Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Catching on

"Flange", he says.
She looks at him surprised. What's he talking about? But she responds in kind. "Flange," she says.
"Flange," he says con affetto
"Flange," con spirito.
"Flange.." con dolore.
"Flange." com  molto  espressione
The word remains the same but variations come like pistol shots in a western.
"Flange. "
Together they walk down the street arm in arm. "Flange,   Flange., Flange, " in unison.
Soon they are joined by other students. They proceed towards the square, a vast army of young people. Some have already improvised banners which bear the word Flange.
There is no stopping them. They clamber up statues and lampposts, onto the ledges of buildings. They mount vehicles and each other's shoulders. They chant louder and louder with an in intense and deafening rhythm: "Flange, Flange, Flange..."
The sound spreads through the town, through the country.  It is quickly transmitted via Twitter and Facebook and U Tube into every corner of the world.  "Flange, Flange, Flange, Flange.. . " chant the people. And the sound rises up to where the atmosphere is very thin. It hangs there like the echo of a prayer.


  1. A film-like quality and the strange soundtrack that starts as a conversation and spreads to a world event. I like this "unexplained" style, a short story you can see and hear.

  2. I'm better equipped now to recognise what you're up to. In fact some of these pieces come far closer - than anything I write - to short stories by acknowledged masters. Notably in the matter of endings that are resolved yet unresolved. But I have a problem and it revolves round the meaning of the word "story". As a result my aims differ from yours, as do my end-products.

    Yesterday I embarked on a post (and quickly realised it would take more than one, given my 300-word limit) which defined a short story from the point of view of the writer. The process is empirical and cumulative but can, I think, be bent into an explanation directed towards the reader. However I also concluded that there are limits to what one can throw into a blog and expect readers to find interesting.

    Since the matter of definition - a bugbear ever since I started - is now clear in my mind I may well complete this project and send it to you. Given our different approaches it will only be of technical interest, but it is working for me. Crude though they are the two 1000-word pieces under the group heading The Oughties. Worth a damn? (more to come) are recognisably short stories according to my sense of the genre. More interesting (to me at least) they have helped me define something even more intractable - what isn't a short story.

  3. 'Flange' is certainly a very good word. I would be tempted to join in myself.

    I didn't invent the term 'flash fiction', I don't know who did, but these very short shorts of yours, elliptical, fanciful, surreal, intense, certainly seem to fit the bill. Very enjoyable, whatever!