rom com flash fiction microfiction

by Michael Czyzniejewski

When Eric changed his impression of women, Chloe was convinced he was cheating on her.

Early in their courtship, whenever they’d exchange playful banter, back-and-forth gender quips, Chloe thought Eric’s take hilarious: “Derr—I love movies about women who date terrible guys until they fall in love with their perfect best friend in the last ten minutes … plain yogurt is my favorite food … I cry when I’m happy … I love giving blowjobs—Derr!” delivering it in a ridiculous falsetto, puckering his lips like Marilyn Monroe.

Chloe’s throaty comeback went, “Duh—I’m a guy … I love to eat meat and watch sports and talk about sports and scratch my balls and stare at big boobs!” making Eric laugh, but eventually, Chloe would realize she wasn’t remotely offending him, that her impression was fundamentally true, never giving Eric a complex like his impression—the movies, the yogurt—would come to give her.

Years later, after three kids, Eric altered his impression, retaining the basic components, changing only the blowjob part: “… and I hate blowjobs and never give them anymore because I’m married!”

This was the same time Eric stayed late at work, stopping at the gym—though he wasn’t trimming down or coming home particularly sweaty—mentioning his new co-worker, Isabelle, two times in one night, using her to illustrate points—“Isabelle grew up in Alabama and says you have to boil the sugar in the tea” then “That new partner, Isabelle, has a twin, but not identical because he’s a guy”—drifting further from the Eric who doted on her, inspired her to move across the country, away from her family, to quit her job so he could take one that paid two grand more a year.

Chloe planned a trip to Eric’s gym, where she’d watch the door, never see him come in or out, let alone spot his car in the lot, only to have him later say, “Great!” when she asked how his workout went, to go on about more reps, how he beat his best time, leading to her, the next time he did his impression, stopping him before he could finish, point out that she never liked giving blowjobs, and neither does Isabelle, no matter what she fucking tells you about tea or her brother or how great he tastes, waiting to see what he could possibly offer as a comeback.


Michael Czyzniejewski is the author of four collections of stories, most recently The Amnesiac in the Maze (Braddock Avenue Books, 2023). He serves as Editor-in-Chief of Moon City Press and Moon City Review, as well as Interviews Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.


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