One by One

Robert Quick

Where the -@!# did my muse go?

Writer, dreamer, knight, shackled by entertainment . . . and people.

The diesel motor ran loud. It drowned out the rattling of the nearby chain link fence. The distant cars in the review mirror slid by noiselessly.

And still we waited.

The dry drone of the news complained of the usual terror attacks in other countries: another day, another victim of extremists. Local news wasn't much better. A police shooting left three dead, though the words like gun, shot, were never uttered. Instead they were replaced with sidearm and discharged, before the suspects, never people, were pronounced deceased.

Next to me, the match in Ron’s hand hissed into flame. Holding the base between thumb and fore finger, he reached out the window and let the tiny flame drop out of sight. I'd lost count of the number of times and now counted the minutes he'd been at it: fifty-eight.

It was dangerous and stupid but I didn't say anything. It was better than letting him smoke. This was our compromise. He'd prepared for tonight, his shirt pocket bulging in tiny points from the corners of matchbooks.


No prequels yet. Why not write one?

« Write a prequel


No sequels yet. Why not write one?

Write a sequel »

Comments (5 so far!)

Average reader rating 5.00/5



I'm intrigued! It has a southern gothic feel to it with the criticism of the normalized violence. Really enjoyed this piece, read it through several times.

  • #601 Posted 8 years ago
  • 0
  • 5 out of 5


I love the depth of the mood you convey here, and the obsessive behaviour of the ex-smoker.

  • #603 Posted 8 years ago
  • 0


As one who puts a lot of effort into titles, I appreciated this one a lot.

  • #604 Posted 8 years ago
  • 0
ElshaHawk LoA

ElshaHawk LoA

What rattled the fence? If it was the wind, those matches didn't stand a chance.

We got so swept up in those matches that we forgot what we were waiting for.

Oh and, diesel? That's expensive. Idling like that. Poor environment. :P

  • #615 Posted 8 years ago
  • 0


Nicely tortured moment with a bit of social commentary along the way.

Maybe an and/or between gun and shot?

Otherwise nicely and solidly written.

  • #620 Posted 8 years ago
  • 0
  • Published 8 years ago and featured 8 years ago.
  • Story viewed 36 times and rated 1 times.

All stories on Ficlatté are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. What does this mean?