Tag Archives: Flash fiction

1972. Touch type

Hedwig always took the positive view of life. Her biggest challenge came when she lost her sight. It was a very difficult situation of course, made doubly worse by the fact that she was a professional typist. Mind you, she was a touch typist so she could still type transcriptions of audios.

It was a great help that her boss at work was in fact her first cousin. She said, “Hedwig, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to work here. And we shall begin with a short thankyou note I would like typed out that I have dictated on my phone. And make a copy.”

Hedwig typed it out in double quick time. It was easy-peasy. Hedwig’s cousin thanked her profusely. It looks like Hedwig’s job is secure. Here’s the copy:

Dear Mabrl

Thanekypi sp ,icj gpt uypi ;eyyer pg vpmspo;emn cr/ Annie anmd O ertr gr;ohjkyrf up trvrobr oy smf oy jhwbn5 or ,ifj fp,t;67

Kind re4ghartd
Dave

Hedwig’s cousin said she was delighted. She continued to employ Hedwig for years after.

1966. The whimsies of tourism

(This is the fifth of seven days of Science Faction).

The twenty-four Doglocians had paid good money to travel from their home planet to Planet Earth. The voyage, travelling at the speed of light through a Worm-warp, would arrive at Earth after ninety days. But things went wrong on the voyage.

“It never rains but it pours,” said Okrogowia, the captain of the Doglocian space craft. It was an old Doglocian cliché, but true nonetheless.

They had wanted to arrive on Earth to see the Fall foliage. That’s what the trip had been billed as: Travel to Earth, celebrate upon arrival, and see the most spectacular autumn colours in the cosmos! But with the Worm-warp warping in the wrong direction (something it did roughly once every one hundred years or so) they had ended up shooting off on a tangent. It took days of catching one Worm-warp after another to get back on course. By now it was estimated that the voyage was going to be six weeks late.

And then something spectacular occurred. The Worm-warp warped wondrously and the Doglocian craft skedaddled faster than imagined. The lost six weeks were made up in a matter of minutes. It was the 12th of October 2020 in Earth dates.

“We made it!” announced Captain Okrogowia.

“We made it! We made it! Now we can celebrate!” danced the twenty-four passengers. And indeed they had made it on time!

They had made it on the very day they had wished their adventure to start: Canadian Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

1963. Snap shot on Mars

(This is the second of seven days of Science Faction).

It wasn’t the first time that humans had landed and wandered around Mars. Each time – I believe it was seven – a new landing site had been selected to measure and collect and ascertain.

It was during the eighth Mars landing that Astronauts Eugenia and Estelle got the fright of their lives. They immediately beamed back photographs to Earth. There, in the sandy soil, were fresh footprints. In fact there were footprints of several creatures. The creatures were clearly quadrupeds and each foot had seventeen toes. Eugenia and Estelle followed the prints. When they turned a sudden rocky corner, there it was! Sitting on the sand was an octagonal space craft. No creatures were to be seen. The space craft was about the size of an average house.

The astronauts didn’t know whether they should approach or not. Was it dangerous? Surely the space aliens would have seen the Earthlings’ landing machine, and if they didn’t want to be seen they would have immediately taken off. Obviously, in this case, they wanted to make contact. Eugenia and Estelle slowly approached. It was naturally nerve-wracking.

There was still no sign of life. Suddenly Eugenia whispered. “Don’t look now but I think we’re been followed.” Their steps froze. They began to feel cold in their space suits. Estelle held up a small camera and pointed it behind her, to send the moment back to earth. No sooner had she held the camera up and pointed it behind her then it disintegrated in her hand.

A fuzzy image of shapes, out of focus and too dark to distinguish anything, was the last picture received on Earth. Extensive digital enhancement revealed what some thought looked like a vase of grey dead flowers and others imagined a scattered cloud formation on a stormy night. Astronauts Eugenia and Estelle were never heard of again. When yet another craft to Mars landed at the same site, the old craft was nowhere to be seen. It had been taken away.

1957. Class break

A group of pulchritudinous young ladies at St Ursula’s Finishing School for Girls were sitting in the sun during a class break discussing Ms Heidi Antrobus-Biddlecombe, their omphaloskepsic teacher.

“She’s a trichotillomaniac,” said Sylvia. “Her head’s all patchy.” All agreed.

“She looks like a pig,” suggested Angelique. “Her nose has been xenotransplantated!” Everyone laughed.

“Thank goodness she’s not polyphiloprogenitive,” said Denise. “We’d be overrun. AND she has ants in her pants!” It was a nice play on their teacher’s name!

“What a relief we’re not myrmecophilous!” exclaimed Petra. “Ugh! How disgusting!”

Again everyone laughed, except for Susannah who had been silent up until now and admitted she didn’t know what the word “omphaloskepsic” meant.

“I know the word omphaloskepsis,” she said. “But I have never heard of omphaloskepsic.”

Oh dear! What an ignorant little girl.

“Come along class!” called out Ms Heidi Antrobus-Biddlecomb in her wheezy smoker’s voice from the window of the Infants’ Classroom. “Playtime is over!”

“Good gracious!” exclaimed Minnie. “She sounds like she’s got
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis.”

All went inside for their favourite class of the week: colouring in with crayons.

1952. On wicked witches and stepmothers

For too long now witches have been denigrated by folk tales. It’s atrocious the press they get. They have hooked noses with warts. They have bony fingers. They wear black gowns and pointy hats. They are ugly. They are cruel. They are revolting, and turn nice children into frogs when they are not eating them.

The only thing worse than witches are stepmothers. Stepmothers are buxom and have a nasty streak. They are cruel, usually to step daughters, and there is very little explanation given as to why a husband ever married one.

Bodice was both a witch and a stepmother. She had the worst characteristics of both. Her plump face with a hooked nose matched her buxom physique with its bony fingers. She was nasty in the extreme. Once, when the lovely Cinderella was singing quietly while sweeping the kitchen, Bodice crept up behind her and whacked Cinderella one over the head with the broomstick. There was no reason for it, and the broomstick was determined not to fly again in the foreseeable future.

Cinderella was prepared. She whipped out a pistol hidden under her duster and was able to bind the wrists of Bodice. When she locked Bodice up in the dog pen she had no intention of fattening Bodice up further. “I don’t like tough, stringy meat,” said Cinderella. “She can starve to death.”

“Let me out! Let me out!” cackled Bodice. “I repent! Never again will I be cruel.”

“Now you know what it’s like when the shoe is on the other foot,” tinkled Cinderella sweetly. “I hope you have learnt your lesson and that your repentance is genuine.”

Cinderella let Bodice out of the dog pen. Immediately Bodice turned Cinderella into a frog, which she would have done earlier while in the dog pen but then there would have been no way for Bodice to get out.

And since folk tales should end reasonably nicely, Bodice also turned the handsome prince into a frog and all lived happily ever after until they croaked.

1943. A train to catch

I was scurrying to the train station to catch my usual morning transport. I was running late because I had spilt coffee on my trousers (thank goodness it had cooled) and had to get changed. In my haste I forgot to take my phone out of the wet trouser pocket, so I didn’t know by how much I was running late.

The clock on the town tower was renowned for its unreliability. Going by what it said I had five minutes to get to the station to get on the train to take me to work. I work as a bank manager, and today the big boss is coming for an important meeting. VERY important, he had said on the phone.

Only four minutes to go. I thought I’d start to run; actually trot along, as I didn’t want to be all sweaty during the VERY important meeting.

Two minutes to go. I simply cannot afford to miss that train. What the heck! I’ll have to run, sweaty or not! I can explain to the boss why I’m perspiring so profusely. And…

Made it! Phew! That was close! I got a seat too. No sooner had I sat than the doors closed and the train began to noiselessly slide away from the station.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said a voice over the intercom. “Welcome to the non-stop day trip to the capital city. Refreshments are available throughout the trip in the cafeteria carriage.”

I was on the wrong train. It was going the wrong way and it would take all day to get there.

1940. How a little lake could hold such joy

There’s a little lake at the back of my property. It’s surrounded by trees. Sometimes I think I must be the only person who knows the lake exists. I’ve never seen anyone there, and it doesn’t appear to be on any map I’ve seen. Mind you, it’s not a big lake.

That lake gives me a lot of pleasure. In fact I have a green plastic chair I leave down there and often I’ll sit for a quiet, reflective time. Sometimes there are a few wild ducks swimming about. Twice now I’ve seen a couple of blue herons fossicking in the shallows. But it’s the stillness of the lake that fills me with the greatest joy.

I’ve had this property for about forty years; about thirty of those I suppose I’ve been going to the lake on a regular basis. Goodness! Thirty years since my wife died! I didn’t go to the lake hardly at all before that.

I still can’t believe how placid and calming that little lake is these days. Contrast that with the tumultuous clamour my wife made when I threw her in with concrete blocks tied to her knees. She was flaying about like an octopus caught in a net. Such a hullabaloo! Such a racket!

Yes indeed. I never knew before then how a little lake could hold such joy.

1928. Church flowers

Barry was having an affair. The whole village knew about it. No wonder Melissa had left him. This had probably been going on for months.

No one had a clue who the woman was that he was having an affair with. Was it someone they knew? Was it someone from out of town? No one had seen her. What they had seen, and rather regularly, was a bump in the backseat covered in a blanket. Barry’s car was always firmly in his garage with the automatic door solidly shut before who-ever-it-was undoubtedly emerged from under the blanket in the back seat and entered the house.

The village was a tight knit community. They cared about each other, and not knowing the identity of Barry’s lover was driving them crazy. Anne proposed a plan.

Barry had a large garden. This was a remnant from when Melissa ran the house. “It’s my turn,” said Anne, “to do the flowers for the church this coming Sunday. I shall go and ask Barry if we can have some flowers from his garden for the church.”

It was a brilliant plan! While there Anne would poke around for clues. Perhaps the lover might be spied. Perhaps Barry might drop a hint.

Sunday morning came. The church flowers from Barry’s garden were gorgeous. Anne was to be congratulated. But did she find out anything of interest?

“Not a thing!” declared Anne. “Not a whiff of a hint.”

Everyone pretended not to be disappointed.

Anne breathed a sigh of relief. Her secret was still safe.

1922. Walking the city walls

(Hi – I’m still having a break from answering comments. A bit otherwise engaged! More in a day or two).

Timothy was exceedingly rich. He hadn’t simply become rich by inheriting riches from his father, although that was a good half of it. He had become doubly rich through hard work. He was a businessman of unbridled talent and success. Hence his riches.

He lived in a beautiful house with a spacious garden, and although he employed a professional gardener to come in once a week, he enjoyed gardening himself and did a great deal of it when time allowed.

He was also interested in breeding tropical fish, and hence he had a good number of significantly large aquariums in tasteful places around his house. Of course when we say “house” we mean it was more than a house; it was a mansion; a manor; a regal grange.

When Timothy hit forty he thought, “Why am I working so hard? I have all this money, so how much more do I need? I have many interests. Why don’t I pursue them? After all there’s enough money to live more than comfortably for the rest of my life and longer.”

So that’s what he did.

He abandoned work and took to travel! He went to Africa, Europe, Asia. He photographed so many things of history, so many scenes. When he needed a break he would come home and unwind in the garden. In the evenings he would view with pleasure the places he had been. Then it was back into travel!

It was while he was in Verona in Italy. He was walking the city walls, and was high up and passing the Basilica of St. Zeno. He stopped. He thought of something. He burst into tears.

It was all a waste of time; it was all meaningless, because he had no one to tell his adventures to. There was no one to share things with.

1919. A gated community

(Hi everyone – I’m possibly going to have a few days off, not from posting but from commenting – as one has to on WP now and again just to keep normal!)

Romualda had lived for a good two months in her new house in the fairly exclusive gated community of Cloudsome Heights. Thus far she hadn’t met a single neighbour. Then suddenly, without knowing who she was, Romualda met Yvette. Romualda was in the supermarket selecting a bunch of Ecuadorian bananas. If there’s the slightest touch of black on a single banana the bunch doesn’t last as long, so it pays to check thoroughly before squandering money on a bunch that would quickly go off. After all, she lived alone. It’s not as if a whole family was into helping to devour them. A touch of black would ruin the whole bunch. And then…

“You must be Romualda,” said Yvette who had just grabbed a bag of pears next to the bananas.

“Yes,” said Romualda, “but I must be honest. I’m not sure if we’ve met. How do you do?”

“You’ve recently moved into our gated community,” said Yvette not introducing herself. “There are quite a few people who are not happy about it.”

“Unhappy about what?” asked Romualda.

“About you moving into Cloudsome Heights, as I just said.”

“I wasn’t aware I wasn’t welcome,” said Romualda. “Is it because I live alone?”

“Goodness me, no,” said Yvette. “We’re not like that at Cloudsome Heights! It’s because…”

“Because what?” asked Romualda, by now slightly rattled.

Suddenly a rather buxom woman pushed her shopping trolley into Romualda.

“Oh I’m so sorry,” said the buxom woman to Romualda. “But you’re blocking access to the bananas.”

“I’m sorry,” said Romualda moving away toward the vegetable section.

“Well?” asked the buxom lady to Yvette. “Did you tell her she’s not welcome in Cloudsome Heights?”

“No. But I’m pretty sure she now knows that a touch of black on a banana will ruin the whole bunch.”