Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I was named after a dead rock star.

Wow, a flash fiction piece? Really?

Okay, so absolutely terrible of me, I realized I had set this up to post way back in... July? and somehow never actually clicked 'post' so it's been sitting as a draft.

Something fun I played around with for an online writing challenge-thing. If I re-wrote it, I'd re-order part of it significantly... make it more obvious this is an internal musing while waiting at a job interview because it isn't clear enough. Would have been fun to carry on with this story, but I had hit the word limit for the challenge, and so I stopped :)

I'm including it here because I had the 'dead rock star' line squirrelled away to use in one of these little flash fiction games, and ended up using it for the challenge instead.

And, because I'm allowed to laugh at my own jokes, this character was written entirely around the 'Y' chromosome joke which I actually said in public... to someone... in a different context (obviously) because sometimes my mouth has no filter. Thankfully they (well, it was a 'he') laughed too was not offended.

Enjoy! And if you feel like using the first line, please post in the comments :D

You know I love it when you do ;)

I was named after a dead rock star.  Not because my parents were tattoo-branded, stalker-level fans, and not for dark humour or in a memento mori mindset. Really, it was about the permanent marijuana haze of the mid-90’s Seattle party scene.

Supposedly “Heart Shaped Box” was playing on the radio during my mother’s epic taxi ride to the hospital, where after soaking the back seat in amniotic  fluids, she pretended she couldn’t speak English. She bolted up the hospital steps clutching a fire-brick sized cell phone like a weapon while the taxi driver screamed about calling the police. She’d forgotten to bring her wallet.

The way she tells the story, she cleverly hid in the men’s bathroom until my father brought the insurance information. My father says she ugly-cried hysterically until the hospital staff sequestered her in a room with a sedative.

That is how two nineteen-year olds end up with a daughter called “Cobain”.

I dreaded this every time I applied for a job. Explaining my name. It was always the first question, prefaced by a startled-stiff expression on the interviewer’s face when they realized both my chromosomes had two legs to stand on. No crippled ‘Y’ in the vicinity. I had to politely answer even though the decision to not hire me had already been made. 

Despite being over six feet tall. Despite three black-belts. Despite a healed knee injury thwarting dreams of an Olympic gold medal.

But this next interview might be different. I needed this interview to be different.

Tucked into a booth near the bar, I smoothed a hand over the baggy black pants I’d found on the men’s clearance rack yesterday. No feminine coloured shirts, no flattering dress pants, no makeup or jewelry. I tried those. For an office job, sure. For a night job that paid enough for University of Washington classes, no. I wasn’t a waitress or a bartender, but club bouncer I could do.

If anyone would hire me.

The guy at the bar, Mason, his eyebrows had shot north when I said I was there for the interview. Not surprising, but I kept hoping to be surprised. His arms were wrapped in tattoo sleeves and he was reading a cooking magazine as he waited. That was a little unexpected. He glanced at his phone and gave me a nod. “You can go in.”

My chest was tight from the sports-bra squashing me flat. The slim folder holding a copy of my resume was oil-slick in my hand. A fluttering impulse pressed me to touch the lucky lotus necklace I’d left at home. Too pretty, too delicate. My throat was naked.

This time it had to be different.

I pushed my shoulders back and down. Relax. Smile. No, don’t smile. Waitresses smile and I’m no waitress. I knuckle-rapped twice and opened the office door.

My face froze in a started-stiff expression. This was certainly not what I expected.


  1. I was named after a dead rock star. June 25, 2009. My parents drilled the date into my head, explained why they'd named me Michael. Why Jackson was my middle name. Not just because I'd been born on June 25th but they said because they'd decided to name their first born after a dead rock star, only one who didn't haven an airport named after them yet.

    It wasn't until last year that I put things together. Found my real birth certificate. I was born in 2008. On June 25th, but even so. I don't know what it means. Mom and Dad died in a car crash, and I found my birth certificate among their files. I don't know what they did, or why. Or even how. I know they mentioned an uncle Conrad I've never seen.

    I don't know who to talk to. I don't know who would believe me.

    1. Okay, I admit I totally had to Wiki that to figure out your story..


      Nice one, Alcar!

    2. Was the first idea that came to me. I was going to do Elvis, but figured Jackson's death fit the idea better.

    3. Definitely more applicable for our generation ;)

  2. I want to know what happens next in yours, damn it :)

    1. Haha, but you know I always end with a twist/joke, or leave it open-ended!

      Actually, this character would be fun to take a little farther... maybe one day?