Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Breakfast continues, and all seems well...until Ethan's brother opens his mouth. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Bad Karma and the Family Plan. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Troy was, not surprisingly, the center of attention
at our table. Not that he did anything to hog the spotlight, but there was just
something so naturally attractive, so very charismatic about him, that drew
people to him, like moths to a flame. It didn’t hurt that he was good at
speaking to people, not to mention he was a great storyteller. But he was also sweet and sincere and he had
a great heart. Ethan and I were proud to call him our friend. We loved him and
Despite all of charms, Troy was considerate. He made
sure to show a genuine interest in other people and had a knack for making
those around him feel good. Unfortunately, we may have forgotten to warn him
about Ethan’s brother and what a miserable person he was, probably because we never
thought their paths would cross. Our bad.
To even the most unobservant, Troy and Brendan’s
relationship must have been obvious—their very body language, not to mention
the way they held hands, even at the table, and were constantly gazing at one
another. Too late, I realized that this made them a new target for Joey’s
At some point before the meal was served, Ethan’s
parents excused themselves to talk to a couple at another table. So, naturally,
the rest of us just talked amongst ourselves. Perhaps it was his father’s
absence that emboldened the little shit.
“So, what would your fans think if they could see
you like this?” Joey launched his assault directly at Troy.
“Excuse me?” Troy glanced at Joey warily, while
maintaining a polite expression—kudos to him for staying calm. I noticed
Brendan’s brow furrow and his cheeks flamed, but he said nothing. Beside me, I
could feel Ethan’s displeasure. I laid a calming hand upon his arm even though
I wanted to knock him upside his stupid head. I suspected Sarah felt the same
way and held herself back because of the presence of her son.
Joe Jr. seemed oblivious of the trouble he was
instigating. “Well, I mean with your macho man image and all, wouldn’t the
ladies be dismayed to find out you play for the other team?” (Obviously,
Ethan’s brother knew nothing about Troy or his films or he wouldn’t have made
such a stupid comment).
I wasn’t about to let that slide, though before I
could release any of the barbs I intended to wound him with, Uncle Benny had decided
to add to the conversation.
“Is your wife one of those fans, Joey? Maybe we
should ask her.”
At that moment, you could have heard the proverbial
pin drop, shocked silence followed by Did he really go there? Benny’s verbal
missile clearly hit its intended target as Joey’s face suffused with a deep red
hue and he made no immediate rebuttal.
After spluttering for a moment or two, Joe Jr.
seemed to regain some control over his thoughts. “My wife probably doesn’t even
know who you are.”
Was that the best comeback he could come up with?
I could tell Ethan was seething, but holding it in
for a number of reasons, just barely. But once again came a response from an
“That would be her loss. Troy’s one of the best actors
around. And if you don’t know that, maybe you need to get out more.”
Now we all turned to stare at Brendan. Soft-spoken,
good-natured Brendan, who obviously didn’t intend to let his man go undefended.
He held his head high, his eyes boring into Joey. His cheeks had turned a soft
pink but I could see a steely quality about him that clearly dared Ethan’s
brother to keep talking smack about Troy.
“Thank you, Bren,” Troy said softly. He took
Brendan’s hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it softly. I didn’t have to
look to see whose excited squeal that was, or that Sarah was eating this up.
“Well, I don’t see any of your fans clamoring for
your autograph,” Joey continued, rather recklessly, I thought.
For just a second, I thought I saw fire flash
through Troy’s eyes, and I braced myself for his scathing retort…or
Brendan’s…someone’s. But the moment passed, and when Troy spoke again, it was
with the most dulcet and sweetest of tones.
“And what do you do for a living…I’m sorry, Jimmy,
The tension that had been building around the table
visibly lessened at Troy’s words, and I distinctly heard a snort from Sarah. As
for little Joe, he was visibly taken aback. His lips moved but I couldn’t hear
“Joseph,” he managed to get out at last. “Joseph
Thorne, Jr. Named after my father. And what I do is none of—”
Fate in the form of a tall willowy blonde stemmed
whatever he’d been about to say. She drew herself up beside him, and I’d swear
she might have been six foot tall but perhaps that was from the perspective of
being seated, before she leaned in to him. “Did I hear you say your name is
Joseph Thorne Jr?” For some reason, she seemed really excited at hearing that,
why I couldn’t imagine.
Joey seemed flustered too. He tripped over his tongue
a few times before he said, with a certain amount of pride, “Yes, I am.”
The woman seemed pleased to hear that as she
suddenly thrust out a sheaf of papers she must have been holding behind her
back. “Mr. Thorne, it is my duty to serve you with these divorce papers.” She
held the documents to him and he took them, obviously without thinking.
“Have a good day, sir,” she said. Just before she
turned away from the table, she glanced at the rest of us and then asked,
“Excuse me, but aren’t you Troy McGarrett?”
to be continued
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