By Carl J. Gonzales
As the sun crept upward from the horizon, a man reeking of vomit, sweat and the faint funk of body spray fumbled with the metal clasp of a garden gate. His hands jiggled and pushed, seemingly unable to interpret the commands his muddled brain tried to deliver. In a moment of inspiration, the man hoisted a leg up onto the gate’s top and tried to pull himself over, but the white wooden pickets caught him in mid-thigh. The pain sobered him enough that he realized he needed to withdraw the leg, and he did, causing himself to stumble and land heavily on the ground.
The man lay on the cement breathing heavily. He wiped blood and the still fresh remainder of regurgitated french fries on a sleeve and decided to just snooze right there. He closed his eyes but opened them when the gate creaked open.
The little garden gnome that normally sat on an upturned pot in the middle of the patch of soil and dandelions beside the house was standing there looking at him.
“We need to talk,” it said.
The man blinked in surprise. Thoughts tried to form about this turn of events, but the alcohol beat them down like a match in a rainstorm. He shrugged and slurred, “‘Sup, gnome?”
The gnome grabbed the man by the collar, grimaced at his breath and said, “What is up is that you are too old to be using slang like that. What is up is that it’s time to stop pretending you’re twenty-five. It’s lame and pathetic. It needs to stop immediately.”
The man was silent as the gnome’s words fought through the beer and Jagermeister fog. When it processed and he understood what the little figure was saying, he said, “Whoa! Check yourself, beeyotch!”
The gnome slapped the man hard across the mouth.
“That’s what I’m talking about. You’re forty-five. Stop trying to sound street.”
The gnome turned, walked over to where the man was lying on the cement, reared back a booted foot, and kicked him in the crotch. The man grunted and curled into a fetal ball.
“You play softball in a rec league. Stop yelling at your teammates like they’re losing a World Series game.”
Then it positioned itself behind the man’s back, grabbed hold of the waistband to his shorts and pulled them into a painful wedgie.
“The college girls across the street don’t want to hear your opinion when they’re talking about the Real Housewives. Stop trying to flirt with them. It’s creepy.”
The gnome grabbed a handful of the man’s hair, forcing his head up.
“I’m a gnome that sits in a garden all day watching the wind blow and my life is less pathetic than yours. Buying drinks for frat guys is not going to make up for getting blackballed way back when, so just stop with the Friday barhopping, okay? And, for godsakes, gold chains or a red convertible – one or the other. Both makes you look like an ass.”
Carl J. Gonzales is a writer from Portland, Oregon. For more of his flash fiction, visit his blog, Personal Hold Music.