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Perfect Day: RomCom Flash Fiction by cam

Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Author's Note

I've been working hard at writing in different genres. So far, the most difficult have been ghost stories, horror and the genre of the story you are about to read; Comedy. I wrote it about a week ago and posted it. If you read it then, and 38 of you did so, I'll speak for you here. I don't think you'll mind, and I am confident you'll agree. It was not funny.

So I took that attempt at comedy that fell flat and worked on it. I did some reading on how to write comedy. I experimented and I rewrote that story. Here it is. It won't be a knee slapper, but I do hope you crack a smile and maybe chuckle once or twice. When it comes to genre writing, I'm a work in progress, and I appreciate the fact that you patiently read my stories. I don't take that for granted.

I want to say thank you to my girlfriend, Michelle, for her patient reading and honest critiquing of this and many other stories I've written.

Additional Note

I've been tempted to take the story down again, but after reading the first two comments, I'll leave it up. A good, straightforward critique is hard to come by and if I'm going to be offered some of those, I don't want to miss them. I welcome your critique here. You already know this particular story is an experiment.

Perfect Day

Randy stood by his pickup truck holding a notebook and scanning a secluded section of the city park. He had chosen the footbridge, which crossed over a small creek, along with the surrounding lawn and flower beds to be the sight of his marriage proposal to Brenda. In its present condition, though, it wasn’t nearly up to his standards. He vowed with all 37.2 trillion obsessive cells in his body, that the event was going to come off with clockwork precision in the perfect setting.

He looked over the day’s work schedule in his notebook. 4:00 am, begin applying one coat of glossy white, fast drying paint to footbridge. Reality, 3:55 am. Already five minutes ahead of perfection. 9:00 am-11:00 am, mow grass. And lastly, 11:00 am-noon, weed flower beds. Like it or not, the city was getting a free upgrade to their park.

By 6:55 am he was halfway done with the painting and he checked the notebook again. Breakfast-7:00-7:15 am, sweet. Everything was going even better than he had planned. The universe is in step with me.

Randy sat down to prepare his favorite breakfast of smoked gouda cheese on marble rye bread covered with a generous layer of butter, on both pieces of course. It was best when grilled, but in the present situation, cold was just fine. He trimmed the excess cheese around the sandwich, a culinary sculptor working on his masterpiece.

At 7:30 am he was about three-fourths done with painting when his cell phone rang, causing him to clench his teeth. He checked the notebook. Just as he suspected, no phone call was scheduled. It was Brenda. Yes, he was busy. No, he could not talk. Yes, he was still planning on meeting her in the park at 4:00 pm, just like his notebook said, although the last part was left unspoken. He put the phone in it’s nifty belt holster and returned to the bridge.

Notebook, 9:00 am- painting done. Reality, 8:55 am, painting done in spite of the phone call, I’m awesome.

By noon, Randy had to admit that it was a scene worthy of a photograph. He snapped the picture, gathered up the camera and tripod and headed for his house to clean up.

At 3:50 pm, Randy stood by and watched as Brenda looked over the park setting. She always seemed to be just slightly ahead of his schedule. He was casually sketching her in his notepad, making little x’s here and there on the caricature. No wonder he loved her so much, she was 83% perfect. He ripped the page out of his notebook, wadded it up and dropped it in the trashcan. He was obsessive, not masochistic.

“Nice,” said Brenda as she continued perusing the area. “But somebody should really tend to this lawn.’ Randy clenched his teeth again. He thought about how he had mowed the grass, caught all the clippings in a bag, raked, then mowed and raked again. His teeth were beginning to hurt.

He smiled with anticipation as he checked his watch and notebook. Three minutes to Zero Hour. Brenda had walked on ahead and could see the footbridge while he could not.

“It looks like someone painted the bridge recently. Too bad the geese found it.”

Scroll to Continue

Randy ran down the hill screaming amidst the honking, the fluttering of wings and the billowing of downy feathers. He was undeterred. According to the notebook and his watch, there was still time. He took Brenda’s hand and hurried her onto the footbridge.

“Randy, why are we going out here? There’s goose poop everywhere and it stinks?”

“Because….Dear…. this is where I want us to stand.” He was going to have to see his dentist when this was over.

Randy checked his watch. One minute to go and Brenda was standing on the wrong side of the bridge. He took her in his arms and slow danced her to the other side. She danced him back around.

“What are you doing?” she said.

“I thought you might like the view from the other direction.”

“I like the view from this direction just fine.” He thought he felt a tooth crack. And he definitely felt a twitch at the corner of his mouth.

“What’s the matter with your mouth,” Brenda said.

“Nothing is the matter with my mouth. My mouth is just fine, see? He put on far to broad a smile. The corner of his mouth twitched again. He checked his watch. It was now or never. He dropped to one knee, fishing around in his pants pocket.

“Randy? What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing.....Sweetheart?” He placed the small red box on his open palm. Brenda picked it up, brushed something off and put it back. Randy’s head twitched slightly sideways which threw his balance off causing his foot to slip on the goose droppings. Luckily he caught himself with his hands, but this also meant that the red box was no longer in his possession. He looked at his watch. Seven seconds to Zero Hour.

“Randy, it’s beautiful,’ said Brenda. He looked up. She had caught the box as it flew out of his hand and was putting the ring on her finger. He checked his watch. Three seconds to spare. Perfect.

He explained the events of the day as he rinsed his hands off in the creek and used two applications of hand sanitizer. Brenda insisted on a third. The rest of the afternoon and evening they spent celebrating their engagement by power washing the footbridge, mowing the grass for the third time and planting flowers. The perfect end to a perfect day.


Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 19, 2018:

I think it's hilarious. I guess readers can classify it however they want. Good job with comedy, irony, satire, whatever. Very enjoyable read! Glad you republished this one. Your photos were gorgeous. It is hard for me to find proper photos for flash fiction, so I salute you!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on August 06, 2016:

johnmariow, Thanks for pulling this one out of the archives. I have four or five stories that are attempts at comedy. In a series, they get better, and the last one, Baby Back Ribs and Russian Vodka, might even bring out chuckle or two. Humorous endings can be a great way to turn a good story into a very good and memorable story. Thanks for visiting. It is always good to read your comments..

johnmariow on August 05, 2016:

An amusing story. I enjoyed it; especially the ending. I really liked the main character named Randy. I think the characterization was excellent. Lots of imagery in the story enhanced by the photos. I have not tried to write comedy. I try to add an amusing ending to my stories.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 30, 2015:

I think challenges and pushing one's boundaries can only make us better writers. It teaches us what we are capable of and how to work outside our comfort zone. I admire that kind of attack!


Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 29, 2015:

Ann, I appreciate you focusing in on the real meat of this story. She was more obsessive than even he was. Can you imagine a person as obsessive as him feeling that he doesn't measure up to his future wife's expectations? Yipes!

Thank you for your kind words about my flash fiction in general. I love this short format. Eventually I will calm down and just write my stories the way I want them, but for now, I feel that challenging myself by writing in various genres is helping to make me a better writer.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 29, 2015:

Brian and Audrey, I'm sorry I missed your comments when you made them. I've been a bit preoccupied in the forums of the NYCM Flash Fiction Challenge. I'll be back here full force soon. I appreciate you reading my story and for your comments.

Ann Carr from SW England on September 29, 2015:

I don't know which one is more OCD than the other and he's going to be doing a lot of teeth-clenching or visits to the dentist! Can't imagine what the two of them would be like together forever - drive everyone else mad.

You create a picture of obsessiveness as well as a park-keeper's nightmare; I was smiling. Bit like one of those slap-stick films where everything goes wrong.

Love it, Chris, though I do agree with Mary that your other flash fiction works better. However, that's only a start; once you've polished up on this genre it'll be great.


Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 20, 2015:

Hi Chris - I love this story and can picture it well - The ring box flying in the air and geese poop everywhere and a perfect day for a proposal. Comedy is difficult, and flash fiction is difficult for me. your attempt was brave and successful. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Audrey

B Brian Hill on September 15, 2015:

I think your style is great! I was quite entertained by your characters in this skillful combination of Romance and comedy.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 10, 2015:

Deb, I'm glad you recognized Brenda as being compulsive as well. In fact, I believe she was a tad bit more so than Randy. Thanks for reading with a perceptive eye.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on September 10, 2015:

Definitely a romantic comedy that I found very enjoyable. The couple definitely suit each other, and their compulsive ways will definitely keep them together.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 09, 2015:

Thank you MsDora. I did find an older story of mine that was in the comedy genre, and it was actually funny in a few spots. The title is "Family Reunion if you want to take a look at it. Nice to see you here today.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 09, 2015:

Glad you didn't take it down. What a feel-good love story, well-told! I'll be reading more of you.

Thank you for your commendation on my hubbie award!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 06, 2015:

Thanks Larry, I appreciate that. We'll go for uproariously hilarious next time :)

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on September 06, 2015:

Very amusing and endearing tale. Wonderfully done.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 05, 2015:

Randy, this was definitely something other than comedy. I am determined, however, to be competent in this genre someday. But for a competition, please, spare me the comedy.

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on September 05, 2015:

Your lead character has a cool name though. :P

Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on September 05, 2015:

Enjoyed the tale Chris, but I would classify it as ironic-satire rather than comedy. :) I too have trouble with comedy as it's often a tough sell depending on who your audience is. Give me drama anytime.!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 05, 2015:

Shauna, Randy is wound tighter than a two dollar watch. But actually, there is one aspect to this story that no one has mentioned, and that is because I didn't bring it out enough in the writing. Brenda is worse than he is. That's why she picked the ring box up off his hand, dusted it of and put it back. haha.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 05, 2015:

I chuckled at the unscheduled phone call. But seriously, Randy needs to lighten up. He's wound too tight. Lose the notebook, leave the watch behind and see where life takes you, Randy! I wonder if he's got his romantic rendezvous with his new bride-to-be scheduled as well. Boring! He'll find out soon enough that spontaneity is his friend.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 03, 2015:

Bill, I appreciate that very much. I had trouble deciding to put this story back out there. The goal is to publish high quality hubs, and I knew this was not a good piece of comedy. But writing it for myself gets me nowhere. I'll let this particular story go now. On to better things.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 03, 2015:

Ruby, bless you my dear. I know there are a variety of tastes in humor and comedy. I'm glad this one resonated with you and that you came back and said so. You'll see more in the future.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 03, 2015:

Hilarious or not? Makes no difference, Chris. What I think is important is that you are willing to try different genres, and that willingness will pay off in better writing skills in the future. You are a shining example of a writer who wants to improve his craft. Well done!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 03, 2015:

I was amused until I got to the geese pooping then I lol. That poor guy, who would marry him? Hee. Can you imagine what he would do if he came home from work and found dirty dishes in the sink? I liked your little ditty and I want more!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 03, 2015:

Christine, as always, you've responded with a wealth of insight. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll look into it. Randy being me? That's an interesting thought. Thanks for being straightforward about the writing. I was so focused on trying to insert humor, the writing suffered. I did learn some things between the two versions, and these comments have been helpful as well. Thanks for your input.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on September 03, 2015:

Mary, Thank you, thank you, thank you for your comment. There are times when a straightforward critique is called for. You knew this story was an experiment and that it was the appropriate time to speak up and I appreciate it. I am anticipating round two of the writing challenge I'm participating in right now, and the way the universe works with me, I'll get Comedy or Rom Com as a genre. So, it's better to struggle with it now and learn some things. Thanks again Mary.

christinemariezzz on September 03, 2015:


Romantic Comedy..Yea! ...Good Pick for a Hub, always arouses interest.

The short of it:

"Stifle yourself Edith"- How did we tolerate their Perfect Day back then?. Life's backwards situations had to have put that one on the set!

"...He was undeterred..."

"She always seemed to be... schedule"

Your Randy and Brenda, their setting, charades a much more satisfying earthy scent.

The long of it:

I found my attention most strongly on Randy's Notebook than anything in this hub-it's a good thing. Randy, not so much Brenda. Judy Carter author of The Comedy Bible might critique it twice and say:

Your writing here is adequate but not brilliant.

There is a need to get into your characters heads.

I don't know you very well, but could Randy be you? with hand on notebook? summoning your words into stories? And for this reason he came more clear to me than Brenda?

...power washing,mowing grass, planting flowers...."

Intuitive ending for Randy, in my opinion because in my mind he and Brenda were not young, mid to late fifties. (Unless I missed something) Returning to the bridgework carried the perfumery of their affairs as restful waters, much like that age group in romance.

....because Dear, this is where I want us to stand..."

I am certain your commenters smiled; as you've certainly brought them to the punch-line bridge steps of Randy at the deliverance of a ring.

Get a hold of Judy Carters The Comedy Bible if you've got the time. It's helping me in my comedy. There's several reasons she's compiled the pages that may not specifically apply to you as a writer, but something there may help you. I am happy she wrote it down for readers.


Keep at ROM-COM!-it's an intoxicating airline management of words.


Mary Craig from New York on September 03, 2015:

It was a cute story and it did make me chuckle. Poor Randy's teeth really got a workout that's for sure.

I have to say though, your flash fiction surpasses this one. Standing alone it's a cute story. I would rate it up and funny though not a knee slapper.

I admire your tackling so many different genre's. I wouldn't have the nerve or the ability to compete with you!

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