Flash Fiction Double Shot: Random Sentences.

So, this weeks terribleminds.com flash challenge provided a link to a random sentence generator and fairly simple rules. Generate a sentence. Use it as the first of last sentence of your story. 1000 words maximum.

My first randomly generated sentence wasn’t very good, but Chuck decreed that the spirit of the challenge was to use an interesting randomly generated sentence, not necessarily the first one. So I went back and clicked for awhile until I had two sentences that I liked:

A malicious cosmology lusts in the electorate.

Another fountain fears!

I liked them both so much and quickly had a sketch of an idea for each so I decided to write both stories. So this week I’ve got two little bits of flash for you:

The Answer to Everything

A malicious cosmology lusts in the electorate.

I’m not sure if that’s the right way to put it, but I need to explain this somehow. I’m putting this message anywhere I can. Email. Blogs. Fliers. If you’re reading this – don’t stop! Read it all and then find a way to pass the message along.

THIS IS NOT A CHAIN LETTER.

Nor is it spam. It is the answer to everything. Why are we here? What is our purpose? How does the universe actually work? I know. I’ve figured it out. It’s them.

How do I explain? They aren’t from our universe. They made it. They are the cosmology. They are the what and the why. The universe is like the board of a game and we’re the pieces they move around it. They live in our minds. They don’t control our minds; they just live there. They nudge us and prod us. Our subconscious? Sometimes that’s not us at all! It’s them.

“What do they want?”

That’s what you want to ask me right now, isn’t it? If this malicious cosmology lusts then they must be lusting for something, right? Don’t worry. I’m going to tell you. It’s pretty simple really. If the universe is a board and we’re the pieces then they’re the players.

What do they lust for? Domination. Power. Trans-dimensional poker chips maybe. I’m not sure exactly I just know they want to win and winning is all they care about.

And if you’re reading this don’t complain! You should be grateful I know any of this at all. We’re not supposed to know this but they’re starting to lose control and I’ve been able to learn what I’m telling you now. I think it’s because the world is changing too fast for them. The Internet and social media are a big part of their problem. Lucky for us.

“How do they win?”

It’s like I can read your mind right? That’s probably the next question you wanted to ask. Go back and read the first sentence of this message again. I know it’s weird but what’s the weirdest part? How about ‘electorate’? That’s not exactly the most normal way to describe people and trust me I’m not wasting time fiddling with a thesaurus. I’ve got to get this out now while we’ve got a chance. Before they adapt and catch up. Electorate is the key word in that crazy sentence because that is how they keep score. Politics.

We’re the pieces, they’re the players and politics are the points. You ever notice how political parties tend to have a colour? In most games the players’ pieces are all different colours. This is that. The countries that don’t have democracy? Those are the places where one team has complete control. I don’t know why.

Maybe its like a game of baduk and the other side didn’t notice them taking control of that part of the board until it was too late. Ever notice how movements and revolutions in those kind of countries tend to have a colour? Yeah, just like the political parties. It’s not us picking those colours: it’s them.

“So what can we do about this?”

Honestly? I don’t know. Kinda like AA though I think step one has to be: acknowledging we have a problem. That’s what I’m trying to do here. That’s what I’m asking you to help me with. We have to get this message out there. Tell anyone you can, anyway you can.

Yeah they might think you’re crazy, but maybe the next time they start talking about even the smallest political disagreement in an “Us vs. Them” way they’ll stop and wonder: What if it’s really “Us vs. Them”?

 

The Fountain Revenge

Leon Green waited on the park bench for target number three. He knew he would come by, if not today then tomorrow. Leon had been following number three for a couple weeks and he had his routines memorized. Most weeknights Justin walked home alone through the park. He always passed this bench; he always walked by the fountain.

Leon smiled when he thought about how easy Justin’s routines made this. The first two targets required much more planning. Transporting them to the transfer place had been particularly tricky. Justin’s strolling preferences made a welcome change.

Checking his watch Leon realized that, if he was coming today, Justin would be by in the next ten minutes.

It turned out to be six. When Leon saw him coming he slipped his hand into this jacket pocket and touched the mini-tranq gun waiting there. He let Justin get fifteen paces ahead before getting up to follow.

Wait, he thought to himself. Go slow and make sure no one is around.

Leon let Justin get a little further into the park and looked everywhere to make damn sure they were alone. He could hardly believe his luck. No people. Tranq gun in his right pocket and transfer tools in his left he followed.

A minute down the path and still no one around he closed half the distance to Justin, aimed, and fired. The shot was perfect; one mini-tranq dart right in the ass.

Justin yelled in pain and whirled around on the spot with one hand feeling behind him.

“What the fuck!” he said as he pulled the dart out of what was probably going to a very sore butt cheek. Not that Leon planned on letting him stick around long enough to have to worry about that particular problem.

“Don’t worry Justin,” said Leon as he stashed the gun back in his pocket. “That little thing was loaded up with some really potent shit. You’re not going to be feeling much in a few moments. I’m sure the hangover’d be a bitch but you’ll have other concerns to worry about by then. Trust me.”

“Who…who the fuck are you?” asked Justin, trying to focus his eyes.

Leon’s jaw clenched. His hands too. He could summon up every one of their faces without a moments hesitation. They were frequent guest stars in his dreams. The kind of dreams that kept you from going back to sleep after you woke screaming.

“Don’t worry. I’ll help you remember. We’re going to have a little talk before the transfer,” Leon told him.

Justin had a hand to his head and stumbled as he tried to walk. Leon decided it was safe now and moved forward to help support him. He threw one of Justin’s arms over his shoulder and turned him around. Just one friend helping another who’d hit the bottle too hard, and a little too early.

“There you go Justin. One foot in front of the other. You know the way, same way you always take through the park. Right to the fountain.”

“Whagoin…whoeryou,” said Justin.

“Don’t talk. Just focus on walking. I’m sure that’s hard enough for you as it is. You know, it’s funny you walking by that fountain so much. For the longest time the sight of a fountain would set off my panic attacks. Of course I’m sure you’d have no idea why. Your friends Bob and Larry didn’t seem to remember me either. Didn’t remember the fountain and all the torments you sick bastards liked to put me through there.”

Justin’s feet started dragging then, like he wanted to fight, wanted to stop Leon from pulling him along. It didn’t work though. He couldn’t help being pliable with those drugs coursing through him.

“Was it you who came up with the idea of holding me head under so long I started blacking out? Half drowning a kid get you off or something? I’m sure you can’t remember now but I’ll give you plenty of time to reflect.”

They turned a corner on the path and the fountain came into view. It was a really nice one. Double tiered with turtles spitting their never-ending streams on the first and elephants on the second central one. Leon looked around and saw his luck was holding. The place was almost deserted. There was a couple sitting on a bench on the opposite side of the fountain but it was getting shadowy and they were probably more interested in each other anyway.

Leon half-dragged, half-led Justin over to the fountain. Reaching carefully into his left pocket he took out the red chalk and started sketching strange geometric symbols on the fountains edge.

“You know Justin. It is truly amazing what you can learn with some research, persistence and willingness to pay anything. Even better for me, some people with the most interesting knowledge have a soft spot for revenge. A part of you is going to realize later that I could have just killed you. I think you’re going to wish I had.”

He tossed the chalk and then palmed the small blade and took it out of his left pocket.

“I’m not sure how this really works from your perspective, but I know you’ll still be alive and awake in here. I like to imagine all of you screaming through the fountains always open mouthes, but no one can hear you because of the water. I like to think you feel the bird shit land on you and drip down your skin and dry hard. That’s what I’ll be thinking when I stop by for visits anyway.”

“Nuh,” Justin managed.

“Yes,” said Leon as he slashed Justin’s palm and slapped it down over the chalk marks.

Justin’s body stiffened, then became rag-doll loose. Leon lowered the empty shell to the ground, resting it against the fountain and walked away exalting in the knowledge that now: Another fountain fears!

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Double Shot: Random Sentences.

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Re: The Answer to Everything
    I really liked the entire story until the last paragraph. I didn’t understand your resolution. I almost think it left the story unfinished or at least confused. The first 98% of the story was great–kept my interest and kept me reading. Interesting idea and nicely done.

    Re: The Fountain Revenge
    Nice movement and pacing was good. A couple of times I lost the train and had to go back but not too often. Interesting premise on how to execute revenge (and work in a fearing fountain!).

    I think I liked the first one best because of the unique voice. The second one did feel like a complete story over the first. Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed both!!

    • Thanks for the comments Amanda. I especially love specifics. I agree with you about the last paragraph of “The Answer to Everything” it doesn’t quite work. I was struggling with a way out and really wanted to end it with “Them”. Maybe it’s a case of failing to kill my darlings.

      I’d love to know, if possible, exactly where you lost the train in the second story so I could think about what I might have been able to do better in those places.

      • With The Answer… I almost wonder if the last paragraph could have been like “wait, got to go, they’re cutting in, watch out for th–” or something like that.
        With The Fountain… I’ve thought a lot about it and I think the MC monologuing is what slows it down. Talking about tailing 3 and stuff but them little to much info here and there. It’s not bad, I just got derailed. Maybe back to the first rule we all need–tighten the prose? Both are good, the second is just with pacing, maybe. Great job!

  2. Loved both, and I know from experience how difficult writing a cohesive story using a randomly generated sentence can be!

    “The Answer to Everything” rocks! Is the writer paranoid, maybe delusional? Or does he hold the answer to the dilemma of the human condition? Very intriguing, and I enjoyed how the ending makes the reader make up their own mind.

    “The Fountain Revenge” is cool as well. I had no idea where we were going until we arrived, which is pretty awesome.

    • Thanks for the comments Tim. I’m glad you enjoyed them. It’s funny that so far the feedback has ranked “The Answer to Everything” above “The Fountain Revenge”. When I wrote them I was assuming it was going to be the other way around. Which just goes to show I guess that we are rarely the best judges of our own work.

    • Thanks for stopping by to check out my stories Casz. I’m very glad I decided to post that first story – I almost didn’t because, as I mentioned above I thought the second was better. It’s been very educational for me to read the first again knowing that other people really enjoyed it.

      As for the second one I’m not sure what it says about me that when I got that random sentence my thought process went: “How do I make a fountain fear?” “Hmm.” “Oh! Stick someone’s soul inside it. Obviously.”

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