In Our Time, a Flash Fiction

The entirety of Vince’s life was burdened with chaos and everyday was a compound of the last until Vince was miserable. Work, romance, community all lost meaning as he instead pursued isolation. Vince worked overseas teaching English and after getting fed up with the chaos, he left his job but he did not turn back to the States. There it was worse, politics and social tension were the only thing to be found in there and so, with nothing more than a backpack and substantial savings, Vince roamed Europe but ended up in Turkey.

Istanbul was a dream. The fusion of western and Muslim cultures culminated there and the people, despite their oppressive rule were kind and hospitable.

Vince drank tea with Mustafa, a self-made artist and writer. The walls of Mustafa’s home were adorned with tapestries and various paintings littered the walkways. The air of the home was a haze from the hookah that Mustafa voraciously smoked and together they drank tea from curved glasses and appreciated the twang of the Bağlama saz, a Turkish guitar-like instrument. The radio enchanted with these twangs and for a moment Vince felt his heart at peace. Mustafa said to Vince as Vince finally smiled, “See? Music is very good for the soul.”

The news was playing and though Vince didn’t understand much Turkish but the images of bloodied bodies populated the screen. There was live footage of a plane unleashing destruction onto an unsuspecting city. The reporter was on the ground looking for survivors. Vince asked Mustafa in the little Turkish he knew, “What’s happening?”

“They’re saying it’s a new world war, my friend. That communism and democracy can no longer coexist.”

Vince motioned for the hookah and took a long draw then after returning the pipe to Mustafa, sipped his tea and said, “That’s a shame.”

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