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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Flash Fiction: Birthday Blues

“Happy birthday!” Jesse’s sister stood outside his bedroom door.

He rubbed his eyes. “How long have you been standing here?”

“Who cares?” She grinned. “How does it feel to be sixteen?”

Jesse rolled his eyes and headed to the bathroom. “Very funny. I’m seventeen today.”

“Whatever. Joke all you want. Happy Sweet Sixteen, bro!” She bounced to her bedroom.

Jesse shook his head and continued down the hall.

His mom was just exiting the bathroom. “Happy sixteen, buddy!” She kissed his cheek and he grimaced.

Then he frowned. “Wait, don’t you mean—”

“Can’t talk now, hon.” She slipped a sweater on as she started down the stairs. “I’m late for work. Have a great day. We’ll celebrate later.”

Jesse’s shoulders slumped as he locked himself in the bathroom. What was with everyone? He was seventeen today. Not sixteen. He flipped on the shower and grabbed his cell to check his texts.

His jaw dropped.

The screen read the correct date, but the year reflected the previous one. His phone had the same kooky idea that his sister and mom did. He yanked open the door and almost ran his dad over.

“Whoa there,” his dad chuckled. “I know you’re sixteen but take it easy son.”


His dad patted him on the back. “I know it’s hard to believe you can drive now, but slow down. You’ve got plenty of time.” He punched him in the shoulder. “Have a great day, Jess. See you tonight for your birthday dinner!” Then his dad disappeared in the same way his mom had.

Jesse gulped. Then ran to the TV in his room and turned on the news. Sure enough, displayed in the bottom corner was the correct month and day but with the prior year listed. He raced to his computer, scrambling to find the day’s date. Again his suspicions were confirmed. It really was one year ago.

What was going on? This was far too elaborate a hoax for his family to pull off. There was one person left to ask. A shiver fell down his back as he jumped to his feet and sprinted down the hallway.

His twin brother, Jeremy, was just coming out of his room, face ashen with shock. “Hey! What’s going on? I just checked my phone and my laptop and they both say—”

“That it’s one year ago, I know.” Jesse exhaled. At least one person was in their right mind. “I don’t know what’s going on but everyone believes it’s last year.”

“How’s that possible? You and I still have our memories.”

“No clue but that’s not what has me worried.”

Jeremy lifted one eyebrow.

“You and I are repeating the same year, right? The question is, what happens next year?”

“I guess we’ll find out in three hundred sixty-five days.” Jeremy’s eyes narrowed. “In one year we’ll know. Will we be older or will we be sixteen forever?”

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2018


Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

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