Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
It’s Friday again and that means flash fiction. It means I grab a couple of prompts, usually out of the Storymatic, and then I write a little something. I don’t edit it. I don’t think about it too hard. I just write what comes and you get to watch.
And I’ve been doing this since December of last year. I’ve been contemplating what to do as an anniversary edition to celebrate the longest running goal I think I’ve ever stuck to. Flash fiction every week. But I’ve also been wondering if I should keep doing this.
You remember when you were small and you’d do something that you felt was good, really good, and your mom would smile and tell you, “That’s great, honey.” And you believed her. But there will come a day when you look back at it and realize that your mother was humoring you and the page was covered in scribbles. You’re embarrassed. You wish you hadn’t been quite so proud of yourself, quite so deluded.
Sometimes I wonder if this exercise isn’t just a kind of scribbling. A waste of my time on something that isn’t moving my career or even my skills of finishing long form work in a meaningful direction. We are told the play is one of the most fundamental aspects of learning. We have whole networks in our brains primed for the fun f play, but often as adults, we forget this need. So maybe if I choose to see these little literary forays as a kind of play I can forgive myself for the sin of putting my scribbles on the world wide fridge. If you feel inclined comment below on the things you play at/with, do they make you self-conscious or do you find them imminently relaxing?
Today’s prompts are: hiding spot discovered, monsters! (yes, the exclamation mark was included), and mechanic
“There’s something clanging in the third motor.”
I didn’t bother correcting the very expertly dressed gentleman that motors clang regularly whether something was wrong or not, but since the smell of gasoline and motor oil were clearly offending him to the point of distraction, I let it slide.
“Well,” I said, pocketing a wrench and pulling on my gloves, “Let’s open her up and take a look.”
The prospect didn’t excite me. These well-to-dos were always bringing their overwrought vehicles in about some silly things or another but dragons were the worst. First off, who rides a mechanical dragon to work everyday? no one. Only someone with too much money and not enough sense would get into that market. They were finicky and forever collapsing in the middle of some thoroughfare or another. And you looked like an idiot sitting in the cockpit where the mouth is situated.
I could just picture the pompous jack-a-nape rollicking along, thinking he looked so very intelligent sitting in the mouth of a dragon. The mouth of a real dragon was the kind of place no one escaped from. To prance around in a fake one just screamed trying too hard. Way too hard. He was clearly compensating for something.
I clambered up the back, flicking my braid out of the way, to pull up the maintenance hatch above the third engine (passenger side haunches). And there was a good deal of clanging going on. The problem was nothing was supposed to be running. Yet even through the layers of metal I could hear the intermittent bangs and scrabbling of something. Maybe a few somethings?
“Well, get on with it!” His voice was neither confident nor commanding, just petulant and whiny.
“Um, have you taken this vehicle outside of the city recently?” I asked, rather than respond that if he was in such a hurry he could climb up himself and do the honors.
“Well fo course. I don’t live in the city. I live in new ring they just cleared. Seventeen acres–“
“And have you had any pest problems around the property?”
“Why? You want to recommend your pest controlling brother for a job or something. We have plenty of help–“
I nearly screamed at him to save the rest of the us the displeasure of having to listen to him for one more second, but instead I flipped the latch and carefully cracked the hatch. I didn’t need much light, as they tend to glow bright red. Ten half grown fire-manders scuttled around one another, occasionally letting out sparks. If they’d been much older they’d have been perfectly capable of torching my face when I opened the hatch and they would have, as they hate sunlight.
“Well?” my least favorite customer called, still impatient to get his toy back intact.
I cast about me and quickly found the pressure control valve just inside the lid.
“There’s something stuck in the opening here. I’m going to try the pressure release, see if that clears it. Can you come around the other side and see if anything comes out?”
The dandy rolled his eyes, but he wandered around to the far side of the beast and bent behind the back leg. I pulled the release valve, and sure enough the opening filled with shocked and angry fire-manders. The deep, red sparks they shot off showered the rich fabrics of Mr. Pompous’ suit.
“My brocade!” He dropped to the floor, rolling about as if putting out a conflagration and was rewarded with grease stains that no one would be able to remove.
“Well, I think I found the problem,” I said, hopping down beside him. “Shall we call monster control?”