The Conversation

Flash fiction by Tina Konstant

Conversations - flash fiction by Tina Konstant“No such thing as real choice.” Herbert Skittle spat a globule of yellow spit on the patio. “Soon as you have to consider the consequences, you’re not really choosing. If I had a real choice right now, I’d bash your head in with this brick. I’d kill you stone dead. But I think of the consequences and I don’t do it because I don’t want jail time. So I do what I should do, not what I want to do. So no, there’s no such thing as real choice.”

“But what about the choice you make not to do jail time? Isn’t that a choice?” Stuart’s gut clenched just a bit. Could be something he ate, but he didn’t think so.

“Sure, but not a real one. My real choice is to hang you from that tree till your feet stop twitching. Without consequences, I’d do just that. But in reality, I’m choosing between prison or no prison. That’s not what I want to be choosing at all. My first choice is to kill you.”

“You could just leave, then the desire to kill me would go away.”

“Again, leaving would be choosing not to strangle you with my own bare hands. I’d be choosing not to do that because of the consequence, not because I’m honestly making a choice. You slow today? How are you not getting this? You giving me more reason to say sod the consequences and put arsenic in your soup?”

“Herbert.”

Herbert Skittle looked up at his wife. “What?”

“You’re going to give the child nightmares. Talk about something else.”

“You see?” Herbert Skittle hunched next to his seven-year-old grandson. “No such thing as real choice.”