Flash Fiction, Exercising an Economy of Words

     Ever go out and try your hand at a sport you haven’t touched in years? Ever pick up an instrument or talent you haven’t exercised in ages? In the first example I’ve pulled muscles and tweaked tendons I forgot I had. In the second, I’ve cursed myself blue wondering why my skills seem so rusty.

     Coming up with plots, characters, scenes and whatnot; I enjoy those bits a bunch and play at regularly. But writing isn’t as much about writing as re-writing, and re-writing involves condensing all that, de-cluttering it. Flash fiction exercises hone self editing sensibilities. A fellow Rebel Ink author, Michel Prince, has been like a good work-out partner; has pushed me to write regularly such works and I’m thankful for it. She posts a picture and asks we submit works inspired by it two hundred and fifty words… no more or less. What follows is one such work.


                He’d been grandma’s favorite and yet from amongst her riches she left him only a battered, obsolete typewriter in her will.

                He found a note tucked into the type guide. You’re a writer and a dreamer, like me. Carry on my tradition, write every day. It’ll set you free.

                Sweet and imaginative, she’d been Robert’s only ally as his parents chided him for his lack of interest in typical boyhood pastimes. While everyone else played they’d shared their imaginations.

                Only when he ran out of money, women, and friends he recalled the heirloom sitting on a kitchen chair since the funeral. Half drunk and wholly furious, Robert shouted his angry rant while he typed it.

                “If we’re both dreamers, how’d you die wealthy and happy and I’ll to die broke and lonely? What did I do to deserve this lousy machine rather than a fat check like all those other slobs?”

                Hoarse and thirsty he stumbled to the sink for a glass of water as his pounding head sent him lunging for the cabinet. As he grabbed the aspirin he spied valium, a fringe benefit of an ex-girlfriend’s exodus. Dark thoughts, a simple solution crossed his mind. No, too easy. Something’s bound to go right soon.

                He yanked the page from the typewriter; ready to giggle at his alcohol induced dyslexia but gulped instead as he read.

                “Type your questions and read your answers. Type your dreams and read their hidden truth. This humble looking gift will unlock your fortune.”


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