Writing fiction can be so soothing when life goes upside down–it affords a place to retreat into, a world where things are in your control, where the good guys can win if you so choose.
To me writing fiction is also a stress-relief exercise–it is fun to choose two prompts, a picture, a word or two, and come up with a tiny story.
This is what I’ve done, time and again, for all my flash fiction. Sometimes, it has been sparked by a phrase, at others, weird things like something I snacked on.
A Spicy Chica was published four years ago, and I’m sharing it with you again today. I wrote it while eating chana jor garam, an Indian snack, and my word prompt was, ‘chica’.
I heard a strange, lilt-ey man speak inside my head, and I took down the dictation. It was one of those crazy pieces that come to you from nowhere, all perfectly formed.
Buy yourself some black garbanzo beans. Soak ’em overnight. Well, eight to ten hours, at any rate. Then cook ’em till they’re soft. I don’t know, soft, like the insides of her elbow, or her nipples, man.
How does this help you get her? Wait, I’m coming to that. Once they’re soft, pound each bean flat. Yeah, yeah, exactly like that, but chill dude, tons of work to do before you get there with her.
So now you’ve got your flat chickpeas, borrow your Mom’s frying pan, and fry ’em up with salt and pepper. Don’t burn them, now. I know you’re burnin’ up dude, but hold it right there. Too much work? Of course, it’s work. You want her or not? No, this is no dumb voodoo shit. Relax.
Once you have ’em fried, set aside to cool, chop yourself some onion and tomatoes, squeeze some lime on it and pepper and salt and chilli flakes. Give it a good ole shake. Chop them as fine as you can, mind. Ask your sister to do it for you.
Now here’s the important part. Put your fries and your tomato stuff in different ziplock bags, or you’ll screw it up before you get there. Soggy, yes. And you don’t want yourself no soggy love.
Call her some place, tell her you have a surprise, and then mix those two up in a bowl — strain off the tomato bag if it’s watery: one thing you don’t want wet.
Walk to her like a man bearing a gift, yeah, strut up all chilled-out like. You know how to do it, you’ve watched me ’bout a hundred times. Give ’em to her, tell her you made it all by yourself. Sure you had some help from your Mum, your sis and me. But you’re not gonna tell her that. Watch her smile, egg her on with the most syrupy grin you got, yeah exactly like that.
Keep smiling, and once she puts the first spoon in her mouth, you watch her. If you done it right, she’ll close her eyes, throw her head back a little, chew slowly, and go mmmm. Remember that face now. If she don’t do that when in the bed, or the sofa, or the car seat with you, you ain’t doing it right.
Yeah, I know, don’t kiss her after she eats all that, the onions won’t do her breath no favors. But she would do you some, oh yeah baby she will.
And you know what, maybe just kiss her anyway, cos you take a girl, you take her. Slobber, bad smells and all. And she takes you the same. You like her, you keep her. You treat her right. Make these beans for her every time she’s low, or if she’s fat with your child.
Don’t laugh, don’t nothing surprise me now. Look at me, married ten years man, and yo’ sister the one who taught me. You don’t think this one’s for you, you let her go, soft and easy. No call to hurt no girl, right? And that, my man, is how you get a spicy chica, this is how you woo her.
I keep writing stories like that from time to time, and recently, I’ve begun submitting them again. I’ll have a piece up soon in Crack the Spine Literary magazine.)
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