Category Archives: flash fiction

Dear Journal – A Little Worried About J.

Dear Journal,

I’m a little worried about J. He claims that the other night, he got a call from his ex-wife S. At least, the incoming number on his phone was his ex-wife’s but all he could hear on the line were garbled, guttural, glottal voices. He seems fairly certain that she almost never spoke like that.

What’s slightly odder is that he hasn’t been able to pay his bill for a couple of months, so his phone is actually cut off at the moment.

A quick phone call to Orange to check the line assured him that there had been no incoming calls to his phone from any of the afterlife territories, so at the very least, we can be certain that S. is still alive, or at least, that whoever was using her phone is.

Anya continues to find pieces of the dead. I continue to store them in the shed. J’s preoccupation seems complete, though… when I asked him if he’d noticed how strange the shed was getting, he asked me “what shed?” and then proceeded to tell me that we didn’t have a shed. I didn’t argue; it’s impossible to reason with someone who’s heart is causing them so much distraction.

Dear Journal – The Practical Joke

Dear Journal,

V. worried about J. now. He disappears for hours at a time after work. Sometimes he says that he’s been in his bedroom, thinking, but I know that’s not true because when I’ve looked in, he’s not there. Other times, he goes out into the rain with no coat on… he says he’s just going for a walk, but it always happens just after another of those damn phonecalls from his other-dimensional ex-wife.

On Sunday, I was sitting on my bed, reading a book, and had been for nearly two hours, when I got a little peckish for some of my special “dried meats”; you know the ones, dear Journal, the ones that I prepare myself and keep wrapped in wax paper in the driest nook of my walk-in cupboard. The ones that taste of lost loves.

I got up from the bed, scratched myself in the most anti-social of manners, and opened the door to said cupboard. Imagine my shock on finding J. in there, looking perplexed and a little sad.

I admit to losing my composure a little. I shouted:
“What the hell are you doing in there, J? I thought you were out? How long have you been in there?”

All he could say was “I thought I heard her” and “The rain washes all the trails away”, with that sad look on his face. It was a pretty long way to go for a prank; that’s my stance on it, Dear Journal. He must have stood there for hours, just to give me a fright. The least he could have done was look pleased with himself. I shushed him out of the wardrobe, I couldn’t have him dripping all over my clean clothes, and got him a towel… I don’t care if he does have a strange sense of humour, I still care about him catching a chill… and sent him on his way to his room.

Do you know, he’s so embarassed about that practical joke that he won’t even acknowledge it? He still claims, all these days later, that he had followed S’s trail to a door in a hidden wooded part of The Common, and the next thing he knew, I was ushering him out of my room. Pride, dear Journal, makes idiots of us all.

Elephant Words – “The Imaginary”

This week at Elephant Words, Xander Bennett posted a beautiful photo by Austin Andrews:

The Bowhunter

It was my turn to post today, and I did, but only just, ten or so minutes ago.

My piece is called “The Imaginary”:

CAPTION:
THE FOLLOWING PREVIEW HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR
ALL AUDIENCES

[Music: "Hoppipolla" by Sigur Ros]

[Studio Titlecards]

[CUT TO: Tracking shot of leafy suburb, colour saturated to look like the 80s.]

[The same suburb - we're now closer in on one garden. Two young boys, around ten years old, are running around, chasing each other.]

NARRATOR (V.O.):
When Nathan Ray was a boy, he had the best friend in the world…

[Close on the boys. One is pale skinned, blond and scrawny, stripped to the waist, the other darker, with Oriental features - his outfit more traditional or rustic, a small knife attached by thong to his waist. One catches the other, and they wrestle.]

[Close up on the boys faces, as they laugh and jostle.]

[CUT TO: The boys, a couple years older, walking through the darkened woods, sunlight shafting through the trees.]

NATHAN (O.S.):
It isn’t fair. How come you don’t get to go to school? I’ll miss you.

PAZU (O.S.):
I’ll still be here.

[Long shot of the woods, the sky darkening.]

PAZU (V.O.):
I’ll always be here.

I should say now, on the record, that I think what I’ve achieved this time is a fine validation of the hard and excellent work that the decent movie or TV trailer makers do, because basically, I make it look as hard as anything.

There’s a thread of deliberate parody in the piece, along with what I think is a really nice story, but I think they may get overwhelmed with the clunkiness and uncertainty of my dabbling with the format, which I tend to believe never gets scripted out normally anyway – falling instead to the skills of really quite talented editors instead.

Douglas and Xander do this stuff much better than I do, is what I’m saying.

But all that aside, it may divert you for a few minutes! I’d like to know what you think. You can read the whole piece here: http://elephantwords.co.uk/2008/07/15/the-imaginary/

Please comment either here, there, or in the forum thread attached to the piece.

Elephant Words – The Last Few Weeks

It occurs to me that I haven’t been linking out to my EW pieces very consistently at all, recently. Actually, I’m considering doing a series of short retrospectives over here, taking in seven weeks at a time, since the very beginning. That might be interesting. But in the meantime, here are links to the pieces I’ve done since the last time I linked out to one:

09/06/08 – Meat-Free

03/06/08 – Rudy Of The Lost Heart

28/05/08 – The Other One

22/05/08 – WTF Mortality

16/05/08 – Heaven And Earth

10/05/08 – Gray’s Anatomy