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The green light across the bay illuminates the putrid, smoky sky.

‘The sky does look so very putrid and smoky’, she says to the man upon the balcony, over the clamorous cacophony inside, ‘I really must go out and see this glorious sight.’

But he seems bored already by her lack of attention in him, his arm already around a buxom blonde in a tight, red dress.

‘What is that dear? Oh. Oh yes, absolutely. A glorious sight.’ And he is gone.

The mansion, with all its luxurious excess, bores her. The golden stairwells and diamond chandeliers reek of sweat and overindulgence. Pulsating jazz music pelters out of saxophones and trombones, making her ears bleed. But, regardless, the audience are enthralled.

‘Mr Jay Gatsby’, they coo over the screams and squeals of delight, ‘what a delightful young fellow Mister Gatsby must be!’

They say nobody has ever even seen him, she muses. He must be an irrevocably dull man to throw such splendid parties for all the nobodies of West Egg.

She descends the glittering balcony, out of the arms of drunk, slovenly men with quivering moustaches and drooling lips. With a domineering authority, she parades past the singing gentleman on the piano, past a gorgeous brunette talking of golfing with a remarkably ordinary looking man.

A casual observer at the best, he seems. But he stares at the brunette with such a look of intense wonderment, she supposes he might have his own story one day.

Outside the air is cool, the sky still putrid and smoky. In the courtyard she hears the sweet sound of laughter. A man as golden as the gaudy mansion stands under the patio, with a similarly golden woman. Her platinum locks trail down her shoulders, as they whisper in each other’s ears and he caresses her shoulders. His eyes seem rooted firmly in the past and it is clear he can’t fully comprehend what is happening, as his lips touch those of the miserly woman’s beside him.

The dock is calm and quiet. At the very end resides a wrought-iron bench, perched atop it a pair of binoculars and a writing pad. Over the bay, you can perfectly see yet another glorious estate. Beautiful, lush green gardens twinkle over the water. The rippling waves give the illusion of progress, like you are almost floating towards this beautiful home.

Which home is the best? She wonders. I suppose it is difficult to tell. The sky is so putrid and smoky after all. Maybe on a clearer day, it would be easier to decide.

She suddenly feels immensely tired, laying down onto the bench, feet splayed up. The sound of waves, ceaselessly borne back, lull her to sleep.

 


 

As you probably noticed, this story is based off of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby! I was listening to the soundtrack to the Baz Luhrmann film, and it got me writing the story of another soul at one of Gatsby’s illustrious parties.

I hope you liked it! More of my flash fiction can be read here!

 

Copyright © 2017 Rebecca Sherratt, (adapted from ‘The Great Gatsby’; copyright © 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald).

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