Two men wake up at the wheel of a bus with two sets of navigational apparatus, two steering wheels, brake and accelerator pedals, and so on, but only one set works and the men can’t tell which one of them is actually driving the bus, and if the real driver takes his hands off the wheel, the bus blows up instantly. But if one of them doesn’t remove his hands before a timer set for 90 minutes expires, the bus blows up. The conundrum is how do they determine which man is actually driving the bus? It’ll never work, too easy. One of them hits the brakes while the other accelerates. The end. A two minute film. Wait. Maybe if I add a complicating factor. The men can’t see each other or communicate directly. But then how do they know about the other driver? Maybe I should get some scalding hot coffee and dump in it my lap. That’s how the Epstein brothers came up with the basic concept forCasablanca. It could be a rumor but it’s worth a try. Why am I so desperate? It isn’t good form to think in terms of desperation. Slow down, relax, don’t try so hard. Try softer. Does that work? Has anyone ever relaxed into a great screenplay? Francis Ford Coppola wroteApocalypse Now in a sauna. So I heard. Sounds relaxing. But I hate insufferable heat. I sweat a lot without being in a sauna. I have a self-diagnosed condition. Shit. Back to the bus. How do I make the premise last 90 minutes? Who else is on the bus? It can’t be just two men. There have to be passengers. Babies. Lots of babies. The audience will identify with the plight of the babies. But not too many babies. The audience won’t sit still for 90 minutes of babies bawling for their mothers. So the mothers are on board too. Good. Babies and mothers. Before the second act begins, there’s a mass breastfeeding scene. Tits and milk flying everywhere with lots of close-up jump cuts to the men licking their lips. Film it all in slow motion set to the newest pop music abortion. The kids will go gaga for it. But wait. It’ll never get a PG-13 rating with a busload of tits. Strike the tits. But I like tits. Never mind that. My personal tastes take a backseat to marketability. Maybe if I can work in a Holocaust angle, the MPAA will go soft on the tits. Didn’t stop the bastards from giving Schindler’s List an R rating. Were there tits in that? I can’t remember. Even if there were, do they count in black and white? That’s it! Film it in black and white. Grainy textured shots like Eraserhead, but no deformed babies reminiscent of E.T. That’ll earn it an NC-17 rating. Back to the men driving. They don’t have to be men. Breastfeeding Holocaust victims in Vietnam jungle attire would work just as well…
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words). So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?
Yes, it's that time again. We're back and we're getting ready to flood the internet with flash-fictions to celebrate National Flash-Fiction Day on Saturday 16th June 2018.
The rules are the same as ever, we are open for submissions for just one week. Stories should be no more than 500 words (not including the title) and should be on whatever theme you fancy. You can submit up to three entries, and there is no cost.
7 editors (one each day) will read your work, and make their decisions, and then the deluge begins at midnight on the 16th.
I’m going to ask her tonight, definitely. Dad said, you’re not even twelve son, what’s next – extra pocket money for johnnies? Mum told him not to be vulgar, then smiled at me; that smile that makes me want to yank her to the knees by the hair: shout, I’m not a baby, Mum.
It’s in the sports hall like always, but this year they’ve got a proper DJ, not just one of the dads. There she is, all curled hair and sprayed-on glitter. I go to tap her shoulder, but James and Jeremy, in the opposite corner, look at me all, why are you going up to a girl? So, before she turns around, I jump on her back: mime a lasso at them one-handed. Dig my knees into her skinny hips and breathe in marshmallows. Then I’m falling forwards. I put out my hands but my landing is broken. I roll off. And her blood’s on my knees. More of it trapped in the grooves of my trainers.
What happened? says Mr Miller, with a face like a father’s instead of a Head’s.
And she looks at me through the bloodied fingers at her nose. …
Marina’s lover delivers a mug of milky tea before his shift starts. She snakes her arm out from under the bedspread and grabs his wrist. He is ready for her: he clenches his fist around the sturdy clay handle and sets the mug down on a ring-marked, unopened paperback.
“Don’t go today.” She says that every day.
“I have to.” Always the same.
The top sheet is stretched across Marina’s lower face like a surgical mask. Her lover kisses the bridge of her nose. She holds her morning breath. He will leave. They all do, when days like this become weeks and months. God knows, she’d leave her miserable self, too, if she could.
“I’ll see you tonight.” They say stuff like that, when they’re just about to vanish. He smiles like a patient GP. Marina’s bowels twist.
Marina’s lover leaves the bedroom door ajar. She calls him her lover because he reckons he loves her to the moon and back. Plus, she’s too old for a boyfriend. He has created an unsettling draught. A vicious stripe of light interrupts t…