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A Brief History of Bad Love

Flash Fiction by Chris Bachelder

In the Era of Propriety and Reform, bad love became a crime. Not a felony, not yet. That was not until later, in the Era of Vengeance and Redress, when the recklessly affectionate were incarcerated by the thousands, when scores of dark hearted youth were remanded to love education camps. In the Era of Propriety and Reform, bad love was punishable by a stiff fine and mandatory community service. There were not yet armbands to identify the bad lovers, no penal colonies for multiple offenders, no public hangings of the truly destructive amorists. Not yet. This would not happen until much later, after the Era of Vengeance and Redress, in the Era of Priggery and Hysteria. And then, much, much later, during the Lovers’ Revolution, when bad love was more bad, more dangerous, and more popular than ever before, when bad love had in fact become good, really damn good, better than ever, when subversive t-shirts and graffiti in fact boasted Bad love is the best love, the anguished lovers rose up against the state and made bad love once again free and legal, at which point it almost immediately ceased to be good and again became bad, completing a cycle all too familiar to the student of history.

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Chris Bachelder is the author of Bear v. Shark: The Novel. He lives in Colorado Springs and teaches writing at Colorado College.

Reprinted from Ink Pot #5; available now

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