Password Profile Users: God, Love, Lust, Money and Private by Robert Vaughan


She never misses church on Sunday, leads Wednesday night Bible Study class. Her kids call her a holy roller. When her husband moves south, she starts a Christian Online Dating Service, screen name is kittykitty. She struggles between saving money for Botox or Jesus.


He’s been burned so many times he’s crispy. Downs Miller six-packs at the Trysting Place Pub. Writes sonnets that he’ll burn later in the firepit. Waiting for money at the ATM, he wants to remove his heart-shaped tattoo, cover it up with a pitchfork.


What the hell kind of name is Penfield? She wonders while he takes a leak off the back porch. She leans to see fresh bruises through curtains in dawn’s early light. She rolls too far, ends up on the bamboo-planked floor, giggling. Creepy- crawls under the bed, dials 911 on her mobile phone.


He can’t recall the last time he was paid. Money doesn’t grow on trees, his mother had told him. And yet, he glances out the finger-print smudged patio door and there, in place of leaves on his prized beech, are hundred dollar bills fluttering, Benjamin Franklin’s irises staring at buzzing breezes.


Those first days back. Horrible insomnia. 2 a.m. in their guest room, night sweats, bombs bursting in mid-air attacks. No proof, except those hacked memories he wishes he could erase. But he can’t. He opens the adjacent bedside table, retrieves his dogtags. Cradles them in his palm.


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Filed under Robert Vaughan

18 responses to “Password Profile Users: God, Love, Lust, Money and Private by Robert Vaughan

  1. I love these. Read them earlier today on f’naut and had a blown away feeling and got it again. Strong, strong stuff and each is its own little universe.

  2. guy

    I especially like the last one. The last line curls up into itself, like sometihing in a palm. Interesting that money is a subtheme in a number of these. It adds a different angle, but it doesn’t come off as snide. That’s trickier than it looks. Bravo.

  3. Yes. Loved these at fn, stronger on the second read. Agree with guy about the last stanza. Peace…

  4. randalhoule

    Bravo on this, Robert. Especially liked the last one. First one great too. Botox or Jesus. :D

  5. Tina Barry

    You’ve found just the right detail to bring each of these to light. Great work, as always, Robert.

  6. Wonderful little snippets of people’s lives. Wow.

  7. Dez

    This is fantastic writing, just amazing. I especially liked the last one. For some reason, it really resonated with me.

  8. Flashes within a flash! great idea and so well executed; each one of these so distinct, with some real gems. ‘kittykitty’ ‘saving money for Botox or Jesus’ And ‘Waiting for money at the ATM, he wants to remove his heart-shaped tattoo, cover it up with a pitchfork.’ And especially the last. I had not been in combat but was totally lost when I first left the military.

  9. Roberta Lawson

    “She leans to see fresh bruises through curtains in dawn’s early light.”

    Great, intriguing stuff, and the title works really well for it also.

  10. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate all the comments and am enjoying all the great stories this week with the Password theme.

  11. this is terrific. it’s like a series of micros, similar to what you did at “elimae.” maybe this is a new form for you to keep exploring? i know i get into that groove and write, like fifty in a day, and then move on.

  12. Wonderful stuff! Pushing the flash boundaries!

  13. Alexandra Pereira

    Nice work. Very original… and strong!

  14. Some great characters here, Robert. They could people a small town in a novel…..?

  15. Kelly

    really nice, Robert – these set pieces around a theme, each one individual but all working in concert

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  17. Michael

    There are moments in all of these miniature scenes of other’s lives that ring true (i.e. the botox vs. Jesus). “Love” is full of perfect self-loathing and regret. “Lust” disturbed me, which means it succeeded. “Private” is strong through and through.

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