Perfect Square of Sky

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Published in November 2016
by Flash Fiction Press

Given the name of the journal, you will be fooled into believing that this story is made-up, when in fact it happened to me. So in reality, these 350 words are non-fiction, and having admitted it, the flash fiction police will soon be on their way.

Please read it anyway and pretend it happened to a fictional character. That’s what I did.

Perfect Square of Sky

by DL Shirey

No way did I think I would end my day gazing up at tropical sky. It’s hard to accept the image above me; am I really lying in a hammock, staring up through half-closed lids at palm trees? I want to believe it. I try to convince myself that the soothing warmth is from sun and equatorial air, but it still feels like the placidity isn’t real. Must be because the day didn’t start out anywhere close to this.

It started with dull pain, and a caffeine grind strong enough to jangle away immobility. Then city noises sharp enough to put teeth on edge: pounding crowds and cars and random clamor that clamp down hard, enough to burst skin from the inside out.

To this…

Palm fronds above me. They really are there. And a light so bright it shines beneath the trees somehow. Sunglasses help. God, even with tinted shades the sky doesn’t seem real; it’s so blue. I don’t know the names of colors well enough to describe it, only that the cottony clouds are as vivid as I’ve even seen, and they make the blue even bluer.

I consider tipping the sunglasses down on my nose to see the sky unfiltered, but it’s too much effort. I don’t even want to smile for fear any movement will bring back dull pain and spoil my view of this perfect square of sky.

I close my eyes to it. Urge my skin to feel the breeze. Think I hear a cabana boy ask me if I want another Mai Tai. Hell, I might sit up for a cocktail that makes me feel this good. My mouth is dry. My eyes laze open.

“I said the anesthesia should be working.” Not a boy’s voice. “And those sunglasses should help with the lamp.”

The masked face intrudes on the scene, insinuating from periphery to full eclipse. Now I want to move, but can’t. A gloved hand adjusts the overhead sun, completely blocking the tropical sky placed in the ceiling panel above the dental chair.


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