In response to Carrot Ranch’s weekly Flash Fiction Prompt: Rebellion.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
He said it so casually, for such an inconsequential thing. David stared at his brother.
“What?” Scott grunted, barely looking up from his laptop (too busy spamming job applications).
“You don’t even know where that phrase comes from.” Not a question.
Scott grimaced. “But you’re about to tell me…”
“Guy Fawkes said that.”
David gave up with a melodramatic gesture towards his brother. It was Scott’s ignorance that caused him to get sacked from his last job, inadvertently offending his boss’s family. He had to learn some social awareness sometime… surely?
A tenuous link to the prompt, I know, but ‘rebellion’ caused me to think of Guy Fawkes, which in turn made me think of the phrase ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’. While I was told by a teacher in high school that Guy Fawkes said this, the phrase is actually much older and is thought to originate from Hippocrates’ Aphorisms (an ancient Greek book) : Extreme diseases require extreme cures.
This also got me thinking about how we use everything in the world while (largely) being ignorant of their origins. Another example I can think of is the Nobel Peace Prize, which was started by Alfred Nobel so he could be remembered for something better than becoming ‘rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before’ – he invented dynamite.
In turn, isn’t rebellion often brought on by ignorance? The ignorance of the plight of an oppressed people, until the oppressed rise up to face their oppressors? Or in the case of propaganda, being used to spread half-truths to people who don’t know any better, to stir them up into rebellion?
Food for thought.
In response to Charli Mill’s weekly Flash Fiction Prompt: Industry
One year on, an unexpected correspondence landed in my inbox.
FW: Additional Information – Workpac & Centrelink
At first I thought it was spam, but I recognised the sender. My old boss. Or, to be more accurate, my old boss’s boss’s boss. The big boss.
The big boss was sending out links on how to find work.
Despite having left the industry for my own reasons (and pleased to see the back of it) I couldn’t help but feel a foreboding sorrow.
Operations temporarily suspended. 242 jobs lost.
Owned by a blue-chip company, but ended up another Blue Sky Mine.
This is actually a true story – the mine I used to work at has been one of a number mines in Australia to close. I must have been left on the mailing list by accident to get the email. It’s pretty surprising to see your old boss email you about Centrelink (the government job and income support in Australia). The next day, I saw it on the news: 242 jobs.
I hadn’t kept in touch with anyone I knew from that mine. I wonder what they’re doing, but it would be a bit like rubber-necking to call them now. Some will be okay, and some won’t. Circumstance is a terrible thing. You almost need to plan for bad times, just in case.
In response to Charil’s Carrot Range Flash Fiction Challenge: Spreading the Light
Tensions were running high as was expected at this time of year. The first weekend of December must always be murderously hot, and so the whole household must work away in baking heat to cover the property in artistically arranged Christmas lights.
From previous experience we knew we must stock the freezer with zooper doopers. It didn’t matter how old we were, that stuff was more potent than Gatorade. But even though we prepared, by late afternoon we had dissolved into sweaty, frustrated shouting matches.
Until the sun went down and the lights came on.
And everything was okay.
I was very literal with the prompt this time, wasn’t I? On that note, did we all get to see the Christmas lights in our neighbourhood? It was always a tradition in my family, not to put up Christmas lights, but to drive around on Christmas Eve and see everyone else’s lights!
While googling pictures of Christmas lights for inspiration, I came across this wonderful article from Canberra highlighting the people who decorate their homes for others to visit, raising funds and drawing attention to important charities. The stories in this article are far more important than my frivolous flash fiction, so if you want to give it a read you can find it here.
In response to a past prompt from Charli at the Carrot Ranch
Months wasted. The evidence piled up, but it was piling the wrong way – Marianne Gillespie was proving herself to be a frustratingly upstanding citizen.
So why was she blackmailing me?
The solution seemed so simple: I could no longer afford to pay her, so I had to dig up her dirt. After all, blackmailers should be shifty right? Honest people don’t blackmail you. Honest people go to the cops.
After all, what she had could put me away for a long time… and she’d been sitting on it for a long time…
…long enough to make her an accessory.
I know I’ve been AWOL for a week and a half. I’m sorry I was lazy and didn’t even give notice. Uni got intense (again) so I needed to re-prioritise and get some stuff done. Stuff has now been successfully done, and I’ve still got more stuff to do, but I’m tentatively going to start posting again. I think I can keep it up now. Maybe I can even re-engage in the blogging community and start talking to people again. That would be so nice 🙂
In response to Charli’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Spring Eternal
The low sun transformed the trees into long black shadows cutting across the orange-stained landscape. If she squinted, she could make out the pale apple blossoms threatening to loose themselves in the breeze, though the fragrance was too subtle for her nose to single out. Standing there with her camera around her neck, she took a moment to soak up the beauty of the late spring. Sometimes, the drive to capture the moment caused her to miss the experience altogether, but she promised herself that wouldn’t happen this season. She closed her eyes and breathed the softly warming air…
In response to Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge: Vice
They expected it to be exciting since it was so forbidden. To be fair, the drinking was fun, but only to a point. Dehydration was a bitch, which made you her bitch.
Cigarette smells lingered in their clothes and in their hair. It smelt nice at first, but the novelty quickly lost its lustre. Ash was ash, and vomit was vomit: the facts could not be sugar coated.
Halfway through, one washed their clothes as the other booked a room and their train tickets. Trading one coast for another, they left schoolies behind to go swimming and bushwalking instead.
For those who don’t know what schoolies is.
In response to Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Prompt: Neighbourly
It was the first summer she’d noticed the little garden hadn’t been tended. The flowers were still managing, but the ground was cracked and the leaves had begun to dry. It was always a highlight on her walk, and she’d always wondered who tended to the strangely well-kept garden that sat outside the old apartment block.
So the next day, she came back with a watering can. The day after, someone had tipped fresh soil around the flowers, but it hadn’t seemed properly tilled. She smiled and came back with trowel and fork to finish what her neighbour started.
In response to Charli’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge
I had a plan. It was a plan that I kept to, even when it was messing me up.
The plan was failing. I was failing.
It took a lot to admit I couldn’t handle it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I did something brave or unique. I, essentially, gave up.
Giving up can be good.
I’m not exactly proud of it, but I don’t regret the decision; I have nothing to regret. I’m relieved, and I’m hopeful for the future. Giving up was the best thing I ever did.
I am excited about life again.
And that is the honest truth, right there. Thank you Charli, for reminding me that we can make lemonade from lemons, and sometimes dropping the lemons and bolting is a better course to take.
In response to the Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Symptoms
Symptom: change in voice. Diagnosis: pharyngeal cancer.
He knew it.
The crossing turned green and pain jolted up as he stepped forwards.
Symptom: jarring pain from little toe. Diagnosis: broken toe.
Staring at the answers from dr.net, he gave little notice to the standstill traffic picking up around him. What about that strange itchy bump?
Symptom: lump under left buttock. Diagnosis: fungal infection.
That couldn’t be right.
Head bowed to his phone, he heard the crossing signal and stepped out onto the road. Nothing more could be said about him now, except…
Symptom: Self-absorbed in minor ailments. Diagnosis: Hypochondriac.
I decided to go back and use some of Charli’s old prompts. Since I haven’t done this prompt before, I figured there was no harm 😉
To see other entries of this challenge click here.
I used the Day 2 prompt from http://flashfiction365.tumblr.com/prompts to inspire this story. The main character is strongly influenced by the guy from The Rosie Project
Her bright orange lips clashed against the red toffee apple she was biting into, and I couldn’t help but stare: she was a kaleidoscope of clashing colours. Navy-blue tattoos ran around her neck and under the collar of her pale green cardigan, which did little to hide the black tank top underneath. Her skirt was also green, but the opposite shade, and her leggings matched her lipstick.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer.” Her harsh words surprised me. I didn’t mean to irritate her, but trying to explain that just angered her further.
“It’s not polite to stare,” she said as if she were talking to a little boy.
“There’s just so much to look at-”
She swung the toffee apple like a mace, so surprisingly violent that there was no time for the thought “I should duck now” to enter my head. Thankfully, she didn’t hit my cheek hard enough to break anything, but it was enough for the fruit to stick and hang off my burgeoning beard.
She walked off.
I wanted to know where I went wrong, but the toffee dragging on my facial hair was nonsensically painful. I had to walk around, holding the toffee apple up to my face, until I found a bathroom. The mirror and water allowed me to get to work, and using a little soap helped, but I would need hot water to get the rest of the toffee off my face.
Well, that was my day done. At least I’d helped out at the toffee apple stall before I was hit in the face with one. I’d done my bit, and now I could go home and… re-analyse how I should interact with people.