Flash Club March Flash Club 2020

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Barbara

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Nov 10, 2017
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Cambridgeshire
The March Flash Club is now open.

Prompt:

Pinoccio.JPG

Word Count: 200-300

As always, use the writing prompt as well as the word limit given to write a piece of flash fiction. Entry is open to all members. Feel free to enter more than one. The only rule here: we ask you not to critique any of the entries.

To take part in the competition, simply post your entry below.

Towards the end of the month, I will close the thread and open a poll so you can vote for the winner.

That's it. Any questions, PM me.

See you next month.
 
Pinocchio the Saint of Truth.

He made his way to the stump outside. On it, sat a crude Pinocchio. He smiled a world-weary smile. The ultimate lie. A story to teach children to tell the truth, but in reality, truth-tellers are silenced. People don't want the truth, they want Disney.

He coughed hard and saw the telltale blood splatter on the snowy stump. Not long now and the world would know what he had done.

From his pocket, he pulled an envelope and placed it under Pinocchio’s butt, before turning and making his way inside. There was no reason to die in the cold. The end might be marginally quicker out here, but he wanted one last bit of comfort.

Ultimately, would he be considered a hero or a villain? Would the other members of the Pinocchians be hunted down and arrested? He knew they had done the right thing, letting nature provide the ultimate cure. His conscience was clear.

He stood by every word he’d written.

Dear Friends,
Do not judge us harshly. We acted for the good of the planet and ultimately for the good of mankind. The Greta effect was never going to be enough to save the world. It needed a radical stop. We’ve sabotaged all efforts to find a cure or a vaccine. Our agents are committed to spreading COVID-19, and your survivors will thank us. The human population has run unchecked too long. We’ve cured disease and defied old age. Enough! Now Pinocchians have brought balance back to the world. Your markets, industries and economies are on their knees. The disease will run its course, and the earth will be purified. Mankind, streamlined and healthier.

Listen to the truth. Don’t run from it. Death is part of life. Don't fear it.
Goodbye.
 
Wooden-Eye be happy.

You’d think I’d be happier sitting on the cusp of this spectacular mountain-scape but I didn’t ask to be perched on this fence, wearing this ridiculous hat while you get to sit inside having fun. Apart from the silly Fez nailed through my cranium or occasional white sock courtesy of a weary pigeon, my wardrobe is weather dependent and climate change has seen me reluctantly becoming a member of the Alpine Nudist’s Club. Arriving guests bend my limbs in all sorts of directions, like I’m some kind of artist’s mannequin - I’m not. I’m an upcycled fence post with a mild dose of woodworm, but damn it, I deserve respect because I know things about you humans. I know some of your dirtiest secrets. So, when you look at me and giggle and remark, “Ooooh he looks so sad”, well now you know the reason why.

I’ve seen it all – naked skiers, stoned snow-boarders, frozen orgies and drunken snowmobile rampages.

I once witnessed a murder. They never proved who did it (it was the husband’s adult son). If I was allowed to testify, they’d have that murderer locked up before your Daiquiris thawed. I saw it all, in every bloody detail. The murder weapon, was a snow plough and three feet of climber’s rope. It was the first and only time that I saw what happens when one human being drives over another human being, with a snow plough. Today, the driver of that snow plough is back with another female companion - the season is young and the snow fresh.
 
Picman

Picman waits at the log-house set high on a hill.
'Tis the first day of March, and the snow lies still.
He can see, from his seat, old sleigh-tracks all around,
But, apart from a wood-creak, there is no sound.

Picman's mother's Stickwoman. The gossipers say
'twas a Christmas event and a wine-filled day.
She danced with a man called Pinocchio
who enticed her to go for a walk in the snow.

He maintained that he loved her, the story goes,
but he wore balaclavas to cover his nose.
'Til the jilted Stickman came and tackled him well,
tore the woolen thing off as Pinocchio fell.

Stickman gave her a ring as he knelt on one knee,
and our Picman was born in the family tree.
Picman thought that Stickman was his dad for so long,
but his sister said, "No. Look, your nose is all wrong."

So his mother, shame-stricken, took Picman aside,
said, "Pinocchio's nose grew like yours when he lied.
Pinocchio, Son, is your father by wood,
but our Stickman loves you as a true father should."

Picman sits on the fence-post. He's anxious today
for he sent off a letter with yesterday's sleigh:
Pinocchio, Father, please come, just one time;
I would like to see who used his wood to make mine.


But the hills, they are empty, and though they look nice,
Picman's feet are now swelling; his bum feels like ice.
But what's that? "That man's hat is like mine on his head.
He is coming this way." Picman shakes with dread.

Well, they drink in the log-house, share years lived and gone.
Picman watches at "sorry", but nothing grows long.
Pinocchio says, "I must go. Visit me."
Picman smiles then runs home to his Stick family.
 
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Abandoned

Robbie forgot me.

But I will keep my head up and remain chipper, he’ll be back, I’m sure of it. He loves me, I love him. Could it be simpler than that? I’m special (well, I hope I am), I’m unlike any of Robbie’s other toys, I’m wood: one-of-kind. The other wood toy he owns is a colourful wooden alphabet jigsaw. He doesn’t play with that much, except with the bigger female human. I’ve overheard Robbie call her Mum.

My mind shies from the lengthy plane trip we took to reach here. He’d come back for me before he caught a plane home, wouldn’t he? Surely. We’re such great friends. He played with me every day. My mind shies from the number of times I’ve sat here in the dark.

While I wait, I relive the time Robbie strapped a makeshift parachute on my back and threw me from the treehouse. He cared about me so much, with the bigger man called Dad, he took me to a toymaker who hammered my legs back on.

Then there was the time we played hide and seek with his friends; he giggled and carried me around his every hiding spot on his shoulders. Such memorable times.

My mind shies from how tall Robbie has grown lately…
 
Just Biding My Time

Good disguise wouldn’t you say? Yes, we’re actually quite proud of it. It took rather a lot of effort to come up with charming little me.

All sorts of meetings with endless committees getting involved too, you wouldn’t believe it, the red tape was crazy but in the end we decided on “quaint stick man”.

So I'm sitting here ostensibly as an incongruous conundrum. To those who like to slide down these mountain slopes on long pieces of laminated wood I’m nothing more than a cute curiosity.

“Hey, look at this little guy. I wonder what he’s doing here.” That’s the most common response, usually followed by a bit of head-scratching before they begin their descent down the hill. That suits me because not one of the skiers has suspected a thing.

Some think I’m a lucky mascot belonging to Lars over there who runs the ski lift, while others speculate that someone carved me and just stuck me on this fence post. I’ve lost count of the amount of photos and selfies I’ve been included in. By the way, what is it with you all and selfies?

Here’s the thing though. I shan’t be sitting here much longer... just sending out my signal… now I know what your're thinking... “signal?” Yes that’s right, "signal".

I was sent here from another galaxy as a last-gasp. Our world is dying and my race needs to find somewhere new to colonise. Truth is, I've been here two of your earth years now sending out a location signal since.

Our advance landing parties arrive within days. Sadly you won’t stand a chance. You see with our superior weaponry and technology you’ll be powerless to resist us. Quite sad really because as a race you’re really not that bad.
 
HARD TIMES

They called it the biggest fall from grace in Hollywood history. Bigger than O.J and Weinstein combined they said.

The addiction crept up on me, I admit. The taste was like nothing else and before I knew it, I'd lost everything.

Who could have guessed that Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain was going to bring down one the world’s greatest acting talents?

My movies have grossed over $3 billion dollars and now, sat here naked, Sheriff Woody is almost broke. It doesn't help that that handsome prick Lightyear is doing so well for himself either.

Tom Hanks won't even speak for me anymore.

I'll find another speaker and I'll be back. Back on top in no time, you'll see!

The medics are weaning me off the Ronseal with Cuprinal Wood Preserver. The methadone equivalent to a smack-head.

The only problem is the side effects. It sends my sex-drive through the roof. I just can’t control it!

Sat here now, I hear the doctor shouting from the window of my secluded rehab retreat in the Swiss Alps:
“Woody! What are you hiding down there?”
 
Pinocchio does my head in

I had to get out. This wasn't what I'd had in mind when the cool Snowboarding girls had invited me over to their chalet for 'Apres Ski'.

The strongest drug I'd taken up this point had been Lemsip Max Cold and Flu. When Ariadne had produced the 'Super-spliff' and offered it to me, how could I refuse? I wasn't yet twenty years old, and there isn't much a teenage boy won't do to impress a girl.
I stepped outside and sucked the cold air deep into my lungs.
'You're a pussy,' I heard an obnoxious voice say.
I spun around, but there was nobody there...except a carved wooden boy, perched atop a gatepost.
'You talking to me?' I said.
'I don't see any another pussy around here. It's all inside the house, which is where you should be, but you're out here because you're a faggot.'
'You're a hateful little thing, aren't you?'
'At least I'm not a pussy.'
I went over and wagged my finger in his crudely carved face. 'You're starting to do my swede in. I don't need to take this kind of abuse from an ornament.'
'The boy adopted a sheepish look and looked down at the ground. 'Sorry.'
'That's better’ I said.
‘Sorry you’re a prick.’

That was it. I dropped-kicked the little piece of shit, sending him spiraling off the post into the snow.

He lay there crying and shouting, ‘Ariadne, Ariadne, that boy kicked me.’

I put my finger to my lips. ‘Don’t grass on me. You started it.’

Ariadne came out of the Chalet, followed by the others.

‘What the fuck have you done to my little brother; you freak?’ She said.

I looked down and saw that 'Pinocchio' had been a real boy, all along.

I did what any responsible adult would've: I ran away.

Don’t do drugs.
 
The Good Son

'Hello there'

'Hello, what are you doing here, sitting on a post in the middle of winter?'

‘Waiting.’

‘Waiting for what?’

‘Waiting to get published.’

‘So you’re a writer?’

‘Oh yes. You're not an agent, are you? I need an agent, or so I'm told.’

‘No, but I love books. What's yours about.’

‘It's an expose. A behind the scenes look at one of the BBC's most famous children’s programmes. Agent Pete says exposes are in big demand.’

‘Sounds fascinating. Any sex in it?’

‘Lots of sex yes.’

‘So how come you know all this stuff?’

‘Well, I'm the result of the sex, you see.’

‘Oh Wow! This sounds juicy.’

‘Yeah, it was a threesome so not sure who my dad is even to this day. The sex went on between takes. In the garden shed.’

‘So were they famous?’

‘In their time they were, sure,’

‘Go on, tell me. Who were they or is it a big secret?’

‘I wear this hat out of respect for what they achieved.’

‘A flower pot?’

‘Yeah, Bill and Ben, the flower pot men. That's them.’

‘They're still alive? This is amazing.’

‘And Little Weed. She's my mum. When she got pregnant with me they sacked her and Bill and Ben walked out in sympathy.’

‘But why are you here?’

‘Well, I've been submitting to agents for years now without a single reply. Very rude not to reply I think so now I am chasing them up. You see that house behind me?’

‘Yeah, it's beautiful.’

‘Well, the fifty-first agent I sent my book to lives in there and I’m waiting for her.’

‘The fifty-first! What about the first fifty?’

‘Oh, they're all dead. Only five more to go after this one.’

‘You're mad, stark staring mad!’

‘You may be right, but I bet they publish me when I confess. Mum, dad and uncle will be able to afford a brand new garden shed. The old one’s a bit tatty, you know.’
 
The Pinocchio moment

It was when we saw Pinocchio sitting on that fence post. She looked at it, all beautifully rosy-cheeked and snow-fresh. “Hello little chap,” she said, practically shaking it by its hand, “How are you today?”

She stood, waiting for it to answer, and when she seemed surprised that it wouldn’t, she said, “Oh I’m very well, thank you for asking young lady,” in a deep, fake Pinocchio voice. She looked at me, what was I supposed to do? Laugh? Join in the conversation?

“Who is this nice young man you’re with?” said Pinocchio.

“Thank you for asking Pinocchio. This here is Jeremy. Say hello Jeremy.”

I said hello, thinking this:

There is a moment in your life when people you think you know do something you don’t expect. And you ask yourself, is this the real them? Is this how they really are? Will these moments become the defining moments of our lives? Our giving voices to inanimate objects? And for what? For entertainment? For cutes? Life isn’t a rom-com, and these moments belong in the world of meet-cutes and dashes to airports, of clear, uncomplicated love, not the real world of work, rain, low-level debt and rudderless days.

And Pinocchio said, “You’re missing the magic Jeremy.”

And I thought, you’re probably right, but then aren’t we all?

She turned and walked away. The next day we flew home and drifted apart, and the magic I had barely glimpsed, a life I almost knew, a life of colour and light, of talking dolls and uncomplicated love, drifted away with her, and I was left with my work, and my rain, my low-level debt and my rudderless days, dragging slowly on through the tired streets.
 
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