All These And More [Flash Fiction]

I could review records or critique movies.

I could cause a minor sensation as a playwright on Broadway and write one successful play for every three mediocre ones (but never wholly awful) and retiring, be honored by my carefully groomed set of peers.

I could start a band and write the lyrics or play the bass and live on the royalties for my two big hits until sometime in my fifties, when the royalties dry up and I’m left with eighteen grand and none of the wisdom associated with losing a spectacular amount of money.

I could write for a small town newspaper in a small town way, and master the art of the exclamation point and compliment myself for having “figured it all out” and “outraced the rat race because the world is round” and tell myself that fishing is… well, actually, you can’t say much about fishing. I rather like fishing, despite it all.

I could journey to foreign lands and learn their ways and then come back home and spin tales about the taste of the Tasman Sea, and the texture of the Great Wall, and the color of the earth in Georgia (red wine spilled on oak).

I could master archery and take home a gold medal for my country and be invited to banquets for the rest of my life that cost $50, except for me they’re free.

I could lose my job and have an epiphany and become a widely read author and speaker on self motivation, writing books with large type and loud covers and chapters that begin with quotes by men I’ve never met but nonetheless understand.

I could become a successful actor, starring in several commercials before getting noticed by someone high up in motion pictures, only to find that my commercial success has ruined my big screen potential and so I become a DJ, because I’m good at that too.

All these things I could do if I chose, and this means that the only people I admire are women and kings.

I could live in the woods.

I could edit.

I could create calendars for years that haven’t happened.

I could paint. I could covet. I could raise a lot of money. I could spend more time with my friends. I could start a little library with cheap paperback books. I could try my hand at retail. At gambling. At brewing cherry-flavored beer.

I could do anything or nothing at all.

Instead, I twiddle my thumbs as the sun shines down on this cheery little year, and my phone makes little beeps and flashes of light as I crush candy and clash clans and the time, it dribbles away with a could-could-could.

I could tell you about the air in the mountains of Peru (whipping, bright, clean, with no trace of salt).