So, a writing pal of mine Ashe Conrad-Jones set herself a challenge to write a Flash Fiction piece, one per week, and she’s done it, so far – only 48 more to go. In a fit of solidarity I said I’d do the same, not one a week, but one at all. Easier said than done – the tightness of the word count gives me writer claustrophobia and the word ‘Flash’ looms in the imagination like a directive that makes me feel the piece must be newsworthy, illuminating, apocalyptic even. I did tell Ashe that I attempted to write these things in the past, but they wouldn’t stay put, kept turning into prose poems or surreal conversations.
I didn’t tell her years ago I had a lit-crush on Dave Eggers so bad that I wrote a lot of these teeny-tiny things in homage and sent them to him, not joking. He even published one eventually, though to read it you would not exactly think it was a flash fiction, more like a moment in time. Flashworthy it was not. So today I find myself honoring a promise to a pal, but bereft of ideas that can fit into prose morsel the size of a fortune cookie. Why not write one about a serial killer? Then I remembered the crushingly insightful Charlie Kaufman line in the film ‘Adaptation’ where he says: ‘The only idea more overused than serial killers is multiple personality.’ So I rooted in my shorts from the past and lo and behold, what do I find? Not a serial killer, but a multiple personality, hurrah! Nevertheless, it gave me joy to write, and what is writing for if not for joy?
Pat’s Perpetual Monologue With Perpetual Pats
…Pat, can’t talk here, try and understand, can’t talk cos they listen in, can’t have that Pat, there can only be one-Pat-per-one-Pat. Got to curb the Pats, Pat. Means you can’t talk back Pat. Sure it gets me down — not being able to talk to you Pat! But on balance it’s better I don’t talk to you and you don’t talk to me. Got that Pat? Down pat Pat. Pat? Now look here Pat, understandably, the down patting of Pat upsets you? Down patting of Pat is bad business. What to do with just one Pat? You’ll be a lonely Pat. Pat, I told you, there can only be one-Pat-per-one-Pat, understand? I know it’s difficult Pat, because you believe in you, which makes you your own one-Pat-per-one-Pat, and vice versa, makes it hard for me (and you) to be the one-Pat-per-one-Pat. But, don’t feel bad about being the one-Pat-per-one-Pat. Wouldn’t it be great to be the one-Pat-per-one-Pat? Besides, Pat must never know about the other Pat. That’s very confusing for Pat. What? You never knew about the other Pat? You thought you were the only one-Pat-per-one-Pat? But Pat, there can only be one-Pat-per-one-Pat. What? Pat, can’t talk here, try and understand, can’t talk cos they listen in, can’t have that Pat, there can only be one-Pat-per-one-Pat…