Flash.Fiction: Tom’s Turmoil, or A Bad Day for a Sauna

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. And if I wrote memoir, you’d know more about why it’s been a long time. But I’d prefer to write fiction, to distract myself from the problems, stupidity, and banality of the real world. But thanks for reading my posts.


Anyway, today’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction challenge intrigued me. The title that went out in the email was “Bad Day for a Sauna” while the title on the website was “Tom’s Turmoil”. I thought, sauna in the middle of the woods, really?

And here’s what transpired.

The prompt is…

Photo by K.S. Brooks ksbrooks.com

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Ah, finally! This was what Tom had been waiting for: true wilderness.

Right at this moment, quitting his job and selling everything became totally worth it. Tom had gotten absolutely disgusted with the rat race and couldn’t deal with it anymore. He wanted to get as far away from people as possible. And now, at last, he was.

As he pondered where to set up his tent, there was a loud noise behind him. Quickly turning, Tom’s jaw dropped when he saw…

And my response (250 words):

… a gigantic black bear totally unconcerned about the noise it was making, or about Tom, walking within ten feet of his truck. Tom’s heart raced. Man, being this close to something so wild was awesomesauce. This was why he’d come. This was why he’d left those city rats behind. That Walden dude’s the man.

The urge to follow numbed Tom’s fear of appearing on the next episode of When Bears Attack.

 Light-footed as possible, he snuck through the heavy brush, tracking the bear at a safe distance. Each step enhanced the euphoria he had longed for back amongst the daily drudgers. When the forest thinned, he slowed, then squatted at the edge of a clearing and took in the intoxicating vista.

Near the river, back dropped by mountains, steam rose off a small pool. Even though he’d heard of local hot springs, this was the first one he’d come across.

Tom froze, slow blinked twice. The sauna-like pool wasn’t what had him blown away.

Dumbfounded, he watched the bear lower itself into the pool beside three other bears. His bear leaned over and kissed one of the other bears on the muzzle.

“Bad day?” The kissed bear smoothed Tom’s bear’s fur.

Tom’s bear stretched, then spread its arms on the edge of this wilderness hot tub. “Do bears poop in the woods?” It growled, “SOS,DD. Some idiot camped in the passing lane.”

Tom turned away, pushed toward base camp. Man, I got to stop smoking so much dope, he thought.


NOTE:  I know Thoreau wrote Walden. Tom does not.

NOTE:  On Wednesday (October 14th) afternoon, IU opens voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

I’d really really — really —  love it if you’d vote for my entry. No login / user account creation is required to vote.

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