Yet another of Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenges. This week’s challenge was to go HERE to find a random plot scenario and use it to write 1,000 words. My plot was to start my story off with the protagonist breaking a mirror and to also have a sports editor play a joke that went wrong. Here we go.
“Jesus jumped-up Christ, Tommy! What the fuck?”
David wiped water from his face, looking down at the shattered remains of a hand mirror on the floor. The Gazette’s lead political writer had come into the break room to use the sink in order to clean said mirror. It was filthy and seemed to have something scratched into the glass.
However, Tommy, the newspaper’s longtime sports editor, decided tying a rubber band around the activator of the sink’s dish rinser would be a bit of fun. So when David turned on the faucet, he was immediately sprayed in the face, dropping the mirror in his surprise.
“Good stuff, huh?” asked Tommy, laughing.
“No, jackass, not good stuff. I found that mirror in a desk on the fifth floor. Something’s scratched into the face and I wanted to see what it is.”
“Jinkys, Velma, do you think you’ve found a clue?” Tommy asked.
“Go fuck youself.”
“Aw, don’t get all frowny. I’ll help you clean it up and we’ll solve the riddle together. Then we’ll go out for ice cream. Would you like that, David? Would you like ice cream? And a hug?”
Tommy rose from his chair, arms spread as if to embrace his co-worker. David put is arm out to stop the advancing sports writer.
“If you touch me, I’m going to HR,” David said. “Again.”
Crest-fallen, Tommy stopped and dropped his arms. “Alright, you big baby. Let’s see what we’ve got here.”
The two knelt down, picking up the pieces of the mirror. They retrieved the largest fragments, sweeping up the rest and began cleaning the remaining bits in the sink (after Tommy, who had forgotten about the rubber band, was hosed in the face, creating no small amount of pleasure for David, feeling vindicated by karma). Once the shards were reasonably clean, they were gathered up, taken to the round table in the middle of the room, and re-arranged by the pair.
Given it was a small mirror, it didn’t take them long to put it back together. While not perfect, the reflective face of the looking glass was back to its mostly-original form.
“’I SEE YOU,’” Tommy read. “What does ‘I SEE YOU’ mean?”
“Uh, read it the same time you did,” David said. “I know has much as you do.”
“You found this on the fifth floor? Didn’t that used to be where the ad reps were?”
“Well,” Tommy said, “There were a lot of chicks that worked up there. Most of the advertising staff were broads.”
“Your misogyny aside,” David said, “I had pretty much assumed it belonged to a woman. Not a lot of guys walking around with hand mirrors.”
“My point is, one of them may have been fucking with someone,” Tommy said, his tone becoming low and conspiratorial. “Maybe she thought someone was stealing from her desk and she wanted the thief to see this. Eh? I’m all Micky Spillane and shit.”
David thought about it. Tommy had a good point. It’s wasn’t as though it was an expensive mirror—it had a sickly green plastic base that had also cracked with the glass when he dropped it. He had seen similar items going for a couple bucks at the local dollar store, so defacing this one probably didn’t represent a financial loss to its owner.
“Waitaminute,” Tommy said, almost whispering now. “Remember hearing about that girl who killed herself about five or so years ago? She was one of the department team leaders. Killed herself around the time they decided to move advertising downstairs and to use the fifth floor as storage.”
“I do remember,” David said, his voice dropping as well. “Rumor was, she and another ad rep had a thing and he allegedly raped her. I had just gotten here when it all happened. I heard she thought she was pregnant and the guy wouldn’t accept it. He was transferred to a different department and she was found in her garage dead a week later, hanging from a beam.”
The two looked at each other silently for half a minute or so.
“But why ‘I SEE YOU’?” David asked, breaking the silence. “Did she think he was going through her desk?”
“That’s what it looks like,” Tommy said, “Dame like her, got taken advantage of, wanted to send a message to the fella who done her wrong.”
“What, are you a 1930s New York gumshoe now?” David said. “’The fella who done her wrong’? You’re a rube.”
The two bent over the look at the mirror again when a voice broke their trance.
“Hey, you two are supposed to be at the meeting.”
Both writers jumped with Tommy yelping like a puppy getting swatted on the butt for piddling on the carpet. They turned to see Larry, the copy editor, in the doorway.
“The hell’s wrong with you two?” he said. “The budget meeting started ten minutes ago and Anthony’s already in a shitty mood. Get in there so it doesn’t get worse.”
Tommy and David got up with David about to swipe the shards off the table into his other hand to throw them away when Tommy stopped him.
“Forget about that,” he said. “Let’s get in there. We’ll get it after.”
David nodded his agreement and both left the room. As they exited, the glass pieces moved ever so slightly as the writing began to fade. The face of a young, pale brunette could be seen within the broken shards, angry tears falling down her disheveled face. New words now began appearing on the mirror, which had returned to a single, solid piece of glass, back in its sickly green plastic frame.
I FOUND YOU