Glares? Bangs? Flickers? Shatters? Plummets?

By Chad Greene

More glares against his screen than there were most mornings, causing him to twist his hunched shoulders and contort his craned neck to shield it from the harsh lights. Not gradual changes, either, but sudden shifts – so often that they were threatening his concentration.

At first, it was only the bangs that followed the glares his headphones weren’t managing to fully muffle. Once the jostling started, though, it was also the stampeding footsteps. Cradling his screen, he pushed in the opposite direction, toward a dark and quiet place on campus.

In that dark and quiet place on campus, his screen’s flickering guided him to a wall outlet. He huddled down next to it. The one worry he had, about his plummeting charge, was enough to put a tremble into the fingers that fumbled with the power cord. But there was power.

But then there was also one last, tremendous glare-and-bang – the light and sound so intense that they reached him even in that dark and quiet place. He was so rattled, he dropped his phone. It clattered against the sooty tile with enough force, he feared, to shatter his screen.

Thankfully, his screen hadn’t shattered. And the glares, the bangs, and the stampeding footsteps had stopped. Without those distractions, he could concentrate on his screen. But then, in its upper right corner, he saw his charge start to plummet. There was no power. “The horror!”


A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, Chad Greene is a professor of English at Cerritos College. Whenever he isn’t planning lessons or grading papers, he is attempting to put together a novella-in-flash-fictions tentatively titled Trips and Falls.

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