200 Shorts by Salvatore Buttaci
Master of the Flash is back! In his new collection of 200 short-short stories, Salvatore Buttaci introduces us to characters hard to forget. In less than 1,000 words they tell stories of humor, hidden emotions, love, nostalgia, violence, time and space travel, and downright horror. The author’s flashes appeal to all readers in search of a good read worth the purchase price. It won’t be so easy putting this book down.
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About the Author
Salvatore Buttaci is a retired English teacher who has been writing since childhood. His first published work, an essay entitled “Presidential Timber,” appeared in the Sunday New York News when he was sixteen. Since then his poems, letters, short stories, and articles have been widely published in The New York Times, Newsday, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Cats Magazine, and elsewhere in America and overseas. In 2001, Pudding House Publications included his work in the Greatest Hits Series with his chapbook, Greatest Hits: 1970-2000. He was also the 2007 recipient of the $500.00 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.
What Others Are Saying:
A Fun and Unpredictable Collection,
Short ‘flash’ fiction is a tricky art. A writer has to be able to incorporate the potency of poetry and the plot and character development of a short story. Well, if you want to learn how to do it well, read Buttaci’s book. Likewise, if you just want a book of 200 dynamic and riveting stories for sheer entertainment, buy Buttaci’s book. It’s a great collection for anyone who enjoys a good short story (or 200 of them).
–Jen Knox, author of To Begin Again and Musical Chairs
Salvatore: a beautiful writer
Drawing on his Sicilian heritage and his experience as a writer and a teacher, Salvatore Buttaci has excelled in this presentation of 200 Shorts (flash fiction).
In bite-sized stories, and with humor and grace, Salvatore treats us to a compilation which has us laughing, crying, smiling, thinking.
He’s a beautiful writer! His last book Flashing My Shorts won much acclaim. Go on: add these books to your reading lists – treat yourself and buy one, or two, or three. Friends will love you and will love the gift you give!
Well deserving of the five stars awarded.
–Eliza Earsman, author of A Collection of Verse + 3 other books.
Flash Fiction at Its Best
Sal Buttaci is a master of flash fiction, those short prose pieces that tell a story in two sentences or two pages. This is his second publication of short fiction…In these 200 stories the reader will discover the talent of the author to narrate a story that keeps the reader with him all the way. This is a collection for those who enjoy brief stories well told, and who will finally come to the close of the book hoping for a third collection by Sal Buttaci.
–Jean Rodenbough, author of Rachel’s Children: Surviving the Second World War.
ONE SHORT FROM 200 SHORTS:
THE COLONEL IN APT. 4-E
Why would an American astronaut hero who walked red Martian miles up there return home to Earth and become a recluse? My father had all the answers, but not this one.
President of GreEnergy Corp., Dad had enough americos to buy, outright, ten third-world nations and enough left over to treat the whole world to lunch at Sardi’s. We were the wealthiest family at the Carlton Arms, a landmark in a sleepless city where hyperbole was always a simple stretch away.
Colonel Benjamin Riggs lived on our floor, down the Persian-carpeted corridor, in Apt. 4-E. Before he conquered Mars and into its rich red-oxide soil planted New Glory with its fifty-four stars, he was Ben, our neighbor, the only one who could make Mother laugh.
Those were the golden days before Ben, the sunshine of the Carlton Arms, had been summoned from his Apt. 4-E by the president himself and his lackey crew of hotshots at WASA. Shortly after, Biff Monroe delivered his now famous line carried by every newspaper in the world, “Go get her, Riggs!”
“Her” being Mars. Rich in crimson spice. Untapped red-oxide mines in the Olympus Mons Mountain Range. A base station for a possible Red Rock Colony, which my father had generously helped finance.
Two Julys later Ben came home. Father, who had never liked him, hypocritically praised him on live TV: International hero. Blah blah blah. Crimson spice and everything nice. Blah blah and more blah about the red-oxide and that New Glory flag waving for all the universe to see. And God bless America and Colonel Benjamin Riggs.
After the tumultuous welcome he received in every major city WASA scheduled him to appear, at last Ben returned to Apt. 4-E. We hardly caught a glimpse of him. Surrounded by a squad of military men and women, he walked past our Apt. 4-K door without shooting a single glance at us as we stood like all the others lining the corridor on both sides. He had for some reason become a stranger.
The colonel never left his apartment again. I would keep an eye on the soldier who would come visit him with what I assumed were meals. The soldier came everyday, turned a key in the lock of Apt.4-E, entered, shut the door, and within less than half an hour the door would open, first a slim crack, then wider, until the soldier, still carrying the suitcase, exited the apartment and headed for the elevator.
“What’s he doing in there?” I asked Father. “He catch the Mars Flu or something?”
Father puffed out his lips, something he did when he tried to keep himself from admitting something someone else said was funny.
I handed Father the decanter of wine and he filled his glass again. It was just the two of us still at the dinner table. Mother, deep in her bi-polar malady, had managed to eat a few nibbles of Salisbury, which she spit out, then fell to her knees to gather up. We ignored her because when we’d offer to help her, she would transform herself into some ferocious beast, clawing and spitting and screaming.
“But he never leaves his apartment,” I said.
Father shrugged. What did he care? I thought to myself. The colonel made him the world’s richest man.
So I decided to find out for myself what the hell was going on. Why the soldier with the suitcase. Why the secrecy. Why a hero self-imprisoned in Cell Block 4-E.
I managed to wait outside the door one morning as the soldier entered. My hands extended towards the door, I waited for the sound of the turning doorknob, the signal for me to push the door in as the soldier cracked it open.
What I saw lasted only a horrible fraction of time. Maybe longer would have cost me my sanity. Ben was humped over on the carpet, on his hands and knees, face bloated, blood gushing like a fountain from his lips. In his raised hand a large rat struggled to free himself from Ben’s clutch. Ben slapped its dark hairy body into his mouth and chomped it in two. Around the room other rats, scurrying from the suitcase, were racing about the apartment, desperate to find a way out. For that one second, Ben jerked his head up and locked eyes with me. If he remembered, he didn’t show it. Instead, he turned away, then like a beast hopped on the carpet, then pounced on another rat, which he proceeded to devour alive.
Then the soldier had me in an arm lock, dragged me to the other side of the threshold and slammed shut the door to 4-E.
“What did you see, Kid?”
“Nothing. I didn’t see anything.”
Slowly he released his grip. I rubbed my sore arm.
“How long you figure you can keep seeing nothing?”
He walked me down the corridor.
“Where you taking me?” I asked. A witness to something like this? Maybe curiosity does kill.
“How long?” the soldier was asking again. “Stay away from the colonel’s door. Next time we bump into each other, Kid, I’ll feed you instead of the rats. Clear?”
Questions flashed in my head but I extinguished them one by one until my brain felt like a dark tomb. Mars Flu, I had jokingly said. What I saw in there was no flu, no damn flu from anywhere in the galaxy. What happened? What turned gentle Ben into a rat-devouring monster on four legs?
I nodded to the soldier. “It’s clear.”
I kept my word because I wanted to keep my life. Less than six months later the colonel died. A closed casket was placed in the White House rotunda and dignitaries from all over the world, including Father, paraded past, touched the wood, bowed, and moved on. President Monroe called Ben the greatest American of the 22nd Century. After all these years, I still call him my friend.
- Paperback: 238 pages
- Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (April 24, 2011)
- ISBN-10: 0984639241
- ISBN-13: 978-0984639243
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