(100-word flash fiction)

‘Deflated’ her mind intones while she watches Barry slowly crumble as he puts the phone down. ‘Punctured’. She feels the energy seep out of him.

“Was that your boss?” His chin sinks in answer.

Long days and nights at the office. Birthdays forgotten. Missed graduation. Fights, tears, then stony silence.

She is numb as these vignettes march across her mind. She would have reached out to comfort him but his workaholism has put a chasm between them, filled with searing absence, with bitter resentment that he chose his job over them.

Instead, she asks, “Who got the job?”

“Hot-air Harry!”


Thanks Rochelle for hosting yet another scintillating Friday Fictioneers party 🙂

Photo prompt –

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

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53 comments on “Deflated

  1. I wonder if lockdown and job furloughs and those who have been made redundant recently are re-evaluating how loyal they should be to any work, and how much effort and time they should put in. Perhaps he will change his workaholic ways now, and it will be for the better. Good story 🙂

  2. Very nice use of balloon imagery. And you convey her resentment very well, that inability to be able to totally sympathise, his his behaviour has eroded her empathy for him. Well done

  3. Barry may have had the best of motives, to provide bounteously for his family – or the worst of motives, where his parents have indoctrinated him with the ethos that success is everything. At all events, it would be nice to feel that he would now re-evaluate his priorities.
    You’ve written this story very well. Did you leave the female protagonist nameless to convey how little Barry ever thought of her as a person? It has that effect on me, at any rate.

    • Thanks for the deep comment. IMO providing bounteously for the family also includes giving of one’s presence, to be there physically, mentally and emotionally. Maybe Barry had a tough childhood and feels the need to work hard and make money to compensate or it could be something else. But I guess, self-awareness is key.
      I am glad you picked up that I had not named her. I guess it felt like that when I got into her shoes so you’re right 🙂
      Thanks once again the deep analysis. 🙂

  4. I can relate. I lost my job to a guy with an over-inflated ego with a silver tongue. He was gone in less than two years. I guess you could say he got the wind knocked out of him.

C'mon, don't be a silent spectator ....

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