Contrary to what my wife thinks, stories like these (see “Vacation” from February 2015) are NOT inspired by our marriage. We actually have it pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Anyway, here’s my latest flash fiction story. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to share the story or comment below, I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!
Jeanne tapped on the keyboard with her two index fingers. She never took typing in school and barely had enough time at a keyboard to learn the right way. Like normal, she was alone on a Saturday night. Her husband went out with his friends, drinking and doing who knows what. At first she didn’t mind, but once it became a habit and she spent lonely nights in their rural home with a couple cats and an old hunting dog, she started to care.
She brought it up several times but with each complaint she was met with anger and indignation. Eventually, she gave up on it. Getting yelled at for “not understanding his needs” and almost being punched by her husband scared her from ever asking again.
So she used what means she had to escape her situation. She went on one of those specialized dating sites, the kind geared towards country folks, and started looking around for companionship.
Jeanne didn’t enjoy being online. She preferred to live off the grid, but her husband insisted they have internet at their place, no matter the cost. He said it “was unnatural” to live like Jeanne wanted: self-sustaining and reliant on her own skills to get by. She had a long standing, deeply imbedded disgust for the government, something her parents ingrained in her as a little girl. And being connected to the world over a service she knew the government was monitoring only added fuel to the fire.
But somehow, she found meeting other men online quite interesting. She chatted with various men and learned how much she’d been missing from her absent and derelict husband.
“Hmm,” she thought as she perused the profiles one day. “This one looks promising,” she said out loud. She clicked on the profile and nothing happened. The internet connection stalled. She gave up for the night, turned off the computer, fed the cats, kicked out the dog, and went to bed.
The next day as Jeanne was outside tending to their chickens, two black cars roared up the driveway creating clouds of dust. She stood there, hands on her waist. “What the…” she started to say. The cars screeched to a halt just moments before what would have been a terrible mess of chickens and cars. Four men jumped out, two from each car.
They wore black suits with dark sunglasses. They drew their sidearms and trained them on Jeanne.
“Freeze! We know who you are. We don’t need any incidents, just come with us,” the driver of the closest car to Jeanne called out.
She stood there, transfixed by the barrels of four pistols aiming right at her.
“Umm, I don’t know what you mean? Why are you here on my property pointing those damn things at me?” Jeanne replied. She dropped her hands to her sides, wiping them clean.
“Stop right there! Don’t move your hands or we will shoot!” the same man said. Her hands froze in a strange, awkward position not quite on her legs. One of the men ran to her and patted her down.
“She’s clean, nothing on her,” he said back to the lead man.
“I’m Agent Smith Conners, FBI,” the lead man said without dropping his weapon. “These are agents Drew, Bertman, and King,” he said as he nodded towards each one. King was the one who frisked her.
“I don’t understand,” Jeanne began, “why are you here? What gives you the damn right to come on my property and point those guns at me? You’re lucky my husband isn’t here or you’d been shot already.”
“Ma’am, we have orders to bring you in. You set off several red flags with your online presence lately. You’re wanted for conspiring with terrorists.”
“With terrorists? What the hell are you talking about? I don’t even get online, I hate the whole thing,” she replied.
“It’s the profiles you’ve chosen to view on the dating site. All of them were fake. All of them were shells for terrorist organizations. We’ve been monitoring you for a while now. So please, stop the act and come quietly. We are authorized to use force,” Agent Connors said. He continued to hold his weapon aimed at Jeanne.
She started sobbing. Her parents were right. The government was monitoring everything, and her husband was the fool that let them in their house by insisting on being online.
A car pulled in to the driveway. Agent Connors turned to see her husband pulling up behind them.
“What the hell is going on here?” he called out. “Why do you have your guns pointed at my wife on my land?” Jeanne never felt so much joy at seeing her husband as she did at that moment.
“Sir, this is none of your business. She’s wanted by the FBI. Now please stand back and don’t interfere.”
Her husband looked the men over. Then shrugged.
“OK, but be good to her,” he said. Agent King and Agent Bertman slammed her to the ground and bound her with handcuffs. They dragged her to their car, tossing her in the back seat, slamming the door.
Jeanne’s husband stood watching the men climb back into their cars. The cars roared to life then they tore off down the driveway in a cloud of dust.
He smiled, stroking his chin.
“Damn, that was easy! I shoulda put that internet in long ago.”