"And So It Begins." Flash fiction stories of up to 500 words that begin with a first sentence we provide. The first sentence for issue four is "He read the note, folded it, and edged it into the gutter."

I Have One Video

By Allison Carter

He read the note, folded it, and edged it into the gutter. That was 5 months ago. Now, later, this morning, he reads my note and he keeps it, edges it into his pocket. I think, for the doctor, about our hands. I think about five months, do the math. I think for him that he's losing it, carrying our notes out of the alleys and gutters and into his office. I think for him about his wife, so he doesn’t; I think for him about our coded interchanges: turn right Broadway, veer L stop sign parking behind Embassy Suites. Conference room 4. Confirmation #s. Also emails from cheapink@bigdeal.com. It is 9:15; he folds my note, he edges it towards his groin.

I tell him, “Dr. Peters, you have a call on line one.”

Living in codes means that everything is only meaningful in context. The context of this affair was a simple, stupid plot of “sue someone rich.” Sometimes anybody can run out of money, time, of plots. That plot is out of time though, now, and even my intentions are a context for desire. I feel for him the downward force of my note codifying his suit pants and thickening his communication of the laws of the body.

Once he told me, “Take a deep breath in. Good. Your lungs are congested; I’ll give you a prescription for antibiotics.” And I thought for him how far a diagnosis can travel.

Dr. Peters ties me to the bed and orders room service. With one hand between my legs he sits at the foot of the bed and tells me that his son’s first day of Little League went well except that he was better in the outfield than on the mound, which is where he wants to be. He sits on the edge of the bed crying and fingering me and the bell rings. He puts on his bathrobe and puts a shirt over my face and opens the door for the room service lady, who wheels in a cart and squeals when she sees me. Because I know him, I know he gives her fifty dollars and tells her that if she wanted, she could stay, but that he was sure she has more important things to do, like other orders that need to be carted up from wherever. When she leaves he takes the shirt off my face and pours the yogurt on my mouth and neck. I look for a clock so I’ll be able to find out who was on room service duty at 3:whatever on Tuesday the 9th.

Objects: receipts, stained clothing, photographs of welts and bruises. Witnesses. I have one video, but. A folded note.

Dr. Peters tells me, “Book me a round-trip flight to Richmond with a window seat.” He says, “Also, make me a reservation at the Jefferson.” This is not a code and I understand that. His wife is on line two.