As I’ve posted before, I enjoy flash fiction.
Other names for it include short-short stories, sudden, postcard,
minute, furious, fast, quick, skinny, and micro fiction. In France such works are called nouvelles. In China this type of writing has several interesting names: little short story, pocket-size story, minute-long story, palm-sized story, and my personal favorite, the smoke-long story (just long enough to read while smoking a cigarette). What’s in a name? That which we call flash fiction, by any other name would read as bright.
Aside from naming this fiction, there is disagreement about the length of the story. Some believe it should be no longer than 500, 700 or 1000 words and some even stretch the limit to 1500 words.
I’m going to present a couple more flash stories for your enjoyment ~ don’t hesitate to bring other stories to my attention. I might use them in another post about the power of the flash fiction short!
The Silver Shadow
When I think of me, you’re not it. My mouth doesn’t frown like that. There aren’t dark circles under my eyes. When I think of me I see that picture from 1970. Me watching my friends playing the guitar, smiling, laughing, eyes crinkled against the sun.
How did that girl become you? I don’t remember seeing it happen. It must have been slow, the transformation insidious. Maybe during all those years I gave myself over to parties and adventures. I wouldn’t have seen them then.
I only recall looking at you once during those years, when a two-week drunk was winding down. My bones ached; even my skin hurt. In the ladies room, leaning on a sink and trying to decide whether or not to become sick, I looked up and there you were. For a brief moment I didn’t recognize you at all. That was the moment I thought I’d be better off without either of us.
I didn’t notice you during the career years. I was too busy proving myself worthy of promotion above the level everyone wanted to relegate me to. Even in the bathroom, I didn’t have time to do more than glance at you on my way out the door.
Now, you’re the one that everyone else sees, what they use to judge me. But you’re not me. You’re just that silver shadow.
—Debbie Orton 2001
At first Dan Chandler thought there was a thunderstorm crashing overhead, but a moment later he realized the sound came from inside his throbbing head. He pushed himself out of bed and tried to stand up. The spinning universe didn’t cooperate, so he sat back down. His surroundings were a blur, so he rubbed his eyes until everything came back into focus.
Where the aitch-eee-double-hockey sticks was he, he wondered. He certainly wasn’t home in his clean and comfortable bedroom. The dingy room was small and sparsely furnished. Most of the interior was taken up by the king-sized bed.
It suddenly dawned on Dan just where he was. Memories from his bachelor days came rushing back. He was in a cheap no-tell motel.
He had to concentrate. Last night. He was out with the boys on another harmless excursion with his wife’s full knowledge and consent. He remembered going to the bar, and he remembered drinking, and . . .
Nothing. The rest of the evening was a total blank. Anything could have happened after that. He took a deep breath and exhaled. Panic wouldn’t help. How bad could it be? It just wasn’t in his nature to do anything stupid.
It didn’t take Einstein to figure out he had done something really stupid.
It had to be his wife. It was all a dream, thank God. He bounced out of bed and rushed to the bathroom.
—by Charles Richard Laing ©2007