Short story: “2PM: The Real Estate Agent Arrives”

by look i have opinions

“2PM: The Real Estate Agent Arrives,” by Steve Rasnic Tem

From Crimewave 10: Now You See Me (September 2008; order here)

55 words

I must be spoiled by Twitter-length fiction at this point, because I honestly find 55 words a bit long for this concept. The “dog leash lying like half a set of parentheses” is the kind of image that would help build atmosphere in a longer piece; here, it strikes me as too abstract and even pretentious. Like a parenthesis just closed around this kid’s life, making him an afterthought, or, alternatively, the parenthesis is left open by the negligence of his family/keepers. The list of items left in the yard also seems too long. Why a rope as well as a leash, why a “Dinosaur T-shirt” as well as “torn little boy shorts,” why a rusty can in addition to all the other vaguely disturbing artifacts? I keep expecting each item to carry more weight of significance than it does. The title also sounds clunky to me. Flash fiction stories benefit from having lots of information crammed into the titles, but including a colon and a whole sentence makes me itch from all the wasted space.

I didn’t expect this post to come out so negative. I love the concept, I love the reveal, I like the unobtrusive use of second person. I need to go rethink my life.