10.00 under my glass. That should cover my cocktail. If there’s any left over, just leave it with the tip.”

“There’s no way you need to do that. I never expected you to pay for anything. Look, I’ll call you tomorrow and we’ll…”

“Danny, I enjoyed the couple of dates we had, but I think it would be best if we part company here and now. You were right about our never having any kind of relationship and frankly, I don’t believe it would be possible for us to have one anyway. All that’s been said here this evening has me really creeped out. No offense intended, but you have creeped me out. Please don’t call me or come around to my apartment. I do have friends in law enforcement, and I won’t hesitate to involve them if you try to contact me. I’m leaving now, and don’t try to stop me.”

“Wait. Michelle? Don’t go. I’m sure we can work this thing out if we…”

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