Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction is generally described as works of 500 words or less

Flash Fiction SciFi short stories


Oxalates? Myron thought. What the hell are they?

At just that moment another intense jolt of searing pain wracked him. His abdomen felt as if it would explode. “Good God, can’t you speed it up a bit?” he managed to squeeze from between gritted teeth.

Myron Delpi was seated in the back of a Coach Cruiser on his way to hospital. The pain forced him to lie prone on the sofa-seat in an attempt to straighten out. For reasons he could not explain, he felt that lying flat would make the pain go away.

“Lo Siento, senor. I try my best,” said his rental navigator.

Two days ago, Myron had been working on his rock garden back home. The pain he’d felt in his lower back yesterday morning he had simply caulked up to over-exertion; until about half an hour ago. On his way to the final deal this morning in Buenos Aires, to buy his way in to a twenty percent share of Amalfi, Argentina’s largest investor bank, Myron had literally been brought to his knees in the middle of his hotel lobby as the first stabbing pain gripped him from just between his belly button and groin.

The current pain receded and Myron noticed that it came in fairly regular waves.If he was right, he had about four minutes until the next attack. In sync with his bio-rhythms, said the on-board digital doctor. The hotel concierge had summoned Delpi’s navigator and the man managed to assist him to the Coach Cruiser with orders from the concierge to override the auto-drive on his machine and make it double-time from Hotel Panamericanos to Hospital Britanico.

While waiting for the next wave of pain to hit, Myron listened again as the digital doctor described how he could have gotten kidney stones. “Kidney stones happen more often in hot locales due to the contributing factor of dehydration. They can be caused by oxalates, which prevent the body from absorbing both iron and calcium which are then processed out of the body in the kidneys. Foods high in iron or calcium and oxalates, such as broccoli and carrots should not be consumed in abundance for this reason”, continued the digital doctor.

Myron laughed. He loved broccoli but a sudden memory from his college Ancient History class resurfaced. Something about an American president who hated broccoli.Maybe he knew something we don’t, he thought.

The Coach Cruiser was riding higher than the automated traffic, up in the public service lane. This driver was doing everything he could to get Myron to the hospital quickly. Just at that moment, Myron fretted about his banking deal. They held no truck for delays, the Amalfi family. Still, Myron supposed, they would find this an acceptable excuse for his absence.

“How much longer?” Myron ventured, speaking up at the Coach Cruiser’s ceiling as he lay on his back.

Cinco minuti,” responded the man from the front seat.

“Shit,” spat Myron as he thought about the next wave of pain awaiting him.

Flash Fiction I argue Poetry

Ernest Hemingway and Flash Fiction

Recently, I have read a few criticisms of what is currently referred to as flash fiction. Flash fiction is any short story that is really short; less than 500 words, depending on the publisher. Criticisms generally revolve around complaints about our society’s lack of attention span. Readers, the argument goes, cannot focus long enough on something to read a normal length short story. Or, worse yet, writers cannot hold their own focus long enough to craft a story of sufficient length.


Flash fiction is derided as merely one scene or vignette from within what should be a longer story. How can anyone built up a plot or characters a reader can understand and sympathize with? True, quality, stories need some essential elements and writers cannot, cannot, I have read, build any such depth into a story that is less than one page long.


As with any complaint one can make or any rule a professor or writer tells you to follow, you need not look far for proof against that complaint or rule. Stephen King tells us to avoid adverbs in his book on how to write and yet there are tens of adverbs in that very book. To be fair, I would argue that his real point is that the average writer uses adverbs too often and he figures that if he tells the reader to ‘never’ use them that the reader will expend great effort to comply, improving their writing. The argument, as I see it, is that instead of writing that a character was ‘hugely incompetent’, there is another word that can describe that extreme level of incompetence, maybe ‘inept’. The hallmark of good writing is economy of words. Never say in a paragraph what you can say in a sentence and never say in a sentence what you can say in a word. Adding an ‘ly’ to a verb is lazy writing if there is another word that can capture the same message a writer is attempting to convey.


I heard an interview with Ezra Pound years ago. In it, he relates the story of how upon the first day of his arrival to Paris he arose out of a subway station to be confronted by a park filled with the beautiful faces of women and children and flowers in bloom. He says that he absorbed that scene in one gestalt moment, walked to his hotel room and wrote a two page poem about what he saw. Six months later, he produced his famous, In a Station in the Metro:


The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals, on a wet, black bough.


Believe it or not, this poem marked the groundbreaking moment of his career as an innovator. You do need to know why unless you love poetry and, if you do, you can find answers to the ‘why’ elsewhere. My aim is simply to illustrate how a two page poem can be boiled down to its essence. This economy holds true for all forms of writing.

As to this complaint about ‘flash fiction’ ‘short shorts’ or ‘nano writing’, we need look no further for the glaring exception that proves this complaint bootless than Papa Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway’s writing is quality not because he writes about bullfights or big game hunting or fascists in Italy in 1930. Hemingway is considered great for the parcity of words needed to convey his story to the reader. To this point, when asked once what was he considered his best work, he said it was an unpublished piece that he wrote to win a bet at the Algonquin in New York while dining with other writers. The short story needed a beginning, a middle, and an end were the rules of the bet. Hemingway claimed he could write a short story in only six words. When the bet was taken by his fellow writers, Hemingway wrote this down on a napkin from the table, saying it was an ad in the classifieds:


For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Flash Fiction


When I walked in the house, I could hear Pitt talking to himself in the kitchen. I have not always shown up at the best time but always at least in the nick of time.

“She’s driving me crazy. She wants every little piece I work on to be perfect before I can move on to the next. I can’t work this way. Am I supposed to stand around doing nothing until the right parts or fixtures show up? Am I?” He turned to stare at me fixedly. He was close, I could tell; like he was on that crossing from England to the mainland all those years ago when we first met. He was close to stircrazy then too.

That was when we met, on the crossing. Back then he was Brad Pitt. This was before there was another Brad Pitt out there in the world whom everyone knew. During the course of the last few moves Pitt’s name became what it is: Pitt. When someone would ask if it were his first or last name, the response would come: just Pitt.

We stepped outside on to the flagstone patio. Pitt pressed his hands onto the top of a wrought iron chair and leaned into it as if trying to plant it into the stone beneath. Pushing himself off, he turned to face me. “What do you think I should do?”

“Wait a minute,” I said. His face relaxed and he rocked back on his heels. He came up short. “Wait…wait…” I repeated. I’d been feeling the moisture increase out here and had driven through the storm on my way up the mountain.

The approaching storm began as an ever-loudening hiss. I could see Pitt’s shoulder’s noticeably tighten. “Wait,” I repeated. The first drops snuck up behind him, overcame him, and consumed me all within the space of three seconds.

“Yeah?” He said it as half-question, half-plea against the reality of it.

“Yes,” I said as confirmation. Pitts face went slack: total awareness of his surroundings and acceptance. It was time to leave. This was not working. She was not the one.

“Why?” he asked in hope of a reprieve of the verdict.

“You know why.” I continued to hold his eyes, not letting him go.

“Shit….yeah. I should have known when I saw you this time. It was so good to see you and I was having such a bad day; I didn’t put two and two together. How do you always know?”

I can always tell by the tone of his voice when we talk on the phone what stage of a relationship he is in but I say, “I just know.”

“Should we wait? She should be back soon. She just ran to the store for cigarettes.”

“That’s your call. I’ll do whatever.”

Pitt drew his slackened shoulders up again. “I’ll tell her.” There was a resolve in his eye that was not there a minute ago and I knew his old self was back again.

“This won’t be easy now,” I said, “you’ve changed back to who you were when you met her. She won’t want to let go of you if she notices.”

”She changed me though. How can I stay?”

“That’s not what I’m saying. She will see what attracted her, the old you, and she will make it hard because that’s who she wants.”

“OK. Noted. Go start the car,” he said. And then, almost as an afterthought, threw in, “She can keep the house.” And he walked away into the kitchen. Out front, I heard a car door slam and decided to take the route around the side of the house.