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September 30, 2010

This story is part of my series on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Also posted: Wrath, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Envy, Pride

Photo Prompt by Sandy Morrison
excessive desire for food; over-indulgence to the point of waste*

Tom slowly made his way down the snow-packed street, crunching past his coworkers’ cars and trying to remember how far down he’d parked. Moonlight glistened through the branches across the street, shimmering like glitter on the fresh layer of snow.

He’d arrived at the boss’ party early and gone straight for the sausage and cheese platters. Somewhere between the honey-glazed ham and the sliced turkey with extra gravy, he’d started having pains in his jaw and down his back. Nausea rolled through his stomach; sweat broke out on his forehead. He hated to be the first to leave, but he told his boss, “Got Stacey and the little one waiting at home.” Jerry talked him into one more cup of eggnog, but the cream spoiled in his mouth with the first swallow. He’d said his good-byes soon after, but not before loading up a plate of desserts “for the wife.”

He spotted his car; just two more to go. The tightness in his chest doubled, forcing him to stop. A few unsteady breaths and he switched the desserts to his other hand. He forced himself forward; each step heavier than the last. His head swam and vision blurred as pain stabbed through his chest and down one arm. The sweets tumbled to the street spilling out from beneath the red cellophane. He clutched his chest, desperate to ease the weight crushing his heart.

The wind whipped past, blowing fresh snow across his skin. It stung against the sweat pouring from his temple. He dropped to his knees, gasping, scrambling for his cell phone. He jerked it from his coat pocket, but his tingling fingers fumbled it, and the phone slid beneath the car in front of him.

Stacey’s face flashed through his mind. “Please,” she begged. “For the baby.” Katie’s tiny features floated before him.

He should have listened to his wife, to his brother, to his doctor.

“Next year,” he’d say.

The weight bore down on him, pressing his face to the icy street. He prayed someone would find him, but the music and laughter echoed down the street, and he knew they wouldn’t come in time.

Katie’s blue eyes danced across his vision.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

She smiled and faded to black.

* * *

An hour later they found him sprawled out in the cold street; a tear frozen on his cheek.


29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 12:23 PM

    OMG!!! The poor man. Great detail, right down to the red cellophane. Yep! This is how it goes down. For some men, it’s never enough food, never enough sex, never enough money. Now he can have all he wants. Fantastic description. I almost felt a tear.

  2. September 30, 2010 12:28 PM

    To me, the worst part is the one that remains untold: how awful for the man’s wife! I wonder if she’d knew he was taking the desserts for her or if she’d think they we are for Tom.

  3. September 30, 2010 12:55 PM

    Gluttony is the stealthy sin, excesses sneakily adding up until…wham! No next year. Great job!

  4. September 30, 2010 12:56 PM

    Nice! Most of us are guilty to one degree or another, but it’s quite striking to see it in its extreme form. Well done…again.

  5. September 30, 2010 1:12 PM

    Way to go, Tom.

  6. September 30, 2010 1:27 PM

    Got a pile of shredded cheddar to my right this moment and I’m not hungry. I thought I was safe from this one, but I might get busted just going out for the lady. Interesting characterization for this sin, Danni.

  7. September 30, 2010 3:10 PM

    Whoa, you’re really building up to a crescendo with these! You’ve nailed each and every sin so perfectly.

  8. September 30, 2010 3:50 PM

    As usual you didn’t fail to express the sin clearly and vividly! Yes, it may seem extreme, but it’s very real and I’ve seen it. You’ve captured it perfectly and every detail painted a descriptive picture of a common sin. Well done! 🙂 Enjoyable set of flash pieces. Anticipating next week’s piece!

  9. September 30, 2010 4:28 PM

    That’s what I feel like most days…but I have a good excuse…I’m eating for two!!!

    Great story this week…I can’t believe you’re almost through all of the deadly sins…what’s next?

    • September 30, 2010 7:47 PM

      Hmmm….good question. This one has gone so well, I might have to come up with another series.

  10. adampb permalink
    September 30, 2010 6:44 PM

    What hit me was the “next year” idea. Don’t we always put off those things that we know we shouldn’t. This has been a great series.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    September 30, 2010 6:52 PM

    This is simply great, tight writing Danielle. You’ve done such a wonderful job with this series.

  12. Carlos permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:33 PM

    Congratulations Danni, I’ve enjoyed the entire series so far, don’t know if you wrote this particular one for me, LOL.

    • September 30, 2010 7:47 PM

      Thank you, amor, and of course I wasn’t writing about you, silly. mwah!

  13. September 30, 2010 7:46 PM

    Thank you all for so many wonderful comments! I love #fridayflash!

  14. Misty permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:06 PM

    Danni, you always paint such a detailed picture. Well done, sis! It almost made me put down my bag of Ginger Snaps…almost. *crunch* 🙂

  15. Ian permalink
    October 1, 2010 7:15 AM

    This is scary. It’s fiction but so real. Fantastic job. Oh, and that photo is awesome, too. 😉


  16. October 1, 2010 1:29 PM

    Splendid, and all too true. You really have done a spectacular job with these. A (guilty) pleasure to read each one. Look forward to what you come up with next!


  17. October 1, 2010 2:01 PM

    Ohh, great descriptions! This is what people get when postponing treating oneself. Excellent story!

  18. October 1, 2010 6:10 PM

    Excellent story, Danni. He personified gluttony very well. And to think, if he’d sought medical attention at the party, he probably would have made it.

  19. Blackbirdsong permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:56 PM

    Great one and sorry I’m late to this series. Gluttony is a tricky one to write since some could say that bulima was also a kind of gluttony. You did an excellent job describing this man, his affliction and his life here.

  20. October 2, 2010 6:57 AM

    I sensed where this was going once his pains started but it was sad nonetheless. Like someone else said, the worst is what he’s left behind.

  21. October 2, 2010 6:18 PM

    So sad. Well written as always. I agree gluttony is a tricky one to write. I always think of those professional hot dog eaters that eat like 100 of them and then throw up–for a prize–while people are starving all over the world. I was actually surprised by your ending. I figured he would just vomit. Definitely more emotionally engaging to end it the way you did Nice job.

  22. October 3, 2010 9:22 AM

    Fantastic, Danielle. Those symptoms were really well-described. What a heart-breaking few sentences at the end.

  23. Michelle Muto permalink
    October 4, 2010 1:37 PM

    Really good descriptions. Sadly, I think I’ve known people like this guy 😦

  24. October 4, 2010 3:30 PM

    Good story! I guess you can have too much of a good thing. 🙂

  25. October 5, 2010 5:38 AM

    The frightening part about this is how real it is. Another great job.

  26. October 6, 2010 12:07 PM

    So well written. I have nothing more to add except well, WELL done. 🙂

  27. October 6, 2010 5:39 PM

    Very well done. I know so many people who are like Tom. Will they ever learn?

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