. . .

Expert Professor François Truffelle has died today, during interview, live on TV, after the bookcase situated in the background collapsed on top of him. Paramedics arrived, shortly after the newscaster leading the questions, contacted emergency services. Professor Truffelle was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident, with Victor Hugo’s expansive classic Les Misérables, cited as the most likely cause of death: by crushed skull.
Ralph (7 1/2), the professor’s Vizsla dog, commented, “It was either that, or War and Peace. I’d warned him about the perils associated with pulling books halfway out of a shelf, just to show-off and infer a level of culture assumed as missing from the masses. In this case, the viewers.”

By all accounts, it seems unwittingly, the professor destabilised the book shelf and brought about his own downfall. The fashionably attired Parisian city police are treating the incident as highly non-suspicious, closing the case a few minutes ago. Asked to quote, Police Commissionaire Clément Culottes said, “We’ll suggest a minor, heavily-localised and concentrated earthquake as likely cause of death, to spare the feelings of his family and friends you understand? Naturally, do not quote me on that.”

Me, Zombie. (flash fiction)

Short or long, no concept of time passing exists. My clothes hang in rags, torn and bloodied, dragged across the ground as I shuffle, limbs jerking.

Oh! How my stomach aches, with no sight of food for days now. I am driven by an insatiable hunger.

Eyes bulge with fear, people turn, run. I call after them with a rasping groan caught in my throat. Despite how hard I try, words fail me.

Who approaches? I lunge forward, grasp and miss. I see a baseball bat cut through the air. Time momentarily returns, as the strike makes contact with my head.

Vampire Girlfiend

It’s as good as it gets.
Smiling?
Because your imagining of Stella is exactly right.
I reckon she’s cool.
Right now, she’s runnin’ and gunnin’ on multiplayer, totally destroying the opposition.
Her fingers blur, changing between weapons, calling on air cover and tossing grenades, all at staggering speed.
She looks over to me like she’s driving a car and I’m in the passenger seat.
Waiting for the next match to start, she leans across, kisses my neck, takes a little … refreshment.
“You stay strong for me,” Stella whispers, “and I’ll stay strong for you.”
Neither of us desire a complex relationship.

©Brinkinfield all rights reserved 2020
101 word flash fiction

Water

Returning the handheld medical instrument to a shallow metal dish, the doctor explained my affliction as ‘classic water on the brain’.
“While in the shower, you have this habit of turning your head over onto one side during the morning washing routine.” She said, her voice inflected with a pleasing, Low German accent. “That’s how it happened.”
Earlier, I had included in my explanation to the doctor, exactly how much I enjoyed the sensation created by allowing hot water to stream into my ears. Also, how I would adjust the tilt of my head, judging carefully, until locked on target and able to direct the water into my actual ear hole.
“I like the sound.” I had told her. “I find it comforting and with the door to the bathroom closed shut, steam accumulates abundant and I feel warm. The only impossible improvement would be if I were suspended freely in mid air.”
“Ja, you like the sound.” She sighed and sat down heavily in a chair. Removing her glasses from the contour of her nose, the doctor wiped the lenses with the sleeve of her cardigan. “You like the warmth and whatever, but you dislike the significant side-effects you feel afterwards?”
“Yes, correct.” This happened to be the truth. Outside of cleansing rituals and the needs of my body’s rehydration, water and I were not friends. Stemming from childhood, never taught how to swim and with the passing of time, I had come to view H2O with a consistently high-level of suspicion and mistrust.
“Okay, well, the decision is yours, stop your habits, just use a dampened flannel to clean your ears like everyone else. Or, these unwanted watery themed events you report, they will continue in your life, on repeat.” The doctor gave me a serious look and briefly pursed her lips together.

Stroke, Fondle and Poke.

Alfrid had sight of him: location Gallery 2. Using the zoom function on the security camera monitor, he watched awhile, as the man lightly stroked a high value piece with his fingertips.
Excuse me sir!” Alfrid yodelled, skidding to a stop on the polished gallery floor. “You can’t touch this.”
Surrounded by non-figurative paintings on the walls were five sculptures, located near the centre of the room. Each, human-sized in scale, formed from richly veined marble and oil-finished ash timber, broadly cylindrical and smooth. Bored into the sides, round-shaped holes added interest, some through the marble, other holes appearing in the wood. Naturally, the sculptures called out to be touched and the man doing the touching, stood dressed in full military fatigues.
“I sanitized my hands thoroughly.” He said, pulling away sharply from the sculpture he’d been caught fondling. “At the entrance, when I came in.” He held his hands up in front of his chest, palms showing, his long fingers stretching outwards.
“Well.” Alfrid hesitated. Abstract words collided with each other inside his mind, while he tried to formulate a coherent sentence.
“I thought the problem with touching, had to do with dirt and grease from people’s hands, transferring onto the sculpture.” The army man looked at the gallery custodian, appealing for a judgement. “Coupled with the passage of time, it’s these minute abrasives and oils which cause the damage.”
“Look, it’s just, if I say ‘yes’ to you,” Alfrid’s voice vibrated with a conciliatory tone, “you know what I mean?”
“Others will think it’s alright to touch the exhibits too?”
“That’s right, sir.”
Although,” the military man countered, “there’s no one else in here, just you and I. No one else will see me touching.” Both men threw glances around the room, unnecessarily.
Alfrid placed his hands on his hips; he felt close to conceding the point. Staring out through the shopfront earlier, had demonstrated the street outside as empty. No cars, no people, no stray dogs, no vapour trails intersecting across the blue sky. Following the second-wave onslaught of the virus pandemic, this had become the new normal.
The telephone at the reception in Gallery 1 rang. “One moment, please.” Alfrid said, raising a relaxed index finger up in the air, as he backed out of the space.

Continue reading Stroke, Fondle and Poke.

Cry Baby Counsellor

“Yes, well when I read your advert on the local web directory,” Eva seated herself on the park bench, “under the eye-catching title ‘Cry Baby Counsellor’, I immediately thought to myself, ‘Yes, that’s for me!’ Next, I followed the link and filled out the appointment form.”
“Did you find the process straight-forward?” Counsellor Diana Thebes asked, “And, you read all the information about how I operate, no problems as far as you are concerned?”
“No, none at all my dear, and I read them all again in your email reply.” Eva looked around the immediate vicinity, “I think it’s all rather novel, outside in the park, the fresh air, next to the river having a counselling session, with the old mill factories situated opposite. It’s rather scenic, I’d say.” She undid the top two buttons of her coat and placed her handbag next to herself on the seat. It had turned into a warm and hazy, late-summer’s day. “What will you do in winter? It won’t be much fun in the rain and snow, will it?”

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Pourquoi, Pork-You?

Much to Mandy’s relief, the 4.47 PM sleeper train from Aberdeen to London, left exactly on time. The air inside the compartment felt cool, a man in unusual dress, had already made himself feel at home. With the emergency pandemic regulations in force, two people per sleeping compartment had become the new norm.

“‘Allo, may I ‘elp you with your suitcase?”

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Imaginary Friend

So, here I am, at the top of a raised gangway secured to a vintage paddle steamer, a bouquet of pink carnations in my hand and about to make the boldest statement of my life. The backstory as to how I come to be here, I will explain, briefly.

Despite growing up to realise Aditya is viewed by society as an ‘imaginary friend’, he has been in my life since before any other meaningful event I am able to recall. Today, he is no less real. He is the brother I never had and better known to me alone, as Adi.

I know. You are sceptical. You didn’t have an imaginary friend when growing up, nor have you ever known anyone who did. I’m sorry for you, I really am. Believe me when I tell you, you have missed out. Right from the beginning, Adi has been my sage, providing support, advice and guidance. He’s given comfort when needed, warmed me, warned me, saved and occasionally scolded me. But he has never, ever, abandoned me. Unconditionally, he has always been here, right by my side.

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In the First Sixty Seconds

An ambassador. It sounds rather pretentious, doesn’t it? I’m not a real ambassador. An influencer? No, I’m probably considered a bit too old for that. What am I? I am an actor of stage, film, television drama and several incredibly lucrative voice-over spots for well established brands and household names. Seriously folks, a voice-over job is impossible to turn down. For a morning’s work, at worst possibly a couple of extra hours the next day, it is easy money. This is especially evident, when comparing the income versus effort ratio, against any other medium I am involved with. Of course, I need the other roles, to be considered for voice-over work in the first place. You can’t have one without the other!

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Tina’s Party

I met Adam at Tina’s party. He’d showed no interest in approaching me, so I went straight up to him and said, “Did someone tell you it was a fancy dress party?” He looked me up and down in a dismissive manner and rather loftily sniffed his nose at me! “It’s a nice outfit,” I told him, “French royal court, early eighteenth century?” The feathers, silk stockings, blue velvet and lace appeared absolutely immaculate and expensive.
“It is my own interpretation,” he replied, “but you’re right on the money. I’m impressed.” He stepped forward and then back again with swagger, before taking a slow, theatrical bow. This vision, together with the white foundation, rouged cheeks and lipstick, caused an idea to pop into my head.

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