Flash Fiction: Calling

I woke up early this morning to be the first in line. My phone rests in my hand, primed and ready; the number already punched in. I watch the clock. The second hand ticks down, passing the six, thirty seconds to go. Tick, tick, tick. Ten seconds and counting, I suck in a breath. Then bam! It sails past the twelve and the minute hand thunks into position: nine o’clock, on the dot. My thumb scrambles to push ‘call’. 

A dial tone rings and for a split second I think I’ve done it. I’m first in first served! But alas no, I’d forgotten the automated menu: a gauntlet all callers must navigate. I listen intently as a female voice implores me to “go online”. It’s easy and fast, she promises me. A blatant lie, I’ve already tried it and it didn’t work. That’s why I’m calling. My fingers drum on the table top, waiting for my number to come up. 

To speak to one of our friendly team, press zero. 

I hit the digit and the dial tone rings again, then a soft click sounds and some music starts to play. A cherry, jaunty tune that’s tinny and scratchy in my ear. I look around my dirty kitchen, making a note to clean it. I inspect the fingernails on my right hand. I take a deep, bored breath. 

Your call is important to us. 

My bladder twinges and I shift uncomfortably in my seat. The female voice is back, telling me my online options once again. I glance at the clock, fifteen minutes and counting. 

Your call is important to us. 

Standing up, I pace the kitchen back and forth. Balancing the phone between my ear and shoulder, I bob my head to their silly tune. I remind myself to be patient. I’m on the line, it’s only a matter of time. 

Your call is important to us. 

There’s a sudden pause. The music stops and I hold my breath. This is it! My number’s up! I wait for the connection, standing by for one of the ‘friendly team’ to say “hello”. 

I hear a click. Followed by a beep, beep, beep. 

I move the phone away from my ear and stare at the screen, my jaw drops. They hung up on me. 

Word count: 383

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What is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is a genre of fiction, defined as a very short story. While there’s no set word count that separates flash fiction from more traditional short stories, flash fiction stories can be as short as a few words (while short stories typically run for several pages).

Flash fiction is also known as sudden fiction, short-short stories, micro-fiction, or micro-stories.

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