Saturday, October 24, 2015

Flash! Friday: A Monotribe and Only Death

by Michael Seese

Get out your hankies, friends. I wrote a real tear jerker for this week's Flash! Friday. I'll present below them in the opposite order I wrote, so I don't bum you out right away.

The book this week was Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that gloriously bizarre, comedic, hallucinogenic, riddling tale of a young girl’s fall into a magical world.

Story elements we had to incorporate were:
* Conflict: man v society; man v man; man v logic (not gender specific, and I made that last one up Just Because)
* Character (choose at least one): a curious girl; a violent, capricious ruler; an odd cat; an extremely ugly and angry duchess; a rude host; a man on trial for minor theft.
* Theme (choose one): childhood, nonsense, logic, justice, nature, death
* Setting (choose one): Victorian England, a dream world

This time I actually used the picture.


Note the times on the clocks, then dive into "A Monotribe." 

“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

Shall we split the difference, then?


Therefore, it is 2 1/2.

“No. 2:30.”

No. 2 1/2.

“But half an hour is 30 minutes. Ergo and quod erat demonstrandum, 2:30. Check, and mate.”

But what if minutes are not our measure?

“What other measure would we use? We are speaking of time.”

Of course we are.

Cheshire teeth grinned. Alex sighed. He knew that a conversation with this one often devolved, flailing toward an incomprehensible jabberwocky.

“Go on.”

Benjamin Franklin said time is money. Our currency system, as are most in the known universe, is base 100. Half of 100 is 50. So it very well may be 2:50. Or consider that times flies when you’re having fun. The inverse implication would be that it crawls when you’re not. So is time a bird, or a baby? Or a baby bird? Regardless, I would hate to divide either of those in half. Time is an arrow, flying on the straight and narrow, and it chills me to the marrow to see it wound a sparrow. Or, time is a thief, who steals my briefs, and –

“I think you’ve said enough.”

“Speaking of enough, that’s all we have time for today, Alex,” said Dr. Lewis. “I’m glad to see we’re down to two. That’s real progress. I look forward to the day only one of you is lying on my couch.”

And now the painful "Only Death."

Once, there was sunlight. 

And rubbed noses. 
And pink cottony blankets. 
And caresses. 
And a little orange turtle that raced round her head, chasing the music. 
And tickles. 
And giggles. 
And a sweet smell of roses and milk. 
And a full belly. 
And warmth. 

But now, only darkness. 
And a tattered shroud of gray. 
And a thrumming roar of unsympathetic wind caterwauling a dissonant threnody. 
And a belly always empty, though not yearning for food. 
And coldness. 

And yet, there is love. Somehow, love swims around her, through her. Love she can feel. Love she can taste. Love that hurts.

Because it hurts them

On this, the tenth anniversary of her death, she sees her parents standing before her verdant grave. She laughs at the irony of the inscription. 

"Baby Sophia."  

I'm not a baby anymore

And yet she still is. And always will be, to them. Frozen in infancy, frozen in time. 

She wishes she could reach out. Reach out and touch them. Comfort them. Do the things that they, no doubt, must have done before her breath was snatched away as she lay in her crib one sunny afternoon. 

She longs to tell them everything will be fine. And that one day, they all will be together. Words she always assumed they'd want to hear.  

It’s only death. It’s not bad. You’ll see. Some day

But every time she whispers them in her mother's ear, it only brings a new flood of tears. 

To both their eyes. 

(Sniff, sniff.)

And there is a Janet contest today. So come on back tomorrow, y'all hear?

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