Reading Time: 2 minutes

You’ll never notice me.


Because I keep to myself. Eyes always lowered, back stiff and straight, hands clasped in the prayer posture. It’s my way of saying – I’m unconcerned by your presence. My world is me, and I like it that way.

But do you notice that I’m extra still, not a twitch nor a quiver, not even an over-exaggerated sigh, or a shift of my finger.

Again why?

The lesser the movement, the more the quiet, the much better I can listen.

Yes, listen.

That’s what I do. And you presume that I’m some sad, boring stranger.

I feed off your words and keep them in a vault. My mind is a cash register, but money isn’t its concern. The value of your conversation makes me richer, exciting the urge to know more and sink deeper and deeper.

But it’s not my dirty job. It’s yours.

You provide me with whatever you want to. And I’m happy and satisfied, giving you your space to chatter on and on. Would you be so free with your words if you knew I was eavesdropping on you?

Yes, you heard it right. Eavesdrop.

To me it’s not something new. I’ve been doing it since I was two. You wonder how. Even my parents would have never guessed that.  

There’s something so fulfilling in listening in. It’s unmarked territory, a half-baked mystery, and the surprises never cease to amaze me.

Dirty jokes, risky rumors, family secrets, useless humor. Her daughter, his mother, the pervert professor, and sexy gardeners.

Never knew freshly mowed lawns could be so risqué.

I relax every muscle, open my ears, and expand my range of hearing.

It’s possible.

Haven’t you ever zoned out? Drowning out the irrelevant, solely focusing on distinct voices. They come to you like well-trained pets.

So, what do I stand to gain? Not too much.

A pound of glee, several ounces of gratification.

And a shiny badge of ‘Silent Participant’ in someone else’s private discussion.

The old man’s funeral should have brought closure. But his son will never forget the dying man’s last words – No Mercy To Be Shown.


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41 Comments on “The Silent Participant – Flash Fiction Story

  1. Lol, I love how you made ‘eavesdropping,’ the best thing in the world to do. Fantastic narration, now I shall not succumb to that guilty pleasure!
    Thanks so much my dear friend for highlighting the scholarship – you are a gem. Will keep in touch my email – shobana

    • It is a sinful pleasure. Not doing much harm I guess. 🙂
      And thank you for all your support. It was my pleasure. Hope the word spreads. Yes, will be in touch. 🙂

    • Fun stuff! I love eavesdropping because no one ever notices. This made me think of the janitor from The Breakfast Club while I was reading it.

      • Thank you so much, Tony! It’s really quite fulfilling. Yeah, a few characters do come to mind. Not many can resist the irresistible charm of eavesdropping. 🙂

  2. I suspect all of us have been surprised at some point by how risqué newly mown lawns are!
    Good work, Terveen 🙂

  3. I like this very much and understand it fully: I wrote a poem decades ago on the same topic, it’s in one of my books.It’s about time it got an airing; thanks to you, it will 🙂

  4. ‘There’s something so fulfilling in listening in. It’s unmarked territory, a half-baked mystery, and the surprises never cease to amaze me’


  5. Looks like someone’s been reading a page out of my diary, only I don’t have to pretend to pray to go unnoticed. Once you reach a certain age, you gain a new superpower: invisibility. It’s tough for some, but works for me just fine as I am a collector of stories.

    I’m going to state the obvious by saying “Wonderful job” but you already know this, and judging by your comment section, more people than I have told you this.

    Keep fighting the good fight, and writing the good write!

    • Thanks a lot, Rhyan!
      Your words and support mean a lot.
      And age has nothing to do with it. I like blending into the background myself. It’s great for feeding that creative vibe. Keep to yourself (much wisdom in this) and see and hear all, and flavor up some smoking stories.
      What else does a person need? 🙂

  6. A fantastic story, as always, Terveen. Something we’ve all done, yet I love the way you write about the eavesdropper standing in their reality of doing so without shame, etc. Excellent. 😊

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  8. I could really relate to this story – at school, I’d get ignored by the students a lot, sometimes it felt like I was invisible. It would hurt to be alone so much but I found quiet ways to pass the time – when I wasn’t reading or writing, I was listening. Sometimes being invisible came in handy because it allowed me to closely observe my classmates without anyone really noticing. I’d observe as they talked and played, take in all of the relationship drama, and just generally be still and learn from what I saw. I’d then base characters in some of my stories on the interesting people I listened to or the interesting parts of human nature I observed. Sometimes I wasn’t so discrete and would create fun ‘parody stories’ for everyone to read. People at school like those ones because they’re often comedic and true to form – I once wrote a fantasy book with everyone in the class as mystical creatures, I later did a superhero story with all of my classmates as superheroes and the teachers as supervillains. I see it as making a positive, fun project out of a rather sad reality I have to live through. Anyway, long story short, this tale reminded me of that. Also, I really liked the cash register metaphor 😊

    • Wow! I’m so glad you took such a positive approach and converted your loneliness into something creative. Stories are you and me and the world around us. Blessed are those who can put down in words their thoughts and feelings with a twist of active imagination. It’s important to always gain from every situation, no matter how grim.
      I’m sure you must have written wonderful stories which were fun to read.
      Just keep moving forward with positive thinking and determination. There’s nothing you can’t achieve once you set your mind to it.
      And keep those ears and eyes open. There are so many stories unfolding. Thank you so much dearest Simone! 🙂

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