Issue January 22, 2013

Literary LEO 2013

Flash Fiction — Second

Grace

BY NETTIE FARRIS

Intonation. Intone. Tone. Tone. Tone… She talks to herself. Out loud. Regardless of whether you can hear her, or not, you can see her lips moving — across the parking lot, at the back of the grocery line, in a balcony seat, waiting for La Boheme to begin. In addition, she writes herself messages — yellow post-it notes and bits of scrap paper litter the floorboard of her vehicle. Dog food. Excedrin Migraine. Nevertheless, she never feels quite in sync. Perhaps, she thinks, solidity is not the answer, so she begins to shift toward the opposite direction. She lightens her hair. She picks at her food. She clothes herself in neutrals. Beige. Tan. Khaki. Camel. She becomes more and more unobtrusive. Less. Yes. Less is the answer. Less is invigorating! She clips her speech, eliminating adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases. Eventually, she is down to nouns and verbs. Eventually, she doesn’t speak at all. You’d be hard pressed to even see her. (She has taken up yoga and dance, so she moves like an invisible flute.) At the end of each month, the pharmacist hands over her order in a stapled paper bag and watches it float across the store on its own.