So I’ve made up my mind to write more. I have this great book by Brian Kiteley called The 3 A.M. Epiphany. We used it in one of my undergrad classes. It has writing prompts for flash fiction pieces. And so my new goal is to write Flash Fiction every Friday. The alliteration just gets me.
This week’s writing prompt was to write a first person narrative (around 600 words) using first person pronouns only twice. Blah. Here it is. Ok.
Walking, walking, walking down a Pittsburgh sidewalk, soaking wet, with a suitcase. It was raining. Actually it was a rainstorm weeping from the clouds onto the treetops, so by the time it got to the ground it was mixed with wind and leaves. Walking down the sidewalk became a whirlwind. His apartment wasn’t hard to find, but there was no rush, though there should have been.
I decided to stop in the suddenly formed crowd to watch the parade. That’s right, there was a Hindu parade coming down the street in a whirlwind rainstorm. It was like something out of a wine-drunk dream. There were even three elephants painted with pink and green and purple, though the color was now dripping off of them. Where do people get elephants for parades? Do zoos just let people borrow elephants for the day?
There had to be thousands of people there. It was so loud and musical and dirty. It felt like stepping into an overly stereotyped Bollywood film or something. It would have been a really colorful and beautiful thing to see if it wasn’t raining on the parade. Every color on the faces, elephants, banners were all muted and mixed with gray and brown. Little girls skipped through the puddles with yellow-gray flowers hanging from their necks. Behind them came men carrying one of those chair-throne things with poles attached to it. There was an old man sitting in it. He looked reasonably small, so hopefully he wasn’t too heavy to carry. He was probably the guru. He had a white beard and wore a turban with orange flowers wrapped around it. It was pretty incredible to see, though it would have made a better picture if he had been riding the elephant. He was smiling and laughing as rain soaked his face and leaves stuck in his beard. Gurus laugh? Apparently gurus really like the rain. In fact, no one in the parade or the crowd seemed to even notice that it was pouring. They acted as if it wasn’t practically tornadoing all around them, and everyone had been drenched. The street was a muddied, colorful river with flowers and trash being carried away by the current. Behind the Guru came the three elephants. No one was riding them, but some boys dressed in orange were leading them. With every big elephant step they took, more of the colors ran down their gray skin. It seemed surprising that no one was afraid of them. Children were skipping and dancing right next to their big elephant feet, oblivious even to the idea of being trampled. As the elephants passed, the crowd folded into the street and followed them, dancing and smiling and throwing flowers around like confetti. The crowd became the finale of the parade as they splashed through the street-turned-river. All the colors washed themselves away down the road.
The rain was letting up a little. His apartment was directly across the now cleared street. He would come down at the sound of the bell. He would hug the way he always does, one arm on top, one arm on bottom. There would be something in his eyes to ignore. His apartment would be cold. Conversation would be exhausting. It would sometimes seem like a waste of time. It sometimes would be.
But there was no rush. The inevitable could be prolonged. So I didn’t cross the street just yet, because guess what? Another parade was coming in the whirlwind rain. And this time there were zebras.