"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 seven is "There are three ways I can win this fight."

The Mishearing Game

By Eric Schniewind

"There are three ways I can win this fight," she said as she dropped her head, somewhat boyishly, zipping up her carry-on bag.

I misheard and thought she said, "There are freeways on this flight."

I was immediately fascinated with the idea of a whole transportation network inside of our airplane. And a lot of things fit, like the bottleneck at rush hour (entering the plane), exiting the freeway (turning off the aisle into your seat row), traveling the surface roads (the space between the seats), pulling into your driveway (sitting down), ordering take out (getting peanuts), all leading to the eventual boredom that brings about a desire to masturbate (boredom that leads to a desire to masturbate). Now some things did not fit this analogy, mainly the overhead storage compartments, although one could argue that a lot of things do not fit into those things anyway, so why not.

When I tried to imagine the plane from a plan view, I could not help but remember the rainy days of my childhood when my father would pull out the magnetic traffic board for us to play with. A small grid of streets painted on a thin piece of masonite under which we used strong magnets to manipulate little large-finned cars. This is why I responded by saying, "Don't you wish there was a magnet moving us around?"

It turns out she thought I said, "Don't you wish there was a bad Dad movie around?" In the context of an earlier discussion in less noisy surroundings about a fight with her father, this appeared to make some sense to her. Not much sense, but enough to refrain from inquiring further. My question also reminded her of an educational film from the '50s that warned young boys to be wary of seemingly friendly men with invitations to fishing trips. She always had a theory that most people encounter some kind of inappropriate sexual experience in their adolescence and so replied, "Did you ever get invited on a fishing trip as a child?"

Our plane was ascending, so the whine of the engines continued to make it difficult to hear, obviously. Therefore, I thought she said, "Did you ever get in a fight with a bitchin' chick as a guile." I just ignored the "as a guile" part because it made no sense. However, I was struck by her apparent use of "Fight with a bitchin' chick." Was she referring to herself? So I jokingly shot back with "Are you fishing for…?" Now before I was able to finish with "a compliment," she heard me ask, "Are you fishing?" She didn't mishear that at all, but was suddenly under the impression that I wanted her to be the sexual aggressor on a "fishing trip" similar to that of the film she recalled but which we had not discussed nor even misheard. So she gently dropped her lips on mine in a way that was not boyish at all.