A woman received her vital statistics in the mail. All the numbers were written on the outside of the envelope.
Her screams could be heard upstairs. I’m dead, she thought, looking at the creatinine level. Her husband tripped over himself on the way downstairs. “Honey, honey?”
“You heard me? Tell me you heard me.”
Numbers on the outside? She looked around for her deceased mother, prepared to leave for work. Maybe I’m in hell, she thought.
The existence of dark matter has its advocates—scientists, religious fanatics, etc.—all lined up in support of the frame. That which isn’t there must be. When a man doesn’t walk into dark matter the world of physics comes crashing down. The stars careen out of orbit. What else is there but belief in the frame?
A man sat alone in a train station, frightened at the thought of never being able to find the present. He reached out to a stranger in order to hold on to the appearance of real time. The stranger wondered if he, himself, had been flatlined. The two men exchanged thoughts about what they saw (a flip chart of numbers), each pushing the other for proof. They agreed to meet in a week, same place, and waited silently together for their train, unable to make small talk.
Charles Elin’s poetry has appeared in Rosebud, California Quarlterly, RiverSedge and The Griffin. He’s been working with the writer/editor Larry Fagin since 2012. “Frame” is his first published work of flash fiction. He lives in Congers, New York.