Hello, Internet! Dev Bentham is here for Flash Fiction Friday! In her sweet piece we learn one small town man’s destiny sends a pretty big sign…when a chunk of a space satellite crashes in his back yard.
Wishing on Falling Stars and Other Space Junk
by Dev Bentham
That still, small voice people who make their living saying wise things always talk about, the one that a person has to listen hard for if they want to follow their bliss—sometimes that voice is fucking loud. I know. I heard it and it changed my life.
It was late August several years ago. I was staying with my brother in Minocqua, a tiny town in Northern Wisconsin where the only thing to do on a Saturday night was to hang out in the back yard barbequing hamburgers and drinking cheap beer while the kids ran around like wild animals. I was single back then and, although I’d grown up in a town just like this one, I’d left for the city as soon as I could. Being back in a small town was making me claustrophobic and the whole gay uncle routine was wearing a little thin. I was ready for some excitement. Like the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
My brother’s back yard wasn’t anything to brag about—just some tired looking grass strewn with toys. We sat in old folding lawn chairs, drinking cheap beer and staring at the big wooden back fence. My sister-in-law called the kids inside to help her get dinner ready. My brother talked about how he needed to get around to repainting the fence and I wondered how rude it would be to leave a few days early and head back to the city and real life.
That’s when I heard it, the voice of God or fate or whatever—a big boom like a bomb or a giant rifle crack. My heart just about smashed its way out of my body. I don’t remember jumping up, but the next thing I knew I was standing there with my mouth open as this thing just fell out of the sky, crashing into the fence. Chunks of wood and splinters flew everywhere. I threw my arm up to shield my eyes. From behind us inside the house, one of the kids screamed. Another started crying. The back door slammed as my brother ran inside. I was relieved to hear my sister-in-law calling that it was okay, everyone was okay.
And then it went quiet. Murmuring filtered through the open kitchen window and in the distance sirens screamed, but right where I was it was silent. I dropped my arm and opened my eyes. A big wad of metal lay on the ground, having carved a slice out of the fence. And there he was on his side, standing about as far away from the smoking mess as I was and staring back at me. I don’t believe in love at first sight. But I sure as hell know lust when I feel it. Bare chested, tall and built, with close-cut blond hair, blue eyes and thighs that filled out his jeans in all the right ways, looking back at me through the hole in the fence. We stood there staring at each other while the sirens got closer and closer. It was something out of a movie.
Until men in full military gear pounded into the yard, guns ready. I tore my gaze away from him and focused on the chaos around me—my brother was yelling, the kids were screaming, one soldier was trying to talk my brother down from his panic ledge while another waved his gun around in a way that got my sister-in-law screaming, too. A whole cluster of people milled around the thing that turned out to be a hunk of space junk off a Russian satellite.
No one was paying attention to me. I walked back through the house, down the street, around the corner to the next street. What with the array of emergency vehicles, his house wasn’t hard to find. I knocked on the door. And waited. Eventually the door opened. Up close he was just as hot.
I held out my hand. “Hey.”
“Hi.” He shook it. We stood in his doorway holding hands like that, ignoring the noise that echoed through the neighborhood.
A fireman heading into the house pushed past us.
I dropped his hand. “You, um, want to go get a beer or something?”
He looked over his shoulder, thought for a minute and then shrugged. “Sure. They won’t miss me.”
And that was it. We call it the night we wished upon a falling star. It’s a show stopper at parties when people ask how we met. And I’ve gotten used to life in a small town. It’s nice that our kids live so close to their cousins. We haven’t gotten around to fixing the fence. Too many good memories live in that big blackened hole.
Dev Bentham writes soulful m/m romance. Her characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know what they are missing, but whose lives are transformed by true love.
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Dev’s latest book is Whistleblower
Money can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He’s a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.
In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it’s never too late to begin again.