This flash fiction (FF) is under 500 words. There is more to writing a story in under 500, 1,000, or 2,000 words than one might realize. It is not merely getting rid of those rambling digressions, cutting extraneous descriptions, and eliminating flashbacks.
Part poetry, part narrative, FF is a genre that is deceptively complex, but writing one is incredibly rewarding.
Helen sat at the same table in Marv’s Family Restaurant every Sunday. She had been doing so for eight years. Willie the Wolf Whistler went bird-shit crazy until Maxine, the eight-year waitress, carried him, on his perch, to sit close to Helen.
Every Sunday, Helen complained. She hated Willie the Wolf Whistler. She’d hated him for eight long years.
Jack, a man around Helen’s age, began frequenting Marv’s about a year ago. Once he figured out the bird seemed to love Helen and waited quietly for her, Jack and his buddy would come for the show. For one year, Jack waited for Helen to enter for an early dinner every week. When he spotted her through the front picture window, he turned his attention to Willie and then elbowed his friend to pay attention.
Walking in just far enough for the door to close and shut out the setting sun, Helen would stand there waiting for her eyes to adjust to the low, amber light inside the family restaurant before moving to her table.
Willie never waited.
A long wolf whistle.
And Another. Then Willie the Wolf Whistler began proffering Helen with his extensive vocabulary. “Hi, Doll. You’re some gal.” Then, he’d made kiss-smacking sounds. “Oh, Helen, baby, why do you do me like you do do do do do do? Squawk!”
“Hesh up, you old coot!” Helen would counter and make her way to her favorite seat.
The regulars at Marv’s would chuckle. And wait for Willie.
Willie never disappointed. He squawked and whistled like a typical male wolf until Maxine moved him.
When Maxine stopped at Jack and his buddy’s table to take their order, Jack finally asked her, after all those months, “What’s the story with Willie the Wolf Whistler. Why does he go for only Helen?”
“You mean you don’t know?” Her hip jutted to one side, the hand holding her pencil went to that hip, and her other hand flicked her hair away from her long face.
Both men shook their heads.
“Well, that’s Willie and he began being wolfish with Helen there for over forty years. She says forty-five—”
“Whoa! Just a minute. I don’t know much about birds but I don’t think that little guy could live forty-five years.”
“But, that’s the story! Willie use to be her lover and Helen was mad for him.”
“What are you saying?” Jack’s friend interrupted.
“Willie used to be a man. Helen used to be a witch.”
The men’s mouths dropped.
Maxine smiled and continued. “Yeah, a real human. But, he made those wolf whistles at another woman some eight years ago and Helen heard him. Jealous, she turned him into a parakeet right there on the spot.”
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