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Randall Davis Barfield

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In The Outside Cold
By Randall Davis Barfield
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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           >> View all 118

This story is experimental flash fiction. It's creation is inspired by the instruction and explications of AD author Guy Hogan.


Nick entered the diner and looked around.   He quickly spied Jason sitting in a corner booth stirring his coffee.  Ah, a nice hot cup, Nick thought.  Would do him good on this sort of night.  Neon lights blinking in the outside cold kept illuminating his and Jason’s booth.


“Hey, man.  Where’s my cup?” Nick asked, sliding into the booth opposite Jason.  They shook hands.


“Bro.  It’ll be here.  He’ll see you.  Told him you’d be here shortly,”  Jason both greeted and answered Nick.


“So what’s the deal?” Nick asked outright.


“Thinkin’ of going public with that rich chap I told you about,” Jason said.  “Turns out he’s a local politician.  Down in Charlottesville.”


“Going public?” exclaimed Nick.  “With a politician?  Geez.  You lost it man?”


“Ain’t lost shit.  Just angry,” Jason said.


“Name’s gonna be shit, man.  In the papers.  On TV.  You don’t know nothing about pressure,” Nick said.


“Pressure or no pressure, I’m sick of him.  Sick of him gettin’ away with it.” Jason stammered.


“Gettin’ away with what?  Being gay?” Nick asked.


“Yeah, man.  Bein’ gay.  But not only that—with crossing the color line.”  Jason said.


“Don’t mean nothing anymore,” said Nick.  “Used to, maybe.  There’s plenty of ‘em out there nowadays.  Othellos and white chicks.  Brown Bettys and Madison Avenue guys.  Anything goes, you know?”


“It ain’t right—all secretive like that,” Jason retorted.  “Folks need to know. Folks who voted for 'im. And who am I?  What do I got to lose, man?”


“Shit.  Some people will hate you, man,” Nick said.


“Some,” replied Jason.  “Not all, not all.  They’ll be glad I blew the whistle. Time for a change.  Gettin’ too much age on me, man.”


“That’s ‘we’, man.  Ain’t no twenty-five myself,” Nick said.


“I can get famous a little.  Write a book or be interviewed,” Jason said.


“You forget there’s another word,” Nick volunteered.  “Infamous.”


“Hell, man.  Let me sweat it.  Ain’t got no choice, you see?  Fella gets tired.  Can’t sell the old bod forever.”


“Know what you mean there,” agreed Nick.  “But I wouldn’t do it.  No way. Get a job, man.”


The waiter brought Nick’s steaming coffee over--one hundred percent Colombian.  Nick put the cup of delicious beverage slowly against his lips, savoring the aroma.  He liked it straight, just like his old man.  No sugar, no nothing.  Coffee should taste like coffee.


“Anyway, let me know what you decide,” Nick said. 


“You’ll know, bro,” Jason answered.  “One way or the other, you’ll know real soon.”


“You a crazy friend, bro.  Crazy friend,” Nick said softly and shook his head.






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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 1/10/2007
Excellent write, Randy; very well done! BRAVO!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your Texas friend, Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Guy Hogan 1/10/2007
Randy, I think you've got the hang of it; the setup, the buildup and the payoff. That's it. It's tight and you let the reader "discover" what is going on through the dialogue. The tension is provided by the fact that Nick doesn't think what Jason is going to do is a good idea. The subject matter has built-in interest (sex and race will do it every time); but you don't sensationalize it. You don't have to. You just give it straight which is the best way to do it. It seems Jason was pimping himself off to the rich guy.

I may be mistaken about this but I thought that Nick and Jason both "sounded black" which would make sense and explain a lot of what is not explained. The subject matter of the dialogue--what the guys are talking about--supports this assumption. Don't be concerned if I'm wrong. The dialogue gives texture to the story. It makes it deeper. Oh, is Nick gay, too?

All in all a great job. The ending is the kind of ending that my professors and classmates at Pitt use to get on me about. It's called the "open ended" ending. The story is not brought to a neat close; but I think Jason is going to carry out his threat. More importantly, and this is the reader's clue to what will happen, so does Nick. And I agree with Nick that it'll be a mistake. The rich guy will still be rich and Jason will lose his sugar daddy. Of course this is all implied. Great job, Randy.

Reviewed by Aberjhani 1/9/2007
Very interesting piece. Like the minimalist presentation of setting and the way the content and energy of the dialogue define the story's dynamics and action.

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