Rejection and fear of rejection are universal themes that plague the lives of all. As children, we desire not to have to fulfill certain obligations; we hope and dream that something will cause a disruption, that it will give us a pass from having to participate. The following flash fiction piece, “The Doorbell,” answers the question: “What if, as an adult, I chose something different?”
“The Winning Way” examines the slow, insidious chipping away of one’s own conscience through adherence to rigid belief systems, which provide a comforting certainty. It takes a hard look at what humans are willing to give up to feel connected, and how easy it is for us to fall prey to sinister ideas and beliefs when we are hungry, nearly starving with unmet needs. This story taps into a drama currently playing out in the world, as COVID-19 runs rampant, along with conspiracies. Many families are watching as vulnerable loved ones cleave to groups such as QAnon. They ask themselves, “How can they believe these things?” This story is a response to that question.
Whatever side of the political spectrum one falls on, we can all commonly agree that it’s problematic when a child is indoctrinated into the ‘wrong’ thought patterns, that they have been turned from the truth of the world. But, can we as a society, collectively come to a consensus regarding a few basic truths? There are commonalities that run through us all, uniting us as the human race — so why can’t we see them? Is living in peace with one another an unrealistic dream? If we are united by our need to stand up for what we believe to be true, can we ever see eye-to-eye if our beliefs never align?