Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz September 28, 2011 - 7:41pm

August+September Flash Me! :

  • 1,000 Words or less
  • Prompt: Germs
  • Prompt alternate: Medical Miracle

Prize: Hawthorne Books Catalogue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Me!

 

 

 

 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading September 29, 2011 - 1:29am

We were aware — we observers, gossips, politely interested, all of us in some way intrigued at least — of a reluctance on his part, a desire to stay away, clear away, completely free from her. And that made us wonder. I wondered. I saw him in those silly sweatshirts, orange, red, attracting much more attention than he seemed comfortable with, and I wondered why he stayed away from her. Her name was Marjory Smith and Smith was a boring surname and he could change that. Marry her or something. But it never happened. They never spoke in public, never crossed paths, though Pete from the Stockton Hotel swore on his mother’s grave (a nice ample flowery grave not far from my own father’s boring dirty grave), he swore on his mom’s grave they rented a room at the Stockton and spend afternoons there when the town was at its busiest and nobody knew where anyone else was.


We knew, well, we believed anyway, that someday they’d get together, that eventually he’d cave and walk into the Dog’s Litter and order some fancy beer and say, “I have been fucking Marjory Smith for over a year in secret and today I proposed to her. I thought you should all hear it from me first.” And we’d say, “Well, that’s no surprise. Everyone suspected it. Why’d you stay so silent about the whole thing? Why’d we never see you two out together?” And he’d explain. Some fascinating story. Perhaps her father hadn’t approved, but now that he was finally dead, it no longer mattered. Perhaps he’d left a wife behind in some other town — couldn’t put it quite past him, knowing him, knowing how secretive he was — and had finally found the guts to say, “Fuck it, I’m making you my wife and the other bitch means nothing to me.” “So you’re going to make her into a Marjory Fisher,” someone would say, and he’d shrug, “Fisher is at least five percent less common than Smith, anyway.” And he’d buy everyone around a round.


But Fisher was hiding something from us. And it turns out the reason we never saw them in public was not that they were fucking each other silly under everyone’s nose. This Fisher enigma-man was not fucking Marjory Smith. In fact, he was a zombie, and he ate us all.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz September 29, 2011 - 5:15am

Zombie Smith!

 


Phil, I love it. Thanks for giving the thread some ummph write out of the gate. I particularly like the shocking surprise ending.

Your Flash Award:

 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading September 29, 2011 - 6:36am

Ha. I have a habit of coming up with unsatisfying resolutions...

Just ask my girlfriend!

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz September 29, 2011 - 7:43am

Ok. Give me her digits and we'll see if we can resolve that issue.

So Joshua Chaplinsky's Cavalcade-of-literary-jerks-part-1 pointed out this brilliant piece of flash-ulence:

 

At every fuck I gave you your shameless tongue came bursting out through your lips and if I gave you a bigger stronger fuck than usual, fat dirty farts came spluttering out of your backside. You had an arse full of farts that night, darling, and I fucked them out of you, big fat fellows, long windy ones, quick little merry cracks and a lot of tiny little naughty farties ending in a long gush from your hole. It is wonderful to fuck a farting woman when every fuck drives one out of her. I think I would know Nora's fart anywhere. I think I could pick hers out in a roomful of farting women. It is a rather girlish noise not like the wet windy fart which I imagine fat wives have. It is sudden and dry and dirty like what a bold girl would let off in fun in a school dormitory at night. I hope Nora will let off no end of her farts in my face so that I may know their smell also.

-James Joyce.

.'s picture
. September 22, 2012 - 6:51am

EDIT

.'s picture
. October 1, 2011 - 1:28pm

oops, I should have read the word count first. sooorry.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 1, 2011 - 2:04pm

That is what editing is for! And I will be back in a bit, runnin' to the store to knock up a Watermelon.

 

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 1, 2011 - 2:49pm

i havent done this in a while, and my old one's werent that impressive considering how much my voice has changed. but one of them did cause me to write this. so here ya go.

 

The things you don't forget are weird. You'll never forget the smell of those aluminum Jiffy Pop bags on fire, but you'll wake up one day and forget the name of the first girl who went down on you, or let you stick your middle finger between her thighs... or both.


Was that the same girl?

What the hell was her name?

Her eyes were blue, though. That piercing cold, glowing demonic kind of blue that sucks you in, even in photos so old the chemicals are breaking down and everything is turning red from the edges in. Burning like an old aluminum pan of Jiffy Pop on the stove, until nothing is left but the stink of something forgotten for just a second too long.

This is old age; dementia.

This is how you talk to yourself: like you're someone else.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 1, 2011 - 3:42pm

Late Again

 

-

The phone rings, he reaches out from under the sheets.

“Dammit Gary, this is the third time you’ve been late this week, what the hell is going on?”

“I’ll be there in a second” and he hangs up, he knows that the lecture can wait until he gets down to the shop.

He looks over at the empty space in his bed, he frowns. He used to wake up on time every morning, like a machine.

What’s the point?

Gary slides into his jeans quickly, sprays the sort of body spray that all of the ads claim will provoke the adoration of swarms of women. Gary knows better than that, he pulls on his shirt.

Gary used to eat breakfast. Gary used to wake up early and make breakfast for two, all before he went to work, dutifully, on schedule.

What’s the point?

Gary pulls out of his driveway onto Coronation Street. He is not a highly educated man, but a stoner friend of his had once subjected him to a series of youtube videos about quantum mechanics. They had claimed that a stream of electrons behaved differently depending on whether it was being observed or not.

His stoner friend had asked him, “Isn’t that like… trippy man?”

Gary was completely sober; he had no thoughts on how “trippy” it was. But he could sympathize with the electrons.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 1, 2011 - 4:46pm

Nice.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 1, 2011 - 6:17pm

I love flash, if you ask me it is the future of the short story genre, a flash piece, in my experience, is never so long that you tell the reader what is right and wrong, but it has the capacity to be sharp enough to make them think about it for themselves.

http://twinenterprises.com/the_fear_of_monkeys/issue_eight/and_justice_for_all.htm

That's another one of my flashes, and it highlights another nice thing about flash. I love to make stencils of that story, it totally fits on reasonable single sheet style stencils and then you can tag it all over your town. And people have time to read it when they pass by, it's only a couple of short paragraphs.

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 1, 2011 - 6:56pm

Dodging Demons

(c)2011 Apple Ardent Scott Originally posted: 8/26/11 Here

   The dark can be a comforting respite from the danger lurking on every corner under the sun, so Joshua Nixon spent his days trying to keep his eyes shut. He spent his nights walking the security circuit at the old folks’ home on Hiestand Road. His tin badge offered little protection from trespassers, but the darkness lay like a bulletproof shield over the grounds, preventing his enemy from launching a surprise attack. What he couldn’t see…couldn’t hurt him.
   Josh grew up in Potters Hollow, Indiana. He cowered in the branches of the pear tree in the back yard when his father came home brandishing a leather belt, yelling with his stinking beer breath about a bike in the driveway. He whimpered under the covers when he heard his mother enter his bedroom in the middle of the night. He shrank away when her greasy cheek pressed against his, and held his breath when her cheap perfume blanketed his nose. He closed his eyes, and his mind, and didn’t feel the sting of the belt or the perverse caresses. He ran away when he was fourteen. He just packed a bag, lit the house on fire and left. They tried to follow, but he kept running. The thing about dodging demons, though, is that someday you’ll misread things, dodge the wrong way and get a face full of hurt.
   After half a lifetime of not looking at what haunted him, Josh spent his days sleeping, a good excuse for not answering the phone or the door. He spent his nights working, a good excuse for not answering social invitations. His walk from checkpoint to checkpoint gave him a purpose, and something to think about other than the demons that waited to devour him.
   Josh smelled the night air, cool and sweet. He paused to listen to the crickets. At 6:14 AM he counted thirty chirps in fourteen seconds, added forty to get seventy degrees fahrenheit, kicked a pebble toward the edge of the parking lot and eyed the glowing horizon. Seasons changing. Sunrise soon. Too soon. He turned toward the guard shack at the entrance, a long, curvy driveway strewn with pine needles in varying shades of brown, orange and green. The distance collapsed with every step. One, two, three, four… Josh counted his steps and increased his stride, but he still stepped across the threshold on number fourteen.
   The sun threatened to show itself and the urgency rose in Josh’s throat. He swallowed hard, but his heart stayed stuck, pounding right below his Adam’s apple. His breath thickened in his lungs and he swallowed gulps of the chalky air. With two hands to steady his shaky timecard, he clocked out on the third try. The morning crept in on golden fingers, reaching out to touch him while he wiped the sweat from his forehead. The receding shadows surrendered to the light and Josh took off like a racehorse at the starting gate. His black Civic sat in the guards’ lot to the east and Josh made it to the door in fourteen leaps. His mother laughed when he dropped his keys. He ignored her, picked them up, and slammed himself behind the steering wheel. The sky pulsed brighter as the sun made an official announcement of a new day. Josh tensed when he heard his father’s belt snap just outside the window. Tiny lights swam and danced behind his clenched eyelids, but he made it. He won. He dodged the demons one more time. With eyes closed, he pulled a blanket from the floor and slept in his bucket seat. The demons could laugh all they wanted. He wouldn’t look, and they wouldn’t get in.

*a bit over 500, but, yeah.

A. Mason Carpenter's picture
A. Mason Carpenter from USA is reading The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell October 1, 2011 - 7:06pm

I present my shortest flash fiction ever.  When stories get compressed to their barest essentials, they tend to become very much like jokes.  Case in point.

 

Harold was a confused boy.  His mother told him to put down the dog and come to dinner.  He shot the dog in the face with his dad's .45 and said, "Okay, Mom, what's for supper?"

 

See, sounds like a joke, even though it is a very sad story.

Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Soul Consortium by Simon West-Bulford October 1, 2011 - 7:50pm

I actually like that one very much. 

Nathan's picture
Nathan from Louisiana (South of New Orleans) is reading Re-reading The Soul Consortium by Simon West-Bulford October 1, 2011 - 7:57pm

Reality Game Show Contestant

His flesh through the fur is soft, but tough, like biting into an uncut kiwi. Grainy innards, wet blood clumps –an earwax taste.

My forced swallow becomes a clogged drain. 

Looks like the gag wins.

But wait! What’s this?

Bile chunks and baby rat are kept down with one fierce gulp. The crowd goes wild.

I did it! I’ve qualified for the final challenge –my ultimate dream come true!

I turn to the camera and wave. 

Hi, Mom!

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 2, 2011 - 2:32am

 

The door to the 24 hour Walmart was closed.  The lights were off.  Jordan was confused.

 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 2, 2011 - 2:43am

This one is a little longer. Apathy is Easy is now defunct, so since I can't link it there theoretically you can still get the .pdf

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 2, 2011 - 11:15am

I slept the whole afternoon today. I slept through 2 classes I should of been in. It was nice to finally sleep regardless of the consequences after being up for over 24 hours and working.

When I awoke around 9pm, I showered and checked my e-mails. Then after awhile of reading latest news articles about the war games in North Korea; I decided to text my friend who told me what he was doing and proceeded to not text back after I asked him if he wanted to go out for a drink.

I killed a couple hours on the internet just like anyone would have. Chatting on Social networks and Instant messenger services with friends. Around midnight, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day and started trying to think about where I should go. The closest place that was open this late was of course a McDonald’s. Not really a fan of over processed food cooked by snotty teenagers, but my stomach said to go anyway.

I ordered my food. The only things I find worth eating there anyway, because if you are going to eat at a capitalistic shit hole like McDonald’s you should always order off the dollar menu. Never give them too much money and be smart enough to figure out that their higher priced items are made of the same crap as the ones targeted at poor people.

I pulled into a parking space. Unraveled my food and began eating while listening to the radio, because I forgot my mp3 player at home. It was some horrible rap song, that should be added into the hall of fame of musical cliché’s. It was the typical bitches ain’t shit, I got money, I’m better than everyone else, and you’ll never be as cool as me mentality based stuff. I suppose that's every rap/rock song on the radio. Congratulations on your fame and fortune, but you’re still a tool.

I finished eating and lit a cigarette; then just sat there soaking the last 8 hours of my life in. I sat on the computer, slept through my education, got ditched by a friend, ate the worlds most unhealthy food, while listening to the decline of self expression on the radio, and chased it down with a cigarette that will kill me someday, the same way it has killed millions.

I just sat there; smirking and thinking:
“This is America.”

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 2, 2011 - 11:24am

The engine of the car my father would've hated winds down to silence. I let the keys hang from the ignition, put my wedding ring in the glove compartment. In the rear-view mirror is my parents’ house.  It doesn’t look any different.

sue's picture
sue from the west coast of Canada is reading The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden October 2, 2011 - 11:29am

Journey

The toe pulled back too far as Mark wrenched Caroline’s foot in his rage at her latest failure. The snap of the bone ended their marriage. He watched blearily as his wife limped out the door, step after painful step, and his drunkenness too far gone to go after her. She took nothing, freedom came with no impedimenta. Even the poodle that had come in a fit of regret stayed, whining through the living-room window. A clear night spread out before her, the silence of the country road a blanket around her. She walked on, not aware of the gravel pricking her bare feet, or the ache of her broken toes. Life ahead of her was mystery, all choices were possible, but she contemplated only the peace of the dark and the quiet.

Daybreak brought suburbia, more houses, people running, and dogs out in their yards - life starting again. People’s eyes followed her, noticing the bare feet and bruises, but said nothing, not able to break through her shell of rage and grief. Her walk was endless with no destination except away, in her mind, as far away as she could manage. Eventually exhaustion forced her to stop and she allowed herself to think past road and feet and heat. There would have to be food and a place to sleep. Beyond that was no plan. The houses around her took shape and she noticed a comfortably old neighbourhood with worn houses and tidy yards. A little more walking and she stopped in front of a grey stucco house with rambling hedges and English flowers. Right on the sidewalk was a sign; it could have been made just for her, “Comfrey Root, Help Yourself.” Plant of safe journeys and healing of broken bones, she leaned down and took hold of her new life. 

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 2, 2011 - 12:50pm

@Nick: Agreed. 

@Apple-dapple: Go to the corner, I'm getting my belt for going over 500. Nice work.

@Mason: Funny how that works huh? I think I have some examples that remain edgy though, stay tuned.

@Nathan: Dude, that fucking rocks. I see you got something out of Zendercool's Haiku exercise.

@AlienDanny: At it's best flash accomplishes a lot with a little. Your flash did that. Imagination igniting.

@Nick: Great. I almost expected the guy to end up in a wheelchair himself. Character reminds me of some of Bradley Sands' characters.

@Laurance: Reads like a journal entry. Those make great flash, don't they?

@Gonzo: Brilliant. Sounds like they wouldn't approve of his bride either.

@ Sue: Wow. "she noticed a comfortably old neighbourhood with worn houses and tidy yards." -great line too.

*Is it too soon to say I love you guys?

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 2, 2011 - 2:11pm

To Chester:

It was actually meant to be a short story but came out that way. It used to be my opening post for a blog I deleted. It ended with "My name is Laurance and welcome to my blog; prepare to be offended." Haha, figured it would scare off the close-minded and bring in the like-minded audience.

*No, I love you.

A. Mason Carpenter's picture
A. Mason Carpenter from USA is reading The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell October 2, 2011 - 4:17pm

The coffee stained man sat, hungry in his smokey trailer.  Random digital love radiated from his monitor.  The universe around him hummed with content mathematical syncopation. I should, he thought, get back to work.

.'s picture
. October 2, 2011 - 7:43pm

The click of the hammer being pulled back echoed in Sean's head like yelling into a cave. His hand shook as he stuck the beretta in his mouth and closed his eyes. The gun tasted like nickels and Sean tried to imagine death as the ultimate orgasm as to fool himself of what he was doing. The theme song to American Dad! blaired from his tv and after Sean watched the new episode his insanity cleared and he decided to masturbate before reading a chapter of Carrie.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 3, 2011 - 12:29am

@jacks   ---nice. lol

Helical Claimer's picture
Helical Claimer from Canada is reading American Psycho October 3, 2011 - 4:15pm

“Here’s the thing,” He began, “I really don’t think you understand what I’ve been trying to tell you.”  He just assumes I have no clue, why?  Because I’m young, he says, because I don’t know what I’m talking about, he thinks, because I haven’t really experienced life yet, he screams.  He continues, wanting to argue, thriving with every sentence, with every punctuation.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 4, 2011 - 7:11am

It's 700ish words (sorry to break rules), but I wrote it last night.
Hope you like it!

My Parasitic Companion, A Twisted Love Story
by Laurance Kitts 

I began to wake myself up. First I turned my head all the way to the left, and then to the right; sending synaptic energy down my spine into all of the nerves throughout my body. Then I stood up and put one foot in front of another. Taking steps toward the kitchen.

Once inside the kitchen, I reached into a cabinet containing various glass wares of different sizes. I chose a shorter one with a wider mouth to allow bigger drinks. Then turned around to open the freezer; removing ice cubes to drop into my short wide mouthed cup. Moving at a steadier more wide awake pace to the sink where I filled the cup with the basis of all life out of the faucet.

The water was cool and went smoothly down my throat clearing what felt like a clog that had stopped me from producing words up until this point. I could feel the difference in me it was making, cell regeneration from a full night’s sleep followed by hydration. It's a beautiful thing. My stomach felt empty, frozen pork burritos.

Afterwards, I showered to remove the billions of dead skin cells that had gathered on me overnight. Folded up neatly waiting for me to put on were clothes cleaned of all the activities they had been through. I put them on and checked my messages on my phone; then my computer. Finishing conversations started the night before and sparking up new ones. There was nothing to do or planned for the day, so I just sat around waiting on something to happen.

"How refreshing." I thought, before going back to bed.

I awoke with an astounding headache unlike any I had before. This one was bizarre in that the pain came from the center of my brain and seemed to radiate pain to the outer regions of my mind. I stopped with the usual routine and went for a cup of coffee and Advil.  It wasn’t a caffeine headache and the over the counter pain prescriptions only did so much.

The headache continued to hang around for weeks and weeks until the sickness worsened. I developed a cough that grew increasingly worse as the days went on. Lying on a couch; talking to people within the world of internet. Tissues were located nearby in case of another hacking fit; eventually they would begin, each time a little worse than the next. Uncontrollable coughs, tissues with blood spots; could it be that fate has finally come looking for me?

The days went on, followed with more blood and guttural coughing. My headaches were like a hole in the brain, but continued to radiate pain at an increasing level. Interestingly enough the pain changed my thinking. Sometimes I would think so hard that the pain was unnoticeable. I was thinking at an unnaturally higher level than the humans I kept around me.

It was a gift, it changed everything. It improved my writing, making pen strokes to later use as cannons, my conversations, my ability to solve mathematical equations, I was reading, and retaining everything I came across on a daily basis; for once I was even feeling real emotions that my genetic write up had refused me of partaking.

I was dying and falling in love with everything. Doctors gathered the scan photos, puzzling looks upon all of the white coats. “Looks like a tumor growth.” On an operating table they revealed the truth; I was sleeping, but when I awoke there was a peace in my mind and they ruined everything.

“You were taken hostage by a parasitic growth. There was a worm that had taken host. You were getting sicker everyday as the worm slowly ate away your brain, but you’re going to be okay.” The lab rat stated.

I fell back into normalcy, eating, sleeping, and completely uncaring to the people around me. I stopped thinking, just another damn boring human being.

To this day I’m surprised I wasn’t institutionalized on a follow up visit, when asking the doctor to put it back in the place he found it. My parasitic companion, he never finished eating the stupid parts of my being.

“That worm gave me the gift of meaning.” I said, “Now, I’m always just sleeping.”

Sarah Metts's picture
Sarah Metts from Rock Hill, SC is reading A Game of Thrones October 4, 2011 - 7:23am

Phantom Limb

“And there was nothing there.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothin’. He sits there, he tells me he’s ready to ride me in the rodeo, does a little neigh at me. I didn’t see a tent. I thought he was mini with a big ego- nothing new.”

“Were there scars or somethin’?”

“All I saw was a mound. I didn’t stare long. I didn’t want him to get offended.”

“What didya do?”

“I let him do what he wanted, went along with it. Easiest hundred bucks I’ve made.”

Stacy paused.

“Funny thing though. I swear I could feel it.”

She never got off again.

**

Originally posted here. Pondered phantom limb penis at 5 AM. Wrote this.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 4, 2011 - 11:52am

nicely done

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 4, 2011 - 11:58am

To Sarah Metts:

Good stuff, reminds me of a movie called Hedwig and the Angry Inch. 

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 4, 2011 - 12:32pm

Sarah, that story is very good.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 4, 2011 - 12:43pm

 

 A leave skitters and bounces and slides making the erratic sounds of little rat feet on the sidewalk. The park is an ever-changing mass. The same place with different species. A different ecosystem every few days, weeks, months. People come and people go. The leaves change and fall and grow again. Life carries on and forgets. Leaves that fell last year only look like the ones that will fall this year. The same but different and no one knows any better. No one remembers the leaves from last year.

It's this very thing, this tangent of mortality and the immortality of the world that she thinks of as the leaves fall and dance by. No one even looks. Death doesn't mean anything to them. Everyone is immortal after all. Until that is they hear the word cancer, or someone puts a gun up to their heads. She muses over this and ponders her own life as a brown curl of a leaf tip-tapping just underfoot. Everyone notices life and death at some point. But then they forget.

This is what her grandfather said was when your childhood ended.

The second you know you are going to die you lose something and then you spend your whole life running from it and looking for what that thing was. Something you didn't even know to look for until you didn't have it. A fear of death, her grandfather said, is only human because for some reason humans want to think they are worth enough for the world to care. Humans, her grandfather said, are narcissistic awful little creatures who think the world is theirs.

Men and women in business suits hurry by, their dress shoes clicking on the pavement. The leaf still isn't noticed, but neither is it crushed by anyone. Her mind marvels as the seemingly playful thing darts and jumps and toys with the giant legs of things that don't care where they step. In and out up and down. The wind seems to give it instincts and emotions.

Her grandfather would have said death is just what you do when life gets old. You never really go anywhere, Little One. When I die, He said, I won't leave you. Heaven is a place, yes. But you don't have to go. You can choose to stay. You can choose to watch over the ones you loved in life until it is their time. Death he said is only the beginning of something else entirely.

Wind picks up the little leaf and it sails skyward and drops lazily back down like confetti. The little breezes of people walking move it, and throw it just enough to where it does not hit anyone, but it comes just so close. Like a ghost who wants to reach out and let you know it's there, but some temporal law keeps it from actually making contact. Eventually the leaf resumes it's circular steps around the park. Life moves on around it. Dead but still moving.

Today her doctor said cancer.

500 words from six years ago when i did writing prompts every afternoon....

pathetique's picture
pathetique from Seattle is reading Dead Stars October 4, 2011 - 1:50pm

I love flashy flash! I love what you guys are doing! I'll write something for the thread, but I've already wasted too much time here at work.

I'm a fan of Dogzplot. Here's a thing that they posted of mine. And here's the first flash I published.

Sarah, I love your phantom limb penis.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions October 5, 2011 - 6:01am

Rock, Scissors

 

Every moron throws rock every time; a mouth-breathing missive straight from our cave DNA.  That's why paper's always the smart play.  Always.  Until the shark-suited swindlers arrive flashing their spa-groomed scissors.  Think they can out-think the thinkers, skip the work yet snatch the ring.  Nothing I hate worse.  I wanna see them swallow teeth.  That's why I throw rock.  Every time.

 

61 words?

 

 

Cameron Bartnik's picture
Cameron Bartnik from Perth, Western Australia is reading Brief Interviews With Hideous Men October 5, 2011 - 9:14am

I knew that girl once. If I was being honest with you, I'd tell you I loved her. But I'm not.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 5, 2011 - 5:29pm

‎"Why do you feel so secluded, so in between on everything?" My imaginary friend asked me.

"Well, you see I have this backpack. One side of it contains over 300 prescription pills, 3 bottles of Nyquil, a knife, a .357, and a farewell letter for every person I've ever met." I said.

"What's the other side have in it?" 

"Clothes, I want to go. I just don't know where to. You see this is why I don't care about things, I care too much. If I let any of you get close you'll wind up hurt in the end. Did you know I revise those letters everyday? I would feel so bad for having left anyone out. I want to start a revolution, I want to murder some people, I want to pack up and run as far as these feet will go, but I've also just given up. I want to leave Earth. People babble on around me about such mundane things, can you see why I really don't care?" I responded.

I never got a response, seems my own imagination wasn't much of a talker.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 10, 2011 - 7:21pm

@Claimer; Nice

@ Laurance...interesting but edit, edit, edit. Under 500. I challenge you to revise that beauty. Now the second piece is more like it!

@Sarah Metts. Love it.

@ MattF: very nice piece. 

@Cameron: I'm really starting to dig hyperflash.

Okay people, I just met these guys at Wordstock:

http://sledgehammercontest.com/

So get fcukkin hammerin'

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch October 10, 2011 - 9:38pm

I freewrote this where the thread said "freewrite" - but changing the last lines, I suppose now it's an edited piece. Nah, kidding, it's still as rough as can be and probably won't go anywhere either. Curious what you make of it.

 

I lost it. I don't have it anymore. I had it, I held it in the palm of my hand a few minutes ago, and now it's gone. The tendrils of my memory reach toward the sensation of holding it and the core of it is cold in my palm, a little thing, an almost insignificant weight. And yet...

Red and yellow leaves are painful to my eyes as I look down, trying to retrace my steps. It could be anywhere. I just had it... just a moment ago - an hour ago? Or was it yesterday? The early fall has poured brown honey on the streets, yet I will never rejoice again. I will never embrace the sweet chill of a cooling sun as the leaves trail behind the cars, in this quiet neighborhood. I cannot be here anymore if I don't find it.

"Hey! Hey!"

The boy's voice seems to emerge from among the large houses, but I can't see him. I have to run. Now they will know. As soon as they take a closer look at me, they will know.

"Stop!"

The shouts are getting closer. But can I run now, without finding it? There is urgency in my hesitant steps. I will run around the block, get them confused, jump a few fences. I'll come back to look for it. If anyone else finds it before me, I'm just dead. I'm the monster they want me to be. They'll tear me to pieces.

"That's the man?"

Those are the voices that look for me, and still I can't run away. The leaves, it has to be under the leaves. It seems like forever since I've come out of that one house, closed that one door and left all of me inside, after I made sure I was punished enough. I let him scratch me, tear at my clothes, I let him cut into my flesh with the scissors. My face is bleeding, still, with the blood of an hour ago, or was it a day ago? I've been wandering through these fall streets forever, it seems. I know that boy will tell them everything, and he will send them looking for his watch. The one I gave him, the one with my name engraved on the wrist band.

I will always come back.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 18, 2011 - 5:31am

Bump.

So, inspired by recent discussion on Litreactor and a pleasant forty-five minute train ride, I wrote the following extremely dark flash fiction piece today:

This will be a brief tale, because the affair was brief. I refuse to be too literary about it. The fact is that I am always sabotaging my chances at happiness, and now that all of this cute and romantic mediocrity is past, I can tell myself I am free, if nothing else.

There was a young woman I managed to fall for, a blonde, if that matters, but not stupid. She had a good enough collection of books, including some very strange, rusty paperbacks of the Shakespeare canon. I don’t know why that should have bothered me so much, but the rustiness appalled me. It was the first hint that I was losing the struggle against whatever was in me. “Books shouldn’t be rusty.”

“I found these in a metal crate when my father died,” she said. “It’s not like the paper’s rusty through some kind of magic.”

It didn’t matter at the time. We moved in together. She wanted to keep her books with mine. She said it was only natural to keep books together.
“But my books are my books.”
“They’ll still be your books.”


To be clear: I did love her. I wanted to make her happy, or at least to see her smile because of me once or twice a day. It was all kind of cute and mostly meaningless, the way love is when it’s new and kicking in the womb. So we put the books together. Soon we had a nice little library.


Her favorite novels were Wuthering Heights, which is fair, and The Gospel of John. “That is not a novel,” I informed her.
“Yes, it is. It’s not non-fiction.”
“It’s from the New Testament. It’s not a novel.”
“Well, it is.”
“I predates ‘the Novel’ by millennia.”
“If I don’t read it as a novel, I can’t read it at all. So I read it as a philosophical novel, and then I enjoy it a good deal.”
“So St John was like Sartre to you.”
“No, more like Cervantes.”


Again: I loved her, and didn’t want to upset her. So I said nothing else, and had an enormous and perhaps hysterical rant running in my head for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a beautiful, ceremonial thing. We made love twice a day at least; the fluids and the sounds were love, the sweating and the panting were love, everything was love in the fullest and darkest, most rebellious sense. When she broke into tears over trivial things, the way I had sworn no woman I could love would ever do, I comforted her. I held her hand. I made her laugh occasionally, something I am proud of still. I was never very good at making others laugh.


The library bothered me, though. I didn’t want our books together. Perhaps, probably, I felt superior to her. She called the Book of John a novel. She had never managed to read Moby-Dick, because she thought it was meant for men and men only. Her prejudices ran as deep as mine. I couldn’t read Jane Austen because of whatever. She couldn’t read Cortázar because of whatever else. We disagreed on all the things that should have brought us intellectual pleasure. I woke up one morning with the feeling, a vague and indeterminate awareness, that I had dreamed for hours of raping her while lecturing her on all the novels she should read. It was a matter of pride, narcissism, and a burgeoning lust for something she could not give me.


Because I had fallen in love, my sense of who I was had widened and narrowed at the same time. When she was cheerful, I was irritated. When she wasn’t, I spent my energy trying to make her feel better again. By the time I knew how to predict her mood swings, I knew I loved her more profoundly than I had ever loved anyone, because she didn’t quite bore me even after a few months.


But the books. How to accept seeing my books next to hers, or between hers, or on top of hers, or open and lying next to hers, or in between her pretty little hands? What if she noticed my inscriptions, my underlinings, and began to understand what had shaped me, the things I had found worthy of my time, the aphorisms worth circling in case someday their wisdom might come in handy? What if she somehow managed to piece me together simply by knowing what I’d read, what I’d noted in the margins as the observations came to me, what pages I’d torn out of otherwise impressive novels because the author had just this once managed to fuck up his prose or because my greedy grubby little hands had smeared the pages so badly that the words became illegible and God forbid anyone see the stains and the smudges and the scribbles when all of this was mine now, this was my text, this was my novel and the original author was dead and only I could truly know what had happened to those pages I had ripped out and shredded up to keep my wisdom a secret? She was in that unenviable but fascinating place, she could see through my eyes and read my mind simply by figuring out why certain words were crossed out, why the margins contained or didn’t contain references to other books (this made me think of that, Faulkner is clearly not aware that this did not actually happen in the French trenches, where the hell did Sancho Panza’s mule come back from — I thought it had been stolen) so fuck her, she had no right and probably no inclination but more importantly no right to be going through my intellectual history, there for her to rifle through and scrutinize and somehow get me and what I was about, what sense I had made of the world, what mattered to me beyond her.


I said this would be a brief tale. Let me end, then, by explaining why I had to end things with her. Love is opening up, removing stiches prematurely, letting the wound tremble in the sunlight. I didn’t want to open up quite as much as the sharing of our books demanded. But there was more than my idea of myself at stake. One day, I found her reading the book of recipes that I’d taken from my grandmother’s house, the book with pictures of cakes and millefeuilles and pies, my grandmother’s kitchen-life and my only memory of her — and I never much cared for anyone in my family, so this is doubly strange — and I screamed. It all got too much, maybe. Now she could see not just my trajectory, but my grandmother’s. Now she had access to my thoughts and those to whom I owed my life. She knew which recipes my grandmother had circled with a huge marker because they’d been such a success. She could interpret it all, could guess which cakes I had eaten as a child, could see the crumbs that had slipped into the abyss between each couple of pages, could even, if she wanted, put the crumbs to her mouth and taste the past.


So I almost, but not quite, but almost, grabbed the nearest book, a conveniently thick hardback, probably Melville, probably Moby-Dick, and lifted it way up over my head before bringing it back down onto her skull with a crack and a spurt of blood that sprayed against my face and blinded me for a few red seconds. I almost bashed her with my copy of Moby-Dick until her nose had sunk into her face so deeply that the roof of her mouth had been torn in the process. I almost yanked out every page of Ishmael’s classic narrative and force-fed them to her. I almost sat down the floor next to her blood-gushing convulsing body and explained to her, in the most controlled voice I could muster, why the fuck she should stop calling the Book of John a novel. It’s not a novel. I love you, and I respect you, but you really sound like an idiot when you try to sound clever like that. It’s not a novel. It’s part of the New Testament. It’s probably the most beautiful Gospel. It calls into question a lot of the assumptions you might make while reading the other three. Calling it a novel doesn’t make you sound like you know what you’re talking about. It just betrays a profound ignorance of literary history. And to be honest, I don’t really believe you when you say it’s one of your favorites. I don’t get the impression you mean it. Maybe you do. But if you’re just saying it to sound sophisticated, you don’t need to try and impress me. I like who you are, and I don’t care if your favorite novel is Wuthering Heights. Why should I care? I’m happy with you. We don’t have to play intellectual games. Let’s just, oh, come here. I love you and you don’t need to cry about this. Emily Bronte is a perfectly good choice. Let’s not get upset about this.

Gareth's picture
Gareth from Melbourne is reading Franz Kafka October 18, 2011 - 5:52am

They left the party in separate cars, the same taste between their lips.  They drove in opposite directions listening to different songs that, in time, would mean the same loss.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 18, 2011 - 6:47am

“If I don’t read it as a novel, I can’t read it at all. So I read it as a philosophical novel, and then I enjoy it a good deal.”
“So St John was like Sartre to you.”
“No, more like Cervantes.”

 

Smiles everyone, smiles.

 

The library bothered me, though. I didn’t want our books together. Perhaps, probably, I felt superior to her. She called the Book of John a novel. She had never managed to read Moby-Dick, because she thought it was meant for men and men only. Her prejudices ran as deep as mine. I couldn’t read Jane Austen because of whatever. She couldn’t read Cortázar because of whatever else. We disagreed on all the things that should have brought us intellectual pleasure. I woke up one morning with the feeling, a vague and indeterminate awareness, that I had dreamed for hours of raping her while lecturing her on all the novels she should read. It was a matter of pride, narcissism, and a burgeoning lust for something she could not give me.


Beautiful Philbert.

And this:

 Love is opening up, removing stiches prematurely, letting the wound tremble in the sunlight.

And this made me cheer:

 

One day, I found her reading the book of recipes that I’d taken from my grandmother’s house, the book with pictures of cakes and millefeuilles and pies, my grandmother’s kitchen-life and my only memory of her — and I never much cared for anyone in my family, so this is doubly strange — and I screamed. It all got too much, maybe. Now she could see not just my trajectory, but my grandmother’s. Now she had access to my thoughts and those to whom I owed my life. She knew which recipes my grandmother had circled with a huge marker because they’d been such a success. She could interpret it all, could guess which cakes I had eaten as a child, could see the crumbs that had slipped into the abyss between each couple of pages, could even, if she wanted, put the crumbs to her mouth and taste the past.

 

Way to up the stakes.

Shit, I can't wait till this quote tool gets repaired.

Loved this Phil, 

Even if you did rape the word count. He-He. 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 18, 2011 - 6:44am

Thanks man. I'm pretty happy that I spent my train journey doing something semi-productive, at least.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 18, 2011 - 6:49am

Totally productive. This is a keeper. I'd like to see you take it further. Good job. 

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 18, 2011 - 6:52am

@Gareth:

Nice hyperflash. From mingling saliva lip residue and the warmth of that to the frigid depths of eternal nostalgic solitude. Nice work.

From downundah!

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 18, 2011 - 7:10am

I rape word counts because I want to start an empire.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch October 18, 2011 - 7:25am

I was smiling as I read it - it's great! I had to giggle at the idea that Moby Dick is for men only. The only thing - is it plausible that you can do that with a book? Well if he was really strong, why not.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 18, 2011 - 7:34am

With a good book, you can make anything happen.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 18, 2011 - 7:47am

Vraj, are you insinuating that Moby Dick is also for the dickless gender? But it says dick right in the title. Oh, wait. Giant mammals named Dick. Of course, Melville intended its girth for women. 

Cue drum solo.

I can't help but wonder if Phil's sweet story was somehow inspired by my little splat over in the Bad Writing thread. Either that or Phil and I were separated at girth.

 

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 18, 2011 - 8:30am

It was definitely inspired by the discussion in that thread, and several other threads around here. I like it when people have strong opinions.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch October 18, 2011 - 8:34am

The ocean, Chester, is a woman. Ahab was unable to leave the womb as he was chasing his father figure. Eh??