Flash Fiction Chronicles: An Inconsistent Courtship

Mary was a woman of consistency and predictabilty; she went to work, came home, and went to work again in the morning. She was however, a lonely woman and after some due-diligence research, determined that taking a painting class at the local community college would give her an opportunity to meet suitable men her age. She arrived for the first session and was perturbed to discover that the class would be led by an adjunct rather than a full professor; while this did not fit with her carefully constructed expectations, she stayed in hopes of finding friendship. The instructor’s name was Matt and he was somewhat unkempt; his desk was strewn with pads, brushes, and partially-completed drawings. Mary was no artist and soon found herself on the receiving end of Matt’s attentions during class. He continued to claim that he had the key that would unlock her abilities, which made her laugh each time he said it. She began to take more notice of Matt: he was tallish, but not overly so as to be awkward for a woman with her frame; he had powerful hands, most likely developed through his work as a sculptor (he had shared that information one evening when Mary had stayed for extra help with one of her prep drawings), each marked with a single freckle near the thumb; he was the consummate gentleman who walked her to her vehicle–a pink Vespa–after each class, waited while she buckled on her helmet, and admonished her to get home safely. Mary was smitten and Matt seemed intent on pursuing more of a courtship.

But the day came when Mary’s heart was shattered. As she crossed the bridge that spanned the small brook which separated her neighborhood from their sleepy little town on her way to class one evening, she was stopped by two men in an unmarked government car. They flashed their FBI identification, which she examined carefully; Mary had read about people imitating officials and as a single woman was wary. Once she was satisfied that they were in fact agents, they began asking her about a man she may have had contact with; they showed her a photo. “That’s Matt,” she stammered. The first agent, a tough-looking woman of about 50 years of age asked her specifically how she’d met the unsub—they never called him Matt but referred to him as their unknown subject and explained how he may or may not be the person involved in a certain act of malfeasance. By then it didn’t matter; Mary couldn’t focus because the situation had created uncomfortable inconsistencies in her otherwise predictable and consistent life.

Written for today’s Flash Fiction Chronicles; the quote that was given as an additional inspiration is what led me to the title…