Flash Fiction – “Dazzle”

I’ve been having a difficult time with my Persia Blues script, so instead of beating my head against the wall I decided to take a break and try something else. So here’s some flash fiction I completed in the last hour, clocking in at 349 words, just under the 350 limit.

Dazzle – by Dara Naraghi

“How much longer?” she asked.

“Not much,” I answered, as I concentrated on painting a swirling design at the intersection of her nose, eyes, and forehead. The reflective paint mirrored the light in the room, making it hard to concentrate on the design.

She tried touching her lips again, but I gently batted her hand away. “Stop it, you’ll smear the pigment,” I said.

“Sorry, sorry. It’s just that it’s caked on pretty thick. And did you have to extend it so far out on the sides? I look like a clown. Or the Joker.”

“From the old playing cards?” I ventured.

“No, from the old Batman vids. You know, ‘The Clown Prince of Crime’?” She seemed rather disappointed when I replied with a blank stare. “Seriously? And you call yourself an anarchist cloaking artist,” she chuckled.

I ignored her jab, instead finishing the highlights on her cheekbones. “There, asymmetrical by an inch.”

She examined her face in the mirror and laughed. “Ugh, like the love child of David Bowie and a Kabuki dancer.”

I took some measure of consolation in catching the latter reference, but the former eluded me.

“What did you call this again? Dazzler?” she asked, as she tossed me her credit chip.

“Dazzle,” I corrected her. “It’s an old concept, but the term’s from World War I, when they’d paint battleships with odd geometric patterns, sort of a cross between camouflage and optical illusion. The idea was to make it hard for the enemy to discern size, speed, and direction of travel.”

“And you’re sure this’ll fool the facial recognition programs?”

“No guarantees, but it should,” I said, adding “confusion, not concealment.”

“Ten million people in this city, and twenty million security cameras,” she said, shaking her head as she slipped on her jacket.

“You’re not planning on robbing a bank or anything, are you?” I asked, not really interested in her answer.

“Nah,” she offered, pulling down her knit cap. As she headed out the door, she turned and flashed me an impish smile.

“Sometimes a girl just needs her privacy, you know?”

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