Flash Fiction: The Melanie Paradox

The literary lion prompt last week was “Dance” and I had a lot of trouble thinking of a way to turn it into a story without going the obvious route of ballet or another form of dance. I finally thought “just get it over with” on Tuesday and was almost done when I had to head out to see a concert. Then on Wednesday, I tried writing while making Oyakodon for game night. I guess I’ve had a pretty full week. I almost decided against posting this until I decided:


So, with the help of Shia Lebeuf, I’m posting this short, fragmented piece. Writing 400 words over three days and multiple devices does wonders to ruin a short fiction. I just wanted practice writing a dialogue-driven story. So, here it is, in all of it’s tardy glory.

-The Melanie Paradox-

Mortified, standing on stage, strangers’ eyeballs staring at her with disbelief, Melanie regretted taking her brother’s advice.

“Just do it. People respect confidence, you have to own it. Go up there and rock out, no one will laugh at you,” he said.

Stunned like Lot’s wife, a handful of cellphone laden arms raised and lowered like a tide of embarrassment. She could almost hear the wild typing. As if a funny video at a karaoke bar was groundbreaking. Researchers at the top universities would be studying her movements and awkward jiggling for years to come; “the Melanie paradox,” they’d call it. How can a human move in such a way?

The DJ called the next name as Melanie turned her back to the bewildered crowd, handing him the microphone. She considered making a joke about being a white girl with no rhythm, but her throat had closed. The walk from center stage back to her seat seemed infinite.

“I want to leave now, Mike” she said.

“What? Why? Come on, no one watches the people they don’t know. No one saw you besides me, and it was just sort of interesting. Relax”

“I won’t be able to enjoy the rest of the evening, I’ll assume everyone is laughing at me.”

“Aright, alright, I’ll get the check, weepy-puss,” her older brother said as he confidently walked to the bar.

“You were awesome,” a young man says offering his hand for a low-five.


“Your dance, bro, it was kick ass. Keep doing you, girl,” He smiles without malice “Hey, Jess wasn’t the dancing girl the best?” He calls to a girl across the room.

“She was my favorite part of the night, I’m so into it,” a shrill voice calls back.

“You better be here next week,” the man says to Melanie, “I’ll be keeping an eye out for you.” He walks away, beer in hand.

Are these people for real or is this an elaborate joke? Looking around, it seemed to be the former.

“So, you ready to leave?” Mike asks upon his return.

“Some guy just told me to keep doing me, do you think he liked my dance in an ironic way? Or was is it like cool to like dumb stuff in an unironic way? Ugh, I hate hipsters”

“First tell me if we’re leaving.”

“I guess we can stay”

“Good, ’cause I got us shots”



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