Hey Howdy, Internet! Welcome back to this edition of Flash Fiction Friday. Let’s give a warm welcome to Kim Fielding with her short The Date.
We meet Paul, a young man overeager to take his relationship with Laz to the next level. But Laz has many secrets and a very unusual and dangerous hobby.
by Kim Fielding
I tried not to chortle like a movie villain, but I think at least a giggle escaped. I couldn’t help it. I’d been lusting after Laz for months, and I was pretty sure he lusted back. At least, he’d met me for coffee and movies and thrift store browsing and lunch, and he seemed to have a good time at each one. But when it came time to move beyond the good-night kiss, he was skittish. “I’ll text you, Paul,” he’d say. “We can get together again soon.”
But tonight we’d graduated to dinner at a place fancy enough I couldn’t wear jeans. Afterward we’d sat over coffee and Laz hadn’t pulled away when I held his hand. And when it came time for the usual almost-chaste lip-press, he gave me a long look. “Wanna come over to my place?” he’d asked.
So now I was standing at the front door of his cute little bungalow instead of watching stupid porn in my crappy apartment. Inside, I was jumping up and down like a kid on Christmas morning. Outside I was trying to play it cool—and not really succeeding.
“Come on in,” Laz said, looking shy and sweet as a virgin prom date. God, he was sexy. Not ripped—he wasn’t a gym bunny. And he didn’t look like he’d just stepped out of the pages of some magazine either. But he had this sandy hair that tended to flop in his face, and green-gray eyes with little crinkles at the corners, and a lopsided grin with a dimple in one cheek. He was the boy next door all grown up.
Even though he’d invited me in, Laz looked a little hesitant. So quick, before he could change his mind, I ducked inside. We were in a cozy living room. The furniture was mismatched and slightly shabby, but comfortable-looking. Two tall bookcases sagged under paperbacks, vinyl records, and knickknacks. The flatscreen was big enough to be manly, but not so huge as to suggest overcompensating. A few framed photos of old sailing ships hung on the walls. And everything was neat and tidy, which made me think he’d planned to have me over, and that warmed the cockles of my heart. Among other things.
“Nice place,” I said, meaning it.
“Thanks. The rent’s a little more than I can afford but, uh, it meets my needs.” He squinted at me. “Can I get you something to drink? A snack?”
“I’ve just had a gallon of coffee and I’m not hungry. How about a tour instead? I’d love to see the bedroom.” I waggled my brows. Hell, I didn’t care if we never made it to the bedroom. That couch looked comfy enough.
Laz nodded absently. “I have to show you something.”
“If you want.”
“It’s…. If we’re gonna do this,”—he waved his hand back and forth between us—“I have to show you first. In case you have second thoughts. It’s my hobby but it’s… unusual.”
That didn’t sound promising. But Jesus, it would have to be something really bad to keep me out of Laz’s pants. Severed heads. Accordion playing. Jazzercise.
“Show me,” I said, attempting a brave smile.
Laz let out a deep breath, grabbed my hand, and towed me down the hall. We passed a room with the door ajar—bed inside neatly made, looking really damn inviting—and came to another door that was closed. He looked at me, bit his lip, and slowly turned the knob. And then he took me inside.
I don’t know what I expected. A hobby, right? Baseball cards. Model trains. Knitting. I didn’t see any of that.
There were swords. Several of them, hanging neatly on pegs. I didn’t know a thing about weapons, but these looked deadly serious—no fancy grips, no decorative sheaths. These swords meant business. The room contained other weapons too. A couple of battle axes. Several bows and a bunch of arrows. Lots of little things like brass knuckles and throwing stars.
As I gaped, Laz strode across the room and threw open the closet. A dozen or so identical costumes hung there—black torsos, red stretchy legs, matching red capes. And jaunty black masks big enough to cover the upper face.
I walked to Laz’s side and turned one of the costumes to face me. I wasn’t surprised when I recognized the symbol on the chest.
“Dynoman,” I said. I was surprised I could say anything at all. “You’re Dynoman.”
Everybody knew about him. He’d spent the past five years saving people from bad guys. He’d foil a bank robbery, apprehend muggers, and then stop on his way home to help old ladies cross the street and to pluck cats out of trees. He was on the news all the time. But nobody knew who he was.
“It’s a hobby,” Laz said. He bit his lip. “Look, if you want to leave now, I totally understand. I mean, it’s… weird. You can go ahead and freak out and I won’t blame you.”
I looked at the costumes and the armory. I remembered all the news reports I’d seen about Dynoman getting blown up or shot or thrown off buildings. And then I turned my attention to Laz—sweet, pretty Laz—who looked like he was scared to death.
I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him right under the ear. Not chastely. Not chastely at all. “I think,” I said, “that it’s about time Dynoman got himself a sidekick.”
And Laz kissed me back.