Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Last Long Night by Lina Rather

Back home, we’d be treated for space sickness and starlust, our brains scanned and studied for signs that our grey matter had deteriorated in the vacuum. We’d be swaddled in hospitals, kept barefoot and away from the night sky until we stopped dreaming of plumed nebulas and stopped thinking we could hear the music of the spheres in C minor.

—-Lina Rather, Last Long Night

Time Exposure, Night, Downtown Dallas, Ross and Pearl

 

I’m picking streaming movies out – looking for clickbait web articles like “Ten Netflix Movies You Never Thought of Watching” and carefully copying names, reviews, and synopsis into text files for safekeeping. Then I watch them while I ride my spin bike. Candy and a friend were drinking wine a couple months ago and ordered new big flat-screen TV’s on a whim. When it arrived I took the old big flat screen and mounted it in front of my spin bike – filling my view. It’s a way to watch stuff and still get exercise.

Last night I watched High Life – an odd science fiction movie with Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche directed by Claire Denis.

I’m of mixed feelings about the movie. It is a unique vision – done with a lot of talent. It undoubtedly has amazing moments (Willow growing up, for example) and offers up a lot to think about. Ultimately… I don’t know… worth a watch but not completely satisfying.

Today’s flash fiction is very similar in setting and theme to the movie. Reading it made me think of the movie right away. I think I like the story better… partially for the fact that it has a similar reaction for a much smaller investment (in money and time). It is distilled.

Read it here:

Last Long Night by Lina Rather

from Flash Fiction Online

Lina Rather homepage

Lina Rather Twitter

Short Story of the Day (flash fiction), Out of Hand by Neil Clark

A cleaner at the airport asked what I’d do if I had a time machine.

—-Neil Clark, from Out of Hand

Charles Umlauf
Spirit of Flight
Love Field
Dallas, Texas

I found this from a link from yesterday’s story. It’s very short – spare and efficient.

Read it here:

Out of Hand by Neil Clark

from Spelk

Neil Clark

When I was a little kid I saw a Twilight Zone episode – A Kind of a Stopwatch. This guy is given a magical stopwatch – when the watch stops, time stops. When he stops the watch, he stops the world (except him). This is a Twilight Zone – so things don’t end well. While time is stopped, he robs a bank and accidentally breaks the watch. He is trapped.

A famous episode and rightfully so. Complete fiction – of course. But it scared the crap out of me. I was petrified of the idea of somebody else stopping time and never starting it. I would compulsively wave my hand in front of my face to convince myself that time was still moving.

Unfortunately, it never stopped.

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Junk Life by Chris Milam

After three hours, my body could sink the Titanic. The cold is savage, the kind of arctic hatchet only homeless people can comprehend. The Statue of Liberty costume doesn’t help. It’s thin and cheap; insulation clearly wasn’t a thought during the manufacturing process.

—- Chris Milam, Junk Life

Read it here:

Junk Life by Chris Milam

From Flash Fiction Online

Chris Milam Twitter

Today, a really good really short piece of writing. A whole life in a few paragraphs.

I always see the day-labor places – the shuffling folks in a line, the giant pickups or vans scooping up human misery – but, thankfully, have never been forced to find work there. As an adult I have never gone a long time – even in bad economic times – without meaningful, if not spectacular, employment. Once, long ago I had to move to a different city but I liked the new one better.  I guess it’s that… well, if you are a rich guy or you are a big company I can make you money. My goal is to always make more than (sometimes many more than)  ten times my salary in profit for my employer.

All the time.

That’s just the way the world is.

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Gator Butchering For Beginners by Kristen Arnett

Flay everything open. Pry free the heart. It takes some nerve. What I mean is, it’ll hurt, but you can get at what you crave if you want it badly enough.

—-Kristen Arnett, Gator Butchering For Beginners

Alligator, Robert Tabak, Frisco, Texas

Sometimes fiction is about one thing but really about another thing. Today’s flash fiction is obviously about butchering an alligator but even more obviously not about butchering an alligator.

Also… when it comes to butchering an alligator – what is it like to be a beginner? More importantly what it is like to not be a beginner – to be, for example, the person that writes the instructions?

Gator Butchering For Beginners by Kristen Arnett

from Electric Literature

Kristen Arnett

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day – Gingerbread, by Dafydd McKimm

And then Gretel, who had survived such horrors with him, taken in an instant by something so absurdly commonplace as a chill, skin ashen, her body racked with coughing, until she lay silent and still and he by her bedside alone, feeling like a helpless boy again.

—-Dafydd McKimm, Gingerbread

Today’s piece of short fiction explores the question, “What happens when the fairy tale ends?” Well, everyone doesn’t live happily ever after – at least in this case.

But there is still hope, there is still a future – as long as we are brave, and tough, and open to a new solution and a new future. It may not be happily ever after but it can be the best we can do.

Gingerbread, by Dafydd McKimm

from Flash Fiction Online

 

Short Story Of the Day (Flash Fiction) – Taylor Swift, by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

You’re in love; it’s great, you swipe on your phone and order: the next day a Taylor Swift clone shows up at your house. It’s not awkward, it’s everything you want.

—- Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Taylor Swift

Banjo Player on Royal Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

Are you social distancing? Are you quarantined? What would be better than going online and ordering your own Taylor Swift?

A crackerjack piece of flash fiction. Click on the link and read it… it’s short and I know you have the time. That’s all we have right now is time. Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of writing in the second person… but in this case, it works. What do you think?

Read it here:

Taylor Swift, by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

 

From Electric Literature

Short Story (flash fiction) of the day – Bad Things Wrong by Barry Gifford

Roy and his mother managed to drag Spanky over the side and onto the floor, where he lay puking and gagging. Roy saw the remains of the reefer floating in the tub. Spanky was short and stout. Lying there on the bathroom floor, to Roy he resembled a big red hog, the kind of animal Louie Pinna had shoved into an industrial sausage maker. Roy began to laugh. He tried to stop but he could not.

—-Barry Gifford, Bad Things Wrong

Someone is having a bad day.

Somewhere, somehow last night while I was surfing around the internet I came across some photos from the David Lynch movie Wild at Heart. I read and discovered that the basic plot of the film was from a noorish novel by Barry Gifford – a writer I had never heard of.

He seems like the kind of writer you would like if you liked that kind of writer.

I’ll have to look for his books. His latest work is The Cuban Club. From the Publisher:

A masterpiece of mood and setting, character and remembrance, The Cuban Club is Barry Gifford’s ultimate coming-of-age story told as sixty-seven linked tales, a creation myth of the Fall as seen through the eyes of an innocent child on the cusp of becoming an innocent man.

Set in Chicago in the 1950s and early 1960s against the backdrop of small-time hoodlums in the Chicago mob and the girls and women attached to them, there is the nearness of heinous crimes, and the price to be paid for them. To Roy and his friends, these twists and tragedies drift by like curious flotsam. The tales themselves are koan-like, often ending in questions, with rarely a conclusion. The story that closes the book is in the form of a letter from Roy to his father four years after his father’s death, but written as if he were still alive. Indeed, throughout The Cuban Club Roy is still in some doubt whether divorce or even death really exists in a world where everything seems so alive and connected.

Sixty-seven linked tales – that sounds interesting. Today’s short story, from Barry Gifford’s website, seems to be one of the short tales – if not from the book, at least related to it.

Bad Things Wrong by Barry Gifford

It’s a short read but manages to cram a lot of hopelessness and terror in there – concentrated and merciless.