Flash Fiction: The Last Carton of Milk

By: Vineetha Mokkil

The snow starts to fall – fine dust in the air, faint sprinkles on the asphalt – as we pull out of our driveway. Soon the flakes will rain down, whirling, dervish-like, blanketing the town in white. We could’ve made it to the grocery store before the snow hit us, but David took too long to get dressed. Changed his shirt twice, buttoned up his black leather jacket, threw it off, then threw on his sky-blue jacket (to bring out the colour of his eyes?), took forever to comb his hair, posing before the mirror as if it were a camera, an adoring eye recording his every move.

At the store, the clerk greets us with a smirk. Too late, losers. Too late. We stare at the shelves, stripped bare by the ones who got here in time to stock up for the storm. No bread left. No eggs
or chicken or ham. I find a lone pack of frozen peas at the bottom of a freezer. David ferrets out some pasta after a frantic hunt. There’s no food to be had for cards or money, but David is dressed to kill. He gave his wardrobe a complete makeover the day he sold the movie rights to his novel. New shirts, jackets, handmade shoes. A pair of sunglasses as expensive as an apartment in the suburbs. He got his teeth whitened. They glow in the dark now as if possessed.

“Sorry, we’re out of milk,” the clerk – a boy with a reedy voice and blazing red hair shouts out.

“Sold the last carton to your neighbours, the Habibs”

This is the exact moment I know we’re not going to make it. The moment the tears I’ve held back for months, weeks, all these icy days, break loose. Without milk, there’s no outliving a storm.

Bio- Vineetha Mokkil is the author of the short story collection, A Happy Place and other stories
(HarperCollins). She was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award June 2018 and is a nominee for Best Small Fictions 2019. Website: www.vineethamokkil.com Twitter: @VineethaMokkil

1 comment :

  1. The beginning is cool, and the story too. I fall in love with each sentence.


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