D. Allen
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David Allen is a mathematician, graphic artist, writer, personal trainer, and video producer for-hire.  But, honestly, you'll be lucky if he blogs on any of these things.  He'll probably just tell you how his day is going (or how yours should be).

"Credentials"

So, I was just made aware of a little flash fiction writing contest due to P.S.W. Gear, and I decided to try it out.  Submissions are due today, and I only found out about it an hour ago.  Anyway, it seems appropriate to only have a short time to write a work short fiction, right? So, here you go. Concrete photo image credit: http://www.crafthubs.com/


“Credentials,” he says to me, eyes fixed on my chest.

I have never been more grateful for the accepted rules of conduct than I am now. Were he to look me in the eyes, I fear he would see the nervousness which must be hanging, as the regulars made example, from my eyelids. 

Can he see my heart pounding at the backs of some unfortunate leader’s rusted diplomas of service, I wonder. With this thought grows a bead of sweat on my brow.  It is the cold season.  I can feel it getting heavier.  For him to see it would mean certain death—a thought which promises to help grow the tiny snitch until large enough to fall in front of the diplomas, cutting his gaze. 

No. I cannot let this happen. I remind myself that for him to look up and see my beaded brow would mean that it is too late anyway. No. He believes, at this moment, that I am a leader. He would need to be pretty sure of my deception to look me in the face.  

I keep my eyes fixed on his forehead as I reach into my pocket for the forgery.  To acquire a genuine uniform was easier than I had thought—more leaders are dying of the disease than the Mother would admit. She tells us leaders don’t die. The young ones—the ones who have never spoken—believe her.  The credentials came at considerable cost. I remind myself that to get them I placed myself in bigger risk than I am in currently. I wish I believed that.

After opening the papers, I am to say six words. Six. I have rehearsed these many times. It has been so long since speaking, I was worried I couldn’t recite them cold. So, I took the risk and repeated them under the bath waters when I believed no one to be looking.  Now I worry that I’ve over rehearsed them.  I have only heard leaders say Move or Stop. This is their interaction with us. Maybe they, in fact, speak very little; perhaps a true leader would stumble over words as well. What do leaders say when regulars aren’t around, I wonder.  The sweat slides to my cheek.  I cannot keep considering these things. I tell myself the more pressing question is of what regulars say when past the barrier.

Past the barrier, She bids you.

Past the barrier, She bids you.

Past the barrier, She bids you.

“Past the barrier, She bids you.”

I emphasize his fear, to abate mine.

With these words he signals someone unseen to open the gate. Replacing the credentials, I proceed slowly, at first. The sweat grows too large and finally falls from my face. It is of no consequence, I’m sure he can now see my back—more specifically, he can see the stain the disease left in a dead man’s coat.  It is time to run. The gate is open, and not too far.