Very Short Fiction: The Grip

The Grip

by S.D. Smith

Phil knew. It was as good as dead.

The conversation had gone on for minutes now, and that was enough. Focus failed as peripheries vied for attention.

I suppose it must be me, Phil Spoon said to himself.

Then aloud he said into one of the increasingly long pauses, “Well, Fred. It’s been great to see you.” He emphasized the word great a little too much, betraying the lie. “And I hope we bump into one another again soon.”

Obviously not making any plans here.

The men extended hands.

“Well,” Fred said, “here’s my hand, while it lasts.”

“While it lasts?” Phil asked, smiling as he shook the man’s hand.

“Yeah,” Fred said, gripping Phil’s hand like men of purpose and intention do. It felt good to Phil.

He liked it when men gave manly handshakes.

“I have a flesh-eating disease and my hand will likely be gone in six months.”

Phil released his grip quickly, but the move wasn’t reciprocated. Fred gripped Phil’s hand like a blood-pressure cuff at its climax.

“Let go,” Phil said, showing his temper.

“Okay,” Fred said, relinquishing the hand.

Phil stared at his hand, flexing his fingers intentionally.

“What the heck, man? You almost broke my fingers,” he shouted.

“Sorry.”

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