Flash Fiction Friday: The Cure and the Disease

Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,

Welcome to yet another Friday. It’s been a rough one this morning. Every writer knows that sometimes the words run like a river from somewhere beyond your brain to your finger tips. It is effortless and you almost wonder where these magnificent utterances could have come from. You are in what is know as flow. The time seems to slip by unnoticed, no ticking clocks distract your focus on this mysterious outpouring, and you are just grateful to be a part of it. You even get to put your name on it someday. It’s magical.

That was not today. Or yesterday. The words have been hard won, the mental exertion disproportionately straining to the productive yield. And none of it feels right. It’s all destined for the cutting room floor. And some day I will have to put my name on it.

But these days are part of the process. We can’t write in the zone of bliss everyday, or wouldn’t feel like bliss anymore. It would be Tuesday. And the loss of it would be devastating, rather than the bog we have to wade to to get to the good stuff.

I’m hoping for good stuff tomorrow.

In the meantime, how about we do something spontaneous and fun? How about we pull a couple of writing prompts, and see where they take us?

No edits. No second guesses. All the typos included. Sound like a fun Friday to you? Me too! Let’s get to it.

Today’s prompts are: stuck, hypochondriac

As a proud Hufflepuff I felt obliged to get a really good picture of the badgers on our most recent trip to Bearizona. Good times.

Ivan had spent a great deal of time wondering about how he would die. He was particularly concerned with all the could not be seen and its power to invade his sovereign system and wreak the kinds of havoc described in documentaries should in freshman biology classes.

He had logged more hours on WebMD and Pubmed than most premed students all while being literature/fine arts double major. He would hear about some new study and down the rabbit hole, armed with vitamin C or an amino acids supplement he would go.

He had the pill caddy of an octogenarian from the time he was 27 and he was on a first name basis with all the nurses at his primary care provider’s office.

Ivan refused to hear the loving criticism of his friends and family, hoping that they could get him to lighten up a little and do a little more living and a little less reading.

But reading was one of the few places that Ivan could escape his fears. He would open books onto places in the world he could travel without fear of more than a few dust mites. He could sip on highly healthful organic green tea and be in space, which would be a true horror without access to the full armament of modern medicine. He could discover fictional lands that never were and never would be, without the constant paranoia of what undiscovered pathogens might be lurking in the very air. He thought War of the Worlds was a cautionary tale.

It was in this state of escapist and pathological practicality that Ivan gave his family bluetooth equipped thermometers for Christmas. His brother, having been very stressed out with work and four children and a wife who insisted on the expense of having her nails done weekly, had finally had enough.

“This is insane!” he’d screamed into Ivan’s face. “I’d rather you didn’t get me anything if you’re going to push your psycho obsession on us. All you do is freak out about germs and cancers and whether or not the CDC’s guidelines about hand washing have changed. And then you run away into your stupid books, thinking that makes you smart. Well, it doesn’t. You haven’t been anywhere or done anything! When are you going to develop a spine and grow up?”

Ivan’s mother had intervened with desserts and Ivan’s father had taken his brother out back to shoot some hoops on the old basket hung up off th garage. His brother had come back in, steam blown off, and apologized to Ivan for unloading on him, but to everyone’s shock Ivan had only said, “You’re right. Thanks for the apology, I could have done without the yelling, but you’re not wrong. It’s time I did something about everything I know.”

Less than two months later Ivan had sold his condo and most of his possessions, bought a plane ticket, and went in search of the next miracle medicine. He would travel through China, India, and Nepal sitting with traditional healers, learning everything he could. He would make his way across Europe, experiencing the legendary spas of Germany and Austria. He would sauna with yogis, drink tea with midwives, and allow himself to be covered in “element rich mud” to cleanse his pores and his aura.

After several months of this global wandering, Ivan realized he hadn’t looked at the internet, let alone WebMD in weeks. His breathing felt easier, his heart rate slower. He considered all the things he could have contracted along the way, and hadn’t. Maybe he wasn’t sick. Maybe he wasn’t[‘t constantly at risk. Maybe he just needed a break from all that personal pressure to fix himself.

It was in this state of contemplative relaxation that he entered a jungled space in the DRC, led by a guide who hadn’t charged him nearly enough. They were a few hours into their trek when the guide looked back to make sure Ivan wasn’t really paying attention to his footing, and led him right into some quick sand.

Ivan was stunned.

He’d spent so much time worried about what his immune system was and wasn’t doing that dying in a mire of overly hydrated earth had never even occurred to him. He was the naive hero in one of his books who had gotten himself into a sticky situation. As his would be guide attempted to extort some exorbitant fee for getting him out, he just laughed.

It was all too ironic, that even though he couldn’t hope to free himself, and his shoes were growing heavier by the second, dragging him down, it was only the years leading up to this moment that he had truly been stuck.

I had a great time writing this. It was super fun, and I hope you enjoyed it. As always feel free to comment below, and to link to where we can find your take on todays prompts.

Happy Friday my friends!



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