Exercise in Flash Fiction

In my short story class, we are reviewing flash fiction. 

What is flash fiction?

  1. A very short story – usually 1,000 words or less.  Some say for a story to be micro fiction, one shouldn’t have to turn a page more than once.
  2. It has a beginning, middle, and end, like any other story.  (It does not need to be in this order).
  3. The character changes or there is some type of change (mood, tone, etc.), or at least a chance for change.
  4. Because the stories are so short, there is often a mood or something clever about the story to grab the reader’s attention.

Our class assignment this week:

In one page, write a flash fiction that covers a person’s lifetime. (Choose however long you want that lifetime to be. You can start in grade school like Ron Carlson’s short story, “Single Woman for Long Walks on the Beach”  or earlier, and end whenever you want).  Try to use as little punctuation as possible. Use details to make this life specific. 

Below is my example. This was an unusual assignment because we were requested to not use a lot of punctuation. I found this to be a bit of a struggle at first but then I just decided to let go and write.

Celia Lettia’s 15 Minutes of Fame (or a Lifetime of Infamy)

            Celia Lettia was born to an unwed, teenage mother, who fell through the rabbit hole of drug addiction, only to die by her twenty-first birthday, leaving Celia’s grandparents with the burden of raising their granddaughter, embracing their second attempt of child rearing by homeschooling Celia, keeping her away from all the dangerous influences that had impacted her lost soul of a mother, teaching her of all the evils of the world, a evil world of illegal drugs, illegal aliens, a God-given right to own guns, a God-less government, and a sinful society, trying to keep Celia Lettia a pure, virginal young woman, an intellect stunted, taught to shun those who had unclean beliefs and abhorrent actions.

            Celia Lettia was not allowed to watch television and had a small collection of approved books for reading, the most recommended being the Holy Bible, filled with interesting stories, uplifting a high moral code for which to live by and, above all, it focused on the evil one who is deceitful, leading weak souls astray on this journey of a life, filled with hardships and struggles but with the hope of eternal salvation for those who tow the line of the righteousness, holding onto the rope of deliverance with a tight grip, and Celia was surrounded by like-minded folks who lived in fear, intolerance, and the holy word to fortify their beliefs, their behaviors, as they levied judgment on the  foolish who listened to the whisperings of the evil one and practiced an accepted ‘tolerance’ of abominations, and as she grew into adulthood, she knew what was right and what was wrong, and she closed herself in with her tight-knit community of the socially, politically, and spiritually right, always choosing the right path with the right people at the right time, except when she decided to marry someone from her church, a handsome young man who spoke the right words and seemed to live the right life, but he would be led down a path of evilness that would alter his life and her life forever.

            Celia Lettia was humiliated and ashamed by her husband’s sinful nature, his disgusting lust for another man, both caught red-handed and pants down, and the fact that her husband was found on his fallen knees, not in prayer, but in an unspeakable carnal act, causing an embarrassment that would shock this small world of small-minded people, a call to action as they focused their new-found knowledge of how evilness really works, enlisting the impassioned Celia Lettia into battle, causing her to help make banners that read, “Faggots rot in hell,” and “God hates gays,” and march against Gay Rights parades, marriage equality, and military funerals of fallen ‘heroes’ who died for a country that glorifies sin, and she was desperate, intensely passionate in her attempts to teach the stupid, clueless masses of what was right and what was wrong.

            Celia Lettia put on her whole armor of God for protection and then put on her foundation, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick, curling her hair, attaching the barrette to pull her hair off her face, and put on her well-polished business suit, and put the 9mm Glock into her well-matching purse, and as she drove calmly toward the city hall, she knew what she had to do, and in a sinful city that elected an openly-gay councilmember, a true sinner embraced by the ranks of weak city leaders, Celia Lettia waited in her car until she saw the councilwoman leave the building, a female leader who promoted public education, healthcare reform, welfare, immigration reform, and other social programs that weakened society, and then Celia Lettia walked up to the woman, who was probably in her early 50’s, and she shot the woman point blank, six times in the chest and stomach. Celia Lettia was wrestled to the ground by confused, uninformed by-standers, who did not understand that she was doing the work of God, and she tried to tell them but they refused listen, acting horrified by her actions, as the police handcuffed her and put her in the back of the police car.

            Celia Lettia’s tight-knit community of tight-lipped accomplices paid for a good lawyer but she was still found guilty, a good Christian woman judged, a true martyr for the cause, sentenced to life in prison for murder, which is a sin that Celia Lettia apparently never really paid much attention to while reading the holy words in the Bible.