Joshua Hale Fialkov

Purveyor of sheer awesomeness.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Harvey, Eisner, and Emmy Award nominated writer of graphic novels, animation, video games, film, and television, including:

THE LIFE AFTER, THE BUNKER, PUNKS, ELK'S RUN, TUMOR, ECHOES, KING, PACIFIC RIM, THE ULTIMATES, I, VAMPIRE, and JEFF STEINBERG CHAMPION OF EARTH. He's also written for NBC's CHICAGO MED and SYFY's upcoming INCORPORATED.

Filtering by Category: Flash Fiction

FLASH FICTION: To whomever it may concern in regards to Mr. Jefferson Clement Walker,

To whomever it may concern in regards to Mr. Jefferson Clement Walker, He keeps a dog-eared copy of Dorian Gray on his shelf by his desk. He tells people it's the same one he's had since high school, but that's just another of his lies. Like the abuse, the affairs, the Hollywood stories, hell, even his own name. The only true thing that he's said the whole time I've known him was that when he set foot in Los Angeles for the first time ten years ago, he knew that he'd never go 'home' again.

Los Angeles is a place to be born again, to change your life, and redefine your history. All he bothered to change was his name. The man lived here as he lived there. Except that now he would tell bigger stories, unprovable due to distance and, frankly, he delivered it all with such panache that there was rarely a person who doubted his twisty turny stories. Besides, isn't it better to know the guy who beat up six guys before being jumped by the carnies at the Tulahuset State Fair? Isn't it better to know the guy who fucked the girl who went on to be the star of the show your girlfriend makes you watch every Wednesday night?

No, Los Angeles allowed him to be who he always wanted to be. The tortured, tormented, zit covered, tiny-dicked jerkoff he was back home was erased in favor of a 'rough and tumble smartass know-it-all of arcane acerbity', as he often would refer to himself. And we all fell for it hook line and sinker. When an old friend told us he fucked him out of a thousand dollars, we figure, maybe that friend is just a bit sketchy. When word came back that he may have tried to fuck your girlfriend, it must've been the other way around. Pulling him off of some random stranger after a night of drinking becomes just a funny story. Taking phone calls at all hours as he 'plans his next move,' be it career or stickup related, was just part of his charm. Begging for a couple hundred to pay off 'the guys' he's been playing poker with for four nights is just the price of friendship.

Until one's usefulness has been worn out.

Then, there's no place colder than his empty stare. No theft, be it literal or figurative, is out of the question, and every minute in his company makes you into a walking, talking, breathing target for his rage, self-loathing, and, most of all, his fickle sense of humor. For years, we'd watch him alienate those around him one by one. I'd say 'those that he loved', but, a man like that, he was incapable of love. He was incapable of anything other than the selfish thoughts and instinctual moment to moment chemical explosions in his brain pan. Each of us laughed as he turned his razor tongue on another innocent soul, knowing somewhere in our minds that we may be next.

But I never thought he could do what you good people think he did. I know for a fact that he could never have done what the people on the news and in the paper and in the court room all said he'd done. But, when you stop and think about it, sure, he probably stole the forty grand, why not? It was only money to him. And, then, well sure, he could've been freaked out, grabbed a gun (hell, he was the kind of guy who casually told you about the 9mm stashed behind a bottle of Cutty Sark that he used to get out aggression by shooting the rats and cats and bats and whatever other rhyming four letter furred creatures entered his back yard), and sure, maybe in the heat of the moment, a shot got squeezed off, and that shot went through the throat of the guy who was running the card game. That shit happens, and I could see how it could go wrong.

But the little girl. No. Even him, he couldn't do it, not the way they say he did.

I've known him since he moved here. I ain't saying I know him any better than anybody else, and, in fact, I doubt any of us even know him at all. I've seen him do awful things, but, truth be told, every once in a while, I've seen him do something halfway decent.

I wish I could be there today to speak on his behalf, but, the last time we talked he told me he wanted me dead, and he'd do it his-own-damnself if he ever set his eyes on me again. I like to think it was probably just him talking tough, but, I figured best not chance it.

Some people have trouble doing the right thing. I wrote this letter, in spite of all that went on, because I like to think I ain't one of them.

Allen Gilbert Douglas California State Penitentiary

P.S. For what it's worth, I might not of done what he said I done, but I surely deserved to be sent here. -- Joshua Hale Fialkov Los Angeles, CA 3-9-09

FLASH FICTION - THE DAY

Today is the day that air mail first commenced. Today is the day that my car broke down. Today is the day that she left. Today is the day that everything went wrong. Today is the day that things finally started going right. 1919. 2002. 1997. 2005. It's a nexus. The day that everything converges, and then falls apart. Every year, it builds, every year anticipation takes the reigns, and all logic, hope, truth... drifts away. Today is the day when the diagnosis came back negative. Today is the day when they told me there is no cure. Today is the day I took my first steps. Today is the day that I knew I would make no more. 2006. 2007. 1980. 2008. Beginnings and endings, each twirled as if to make the ugliest piece of whirlyart out of my life. Our of that one day in my life. Today is the day I heard about that job. Today is the day that she came back. Today is the day that truth became lies. Today is the day that doesn't matter much to anyone else. 1999. 2001. 2003. 1984. So, then, here I stand, today. The today today, facing the future, and facing the past. Every one of those things happened on today, just not, today. So, I decide, this year, this time, today will be nothing more than just today. Just another in a never ending string of faceless, meaningless days. I call in sick to work. I turn off my phone, unplug the internet. Today will be the day that nothing happens. I turn off the tv. I close the door to my room tight, and pull the comforter over my head. I close my eyes, and, for once, I sleep.

The pounding starts not soon after that. The pound pound pound pound on the wall. The drilling. The hammering. I place my palm on the wall next to me, and feel every tiny shockwave from the hammer, and the shrill vibrations of the drill. I don't care, today is the day that nothing much happened. Today is the day that I'm going to have a regular day like everybody else in the world. Today is the day.

The pounding stops before noon. I start to drift back to sleep. I'm woken to heavy steps, and the sound of sobbing. The sobbing of a woman. A girl. Next door. I've met her once or twice, I've watched her a few times other than that. She's not pretty. Not traditionally, but what does that mean anyways? She never smiled. But, neither did I. She never laughed, but, then, neither do I.

We rode the train to downtown together once. Together, but not. We found ourselves both walking towards the station at the same time. Then we found ourselves riding the same train, in the same car, and sitting next to each other in silence. We both got out in downtown, we both walked to the library, up the long steps, and into the new wing. I looked at her, for just a second, and she caught me. We both smiled, and continued walking. I cleared my throat to speak, and she looked at me with her wide brown eyes.

"Hi."

She smiled a halfway vacant smile. That was not today. That was a different day. We ran into each other a few more times, and smiled quietly to each other when we did. And now, she's crying in the next room. I touch my hand to the wall, as if to send comfort through the drywall dividing us. And then I remembered. Today is the day that nothing much happened. Today is the day that I heard my neighbor cry through the wall is dangerously close to something. I pull the pillow over my head, and start to drift off once again.

The thud shook the whole building, and I woke up instantly. I suppose I knew what the sound was, it was a little over a hundred pounds of meat falling hard. But, Today is the day that nothing much happened, really. So I ignore it. I ignore the whining sound of something swinging. I ignore the incessant phone ringing through the wall. I ignore the sound of a door being kicked in. I ignore the sound of the police and a sobbing mother, and the confused yelps of my neighbors cat, staring at the scene before her. I ignore the sound of the cart wheeling my neighbors body out of her apartment, and down the steps, into the court yard, and out to the meat wagon parked out front.

Today is the day that nothing much happened. Nothing but the girl who maybe I liked, who maybe I could've loved, who maybe was the one I was meant to be with, hung herself from the wooden beams in her apartment.

Today is the day.

Joshua Hale Fialkov Los Angeles, CA 3-3-09

On What Happened to My Brother Buckeye Ty.

by Joshua Hale FialkovCopyright 2006

The darkness crept over the house slower than it ever had before. We knew that something was changed, Frank and me. Ty left the house for days a time before. Hell, regular like. But this time... day five he'd been gone, I reckon, although it was always hard to tell just when he left, what with him often times staying over at whatever lady he deemed worthy of stickin' his pecker in. He'd been seeing Christy someone or another. The one with the big tits and bigger ass. Not that I'd kick her off my cock.

Frank'd talked to her at school that day, and she'd been less than concerned 'bout the whereabouts of my big brother and that throbbin' guy he'd done stuck in 'er.

"You tell Ty this his dick is so small I didn't even know when he stuck it in! And that he can fuck Michelle in the ass all he wants, but I ain't ever gonna let him do it again."

Not much to go on, other than one of the two dozen freshmen named Michelle let Ty stick it right up her pooper. I'd made a mental note to myself to follow up on that one with him in person.

I tried to find which one it was, but, even the trashiest 14 year old who takes it in the ass knows better 'n to admit it to Buckeye Ty's brother. They call him Buckeye on account of us originally bein' from Ohio, and that's the state motto, and well, I suppose you'd understand the double-meaning if'n you ever seen one.

All that's beside the by, though. Back home, like I was sayin' when the sun went down, and Ty's bed stayed empty we knew somethin' was up. So, me an Frank we took it upon ourselves to form a little search party, just like they did in some movie we saw on TV 'bout that little girl that got stuck in the well.

Let me just say a second here on that. Wells are mighty fuckin' hard to fall down. I mean, even just a open well, not more than a gully in the ground... it's still a fuckin' 3 foot hole. What sort of fuckin' imbecile falls into a 3 foot hole like it ain't even there? The kinda fuckin' idiot that deserves to stay down there and fucking die, that's who. Bunch a dumb cunts fall down a well, pollutin' a fellas drinking supply. Shit, it's bad enough the number of people that piss in it from up above, yet alone some dumb 8 year old bitch treadin' water for three days while the police and firemen try and figure out if it's worth tearing up the hole or just let the kid drown and fish 'er corpse out with one of 'em industrial lift things.

Anyways, like i said, night, it was a fallin', and Ty wasn't comin' home on his own, so we decided to find him. Now, we ain't had no clues, but I knew that he liked to hang out down by the train tracks in the woods. He'd take us and we found all kinds of cool shit like beer bottles and this one time we found a joint and we all got fucked up and fuckin' Frank tried to show us how good he was at jerkin' off, if you can even start to fuckin' believe the sort of homo-retard shit that guy fucking pulls. Pulls like his goddamn peenie.

So, I grabbed one of them Craftsman flashlights my moms keeps in the cupboard right above the instant breakfast crap my pop had to eat cause of his bad heart, which might i add killed him anyways, and he died not having the sweet taste of maple syrup and bisquick touch his lips for near two years. If that ain't punishment from God, I reckon I don't know what is.

Out in the woods, at night, round here... S'not... pleasent. If you catch my meaning. These gulleys and shit, lots of bikers and drug addicts and shit hang out, and all that's fine and dandy, less'n you ain't in with those guys. So, y'know, me and Frank, we weren't what you'd call comfortable to begin with.

So, we walked, and kept our eyes out, and it bein' a school night, it was pretty damn quiet. We spooked a couple a deer at one point, they ran like hell, and poor Frank near pissed himself. But that aside there weren't nothing there. Not but trees and the creeks and so forth.

And then it got real dark. I mean like... maybe a cloud went overhead or the trees got thicker, but, it was damn pitch black. My flashlight was losin' power pretty fast, and we didn't have one of them big giant flashlight batteries laying around. Frank had a penlight, but those things ain't worth a shit unless you're in a room two inches by two inches. In which case, you'd have to question how exactly you got in there.

So, it's real dark, and my flashlight's going out, and Frank's pen light's not doin' a donkey's dick worth of good. And we both just sort of stare at the nothingness, listening for something. But there ain't nothing to hear.

Silence.

Nada.

Fuck all.

Rustling.

Just a little bit. The leaves up above moved on their own, like something was moving from limb to limb. We tried to see, but it was too damn dark. Cept, through the rustling up above, we could see somethin' that looked like a spotlight in reverse. Beamin' from the sky down to a small clearing. So, we figured like, "Holy Shit, God's given us a sign, and he ain't fucking around," right? So, we start heading towards where that light was coming from, and sure enough, we could see it, once we'd gotten through the thicket.

That light was shining on a spot on the ground, bare and dead, like nothing'd ever grown there, and nothing ever would. The trees even seem scared to grow there, save for one big one that loomed impossibly high over the small clearing.

We stood there in that moonlight for a second, thinking about the wonder and the magic that is the moon, and all other sorts of gay shit like that. Fuck, I'm lucky that Frank didn't whip it out right there in honor of the big silver bastard up in the sky (which he reckoned looked like one half of a fucking great set of titties.)

As we stood there, watching the moon, gigantic and beaming on us, the world seemed to slow down, save for the sound of the branches up ahead swaying in the light breeze that found it's was through the trees and valleys to this one spot.

For a second there, I forgot all about Ty, and Michelle with what must be her giant fucking vagina. Like tossing a hot dog down a hallway, Ty'd say. "Had to strap a board to my ass to keep from gettin' sucked in!"

A splatter of rain fell on my cheek. Fall rains a lot, so it ain't that weird. I wiped that drop off my face, and felt it spread out, like water often does, but, it didn't seem quite so watery. I looked over at Frank, and he too had had something fall on him, but it didn't look quite like rain. No, it was chunky, and dripping down his cheek in a most unpleasent way.

"That looks like shit on your face, Frank." I said, stating what was becoming obvious.

"God must be shittin' on us."

"I reckon so."

I crained my neck up to get a look at the sky above, figuring it must be some wild animal or somethin' having it's fun like a monkey in the motherfuckin' zoo.

But all I saw was a pair of shoes. Swinging, like they was hanging from a body that was hanging from a rope that was hanging from that impossibly high tree.

Shoes.

They were them Nike Pump's. You remember those? They were all the rage.

They were gray with the little Orange basketball shaped pump thing on the front, and the little release valve on the side.

I remembered when Ty got a pair of those. He couldn't afford 'em, so he had me and Frank get into a fight in the store while he was trying them on, and then while we were beating the fuck out of each other, he high tailed it out of there, his shoes pumped to perfection.

Shoes just like that, save the shit dripping off of them.

And just like that, Frank figured it out. His eyes went wide, his face got white like if the Pirates just won the World Series.

"That's... that's Ty."

"That ain't Ty, what would Ty be doing up there?"

We both stared for a moment, trying to figure out what exactly was going on.

I traced the rope with my eyes, trying to figure out where it was tied to. But it wasn't tied anywhere. It was like somebody'd just been drug up there by God himself and left to hang. The nearest branch, the branch the rope hung from, was a good 20 or so feet up, and I didn't reckon neither Frank nor I could make it that far to cut him down.

But we had to. It might be Ty. I mean, I'm sure it's not Ty, but, it might be, right?

But we tried. For an hour almost. Takin' turns, slipping and slidding, I damn near tore off my left nut trying.

Finally, Frank got up pretty high, and he used that pen light (it was a pen knife on the other side, apparently) to saw away at the rope, till it snapped and the body fell down like a sack of potatoes.

That sound, incidently, I still hear it in my sleep. My nightmares, I guess.

And so, there, in a crumpled heap and covered in shit and piss, was my brother. Deader than a doornail, no note, no explanation. Just plain dead. I'd always known Ty wasn't quite right, but, this is a bit worse than that.

My dad killed himself too, despite the healthy diet and the no pancakes rules, he actually tried to hang himself, but it didn't work. Instead the i-beam in the basement snapped, and he fell down on that concrete slab. He hit his head, and his heart just gave up. So, they said it was technically an accident, but, I say when a man's got a noose round his neck, it probably ain't no accident when you find him dead, even if he is curled up in a ball by the fucking washing machine.

Me and Frank lifted up Ty, doing our best to avoid the shit and dribble. We carried him back to our place and woke my mom. She came downstairs and cried and cried, bout how all of her men were leaving her, and all she had left was us halfwits. Which, while probably somewhat accurate, was still a bit too cruel for even her.

We couldn't afford a proper service or nothing, so we asked the town for some money from the town council budget, and they gave us like all of one hundered dollars, and we did some begging and pleading with the man at the Pittski's Funeral Home (I told my mom she should offer to blow that creepy old fuck for a free coffin, but she was still uptight about sex and stuff.)

We put Ty in the ground, and not hardly anybody showed up, ceptin' us, obviously. We got a couple extra days off from school, which is cool, cause if I missed anymore without permission, I'd've gotten kicked the fuck out.)

Me and Frank graduated, and I got a job at the Mill over in Edgewood. I'd go on to lose 3 fingers total, and marry some bitch that wouldn't let me stick in her pooper. Frank didn't never find a real job, and he got killed in a car accident 'bout three years ago now. My moms is still alive somehow. Everytime someone she loves dies it makes her that much more determined to suffer through life. I figured she'd've kicked it by now, but she's waitin' on me to go first, so as she can be a real martyr, I guess.

But, I ain't going nowhere. I don't drink and drive, and now they keep me away from the sheet metal, and I don't think I could ever figure out how to hang myself from a tree as nice as Ty did, or hang myself so poorly from a rafter as my dads did, so I suppose I'll just wait it on out, and see which one of us croaks first.

My money's on her.