Jose Hernandez Diaz ~ Three Flash Fictions

Mariachi in the City

A Mariachi walked in the city in the mid­dle of the day. He had a gold trum­pet at his side. His Mariachi suit and som­brero were black with gold embroi­dery and he wore a red bow tie. Every now and then, at red lights, he would play a lit­tle bit of the trum­pet. Sometimes peo­ple would clap. Sometimes they would just stand there in awe.

The Mariachi was on his way to meet his team, but he was late and lost in the city. He called the gui­tarist to ask for directions.

Where’s this funer­al? I thought you said it was on 17th Street?” the trum­peter asked.

It’s on 34th St and Lemon. You’ll have to hur­ry because it starts at 1:30,” the gui­tarist said.

I’ll be there on time!” the trum­peter said.

He hailed a taxi and they sped along to the funer­al. He smoked a cig­a­rette out of the win­dow as they skipped through town like a stone on a lake. The taxi was red, green, and white, like the Mexican flag, so he con­sid­ered it a good sign.

They arrived right on time. The trum­peter walked in the funer­al house play­ing “Un Puño de Tierra.” The son of the woman who was deceased began to sing along with the Mariachis. He closed his eyes most of the time as he sang. He sang well and more impor­tant­ly he hon­ored his mom. When he fin­ished, he gave the Mariachis a big hug and shed a few tears on their shoulders.

The next day the trum­peter received a text mes­sage from the gui­tarist. “We have a change of sched­ule today. We’re no longer per­form­ing at the bap­tism down­town. They can­celed. Instead, we’re going to meet at Nacho’s (the violinist’s house) and watch La Liga MX final. We could use a break, com­pa,” he said.

Sounds like a plan, com­pa!” the trum­peter replied. The Mariachi put his gold trum­pet back in its sil­ver case and got ready for the game. He was hop­ing for a León victory!


The Clown

A cir­cus per­former smoked a cig­a­rette on his lunch break. He had once been the lion tamer at the same cir­cus, but had been demot­ed to Adjunct Clown. He looked up at the thick clouds as he smoked. Spring is a tease, he thought. His red, blue, and yel­low suit clashed with the grey clouds in the sky.

When he fin­ished smok­ing, he put on his red nose and head­ed back to the cir­cus tent. What will I do today? He thought. Ride a tiny bicy­cle? Balloon tricks? Wrestle an alli­ga­tor? Or gen­er­al deviance? He decid­ed to do bal­loon tricks. First, he made a pig. It was soft, pink, and adorable. The audi­ence clapped. Then he made a giraffe. It was yel­low and had a neck longer than twice its body. More applause. Finally, he made a Tyrannosaurs Rex. It had a giant head, big feet, long tail, and tiny hands. He placed the T‑Rex on the floor and it start­ed to walk and growl. The audi­ence was amazed. They stood on their feet and clapped, loudly.

At mid­night, the clown clocked out and went home. He lived by the ocean where it’s always over­cast and gloomy. He made a green tea as soon as he got home. He sipped the tea as he read the local news­pa­per. In the back of the paper, he saw an ad announc­ing the cir­cus cal­en­dar. He was filled with pride. His jaw dropped as he gawked at the pho­to of the jug­gler, the acro­bat, the lion tamer, and him­self. That’s me! he said. It’s real­ly me! He put the paper on the fridge with a mag­net and went to bed.

The next day, he took the ad to Michael’s and framed it. He hung the frame in his garage where he prac­ticed his cir­cus tricks. He felt accom­plished and sat­is­fied and even decid­ed to quit smok­ing. Maybe I want to stick around for a while, he thought. He threw the box of cig­a­rettes in the trash can and went to work.


The Painter

A man looks out of a win­dow in the mid­dle of the day. No one is around. Only a stray dog and some rose bush­es. The man has the day off from his work at the library. He’s a clerk at a library down­town, but his pas­sion is painting.

His paint­ing style can best be described as a mix­ture of sur­re­al­ism and abstract expres­sion­ism. Since he has the day off, he decides to paint.

What shall I paint? He won­ders. Maybe “The Last Supper,” but post-mod­ern in the city. No, I think I’ve seen that before, he says. Maybe a game of bas­ket­ball at the park by a lake with a turquoise sun­set? Perhaps.

Finally, he decides to paint a self-por­trait. He paints him­self sit­ting by a win­dow, smok­ing a cig­a­rette, with his bull­dog Kafka. The sun is in the cor­ner of the paint­ing and is rep­re­sent­ed by a sun­flower. The man is wear­ing a black-and-white shirt with blue jeans. He holds his bull­dog with one hand. Kafka is wear­ing a pair of sun­glass­es. He titles the paint­ing, “Self-Portrait with Bulldog, Kafka, and Sunglasses.”

When he fin­ish­es the paint­ing, he has some soyri­zo with beans, tor­tillas, and a glass of water. Then he rides his long­board to the Venice Boardwalk and tries to sell the painting.

At first, it’s rather slow and he only receives a cou­ple gen­er­al com­pli­ments. It’s a gor­geous day weath­er-wise, though, so he tries not to sweat it. Eventually, an English teacher approach­es and kind­ly buys the paint­ing for $150. He thanks her, repeat­ed­ly, and then skates back home.


Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is from Southern California. His work appears in Bat City Review, The Cincinnati Review, Huizache, The Iowa Review, The Nation, The Progressive, Witness, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. His man­u­script was a final­ist for the 2018 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.