Leaving Space for Empathy. Flash fiction by Peter J. Walsh

My Rice Krispies crackled in an ocean of milk, I’d a coffee to my hand, bread being burned alive nearby. These were some of the indulgences I came to take for granted as I entered into a jobless morning of no focus.
Plan out the window, would I start with Tetris or Netflix? Hold on, I’ll go have a look at the score.
Did I say that word? Score. Was that me, with the mindset of a psychopath? Yes, indeed psychopathy, the word held no empty accusation. Admittedly, I’d come to breeze over Corona Worldometer in my mornings to find out the current standings, after a while I began to view these stats with a certain detachment, I had gazed at them heartlessly as one might a league table or a financial spreadsheet.

‘Begad, that’s some result, US still on top,’ would I remark as I crunched into my Krispies.

No matter, it didn’t affect me. Sure I was fine.
And then a thought landed, enlightenment alighted and I knew to remind myself that the numbers weren’t just numbers, they were people at home up the walls or dying on hospital beds, people already dead and millions of more family members mourning for the loss, or sleepless in their worry. I wondered was I alone to be so cold, was there more of us cereal munching psychos out there, and then I forgot and went and did a crossword, buttered my toast. That was me and I supposed that that was people too. They didn’t believe in the truth of anything until it hit them in the face, until it was them on a gurney or their wives, their sons and daughters.

Aghh, I groaned, just my luck, getting all the words but one. 7 letters. Ends in y. And the milk was a little off as well. God, but weren’t these times a struggle.


Peter J. Walsh is currently in Thailand. He should be teaching but he’s writing and catching up on Narcos. He has a book he wants to finish.


  1. Brilliant

  2. Great piece and very true. We have to remember there are people behind the numbers. Very well written Peter. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the writing. You’re very good at it

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