flash fiction #2

January 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

Yesterday I posted the first of my two flash-fictions about a girl sitting in the park. Here’s the second of the two – I think I prefer it, although other people tend to prefer the first. I wrote this about three years ago, a day or two after I wrote the other one.

*

a song to pass the time

Going to the park had been my idea, of course. It’s getting dark early now that it’s November, and I like the idea of visiting it when it’s meant to be closed. They need to fix the fence if they want to really keep us out.

I’m listening to a lot of French music at the moment, by which I mean Serge Gainsbourg and the Amelie soundtrack. I have an iPod but it feels so impersonal and it’s really ugly, so I don’t use it much anymore. I prefer the old cassette walkman that I found lying around the house. It makes me feel different. So I’ve got one earphone in and Serge is singing in French je t’aime, je t’aime, oh oui je t’aime! and I think that means that he’s saying he loves me but I’m not sure because I stopped learning French when I was fourteen and I wasn’t very good anyway. I can say mais and poulet and the stuff about my name and age, but that’s about it. I’m pretty sure he’s saying he loves me. Or Jane Birkin.

“No one’s ever said they love me,” I say to Sam, who’s texting someone instead of paying attention to me.

“So?” Sam says.

“Well, my parents say it,” I say.

“I’m really cold,” Leo says, and he probably is because he forgot to bring a coat and it’s frosty in the park. He’s not shivering though. Leo thinks he’s cool and alternative because he listens to Taking Back Sunday and because he doesn’t want to be an accountant or a lawyer. I think Leo needs to start wearing appropriate clothes.

“Leo, do you have to always wear clothes that have swear words on them?” I ask, genuinely curious.

“Fuck off,” Leo says, crossing his arms so that I can only see half of the small fuck on his tee shirt, and only half of the you that follows it.

I decide not to fuck off but I don’t think Leo actually meant it. Serge has finished now. Françoise Hardy is playing but I have no idea what she’s singing about. I like it this way. I used to hate music that I didn’t understand but now I’m eighteen and I think that I’m not meant to understand music. There’s nothing worse, I believe, than a song that means what it says.

“I love you,” Will says, and he sounds sincere with drunkenness. Will has about five times as much money as all of us combined, which means that he likes to drink lots of the cheapest cider he can find. He has a plastic bag containing at least three bottles next to him on the bench.

“Say it in French,” I ask, because I know he has a B at French GCSE, so he’s practically bilingual.

“J’aime,” he says, and I know that he doesn’t love me.

“You’re saying it wrong,” I say, “there’s a t in there somewhere. T.” I just sound like I’m tutting.

*

(photo by ©sammie on flickr, used under a creative commons license)

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flash fiction #1

January 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I was thinking about what to post up here, and I thought of these 500-word stories I wrote a few years ago, in the summer between sixth form and university, and how I’d never done much with them. I mostly write poetry, when I’m writing – I keep attempting prose fiction but nothing about it quite works for me. I don’t understand very basic things like the pace, like how much should be covered in a page – it’s a perpetual mystery to me how anybody gets beyond page 3 of a novel. Having said that, I do like writing flash fiction – 500/1000 word bursts of story is something I can and enjoy working at. I have two of these, and will post the other one tomorrow. I don’t think they’re brilliant, but they’re quite fun, I hope.

Also, I just looked through my flickr page for photos I took a few years ago, in case there’s one that’ll work well with this story. I haven’t really progressed at all since I was like, 17. I’m just the same. Except I’m slightly less cool now, & I wasn’t even cool to begin with.

*

best of times


I light a cigarette and turn to Jonas, because there isn’t much else to do. He’s smoking, too, although he doesn’t really like the taste of Mayfair and it’s all I have with me. Our arms are touching lightly and I’m not actually sure how he feels about me as this isn’t a date but a meeting with friends. He’s cool, though, so I don’t mind him smoking one of my last cigarettes even if he doesn’t actually like it.

It’s July and school’s over forever.

“You going away this summer?” Jonas asks me. I say nah, trying to get a job, we went away last year. Jonas isn’t going away either, but I knew that anyway. He already visited family in Sweden back in April and he’s saving his money for a car. “I guess I’ll see you around,” he mumbles into his cigarette.

I’m trying to avoid making eye contact with Jonas because I don’t want him to know that I like him, but I don’t want to look anywhere else so I glance up at his face for just a second before looking back down at my hands, one of which still contains a blackening cigarette. What neither of us does is look at anyone else; our friends have just had a massive fight and as far as I can tell we’re the only ones still talking to each other.

“You found a car yet?” I ask, because I know he’s been looking for a while. Jonas says nope, still looking, and anyway the insurance is going to cost him everything he earns so he needs a new job as well. Our friends are still ignoring everyone.

“I’m glad school’s over,” I say.

“I never went in anyway,” Jonas points out. Jonas is eighteen and has somehow managed to get four A Levels at grade E. It’s impressive considering how low his attendance record has been for the past two years. What’s even more impressive is that he actually got five A Levels; he got an A for his fifth, Medieval History, despite never going to any lessons for that either. I don’t really understand Jonas.

My other friends never went to school either. I went because there was nothing else to do.

Christina has started to cry. She’s sitting on a bench by herself and she’s holding an almost empty bag of cold chips, but I don’t think that’s why she’s crying. She keeps flapping her free hand in front of her eyes and mouth as if that’s going to hide something, but she’s doing a rubbish job of masking her racking breaths. It’s too hot for chips, anyway. Jonas and I bought ice cream.

Christina’s like the elephant in the room, except we’re in the park and she weighs less than my arm (and I’m not heavy either). I don’t look over.

“Shall I walk you home?” Jonas asks, and I say yeah, why not, not doing anything here anyway, it’s too hot to think.

*

(photo from here)

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