Through a glass, darkly #flashfiction #carrotranch

And we’re off; another Charli Mills prompt. There’s a lot to be said for reading Charli’s posts that lead to the prompt. She’s battling leaks and homelessness and red mud and a strange if compelling landscape and all the time ponders life’s vagaries with wit and wisdom. Anyway, this week she gives us this…

September 21, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using a lens. It can be literal, like looking at the world through rose-colored lenses or the need for spectacles. Or you can treat the idea like a perspective, showing how one character might see the same action differently from another. Think locally, globally, culturally. Is there a common lens by which we can achieve peace?

Two thoughts occur when lens are mentioned. One, a field of dry grass, a small lens and some curious boys lacking in any sense of ‘what if..?’ As in, what if we see if we can set fire to a small tuft with the lens and the bright sunshine. There was a game we played at Christmas and family get-togethers called ‘consequences’. The first person wrote a male name, and folded the paper; the second, a woman’s and folded it; the third wrote an action and folded it; leaving the last to write the consequence. Or something like. The idea was to read it out using the following framework. Hilarity would result. When [the man] met [the woman] and [the action] the consequence was ….


without doubt, no mischief ever crossed their minds…

I don’t recall we ever did two boys lighting grass, to give me an inclining of the likely consequence. Shame. It might have been useful. We spent about five minutes succeeding in creating fire and a panicky hour in eradicating it using our small feet and increasingly scorched pullovers. I guess we fell into the ‘lucky’ category because, had it got out of control, heaven knows what the consequence would have been.

The second though revolves around mum’s cataract operations but that’s a post for my ‘Apprenticed to my mother’ series. Another time.

Meanwhile Paul is back from his old school friend’s funeral,

The aftermath

‘How did it go?’

‘Interesting. In a Chinese sense.’

‘Really? How?’

‘I thought it would be awkward. But it was good.’

‘So you’re pleased you went?’

‘I think so. Funny really. You go to a funeral not expecting much yet all these ghosts appear.’

‘I suppose that’s what you get at a cemetery.’

‘Ha, I guess. Funny though, meeting old contacts. It’s like a mirror being held up. No, more like a magnifying glass, a lens. You think you know yourself but seeing old faces makes you see yourself differently. A different close up.’


‘And none the wiser.’


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. 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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12 Responses to Through a glass, darkly #flashfiction #carrotranch

  1. Two of my class mates got hold of a box of matches and did what you and the Archaeologist did one sunny weekend with dramatic results and probably heavy consequences [I don’t remember that bit, just the flames approaching our house………] Ah, youth!! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. davidprosser says:

    We’ll dispense with the mirror thank you very much. Let’s stick with the magnifying glass or lens so those changes in friends can be studies. It’s hard to believe they’re ageing so quickly when I myself remain looking about twenty.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great take on lens. And twist on the holding-a-mirror-up. It really is like that, isn’t it? *sigh* (I think I’ve missed some of Mary’s story…must catch up.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. jeanne229 says:

    Friends and celebrities hold up those mirrors. I can’t believe where time has gone when one white-haired old geezer after another appears on the television. Who was it last time? They come faster and faster these days. Ah me….there’s a grace in it though. None of us are let to ditch the line and move further back.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Charli Mills says:

    The funeral itself is turning into a literary lens for your story and deepening Paul’s character. I like the sequencing of words: mirror, magnifying glass, lens. As to you and your brother, I can imagine your panic over the lens-inspired fire felt a bit like driving across red clay. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Through the Lens « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Norah says:

    There’s nothing like catching up with “old” friends to give you a dose of reality and remind you how many years have slipped away. I’m enjoying this detour in Mary’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

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