A few days ago I sent a batch of slush to my EIC (Editor in Chief) for the winnowing phase of Flash Fiction Online's selection process.
I included one that I liked but that my whole team rejected.
But it was a good story!
Since my team rejected it, I thought I'd better give it a second and maybe a third read before I sent it anyway. And after the second read I STILL liked it. I can't say for sure why my team didn't like it. The comments were pretty sparse. One thought it was more a glimpse into the mind than a story. Another thought it was demented. I thought it was a look into the deeper mind, into thoughts that aren't all that uncommon, but that no one wants to talk about. Thoughts that are there, but are never acted upon.
In the religious vernacular we might call them 'temptations.' The temptations in the story are particularly frightening, but, I think, understandable given that the main character feels backed up against a wall, and given that our senses and sensibilities are innundated every time we open the paper with stories of people who have given in to some of the most horrific temptations, I think the story is timely. Right now we seem to be seeing an upsurge of violence by people who feel cornered--they've lost their jobs, or lost their homes, or lost their spouses.
I think this story is important because it takes us into the mind of someone who is cornered, has this fleeting thought, this temptation, but overcomes it, who lets the better side of him prevail.
It's especially excellent, in my opinion, because he's not your average hero. He's rough around the edges, uneducated, un-noticeable in the wider world view. Just some guy working to take care of his responsibilities, to take care of a situation his own choices have gotten himself into, and he has this thought that if he just...
But he doesn't. And that's what's heroic about him, and what's poignant about the story.
I hope it makes it through. I plan on defending it to the teeth.