Stumped #flashfiction

Another prompt from Flash Frenzy



Some photographs capture history: the protester in Tienanmen Square; the men atop Everest. And some are beat too soon.

Bartholomew Grime had few ambitions beyond being huge. At three he used dumbbells; at ten he could dead lift his parents on a shovel; by fifteen he had broken world records for the clean and jerk.

His desire began to outweigh good sense; he started ingesting a cocktail of substances. He ignored the warnings, even when a doctor described his pancreas as being Jurassic and was banned from all competitive sports. And while his astonishing feats still generated some traction, he began to fade from view.

Then a wealthy Russian invited him to take part in the Ultimate Strength Challenge, and Barty knew this was his time. And the last test was one he was certain he, alone, could meet. As a grand finale, the contestants had to light a beacon with a giant flame-topped caber. This, it was reckoned would be beyond most, the friction alone rendering it nigh on impossible.

Barty did everything to win. Knowledgeable people said he might kill himself but that was, he announced, a fair price for his own sort of immortality.

Barty sailed into the final and now only he could complete the challenge. In the photo that survives we see Barty just before he lights the caber. He succeeds but where is the evidence?

Precisely as the first red glow was detected, Barty farted; and not an ordinary release of gas, but rather a putrescent outpouring that comprised the most volatile combination of inflammable substances ever known.

Colin Lubtink, the judge behind Barty vaporised first; onlookers, some 100 metres away had seconds before disappearing; Barty, powered by his own gas shot past the lighted tip and, in flames, exploded into the beacon, formally bringing to an end the show.

Barty’s fame would have rested there, a footnote in history save for his meticulous notes which revealed exactly what he had taken. Scientists repeated the combinations and the most potent propulsion was invented. Man could fly to Mars in a week. Barty’s fart changed history but no one was able to record it.

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 two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. 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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27 Responses to Stumped #flashfiction

  1. Flash fiction indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Oh my! Fart fiction! Brilliant!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. davidprosser says:

    I’m surprised he didn’t take up orbit. Perhaps that was a fart to far.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hahaha! Terrific, Geoff. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ciryan says:

    Brilliant 👌.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Farty Barty, Brillaint Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh now I have to tell you: I slept late this morning, I am exhausted, worn down and stressed by a couple of silly little events that are taking a lot of my time and energy – I even thought I might miss all blog posts today. I’m so glad I didn’t! I roared with laughter and even snorted in a most unladylike fashion. Simply wonderful imagery 😀 ❤ The day looks so much brighter 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Bun Karyudo says:

    Fun post, and scientifically highly accurate I’m willing to bet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A combustible story; a sizzling ending. 😀 😀 😀 A hot story, Geoff. ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Only you, Mr Le Pard. Can’t decide if this is science fiction or just plain fiction. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You make it sound so noble. Perhaps I’ve been doing it wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am so glad that I’m a comment reader as well as a blog reader. This was hilarious all the way to here. My funny bone is broken but this helped with the repair.

    Liked by 1 person

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