Res ipsa loquitur

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Flash Fiction Summer 2019 Contest entry, inspired by the photo of a man getting on a train.

James stared at his wrist. 9:32. The watch, imposing, expensive, was a gift from his father. Res ipsa loquitur, the inscription read. A joke, of sorts. Translated it meant, “the thing speaks for itself.”  In trial law world, his father’s world, it meant the occurrence of an accident implies negligence. Mistakes prove failure. Always.

9:36. The train to Penn Station, to his shiny new life as a Manhattan attorney, would arrive soon. James had always been on this train. It ran from preschool to prep school to college to law school to now. “Stay on track,” his father warned. “He’s on track,” his father bragged.

9:38. The thing speaks for itself.  Ironic. Had he spoken for himself? Ever? Many times he wanted to.  I don’t want to be a lawyer. Those words had lived in his heart, but they died in his mouth. 

9:42. The train rolled in. James sat. His heart banged in his hollow chest. 

9:48.  #336 NYC sped away. 

James stood.  He unclasped the watch, handed it to a man huddled on the platform. 

A train pulled in.  James got on, not knowing the time or where he was going.  Finally. 






Submitted: June 14, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Hart McHugh. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Breaking free! An excellent flash story.

Fri, June 14th, 2019 7:52pm


Thanks so much! I had never done a flash before. It was a fun challenge trying to keep trimming to hit the word count, but still keeping a bit of a story.

Mon, June 17th, 2019 4:13am

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