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A young girl meets a masked boy at a political rally in Manhattan and agrees to go home with him to hang out, only to be surprised that he lives in a luxurious apartment overlooking Central Park (Title comes from a line in Lennon's song "Imagine." This is part of the first chapter of an in-progress YA novel).

Flash Fiction: Nothing to Kill or Die For

nothing 2

They left the elevator and walked silently in the hush of the hallway. Once inside the spacious rooms of the apartment, she kept looking around and he asked, “Something wrong?”

“No,” she said raising her eyebrows, “but you really live here?”

“Yeah.”

She went to the fireplace and stared at pictures of a young blond boy on the mantel. “This you?”

nothing 1 He pulled off his hoodie and removed the Guy Fawkes mask, revealing darker hair and more matured facial features. “Yeah, I’m Rich.”

She laughed. “That’s obvious.”

“No, that’s my name.”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Fitting! I’m Abbie.”

“I’m surprised that you walked here from Columbus Circle with me wearing the mask.”

“I liked your voice,” she giggled.

“Uh, thanks.”

“But why’d the doorman let you in like that?”

“He knows me well,” Rich said. “He also saw me wearing it earlier today.”

Abbie walked to the window and looked out over the autumn scene in Central Park. “Any parental units around?”

Rich fell onto a large leather sofa and kicked off his sneakers. “No. Dad’s in London on business and Mom’s in Fiji. They’re divorced, of course.”

“Right. Well, my Mom’s in Queens and Dad’s in Coney Island – also divorced!”

“Ah, we have something in common then,” Rich said.

Abbie unzipped her jacket separating the peace sign woven on it and sat on a plush red chair. “So, why were you at the protest?”

Rich looked up at the ceiling. “I go because of my friends.”

“Friends who live here?”

“No from school – Harcourt Hall!”

“Holy crap!” Abbie said standing up. “I go to a public high school.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Look, I thought we were kindred spirits.”

Rich stood up and touched her arm. “When we were walking into the building, you didn’t think I lived here, huh?”

“I was just along for the ride!”

Rich took her hand and they walked into a lavish room with a large mahogany bar and chandeliers. “This is where we entertain – correct that, where my parental units entertain.”

“I thought they were divorced. “

“Yes, but for appearances they do lots of events together. It’s all phony and everyone knows it but doesn’t care.”

Abbie ran her finger along the bar. “Look, I live in a small apartment in Ridgewood with my mother. This is way out of my league.”

Rich laughed. “What league? Hey, we’re on the same team, Abbie.”

She flipped her long red hair over her shoulder and stared at him. “Why were you really there today?”

He turned away from her and walked toward the window. “My friends and I go because we’re not necessarily okay with everything our parents do.”

“But you’re okay living here?”

He turned to her. “Yeah, I guess. Why were you there today?”

Abbie stared at him with stern green eyes. “I want to change the world.”

Rich’s face glowed. “Hey, I want to show you something.”

She followed him down a long hallway into his bedroom. There were Alien, Predator, Halloween, V for Vendetta, and Saw movie posters on the walls.

“You’re into some weird stuff, huh?” she asked, noticing various horror action figures gracing several shelves.

“I guess. What do you have – One Direction and 5SOS posters in your room?”

“Seriously?” She bent her head to one side. “Are you on drugs?”

“No, but I could use a beer. Want one?”

“I’m 15, Rich.”

“Okay.”

“I don’t drink. How old are you?”

“I’m 16 and don’t drink much either.”

“Right, I hear Harcourt guys like to party.”

nothing 3 “All lies, but hey, I want to show something.” He directed her attention to a large painting of a man playing a white piano.

“Who is that?”

“Lennon.”

Abbie crinkled her nose. “The Russian Revolution guy?”

“No, John Lennon.”

“Oh, yeah, that Beatle guy who’s working with Kanye West, right?”

Rich walked toward her. “No, that’s McCartney, another ex-Beatle.”

“Oh, yeah, I hear grandma talking about them.”

He touched her arm. “He composed a great song called ‘Revolution’ and it tells about changing the world.”

“Oh, yeah?” her eyes brightened.

“Yes. Also, this painting was inspired by a picture of him singing his song ‘Imagine’ and that’s about living in peace.”

She raised an eyebrow. “But how can you have a revolution and peace too?”

Rich sighed. “I don’t know, but he also sang ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and stuff like that.”

Abbie glanced up at the picture. “Sounds like a complicated guy.” He led her over to his extensive state-of-the-art media center and her eyes opened wide. “This is amazing! I have to share an ancient laptop with Mom.”

He touched a button and “Imagine” started playing. She leaned her head on his shoulder and listened to it with her eyes closed. He put his arm around her and rested his cheek on top of her head. When the song was over they didn’t move but stood there silently swaying for a moment. Finally he whispered, “What do you think?”

She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. “It says everything.”

“Right outside here one night, someone shot and killed Lennon.”

“Oh, no,” Abbie said, crying some more.

“I think that’s why I feel a connection to him. He lived in this building too.”

“Oh, wow!” She wiped the tears from her red cheeks with the backs of her hands.

A buzzing noise came from her jacket pocket, and she took out her phone. “Mom’s texting me. I have to get home.”

“I’ll walk you to the subway.”

*

nothing 4 They went outside and across the street to Central Park. “Let’s sit here for a minute,” Abbie said.

They sat on the wall and looked out over the park. He extended his hand and she held it. Despite the sounds of the city behind them, leaves fell from trees and people walked along oblivious to the noise. “Nice and peaceful here. Nothing to kill or die for, right?”

She leaned her head on his shoulder. “Yeah, maybe.”

Photo credits: rarelee.com, panoramio.com, eil.com,tuningpp.com

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana’s stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books ‘A Death in Prague’ (2002), ‘Move’ (2003), ‘The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories’ (2005), and ‘Like a Passing Shadow’ (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books ‘If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,’ ‘Garden of Ghosts,’ and ‘Flashes in the Pan’ are available exclusively on Amazon. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with ‘Blogcritics Magazine’ since July 2005 and has written well over 500 articles; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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