Urban, Convert by Christian Bell

Urban

The guy living to my left screams at his girlfriend. He plays his music loud. The songs are never familiar, just bass thumping and siren-like wailing. I’ve seen his girlfriend in the hall. She’s pretty and nice but looks worn down, her verve brutalized by this guy, this harsh city. She needs sunlight, someone to say nice words to her so she can lift her head, brighten her eyes. I want to invite her into my apartment for coffee and hearty soup. But I’m afraid of this guy, his voice, his muscles, his tattoos, his t-shirts like blood-spattered inkblots. I’d invite her over, explain to him, it’s not what you think, I’m a soup-making guy. But he looks like a guy who wouldn’t believe.

Convert

An old friend knocks on my door. We shake hands. He hands me a religious pamphlet, says he’s converted. Have you considered eternity, the coming day of reckoning, he asks. That’s heavy, I say, stunned by who he has become, then ask, how are you, did you and Gina get married? He says, face stiff, I’m great, and no, Gina’s gone. The pamphlet is glossy, the cover picture a Hubble-like supernova. I’m not sure what religion he’s pushing. You want to come in, I ask, catch up on old times? I can’t, he says, I have to knock on doors, spread the word. As I’m closing the door, he says, I’m pure now, no longer drinking, and I think, another friend, long gone lost.

.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Urban, Convert by Christian Bell

  1. Randal Houle

    “I’m a soup-making guy” okay, wished I had thought of that.
    Too bad the convert couldn’t stay, he could have tried some of the narrator’s “soup”

  2. Christian, this has so much going on, so many stories within it to get where it is. Nice.

  3. great structure: to split the theme and create 2 interwoven stories. yes, so much going on under this ceiling of stories. it’s like stepping in a house and getting a glimpse of a novel of life.

  4. ha I dug this when I saw it at fn, more so now

  5. I saw this at FN too and loved it there, thanks for the second read here. I like the creative take on the theme, the splitting of two stories like fission, and how the reveal of protagonist is also doubly deepened. This one feels like it might expand into something larger also.

  6. Len Kuntz

    clever piece, and also clever how you used the theme.
    way to go.

  7. Kim Hutchinson

    Loved it at FN, and love it here!

  8. There’s something about this, and the way it splits, that really captures the feeling of life in an urban apartment.

  9. I like how you split the theme into two linked stories. Very creative!

  10. Even better on the second read. I love the way you slice and dice your stories. So many layers, like fimo clay or murano glass beads. Peace…

  11. Kelly Grotke

    I liked the split too, like Elizabeth said – and the way urban feel might have something to do with familiarity and anonymity, changes, another friend long gone lost (great line…)

  12. As many of the others have said, I like how this does mirror urban life, with its various seeming disjointed episodes. Our characters are also easy see, and our timing was fun, especially, “Gina’s gone. The pamphlet is glossy”

  13. Pingback: Week # 30 – Urban convert | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  14. I like it. (These.) Partial to the blood-spattered inkblots, counter-posed with yes, this soup-making kind of guy. Good stuff, Christian.

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