Congratulations to author Shannon Morgan on winning Readers Lane’s third Flash Fiction contest!  Here is her story.  Don’t forget to enter your own story in our next contest! 

Nicholas Dames / Flickr / CC 3.0

Nicholas Dames / Flickr / CC 3.0

Pay at the Pump

Author: Shannon Morgan

Angel gripped the edges of the sink with no regard to what germs might be festering there. The white porcelain bowl suspended from the wall was the only thing keeping her from smacking her face against the dirty, tile floor. She closed her eyes against the spinning, took a deep breath and gagged on the stench. This bathroom was in desperate need of some Lysol.

She tightened her grip and tried to steady her gaze. Through the film on the mirror, blood-shot eyes stared back at her. The florescent light above flickered and hummed as it cast a blue hue on her blonde tresses. Her hair was mussed and knotted. She looked like she’d just had sex, the sweaty backseat kind that happened with complete disregard for safety and never led to a real date.

Had they? she wondered, her memory of the night before blurry like the mirror, no thanks to a tab of ecstasy chased by beer, the exact number lost.

Angel leaned into the sink to keep her balance, turned on the faucet and cupped water into her mouth with her hand, a vain attempt to wash away the taste of Miller Lite making a return trip across her lips. She wiped her lips dry with the back of her hand and reached for the brass door knob, its polish worn to sandpaper. She prayed that what’s-his-name was still out there, waiting in his red truck in the gas station parking lot. She really didn’t want to walk home. Heck, she didn’t want to go home period. Her mother was going to give her hell for staying out so late.

She opened the door and squinted against the rising sun, shielding her eyes with her forearm as she stepped out, the door slamming shut behind her.


rsz_shannon_morganShannon Morgan is a freelance food and travel writer and an award-winning editor. She has written for USA TODAY Travel, Food Network magazine and several regional magazines, including Maryland Life where she served as senior editor. She is the author ofthe forthcoming “100 Things to Do in D.C. Before You Die” (2015). Find her online at

Frances Carden
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