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March 2009 Flashers

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*



Shades of Tomorrow


by Nick Tyler


Harrow! Harrow! Here comes tomorrow.” My words carry through the polluted air, whizzing by others’ uninterested ears. Their pace is fast and their time for dirty-clothed men speaking strange words is nil. But I continue my efforts. Persistence is the key in life. That’s how I ended up here. “Tomorrow is tomorrow. The end is near.”


It’s only 9:00 a.m., and I’ve already received several responses:


“Get a life.”


“Find a job.”


“Fuck off.”


“Take a shower.”


“Preach your mumbo jumbo somewhere else, loser.”


“Got any good shit?”


These are the people of NYC. I can’t help but wonder if the responses would be different if I stood on the streets of Omaha. But I might get arrested there. At least I’m a part of the furniture here.


“People! People!” I throw my hands high in the air, desperately trying to get their attention. “Tomorrow is near. Feel good today. There isn’t much to pay.”


Finally, a familiar man wearing a business suit stops. After placing his briefcase on the ground, he licks his finger and pats down the one loose thread of his parted hair.


“Do you want to know about tomorrow?” I ask as I scratch my dirty blue jeans just above my crotch.


“Yes.” He nods.


“How bad do you want to know?”


“As you know, I usually pay $200, but today I offer you a trade instead.”


“Such as?”


“Your speech about tomorrow is more right than you know.” He bends down, opens his briefcase, and takes out a pair of black sunglasses. “I offer you these.”


“Why should I trust you?”


“Is there any reason not to? I’ve been nothing but honorable in the past. Plus, these sunglasses are much more valuable than what you’re giving me.”


I sense he’s telling the truth. I reach deep into my trench coat pocket and remove a Ziploc bag filled with marijuana.


We make the trade.


After watching him leave, I put the sunglasses on.


The woman approaching no longer resembles a woman, but the soul within her – a wiggly, shadowy figure with only the features of eyes and a mouth. The figure whispers to me: “Cancer. July 10, 2010.”


I take the sunglasses off and look at the woman. She hasn’t said a word and walks by as if nothing has happened.


I put the sunglasses back on and stare at a young man passing by on a bicycle. I see a similar, but broader, shadowy figure within him. “AIDS,” the figure whispers. “June 3, 2015.”


I turn to look at the overweight hot dog vendor across the street. His back is to me, but the wiggly, shadowy figure within him turns to face me and whispers, “Heart Attack. December 9, 2012.”


I turn to look down the block and find my friend Gus approaching. His dirty, cut-off jean shorts, unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, and unshaven frail face, make him look like the most pathetic man in the city.  But I know I don’t look much better. We have a lot in common, including very similar habits. We’ve ruined our lives together, and being that misery loves company, we’ve formed a strong bond.


“Stan!” he shouts as he waves at me.


I want to take the glasses off. I don’t want to know. How could I tell him if it was bad news? How could I tell him even if it was good news? But the temptation is too strong. I stare at him and watch his soul reveal itself to me.


“Pneumonia,” the shadowy figure whispers. “January 22, 2040.”


2040? How could that be? This guy has the worst lifestyle I know of. He makes love to a bottle and pipe on a daily basis.


Before I have a chance to react, Gus grabs the sunglasses from my face. “What are these?”


“Don’t put those on.” I shake my head.


He puts them on anyway, then pauses and studies me. I know he’s not seeing the real me, but my whispering soul.


After a few seconds, he takes the sunglasses off and hands them back.


“What’s with the blank stare?” I ask.


“I have to go.”


“But you just got here. You don’t want to get high today? Where are you gonna go, anyway?”


“Home.” He sighs. “You should too.”


“But you haven’t been home in years.” I pause as I realize what he’s getting at. “Wait. What did you see when you put those sunglasses on?”


“That I need to change my lifestyle.” He places his hand on my shoulder and looks me in the eye.  “I’m sorry, but I’d like to make it past tomorrow.”





Nick Tyler has been published in Muse Marquee, Perceptions Magazine, Legend Press, Flashes in the Dark, and Carolina Country.






*Send Flash Fiction submissions to .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.


The Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson