A Momentary Lapse in the Fun House – Flash Fiction


My leg cramped from sitting at a table with too many people. Our chairs bumping into one another and an occasional knee brushed mine. I could smell the mustard on the leftover sandwiches permeating the stale air of the conference room where we gathered before the start of a semester to discuss budget guidelines and tweak our educational plans from the year before. The sandwiches always smelled and here they were, right on schedule, smelling again. They really needed to refrigeration immediately.

My eyes shifted from the clock to moving lips, clock to beads of sweat and foul body odor, the smell of crusty, dirty socks causing me to tune out periodically. My aesthetics proving most critical when I had the least control over them.

Students can’t get their classes. Poor Jake here had a line out the door last semester. Students even brought their lawn chairs. Isn’t that right, Jake? Jake?

“Huh. Oh, yeah. Right. That did happen,” I mumbled and cleared my throat.

I bet the chicks dig you, that must be it. Larry panned into my face, all nose, smiling from ear to ear. I felt nauseous and the room tipped from side to side. Throughout Larry wouldn’t go away.

I turned my head toward the door, wanting to dash with no one noticing. Trouble was, everyone stared at me, their faces etched in stone, as if I had the winning answer to the billion dollar question. I tried to hide my temporary lapse of daydreaming.


“Tell us how you do it, Jake.” Larry pressed, as if challenging me.

“Well, Larry, it’s just that my class makes everyone feel like an expert. They take my class to try to impress their friends. It always happens in an election year. They want to talk politics. Let me tell you something, my class is not politics. It’s not! It’s government, which is different.” I slammed my palms on the table, not realizing how worked up I was getting.

“Of course, Jake,” said Marla, the Instructional Dean at the helm. “Thank you for sharing.”

Larry’s smile faded and he popped up to help himself to a warm sandwich.

More mumbling and shifting of paper, sorted and passed. A stack of paper landed in front of me with a thud. The little hand on the clock jumped a whole hour or I may have napped, let my head fall. Drool escaped from the side of my mouth, a promising indicator that sleep did occur.

“I’m sorry. What was the question?”

“Your educational plan, Jake. If you’re done with it, you can set it right here.” Marla patted the stack.

“Sure.” I hadn’t looked at the thing since last year.

28 thoughts on “A Momentary Lapse in the Fun House – Flash Fiction

  1. Okay, I read this a couple of times, have to admit that I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. Would love to know what you were thinking through on this one. Lots of great images, but I feel like I’m missing the point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This might go in a totally unexpected direction, Trent. Don’t read too much into for now. He’s in a meeting and things are a big foggy. I hope at least that came across.


  2. “my class is not politics. It’s not! It’s government, which is different”

    As a reformed Government major from Sac State, I TOTALLY get this! Thank you for that walk down memory lane.

    As for your exchange with Trent … regarding the first person issue, I only struggled with that because I generally read things in the gender of the writer until it’s obvious that I’m wrong about that. But that’s on me, not on the writer. 😉

    I, too, want to see where this goes. You have definitely created the sense of fogginess at the meeting and, possibly if I’m correct, maybe not all is as it appears???


    1. Oh, THANK YOU! I’m so glad you get the politics/government bit. I was beginning to think this was horrible. I’m glad it has some merit. Yay! and yay for the fog! Hopefully, it will make more sense when I get on with the rest of the story.
      As for the first person, I can totally understand about reading things in the gender of the writer. I’m sure I do that too. Generally, I like writing in first person more than I like reading it. That’s kind of weird, I guess.
      You are correct…things are not quite as they appear. Thanks for reading, Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One can only speculate as to why I decide to write in first person versus third person. On some level, it’s not even a conscious choice. I start thinking about a story and just start writing it. That’s just one of those decisions that kind of decides itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do that, too. I just start writing like I did here. Then I want other viewpoints and it just doesn’t work. Most people find it too jarring to go back and forth from first to third, yes?


      3. That might be problematic. I actually tried that with my very first novel. All in first person except for a few chapters that told a little bit of the story in third person from a couple of other characters’ perspective. I realized it really didn’t work, so I eventually switched the entire thing to third person.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks for your input. Yeah, I’m thinking it won’t work well here either. Too broken. I like writing in first person though. It’s fun to do anyway. 🙂


  3. I loved how you were Jake and I liked the story’s “behind-the-scenes” setting a lot. I think you were very successful in creating moments of ongoing conflict between the school personnel. The competitive attitudes and feelings of routine came through for me, as well as a sense of uncertainty… or maybe ambivalence on Jake’s part.
    I sure applaud your efforts in taking on difficult writing scenarios, Amy. Great work as always, is all I can say.
    I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kelly! I’m glad the ambivalence, conflict and attitudes came through. Thanks so much for the feedback and the kind words. You’re such a boost for me. 🙂 Hope you had a great holiday, too, and fun with your daughter. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed the detail in your narrative and the ending is a neat twist. I love the rhythm to this line ‘Drool escaped from the side of my mouth, a promising indicator that sleep did occur.’ Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

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