Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Forgiven: LitStack Flash Fiction Challenge #3

photo by Drew Hoffman
Greyson was standing on his own front step, compiling a very long mental list of things he knew he shouldn’t have done. Besides lost his job, which, given the merger, he couldn’t really have helped. But more recent things, tangible things. Like, assaulting a man, for example. Or using foul language. Well, maybe not so much of it, anyway. Frankly, he shouldn’t have gone down there at all in his condition, not all agitated like that, but he’d tried to explain it all over the phone first. And the payment was coming, really. Okay, maybe not by today’s (arbitrarily set, let’s face it) deadline, but by the end of month at the latest. Probably. Yes, Greyson sighed, he was fully aware it wasn’t the first time he was overdue. Yes he understood why he had to make a minimum payment right away. No he didn’t need a credit counselor to help him… help him what? Help him understand that his credit cards – all of them- were maxed out? That his daughter’s college fund was as good as gone? That he didn’t have enough money to keep both the house and the car? He understood that. Did the bank understand that what he needed was a job? Was the bank going to help him with that, he’d wanted to know? The silence on the other end was infuriating. Yes, he finally conceded. Yes I’ll be right down. Idiots, he’d thought, and slammed down the phone.

He’d been calm on the way there. He put on a suit and his best game face, ready to buy just a little more time, ready to tell that snippy Mr. Pemberwick that he had another promising interview next week, a really promising one, that things were finally starting to look up… if only they could just wait, just a little longer. When he reached the office, he explained it in the sincerest, most humble tone he could muster up. He had a plan, Greyson said. Please, he implored… and Mr. Pemberwick didn’t give a single bit. Not even a hint of understanding and sympathy in his cold and inhuman eyes. That a man could lose everything.. everything! And get nothing in return but Mr. Pemberwick’s smug, stony, incredibly impassive countenance, well, something inside him just snapped.

So now Greyson stood outside his door, shaken and afraid, wondering how he was going to tell his wife. How he was supposed to explain why he found himself leaping across the desk of a tight-faced little man in order to shake some sense into him? Or why, after nearly forty-two years of upstanding citizenship, a security guard needed to wrestle him off of a bank employee? Or why a man could do everything right, and still fail. So he stood there, clutching the papers, wishing that an asteroid would obliterate the earth and save him from having this conversation.

But then the door opened, and she took his hand, and he knew it was going to be all right.

The Forgiven is my entry in LitStack's Flash Fiction Challenge #3.


  1. So good! I felt the dread and anxiety and desperation. Got me thinking of Willie Loman.

    1. thanks, Jennifer! (are you writing one?? hoping!)

  2. OMG that bastard Pemberwick! Loved this, great story, and haven't we all been there? Excellent!


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