Questions: Flash Fiction

“So what do you want to know.”

It’s not even a question, the way he says it. He never asks questions. He tells them, then moves on along the dusty road, as if not expecting or even wanting an answer. You can almost hear the whoosh of the syllables flying by, dissolving into the air. Doppler talk. Here and gone.

You want to see his face. It’s easier to see if he’s telling the truth that way. Lord knows what he’s doing with that left eye, with that crook of his mouth, if you only see the half that’s telling you what he thinks want to know. You stop. He doesn’t. Then does. Waits for you to catch up. A slight shake of his head as if you’re a misbehaving child.

You try not to let it get under your skin. When you do that, it pools up and itches like madness in the middle of the night. You firm up all over, clench muscles that will hurt later. The words. So small and delicate you don’t know how they could possibly form and exit. Soap bubbles.

“Do you love her?”

Your questions are always questions. You want answers, you expect them, but you don’t always get what you want. The Mick Jagger song plays in your head, that “get what you need” so damn loud, arrogant, taunting. You think of the last time you got what you needed.

It’s been a long time. Another song lyric flows through your mind. It’s been a long time coming…good things are gonna come my way…

His eyes cut down and left and he walks, assumes you’ll follow. Because he knows how badly you want an answer to that awful question.

Yeah. You don’t always get what you want.

You start after him, head down. This. This is what you need. If you found a magic lamp and roused a genie, this is what you would ask. An answer. Not sound effects. Not soap bubbles. Not the side of his face, turning away.

“If I answered at all, I’d lie.”

The words are gone. By the next morning, so are you. You doubt he heard the whoosh of you in the wind.

Perhaps it was too much to ask of the genie, or any song lyric, that the response to your question should be the truth.

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