Flash Fiction: Re-a-li-TEE-VEE


Although you can barely make anything out, looking as you are from such an odd angle. You are high in the air looking down. Now zooming in, you’re the eye of a helicopter traffic cam on television news.

A young girl’s face is pressed against the pumpkin-orange glass of a convenience store. Her features distorted against the glass wet with her tears, her feet are frozen in place.

Her eyes are looking through the glass at the flashing blue/white lights of police cruisers. Her skin pale orange from the tinted glass, her eyes wide and brown, panic enlarged and pleading. Look. Don’t turn away.

A television truck pulls in behind the row of police. You are looking straight down at the top of a muffin shaped cameraman as he runs toward the nearest car. A large camera hangs over his shoulder making him look like a grenadier.

The screen shakes and now you see what he sees. It’s like suddenly looking at the world through the eyes of a miniscule insect after having the omnipotent vision of God.

Look. Zoom in. You’re going to miss it if you stop watching.

From this angle you can see inside. Three men and a woman. They stand a few feet back from the window facing the police. Hands on their heads. The woman’s face is distorted, she is crying. She reaches out for the child, her husband is already dead, but you can’t see that. A hand grabs her by the hair and pulls her back, a gun is jammed into her back.

Are you getting all this? This is Re-a-li-TEE-VEE! Zoom in on the young girl, this is sweeps week!

Slowly across the bottom of the shaky screen the words ‘CONVENIENCE STORE HOSTAGE SITUATION.’ The girl’s eyes dart around the screen like balls bouncing on words you are supposed to sing.

Police on their megaphones shout static at the store, drowned out by the helicopter as it banks and begins to look for a different angle. The attention span of the average person is shrinking every day, you have got to give them a different angle, draw them in.

Look. Don’t turn away. You are listening aren’t you?

A gunshot.

The girl disappears. The window fragments in place like a windshield – a large orange waterfall, frozen for your viewing pleasure.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. –Philippians 4:8
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