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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bartholomew

Flash Fiction Flashes By

Flash fiction is, I believe, a new literary form in the English language. I don't know about other ethnic traditions. A flash is usually defined as a complete short story told in less than a thousand words. Japanese has parallel forms in poetry, as in the haiku and tanka. While simple in appearance and brief in length, they are extraordinarily difficult to execute well, like flash fiction. I envy those few writers who can crank out these pieces by the yard. Personally I find a novel of at least 50K words to be easier.

That said, I herewith present a flash of my own. This story came to me as I was lying in bed waiting for sleep. I was sure it would vanish by morning, but to my surprise it was still in my head when I got up, so I wrote it down. It is called:

Some Old Guy

Danny is my uncle. Sometimes he's confused and says he's someone else, but he's ok, means well I guess. Yesterday he picked me up at the place where I live and took me for an outing at the amusement park. We drove out of town and stopped on the way for burgers. He asked me if I wanted a cheeseburger like always. I said, “Sure, just like always, Uncle Dan.” He gave me a big grin. I told him kids usually like things the same way every time.

Before we left the burger place some man who was wearing overalls came over and said hello. He and Danny shook hands and said Long time no see. Danny said to me, “You remember Mr. Grainger? He used to be our gardener.” I said no, I didn't remember him. Then he and Mr. Grainger talked about a few things I didn't understand. Danny said, “He thinks I'm his uncle.” They laughed, but I didn't get the joke.

Then we went on to the park. We went on some of the rides. My favorite is the Haunted House. I ate some cotton candy, that Danny had to wipe off my face afterward. Some day when I grow up I want to try the roller coaster, but not yet. I guess we were at the park two or three hours, till almost supper time. Then we started walking back toward the Egress. That's what Danny always called it. On the way we had to pass by the House of Mirrors. That place is scary, I don't like it. They have all kinds of funny mirrors that change the way you look. I never told Danny how much that place scares me, because he would think I'm chicken. Right at the front door he stopped to look at an outside mirror and comb his hair. When he was finished I followed him and glanced in the mirror myself.

What I saw was some old guy with a beard and white hair. I said to Danny, “Let's go home.”

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