Hostage: Flash fiction by Matthew T. Clements


By Matthew T. Clements

“Hold it right there!”

“Oh! Goodness gracious, is that a gun?”

“Shut up!”

“Here you go, there’s plenty of money in the wallet, and here’s the car key, and my watch is pretty nice.”

“I said shut up, asshole!”

“Okay then, there’s no need to get snippy.”

“Get in the trunk!”

“I beg your pardon?”

“I said get in the trunk!”

“I see, this is an abduction, is it? Alrighty then. Watch the clutch, it sticks a little bit.”




“Get out.”

“Certainly. What a super warehouse you have here.”

“Shut up! Sit over there.”

“You betcha.”

“I said shut up!”

“You betcha.”

“Roll up your sleeve.”

“What are you injecting me with? Not poison, I hope. Well, if you were going to kill me, I suppose you would have done it by now.”

“Shut up!”

“Pardon me for saying so, but I think you might want to look at your need for silence.”

“Shut up! Shut up! Listen! Everything your so-called democratic leaders have told you is lies. They don’t want you to know the truth.”

“Oh, this is a brainwashing? Neat! Please, go ahead.”

“Capitalism is—”

“What was that you gave me, sodium pentothal? It’s making me sleepy. Forgive me if I nod off.”

“Shut up and listen! Capitalism is nothing more than a system of oppression.”

“Really? Nothing more? That’s a bit much, don’t you think?”

“I talk, you listen! Capitalism breeds materialism and inequality!”

“That’s a fair point.”

“There is no American dream! The poor and oppressed will always be poor and oppressed!”

“I can see how you would feel that way.”

“The ‘free’ market is nothing more than an apparatus to generate more wealth for the wealthy! The only solution is violent revolution!”

“You think? I mean, I can appreciate your point of view, but I wouldn’t go that far…”




“Now repeat that back to me.”

“If I understand you correctly—”

“No! Repeat it! Just repeat it!”

“Hey, I respect your feelings, and I want to do justice to your opinion, but I wouldn’t put it quite the way you did. Allow me to paraphrase…”

“No, no, forget it, just… just… close your eyes and count to a thousand.”

“You betcha. Have a nice day! One, two, three…”

Matthew T. Clements is an economics professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. He has recently started writing fiction in various forms and also blogs at

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