Today’s Ether Books Flash Fiction theme is TRAGEDY, and try as I might, I cannot help but counter-intuit. It’s my weakness. Another entry gleaned from the Futile Epikles annals:
The Pre-Bereaver is sad before it happens. He knows it will all end badly. He’s seen this kind of thing before. He understands. One cannot be too careful.
No ounce of prevention can avert it. No pound of cure will relieve. These things happen. They are bound to.
The Pre-Bereaver has a special day each week he sets aside for mourning. It takes time to savor each loss, every failure, the end.
Do not ask what is the matter. It’s nothing, really, he will say. He is never completely out of pain.
Large attempts are doomed. Small affairs are best put off. The time is not propitious.
He consults his little gray notebook. Every awful event is duly noted. He sighs. It was meant to be.
At the airport his flight is delayed and then canceled. He misses his train. The buses hardly ever run when he waits. His car is in the shop. No wonder, then, he never arrives.
At the store, they just ran out. The special on the menu is nothing he likes. He prefers crab. They only have salmon.
The clothes won’t fit, and then they’ll shrink, but it’s just as well, because he would’ve looked terrible in them. He’s never been photogenic.
You will know him when you see him. At the office party, he’s the one in the corner, consulting his watch.
His wife will never leave him. He needs her too badly.
His sons never call. Their girlfriends don’t know they have a father.
The greatest tragedy – he fell in love when he was very young, and since then, nothing else has ever come close. He adores his wife, and she is the only recipient of his smiles.