“Mr Bell? I’m Frederic Chopin. I’ve come for the… audition.”
“Come in, sit down please.”
“So what’s the gig, Mr Bell?”
“Look, Freddie, this telephone I’ve invented – thing is, now we need jingles, tunes that play when you’re hanging on the line for ages. Must be really short.”
“So they play repeatedly and get annoying. You do short stuff?”
“The Minute Waltz.”
“Too long. Do you have a Half-A-Minute Waltz?”
“A Demi-Minute Waltz? Sorry, no.”
“Can’t you play your Minute Waltz twice as fast?”
“Perfect – you’ve got the gig. It’ll sell like hot-cakes in the call centres.”
Now, then…my head spun around: which was it? Then was once now, wasn’t it? Need I start again? Thus I avoided writing my story–What lay behind this?
Now, then, this is a story about death. First the cat and then the printer, when will it be my turn?
Thus I brooded.
The cat could walk half way across a room, rest, walk the other half, rest, and make it to the box.
The printer could print fine but it sufferd from digital dementia which made it forget to say it was
done, ‘start the next job.’
Good advice, printer.
I slammed the magazine into the butt of the CIA-issue Walther PPK, pivoted to a combat stance and peered down the low-ceilinged room only yards north of Houston Street.
The Thug was 15 yards away; his .38 caliber detective’s staring me down.
I squeezed off shots in pairs tap-tap; tap-tap; tap-tap. They hit left-center chest in a circle smaller than a hockey puck. I smiled and fired a final round through his left eye for good luck.
“An easy grand,” I said, returning the pistol to Mick Doherty.
“You shoot like a girl O’Keefe,” he said.
“I’ll relay your compliments.”
“Well, what for? What are we doing, anyway?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked.
Slowly then, she ran her finger down the side of her glass. “You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Oh, come on, Peter.”
He turned to her. “No, Katie, I really don’t. Why don’t you tell me.”
She glanced behind her, to the other tables.
“Don’t you raise your voice at me.”
He took a breath. “I’m not. I just…”
“Oh, stop it. Just think, Peter. Just once…think. Can you do that for me?”
He looked away, past the tables, through the tavern window to the weak winter sunlight.
We hope you’re enjoying reading the stories and comments on this blog. Hard to believe our exercise is still going strong more than a year after its debut on LinkedIn, but we’re thrilled to be writing, all this time later.
This blog started not long after the LinkedIn discussion began. It contains many of the stories from LinkedIn, along with some responses.
As always, we remain strong on LinkedIn. The original Friday Flash Fiction discussion is available in the LinkEds and Writers group, and Emma’s separate Friday Flash Fiction group (with numerous smaller discussions) is online as well. If you haven’t already, stop by LinkedIn to see what’s new with us there.
We also have a dedicated website, at http://www.fridayflashfiction.com, featuring every story from LinkedIn–along with many others from writers who are not members of L.I. Please visit our website to read more (a new page on this blog will take you there), and to contribute a story or two if the mood strikes you.
Feel free to contact us on this blog anytime by posting to the main page, commenting on a story/post, or e-mailing (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’re eager to hear from you anytime.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my writing is dialogue-heavy, so this week I challenged myself to write something with zero speech.
A Rainy Afternoon by Russell Conover
Jill stared at the rain pouring against her house window, wishing the weather were nice enough for her to go outside and spend time with her friends. At age eight, rainy free afternoons are the pits.
She tried to think of something different to do. She was bored of her usual TV shows and video games, and her friends were likely stuck inside just like she was.
Suddenly, an idea came. She closed her eyes, sat back, and imagined herself laughing and cutting up with her pals. The image was vivid.
Not quite the same, but not too shabby, either.
Up. Down. In. Out. Suck. Blow. Pull. Kick.
And again. And once again.
And again. Once more.
Clench. Gasp. Stop!
‘Where’s the beach? I can’t see it.’
‘Can I stand? Where’s the sand?’.
Round and round and round.
‘I see it. I see it!’
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Pull. Kick. Pull. Kick.
‘How deep is it? What’s beneath me?’
‘What was that? Something stroked my leg, I’m sure.’
Roll. Pull. Kick. Roll. Whimper. Kick. Kick. Kick.
‘Oh thank God: my toes scraped the sand’.
‘Oh dear God: what’s that lump inside my costume?’
‘Oh: a beautiful big shell.’
“Roger!” Rita’s thick and muffled voice tried to invade his peaceful world. The staircase vibrated as she marched up. The door flung open, her frame filling the doorway. With one hand on her hip and the other pointing at him, she narrowed her eyes.
“Why didn’t you come down when I called you?”
“I didn’t hear you.”
Rita puffed out her cheeks, then let the pocket of air escape.
“Where’s my purse?”
Roger’s eyes widened with surprise. “You mean you’ve been calling me for the last twenty minutes so you could ask me about that?”
“So you did hear me!”
“You look bummed out, man—like you lost your last friend,” Andy said.
“Well,” Matt said, “I always get depressed this time of year.”
“Clinically? You mean, ‘afraid-to-leave-home-stop-eating-stay-in-bed-all-day’ depressed?’ No, just down, I guess.”
“Sounds manageable. Maybe you need a swift kick or just to get laid.”
“Okay, what time does your old lady get home?”
“My mother or my girl friend?”
Andy sucker punched Matt to the left temple. Matt folded up like a lawn chair and lay on floor, blinking.
“Shit, why’d you do that?”
“To cure your depression. Women and pain work every time.”
In further celebration of undramatic plot structure suggestions, I thought I’d borrow from the excellent Barbara Pym:
Judith and Pamela by Emma Baird
Judith sighed. How could she help her single friend Pamela find a man?
As the vicar’s wife, she did meet a lot of people in their village so she was perfectly placed to search out single-dom cancelling males. Preferably well-educated and rich ones – like Frederick Drew.
Judith wasn’t the best vicar’s wife though. Sometimes she said funny things. It put people off.
Frederick didn’t take to Pamela all that well. Jane Malcom was more his cup of tea.
Pamela stayed single, Judith stayed an average vicar’s wife.