The Board – A Flash Fiction Piece
It’s been a few weeks since I participated in one of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges. This week he set the challenge of picking a sin and writing a 1000 word story. I picked all seven sins and wrote 912 words. BECAUSE WHY THE HELL NOT?!
I hope you enjoy this story, and I can’t wait to see what other sinful things my fellow flash-fiction writers have written.
“First item on the agenda,” said the woman with luxuriously dark hair and plump, pouty red lips, “the Fast Food Fiasco.” She turned to her colleague, a rotund man practically bursting out of his faded tuxedo. “Perhaps you would like to…” those lips curled up at both corners, but there was little mirth in the smile, “…weigh in?”
He shoved several cocktail sausages into his mouth and nodded. “It isn’t my fault!”
“We are not here to assign blame, Gluttony. Besides, we can’t minute that. Just tell us how this happened.”
“It’s all Pride’s fault!” He grabbed several cheese-on-sticks and swallowed the yellow cubes whole. His tiny, piggy eyes travelled to the Board member sitting opposite him, a woman whose flawless skin and perfect cheekbones spoke of countless encounters with plastic surgery.
Pride allowed one perfectly threaded eyebrow to rise. “My fault? You’ve sunk to a whole new low, Gluttony, if you think you can palm your inadequacies off onto me.”
“But it’s true!” Gluttony’s jowls wobbled and his face reddened as he shook his head fervently. “Those stupid glossy pictures you put in magazines. The self-worth articles. The men with six-packs. You make them feel good about being perfect. And because they want to be perfect, they don’t want to eat what I sell! If people won’t eat it, the chains won’t sell it.”
Another man, this one handsome and wearing a pinstripe suite, gave a brief nod of agreement. “Gluttony is right. This is getting out of hand. I walked past a McDonalds the other day, and do you know what I saw them selling? Salad!”
There was a collective gasp of horror from the group.
“You always side with Gluttony, Greed,” Pride scowled. “Sooner or later, he’s going to have to start accepting responsibility for his own mistakes. Coddling him won’t help him in the long run.”
Lust cleared her throat. As all eyes turned back to her, she tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear. “Perhaps we should look at what we can do to mitigate the effects of Pride’s hard work. Sloth? What have you brought to this meeting?”
A slim man with hooded eyes yawned, then sat up straighter as the attention switched to him. “Well, I’m planning a new Call of Duty title,” he said. “Cross-platform, of course. It should get the teenage and early-twenties male demographic to sit around a bit more. Every time I release a new title, I see a spike in pizza deliveries. But I have to agree with Gluttony, here. Pride’s been pushing hard in the glossy magazine market, and I don’t think Envy has been helping, either.”
“What does this have to do with Envy?!” demanded a third woman. Her face contorted into a maelstrom of rage as she slammed her fist down on the table. Sloth flinched.
“Now now, Wrath,” said Lust, “please let Sloth elaborate. If there is a problem, we need to address it.”
Sloth licked his lips, his eyes darting around in the search for allies. But Gluttony and Greed were fighting over a plate of pastries, whilst Wrath and Envy were shooting daggers at Sloth, and Pride was engrossed in a chip in her nail varnish.
“Well.” He licked his lips again. “Men see the six-packs and the chiselled features, and they want to look like that. Women see the flat stomachs and the tanned skin, and they want to be ‘perfect’ too. This goes beyond simple Pride. This is people craving the love and acceptance of others. Wanting what other people have. This is Envy’s fault.”
“Why you lazy, good for nothing—”
“Hold on, Wrath,” Lust interrupted. “Sloth may have a point. For now, why don’t we try this; Envy, Pride, you tone down the glossy pictures and the feature articles, whilst Gluttony and Greed, see what you can do about this whole ‘health food’ nonsense.”
“What’s in it for me?” demanded Greed. Lust merely winked at him before glancing down at last meeting’s minutes.
“Item number two. This whole ‘Kardashians’ thing.” She ran her pink tongue over her red lips, moistening them so that they glistened. From behind one of the curtains which covered the alcoves of the room, she heard a muffled groan, and her lips curled up into a smile. “Can we axe it?”
Greed shrugged. “It wasn’t me.”
“Hmm. Sloth?” asked Lust.
“Oh, I only wish I’d thought of doing the Kardashians myself!” Envy whined. “They’re soooo popular. What a great idea.”
“They aren’t mine,” said Wrath.
Pride shook her head, and Gluttony was too busy shovelling Oreos into his mouth to respond.
“To be honest, I always thought they were your doing, Lust,” said Greed.
“Well, if they’re not our product, where did they come from?”
“Perhaps,” said Wrath, “the order came from below. You know how… He... has a twisted sense of humour.”
All seven members of the Board looked down at the floor tiles. Then Lust cleared her throat.
“Yes. Well. We’ll just leave the Kardashians on the air for now, then.” She shuffled the papers and glanced once more to the curtain over the alcove. “We did have several more items to discuss, but I’m calling an end to this meeting now.” She reached down into her bag and brought out a gag and a leather whip. Her red lips curled up into a hungry smile as another muffled moan reached her ears. “It sounds like Manuel is ready for round two.”
creative in here! loved it………nice spin, refreshing–new
Why, thank you very much!
I really liked this story, but I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated, why does lust always have to be the hot babe?
Thanks, I know what you mean. Perhaps it’s some form of ingrained cultural stereotype? I just know that when I think ‘Lust’ I think of a beautiful woman; Audrey Hepburn’s face, Liz Taylor’s Hair, and Marilyn Monroe’s curves. Perhaps with Famke Janssen providing a mischievous/playful voice.
On the flip side, I don’t think I’ve ever read about (or even thought about) Sloth as a woman — I would struggle to imagine it 😉
It would be super fun to mash up these characters, but I think I’d need more than 1000 words to do it. Hell, I could take 1000 words to describe Lust as a dude. Mmmm Hugh Jackman’s chest hair.
What about a sleazy old man in a satin dressing gown, or wearing nothing but a trench coat, or Henry the eighth, or a pimped out rapper, or Farbio, or a glam rocker with a bare hairy chest, platform heels and a huge spiked codpeace. Ok I’ll stop now. 🙂
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This was absolutely fantastic. The concept was great, having the sins all play off of each other like that. Its funny to think about them running our world for their own nefarious purposes.
Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing this one. I like to think that the Sins evolve with humanity. Once ‘greed’ and ‘lust’ would have been one caveman bashing another over the head and dragging the cavewoman back to his den; now it’s all about appealing to the human desire to own things and feel good and look attractive.
Love the concept, and executed very well. Makes me wonder how they ever get anything done!
Merci beaucoup! And I suspect they get things done in the same manner of most corporation executives — delegation. 😉
Great concepts. Sort of like Screwtape Letters but definitely its own beast. Well done.
Screwtape Letters, hmm? *makes a note to check this out*
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I saw some street art after reading your piece. I was going to post a picture in the comment section but couldn’t figure out how. So, I wrote a short blog with a link here and the picture.
It is interesting, I would have spent 30 seconds looking at the painting if I hadn’t just read your piece but I lingered awhile.
Sadly, I don’t think you can put images in comments. I’ve never been able to figure it out, either 😦
You’ve outdone yourself here, TUS. The way you’ve perfectly described each sin, they’ve become living breathing characters themselves. And that Kardashians bit. Genius.
Cheers, Jade! My dislike of reality TV extends far beyond the Kardashians, but they pretty much epitomise it.
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I UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN. I too dislike reality TV (never found the appeal quite honestly) and the Kardashians…sigh. How does one even begin.
Actually this made me think of something that never occurred to me. The sins kind of get in the way of the other sins. Not always, but if you tried to pull people in one direction, you’d naturally push them away from others.
Overall, pretty good story. It actually wish I knew more about the characters.
To be honest, I hadn’t thought of sins getting in the way of other sins before, either. I only discovered it whilst writing this story. If this was psychology, I’d guess I just moved into the ‘Unknown’ region of the Johari Window!
But I know how the sins feel. Sometimes I feel like a collection of hopes and dreams and desires all fighting against each other for dominance. My Pride going, “Hey, do something useful and be awesome!” whilst my Sloth counters, “Meh, do it tomorrow.”