Flash Fiction: The Bridge Over

‘What’ll you do?’ you said. ‘You’ll be all right, won’t you? Promise me.’ I didn’t want to think about it. I said I’d cross that bridge if I came to it. We both knew it wasn’t if but when.

The Clifton Suspension. Where everyone goes. If I make it across, I’ll get over you. But when I looked down, I wanted so much to be with you, I felt dizzy. Then a gull perched near, and your voice in the wind said you’d never forgive me.

I still haven’t got over you. But I’ve been crossing bridges ever since.


 

In response to Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray, which had the song Bridge Over You as the prompt. I wasn’t sure I’d have time to do it, what with Christmas and all, but once I’d seen the prompt, I knew it would be hard to resist!

Pic’n’Post n° 34: Where was the picture taken?

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Where was the picture taken?

Last week’s picture was soon identified as something tech, with a couple of guesses mentioning solar. Thanks go to Matt, Rosa, Dookes, Charlie and Thumbup  for their guesses, and Charlie was the first to say solar panels.  Which indeed is what it is – a plain solar panel, taken outside an arboretum near Tulear, Madagascar. I was quite surprised myself when those weird but pretty reflections showed up in the photo – you don’t really notice them when you’re standing right in front of it.

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Tulear, Madagascar. Solar panels at the arboretum.

 

Congratulations, Charlie!

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This week it’s back to Where? at the top of this page. No Pic’n’Post next week – I’ll be playing with my toys. Which gives you two weeks to mull over this one!Happy guessing!

Ambivalence

Shopping centre Mauritius

With Black Friday a distant memory, it’s vital now to keep up the momentum with some serious Christmas shopping. Because let’s face it, unless we each continue to consume a few tons of superfluous goods, not only does life have no purpose, but we won’t be able to continue destroying the planet. I’d never heard of Black Friday until a short time ago. Now, from what I gather, it’s hit the UK big time, triggering a small but welcome movement called Buy Nothing Day. France, being France, will resist, and one part of France Black Friday will never reach is Mayotte, where Friday is prayer day and there’s nothing to buy in any case. There’s a tropical lightness of being in Mayotte that works as a positive detox from the hypermarkets in the Metropole.

Being high-minded and all, I take to heart Gandhi’s commandment to ‘live more simply so that others may simply live.’ That’s one way of putting it. Another is to be honest and admit to embracing one of the rare joys of encroaching age, the right to be a curmudgeonly scrooge. A stance I adopt with delight when it comes to clothes, say, or cars – conveniently, they interest me not in the slightest.

Not so long ago, arriving in Mauritius (by plane, having decided, after much debate, against the rowing boat) where we’d booked (iPad) self-catering accommodation, we wanted some stuff for breakfast. “Try the Super-U,” said the man at the petrol station, so we went along, without much hope because Super-U in the Metropole is generally pretty small and never open on a Sunday afternoon. But this one wasn’t just open, it was massive. And as I scurried gleefully round the aisles, stuffing the basket with Muesli, Weetabix, and dragonfruit, I said to Mrs. B. “Wow, if only we had all this in Mayotte!” I’m with you, Mahatma, honestly. But sometimes, you know, it’s not that simple living simply.

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Flash Fiction: Forgive me

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‘But what precisely?’

Light and dark: such comfort in the light. She was cherished, her every thought seen, encouraged towards it.

Vanessa. The way she smiled, the glow of her hair. Her lips.

Magali forced herself to answer. ‘Of kissing her, Father.’

Such terror: within her a sin she couldn’t control, dragging her into the dark.

‘Be strong, my child. Resist.’

Absolved, uplifted, Magali stood in the light, looking up. But even as her own lips moved in prayer, the thought of Vanessa’s returned. She ran outside, seized by dread at her powerlessness, the impossibility of making her imagination pure.


In response to Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray, which had the song Pure Imagination as the prompt. The title of the story is apt as I’ve been a little overwhelmed this week and there’s been no Thursday Interview, nor even Pic’n’Post. Normal service to resume next week – thanks to Matt for getting me back on track.

 

Flash fiction: The School Trip

Tombstone flash fiction Curtis Bausse blog

‘And here we have – Jonathan, are you listening? A row of ancient stones, behind which are… anyone?’

‘Tombs, Sir?’

‘Good, Georgina! Now, further up, you’ll – Jonathan! Any more trouble, it’s the next plane home.’ Mr. Higgins sighed. School trips… never again! He strode up the path.

Jonathan lingered, unsure what to do. Was it just his imagination? He crouched by the stone again – then leapt away, fell on his back, a shiver running through him. ‘Mr. Higg- ‘ But the group was already disappearing. He scrambled after them, the faraway moan still echoing in his ears. ‘Help! Is anyone there? Hello?’


In response to Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray, where the prompt was Adele’s song Hello. When I follow Matt’s prompts, I generally use just the title and listen to the song afterwards, but we’ve already had the completely different song called Hello by Lionel Richie. Of course, I could have cheated and posted my answer to that one (you’ll find it here), but instead I listened to Adele and was struck by the line, Hello from the other side.

 

Pic’n’Post n° 32: Where was the picture taken?

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Where was the picture taken?

Many thanks to those who sent in guesses came for last week’s picture: MattDookes, Rosa and Thumbup . And Dookes was very quick off the mark with the correct answer, a coelacanth. As Rosa pointed out, these were thought to be extinct till one was found off South Africa in 1938. Since then several have been found, the one in the picture by a fisherman in Madagascar, where it’s now displayed in the University of Tulear’s Maritime Museum along with a few other delights.

I like to have fun making the winners’ badges nice and pretty – no easy matter with a coelacanth. Though it could be said they’re so ugly that in fact they’re beautiful.

Congratulations, Dookes!

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This week it’s back to Where? at the top of this page. And since the last couple have been easy, this one might be trickier. But don’t let that put you off – happy guessing!

Sonata or sonata?

As you know, when I’m eating the starter,

I like to listen to the Moonlight Sonata.

But you, I discovered a little later,

Would rather be with the Moonlight Sonata.

Must we call it off? Does it really matter?

Can’t both of us listen to the Moonlight Sonata?

I love you so much, your smile and your laughter,

I want to be happy with you ever after.

But it’s clear to me now, if I really haveta,

I could also be happy with you ever after.


The prompt for Matt’s latest Flash Fiction Foray was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. There was a hint of an invitation to link it to the events in Paris, but that was so strong in my mind that I did it last week, and this week it’s defiantly flippant, owing more to George and Ira Gershwin than Beethoven. I hope he won’t mind (Ludwig, I mean, not Matt – I know he won’t mind). Thanks, Matt, for being a great host, and… What else can I say? Roll over, Beethoven!

 

Pic’n’Post n° 31: What is the picture of?

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What is the picture of?

Guesses came in for last week’s picture from MattDookes, Rosa, Charlie and Maja over at Travelling Rockhopper. Thanks to all for participating! While initially Spain attracted the votes, interest soon shifted to Italy, with both Rosa and Matt homing in on Pitigliano in southern Tuscany. This was indeed the case, and Rosa, who got her answer in first, wins another badge, with Matt (yet again!) a worthy runner-up.
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As Rosa said, apart from the beauty of Pitigilano itself, the area is known for its Etruscan ruins and most impressively, I thought, the ancient pathways, “Vie Cave” or Sunken Roads, carved deep within the rock. Not to mention the profusion of mushrooms sprouting everywhere when we visited in November.

Congratulations, Rosa!

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This week it’s back to What? at the top of this page. Happy guessing!

15 Websites for Writers

Another great post from Itchy Quill, this time for anyone interested in writing.

Itchy Quill

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What is writing?

Some say, it’s merely the act of putting information into a textual format so as to be understood by another. Do you agree? I’ve always wondered, could it be more? Is it not the coming together of two minds, one active and one passive, as ideas and images are exchanged through the power of words?

It could be time travel, as claimed by Stephen King. Words are bridges from one mind to another, and their power is locked in books in a suspended animation, a lexical and semantic cryogenics that spans the ages.

What of the thoughts of writing as an art form? Tapping the human condition, are those lucky enough to tap the multi-verse of enlightened wit, pomp and vernacular; our writer-come-guides.

But are writers travellers, hiking through the jungle of their imagination? Or are they more wizards, conjuring from nothing? Some might even argue they…

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May I help you, Sir?

Many years ago, the Crédit Lyonnais (now LCL) ran a slogan, Crédit Lyonnais – the power to say yes. Mrs. B. always laughed at that, as every time she went into the bank they said ‘no.’ (“Is my cheque book ready?” “No.” “Can I transfer some money abroad?” “No.” “Is there anywhere to sit?” “No.”) By contrast, when we went in to the Cambridge branch of HBSC, we were greeted by a charming young man who invited us to sit and offered us coffee. Mrs. B. waited while another charming assistant helped me transfer funds to a friend in Pakistan. Though we were complete strangers, we were treated as I was decades ago at my local branch of the Midland Bank, before it got subsumed into HSBC. The manager would come out and have a little chat with me as if I was part of the family, which he probably thought I was, as we’d been banking there ever since my ancestors needed a place to store their smoked mammoth. We were thoroughly impressed. “Now, that’s what I call customer service,” said Mrs. B. It is indeed heart-warming, in these days of automation and corporate giants, to see such devotion to customers’ needs still going strong. HSBC – the power to say “yes”. To anyone and anything.

HSBC’s Swiss bank concealed large sums of money for people facing allegations of serious wrongdoing, including drug-running, corruption and money laundering, leaked files reveal. Despite being legally obliged since 1998 to make special checks on high-risk customers, the bank provided accounts for clients implicated in six notorious scandals in Africa, including Kenya’s biggest corruption case, blood diamond trading and several corrupt military sales. HSBC also held assets for bankers accused of looting funds from former Soviet states, while alleged crimes by other account holders include bribery at Malta’s state oil company, cocaine smuggling from the Dominican Republic and the doping of professional cyclists in Spain.

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HSBC clients: Spanish cycling doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, Kazakh banker Margulan Seisembayev, and Greek businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis. http://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/feb/12/hsbc-files-swiss-bank-hid-money-for-suspected-criminals