Flash Fiction Extra: All That Glitters


AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece about May precedes the action of the novel and contains no spoilers. This is a Three Word Wednesday post, so please go the Three Word Wednesday site for stories, poetry, and other literary fun!


It had been a sad and dusty little place when May took it over, but at least the windows weren't broken, and the door was easily fixed. The shop had lacked the tables and display cases she would need to show off her creations, but such items were easily acquired. Jewelry shops had been looted early in the pandemic and it was a simple matter to walk into an empty store and take the satin and velvet-lined showcases and gilt-framed mirrors.

It hadn’t been difficult for May to get the materials she needed to create her jewelry, either. Her inspiration was the detritus of civilization; the vibrant shards of glass and plastic that littered the city streets. Using her knowledge of chemistry, she etched and stained the remains of the past into colorful creations that could be worn around the neck or wrists, or dangle from a pair of young ears. Young, of course, because there were no more adults, and now their own survival was an uncertain thing as well.

May was hanging some necklaces for display, humming a little tune, when the door flew open and a greasy-haired teenager in a leather duster strode in.

“Hey, babe, got the goods?”

She offered a grim smile. “Just a minute.” She went in the back room, then returned with a package. “I’ll need more willow if you expect me to make any more. And some food.”

The boy shoved aside some necklaces made from broken semaphore lights and opened the package on one of her display tables. He counted the vials of aspirin and gave a curt nod. “You’ll get it.” Without another word, he walked away.

Suppressing a sigh, May returned to her work. She had longed to escape the career in chemistry her parents had mapped out for her, but it was coming in handy as a way to finance her art. Hopefully she would make a few sales soon and could quit having to depend on her skill at making primitive medicines. Now that all the real jewelry stores had been looted, silver and diamonds were common as dirt, and about as valuable. But these colorful remains of the past…she looked around her sparkling shop with an air of satisfaction. As far as she was concerned, this was real gold.

Related Stories: Ars Gratia Artis, Alchemy.

15 comments:

ThomG said...

the turn of fate in this, her obvious talents to the collective, but her yearning to create art, speaks to everyone. follow your dreams, or follow what you're good at. This was most excellent.

Alice Audrey said...

Isn't it always the way for artists? The physical rewards come long after the creation so you can't quit your day job.

Jay Thurston said...

Caught between two paths, this story was nice to see both the field of interest and the field of expertise being useful to the protagonist. Nice work!

one more believer said...

this world with itz mayhem is a marvelous melody of creative reading... itz good to know college does pay and parents do know...

Tammy Brierly said...

Yearning to be creative while doing what we must to survive is such a dilema. I'm enjoying the teasers :)

Tumblewords: said...

I like her! She's beginning to feel real to me.

Amity said...

It's like blogging...once you have become immersed with it, and many times you would feel like quitting, the more your creative juices seem to flow like spring...

I remember my daughter, we seem to dictate on what she can be in the future, but we failed and we could only have tears after it...but I am happy now that she found what she wants to be - a Psychologist!

Hopefully she will succeed and would love it the way you did to your artistic inclinations!

Very nice story dear!

Janet said...

Loved this - reminded me (as others have said) about the pull of our creative side against that of our practical side. Any artist must eat - and stock her 'pantry' with supplies to continue to create. A fine line!

As a beach glass junkie - I had a wonderful picture of the type of jewelry May created. I've fashioned earrings and necklaces from the smooth glass the sea polishes and spits out onto shore :)

Thomma Lyn said...

Excellently done, my friend -- my heart goes out to all your characters, and I love how you explore how each person does their best to adapt and survive to post pandemic conditions. And May has always been a favorite of mine, creating art in the midst of such turmoil and strife, out of the remnants of the past.

Calico Crazy said...

I love these little insights into this time and place. Your characters feel so real and honest.

Peaceful Pandemonium said...

Thank you for this. You reminded me of whats important, but I also found a new writer who is really GOOD.

Julia Smith said...

Precious gems no longer desired as much as aspirin - ah, there's the rub. I was momentarily worried for her, alone with him. Will that ever be an issue with these characters?

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Julia: She's safe, as long as she fulfills her end of the bargain. Smart people sometimes become enamored of their own cleverness, though, and get careless.

Julie said...

As in our current world, the clash of what earns us a living with what yearns in our soul. I like how you have set this clash up and the reflections upon it.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Ahh, May. She's one character I wish we'd seen more of in the book.