2022 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 9

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Flash Fiction Challenge

I’ve always thought regifting to be an interesting subject; sometimes, something that meant little to you can be very meaningful to someone else. Sometimes, you accidentally give someone something that they’d given you, and it can cause hurt feelings. And if you have hoarders in your life like I do, sometimes the gifts that come your way can be truly wacky.

For today’s prompt, let’s write about something being regifted.

Remember: As mentioned yesterday, these prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at writing about regifting:

Secret Santa

I’m not sure if the gift is cursed, but knowing Leesa, it probably is.

I’m sitting in the corner of the bar, rolling the small black box around in the palms of my hands. Around me, my coworkers are shouting and laughing and generally being drunk—it is the holiday party, after all, and a lot of these people don’t usually have the audacity to live a little.

When I figure no one is looking, I slip out of my seat and make my way to the bin of gifts in the corner. It takes no effort to deposit Leesa’s little box onto the pile and keep walking. When HR sent out our Secret Santa picks, I’d been assigned Leigh, the newest IT hire, who’s fresh out of grad school and still has baby fat. Truthfully, I’d forgotten all about the gift stuff, what with the drama of Leesa catching me and the neighbor in my in-home office. I thought a few weeks of silent treatment, maybe a big blowup fight for the Hendersons across the street to spy on, a month or so of groveling and showering her with that weird witchy shit she likes to hang up in the shed.

Not this time, apparently. This time, she vanished in the night, her and all her stuff, leaving one little black box sitting on our kitchen counter. Mocking me. I tried to throw the thing away, but it appeared back on the counter a few hours later. I thought about opening it but then decided it wasn’t worth giving Leesa the satisfaction. Then, last night, I woke up from the strangest dream to find myself standing in the kitchen, naked as a newborn, the box clutched against my chest.

The email reminder about the Secret Santa came a few hours after that, and I thought, Why the fuck not.

Once the gift is out of my hands, I feel a thousand times lighter. Things are looking up for the first time in weeks. I order myself an old fashioned. Then another. I sip a third while listening to Brad from sales go on and on about cryptocurrency like he’s some kind of Wall Street bro-in-the-know. Give me a fucking break. But hey, at least if he’s having an affair, his wife doesn’t seem too concerned. She’s been hanging off his every word all night.

I’m admittedly a little drunk by the time Wendy from HR starts handing out everyone’s gifts. Mine is clearly from Barb because it’s the same homemade fruit cake brick that she forces on someone every year. I see her staring at me with the full force of Christian Judgment in her eyes, so I heft the disgusting thing in my hand and give her a gracious smile. She grins, her face folding up in that wrinkly way that happens when you’re old. Ugh. If only it was that easy to make Leesa happy.

Unsurprisingly, that little black box is the only thing left at the end. No one seems to want to touch it, really. Wendy from HR hands it to Leigh from IT, since they’re the only one stuck without a gift. I turn my eyes away just in case Leigh decides to try and suss out who might have given it to them. By the time I order another drink and turn to casually scan the room, Leigh’s already picked up their coat and headed out. I’m a little disappointed; it would have been nice to see what Leesa thought would hurt me the worst.

Oh, well. It’s out of my hands now.

Remixing the Classics: Writing New Flash Fiction From Old Stories

During this live webinar, award-winning writer Ran Walker will teach you how to find and mine ideas for your flash fiction. He will show you how to take stories in the public domain and “remix” them into new stories. Ran will also show you how to put your own spin on these ideas and make them truly yours.

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