Monday, March 19, 2012


After Zelda cleared her desk and dusted the shelves she felt liberated. Old photographs and miscellaneous clutter had been piling up for years. The worst of it, pictures of dead relatives. She had felt obligated to surround herself with family while she wrote stories about them, but now the stories were stored in her computer. Zelda didn’t need the jumble of faces anymore, eyes peering down at her, watching her fingers as she typed. She’d had enough of their stuffy influence over everything she wrote, their collected stares. Now she was free to think on her own and write stories without them.

Next to Zelda’s desk the closet door had been left open. On one shelf a sizable storage box held hundreds more photographs. A lot of the pictures were Ed’s. She wouldn’t touch his, just hers. He’d have to deal with his pictures later. But she didn’t know when that would be because Ed was the clutter-bug in their marriage.

If Ed weren’t around she’d get rid of everything. Zelda hated clutter. She remembered a time when her office was free of this sentimental nonsense. A time when everything was clean and simple, her mind clear, so she could think.

In the morning Zelda’s house was swarming with police. Neighbors had observed the woman, clad only in a slip, carrying pile after pile of belongings into her front yard.

One bystander reported, “She must have been working all night.” 

Another asked, “Where’s Ed?”

In the institution Zelda’s room was stark white. A bed stood against one wall, a desk and chair against another. On the desk, one lamp, one pad of lined paper, and one pen, her only possessions. Free of clutter. She smiled.

(This story is an experiment in the flash fiction genre. I hope to be adding more stories, related to this one, in the future.)