Tag Archives: Flash fiction

1990. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Humphrey sat and pondered. He wrote a blog; frequent stories and things. It was time perhaps for a good old-fashioned murder.

Humphrey had devised many a murder over the years. He had poisoned and stabbed, shot with pistol and rifle, organized fatal accidents. There had been drownings and sunstrokes and coronaries. If Humphrey concocted a storybook death, even from natural causes, it could be construed as murder. He didn’t have to kill characters off. But snuff characters out he did, and often with glee.

The only problem was that things were becoming run-of-the-mill; so humdrum; rather ho-hum. Are there any original ways left to murder? Is there still such a things as a creative homicide?

In the meantime, Humphrey was on another mission. Occasionally his stories degenerated into Science Fiction. Today he was in a space craft – a mother ship that was headed for the moon. When they got there, Nancy would land on the surface of the moon in the special moon lander. She would be the first woman to walk on the moon.

“It’s very important,” said Nancy.

“I don’t think it’s important at all,” said Humphrey. “Science is science.”

They had a big argument, but agreed to a semi-placid relationship while their scientific experiments were carried out. Nancy went off on her little moon lander and history was made! Wonderful! The first woman in history to set foot on non-Earth soil!

“I shall do my best to make her name forever remembered,” thought Humphrey. He turned the mother ship towards home and took off.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

1888. I can’t think of everything at once

“I can’t think of everything at once” was Bella’s way of not only trying to find a reason for what happened, but her way of coping with the situation.

Dale had left Bella quite unexpectedly. One minute they were happily married, or so Bella thought, and the next minute he’d upped and left and was cohabitating with that floosy from the confectionary shop down on the corner of Shelley Street. Bella had no idea what he saw in her. And now Bella was on her own. The dividing of the matrimonial goods hadn’t as yet happened, but Bella was ensconced in the joint house and she wasn’t budging for the time being. Besides, it was winter and the house had a log fire and lots of firewood stack in the shed. She would cope.

On a rather chilly winter’s evening Bella discovered she had let the log fire go out. Dale had always set and lit the fire but she wasn’t entirely impractical. She screwed up some pages of newspaper and wigwammed some kindling over the top of it. That was when she discovered that she couldn’t think of everything at once. Dale had always lit the fire with his cigarette lighter. There were no matches in the house. Matches had not been on her grocery list.

Of course it was a silly idea, but Bella had heard since early childhood that primitive humans started a fire by rubbing two sticks together. She didn’t have a clue how to do it, and suspected very much that it wouldn’t work anyway. For a time she thought she would stay warm by wrapping herself up in blankets. She would buy some matches tomorrow. But then Bella thought of a solution.

She rolled up a sheet of newspaper tightly. She went to the kitchen, turned on the toaster, and from the element of the toaster she lit the rolled up newspaper. On the way to the wood burner with her burning torch she brushed past the lacy curtains in the dining room.

It’s always a shame when nothing is insured.

(Note: Today’s story number of 1888 is out of sync. That’s because a month or so back Story 1888 was missed – so this is a catch-up!)

1983. Bird of Paradise

Rita and Carmen had been best friends for years. They were both widowed, and both had three children and four grandchildren. They lived not far from each other. Every Wednesday, to prevent a certain humdrumness, they would go on an outing. Sometimes it was just a cup of coffee in a café in town. Sometimes it was a bigger event, such as a visit to the city art gallery or a concert. Today they were going to the Botanical Garden’s Tropical Conservatory.

“Would you look at this one,” said Rita. “Such a pretty little flower!”

“I would’ve missed it if you hadn’t pointed it out,” said Carmen. “Smell this one here. It stinks!” And indeed it did stick!

“Look at this Bird of Paradise flower. It does look like a bird, doesn’t it?”

“They say,” said Carmen enthusiastically because she knew a little about the Bird of Paradise plant, “that the flower produces no pollen, so it’s generally great to plant if people are worried about allergies. Not only that, but they say if you rub a leaf on the palm of your hand you feel compelled to blurt out the truth whether you want to or not.”

“That sounds a bit dangerous,” declared Rita, rubbing the palm of her hand on a leaf. “And I might add that the way you slurp your coffee makes me want to spit.”

“That’s nothing,” said Carmen. “When I was having an affair with your late husband he gave me your bank account number and password. You wouldn’t have noticed, because you’re too thick, but a bit here and a bit there goes a long way.”

“You strumpet!” declared Rita. “So you’re the crumpet he so disdainfully spoke about; how your breath reeked of garlic and you were in need of a hefty dose of deodorant.”

The insults continued for another five minutes. It was a weekly event. In fact, one suspected that both had prepared the insults to hurl well in advance.

1982. Invisible aliens

It wasn’t that big – the alien spacecraft on his back lawn. Possibly it had landed on Ted’s lawn because it was private, being surround by a thick hedge. If you were to land a space craft on an inhabited alien planet it is obvious that caution must be observed. Ted went out to see if they wanted anything. No one was about. The alien craft didn’t seem to have even a door that Ted could knock upon.

The craft was there all day. Ted went our frequently but nothing changed. Evening came. Still nothing had happened.

Then it occurred to Ted: they were invisible. If their science had enabled them to travel from a distant solar system it would logical that they also had the technology to render themselves invisible. This was borne out when kitchen cupboard doors began to open and close; not vehemently, but nicely. It was as if the aliens were politely looking for something.

“Look,” said Ted out aloud to an apparently empty room. “If you want something specific just ask. I might be able to help.” The aliens did not respond. Ted got a large piece of paper and a black felt-tipped marker. He put them on the kitchen table. He turned his back. “Just write it down if you are too wary to be seen.”

When Ted turned back he picked up the piece of paper off the table.

“Yes! There’s writing on it,” said Ted. “It says: WHOLE MEAL FLOUR. FOR FUEL. I’m not sure if I have whole meal flour in the house. I shall have a look, and if need be I can go to the shop and get some for you. I usually keep the flour in this cupboard here.”

Ted opened the flour cupboard.

“This one,” said the Superintendent to the psychiatry students, “is a most interesting case.”

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.