The Velvet Garrote
Monday, March 06, 2006
  AND COUNTING :: Mark Budman

100 seconds. All your life you dream of free flight, but the weight in
your chest holds you down.

80 seconds. A flight attendant finally falls. You don't know how she
managed to remain standing for so long with her hands tied behind her
back. Her skirt rides up; her thighs are skinny. Blood flows down her
chin from the deep cut on her cheek. You want to pray, but you forgot
the words. You want to cry, but you have no tears. You want to be tiny,
like a fly. Or maybe big, like a fire-breathing monster.

60 seconds. The plane rattles. The pilot is an amateur, after all. The
overhead compartments spill canvas bags and crocodile briefcases. A man
across the aisle clutches his chest. A boy behind you says, "Mommy,
mommy what does Allah mean?"

40 seconds. A woman next to you screams. She can't help it. You feel the
air sucked out of your ears.

20 seconds. You hug her and whisper, "Don't cry, angel. We are
immortal." She sobs on your shoulder.

0 seconds. The weight is gone. You are reaching for the sun; you no
longer need to blink. Finally, you are in free flight.

BIO: Mark Budman is the Editor/Publisher of Vestal Review, a flash fiction magazine.
All stories 500 words or shorter. If you don't have time to read them, then fine literature is in trouble
Mirror: http://webdelsol.com/Vestal_Review/
Guidelines available on the Web site
Featured on Web Del Sol
Featured on NPR: http://www.wskg.org/OffThepage/2004-11-16-budman-offthepage.htm
Editor of Web Del Sol Interviews: http://webdelsol.com/f-literarydialogues.htm

"And Counting" was first published by LitPot: http://www.inkpots.net.


Anonymous Vicky said...

Was that picture taken on 9/11? This is a really touching and sad and frightening story. It really struck me.

3:00 PM  

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