Circle of Life: a little flash

As a regular at the Flash! Friday prompts I look forward anxiously to Monday afternoon when the week’s current judges lay down their views on this weeks responses to our flash pieces. Being a competitive soul I both enjoy the prospect of being placed and grind my teeth at the utter injustice of not winning every week! I accept, fully, that there are those who have far more talent in the small than me; those who can capture an essence in a few words. But practice helps improve and occasionally I too am the subject of their benefaction. Like this passing week where I crept into the third runner’s up spot. To give it context there are regularly 50 plus entries and overall fourth is very pleasing. And it’s subjective too. And frankly it could be any one of twenty of the stories that win. And those that d are brilliant examples. Etc.

This week’s prompt was to have as the main character a lawyer and use the picture below as a prompt.

1943-enterprise-bruning-hellcat

And this was my take

The Circle of Life

 I’m shooting for the stars, on an upwards trajectory, flying high, boldly going…

Fraud. Charlatan.

Daily they watch me, cups stretched out. Knowing, judging.

I win. I always win. Against the odds.

They never speak, the death rattle of the coins in the cups, chains they’ll never shed, following up the court steps. Spare a penny. Spare me. Spare us all.

I’m there for everyone. All the hopeless cases, all the desperate people. The damaged and the guilty. I’ll get them off and let them slip back to rob, beat, cheat, abuse again. I don’t judge.

Their gaze never wavers. Eyes crippled by long forgotten battles for land, money, souls. Each hollowed out inside.

Today it is me, finally broken on the bar. Aspiration corrupted. Being judged and found wanting. Crashing and burning. Pilot of my own destruction.

Stripped bare, left to hang. Just the clothes I stand up in.

When I emerge, blinded by the light of relief, they part, heads bowed, those ghosts of my predecessors. They held vigil; they have always known how it would end and they do not gloat. There is nothing now but a space in line and my own cup, forever empty, its echo sounding in the ears of the next generation.

 

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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10 Responses to Circle of Life: a little flash

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Congratulations! That’s a fine showing and you are every bit as talented. Love the line, “Pilot of my own destruction.” Dark and brooding piece and an imaginative take on the photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thanks Charli. These ‘competitive’ prompts are all very fine for people like me who are happy to win or lose but they can be off putting for a number who take rejection as a comment on the overall quality; that’s what makes your collection so precious. And since the contributors are different you od get the chance to learn form other writers. Some are simply amazing – leave me sighing with my inadequacies!! (nah, my ego is too big!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        I like to think of Carrot Ranch as a sandbox — a place to jam the way musicians do. Competitions are a good way to push oneself as a writer, and I do think the learning is more intense. It can be intimidating for some, but writers need to develop both swagger and thick skin along with maintaining the sensitivity that makes one a meaningful writer. Sheesh! But good stuff you got flowing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Sandbox; great analogy. Yes, we play along with a smile, just for the fact we breathe and can write

        Like

  2. Wow, I would have struggled so much with that picture and the prompt word, Geoff. You’ve got such a brilliant piece of flash fiction here. Such a dark and sad story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sherri says:

    I always find photographs are great inspiration for writing. Sometimes I’ll have an idea and then look at a different photo and my story changes in an instant to something I like much better. And I love your flash here Geoff. ‘Pilot of my own destruction’. Crashing and burning. But not with your writing, I love it…

    Liked by 1 person

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