May 14, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that begins with a twist…
This is Charli Mills’ latest flash fiction challenge (http://carrotranch.com/2014/05/14/may-14-flash-fiction-challenge/). They are getting more difficult. How do you create real tension in a 99 word piece of flash? For any author, the skill of extracting tension from your characters is critical. Sometimes it is a struggle which seems to force you down the route of the ridiculous or the absurd. How often can you throw your hero off a cliff or through a black hole and expect them to survive.
Eventually everything becomes a soap opera where the quotient of unplanned pregnancies, murders, incest and so on increases week on week.
For instance it took until the Textiliste and I were given the box set of the first three series of Downton Abbey for Christmas before I watched any of this much loved series. And I was soon hooked (well, apart from the bloody bell in the opening credits that, without fail, set the Dog into frenzy of barking; he would only be happy once he was shown the empty front step). However my love affair lasted through series one and two (and the Christmas special): the slow burn, the snarky asides, the compelling and believable plots – well done My Lord Fellows. Then Lady Thingy (the one who married the terrorist/freedom fighter) died after giving birth and we were off – East Enders in corsets.
I’ve decided there’s a Rule of Four out there which is no mini series must be allowed beyond series four (with the honourable exception of the Wire – that just got better and better and even here they ended at five: whoever came up with the brilliant murder scene in series two where McNulty and Bunk just use ‘fuck’ for about three and a half minutes to convey every feeling, every nuanced emotion, every question and every answer deserves a Congressional medal or George Bush’s W or whatever equates to an OBE across the Pond- what a script, what a word). Cleese had it with Fawlty Towers – two series – while Lord Snooty is taking Downton into series five (yawn). Friends was ten seasons and it showed; 24 went on for 8 which is taking a day to Fibonacci excess (this reminds me, tangentially, of one of the earliest jokes I can remember: it was from the Mother Goose panto in the mid 1960s at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon with Cyril Fletcher as the Goose: says one young man to said Goose ‘I hate you, I hate you, I hate you’; Goose replies: ‘three hates are twenty four; that’s a lot of hates.’ You had to be there.)
How did I get here? Oh yes, twists. Well this is mine. See what you think.
The banana skin was empty. “Is this a trick? Did you do this?”’
“You have to eat something.” He grabbed an orange.
She shrugged again.
He dug at the peel and met no resistance. He was angry now; he tried the mango, then the apple and the pear. Nothing. Just space inside.
“Toast?” He didn’t wait for her reply. The bread knife went through the crust and met a void. “You can’t live on air, for heaven’s sake.”
The girl lifted her t-shirt; he saw through her stomach to the fridge behind her. “It’s easy,” she said.