Killing Them With Kindness

TrollsThere’s an individual who has gained a certain amount of notoriety of late – I won’t mention his name or his website as that merely adds fuel to the publicity fire he seeks, but let’s just call him Randy.

In truth, I thought I shouldn’t write about him at all. There are a few people who choose to live their lives (and make money) through provocative behaviour. Commenting on them justifies their actions.

But I justified writing this blog to myself by reasoning that as I write an obscure blog, read and seen by very few (and by the way, I do treasure those of you who do read and follow my work) I am not adding fuel to Randy’s publicity fire and I haven’t mentioned him by name.

(According to one news source I read, his website experienced 82,000 unique visits this week. Hmm.)

Negativity, trolling and deliberately provocative remarks and behaviour online are often thought of as something that is too easy. Being face to face with someone requires rather more courage to say to them, “you are S*** and so is everything you write and everything you say”. (And that is probably one of the milder comments you can get on YouTube or Twitter.)

But actually, what is really easy is being nice. It leaves you with this warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Don’t believe me? Spend the next hour or so going through other people’s blogs. Comment on them all – hey, nice pics, or wow, thought-provoking article, I like what you have described or isn’t your cat so cute?

Feel better now? Feel like a nice human being? Mmm, me too.

You can, if you want, seek out Randy and bombard him with nice comments. I don’t mean faux nice comments (Hi Randy, I can tell you’re unhappy. Never managed to get a girlfriend hmm?) but proper ones: Hi Randy, have a lovely day! Or Hi Randy, hope you are taking very good care of yourself – which neatly steer away from any endorsement of his actual views.

And in the meantime, here’s a little bit of cheeky Friday flash fiction.

Notice Me

With a snigger that smacked of Beavis and Butthead, Randy clicked ‘Send’ and sat back, launching his latest hate-filled 140-character rocket into the ether.

Sure enough, within seconds the rocket exploded and his phone pinged once, twice… and more. The responses were coming in thick and fast.

“Randy, you in there?”

“Mooooommmm,” he whined as his mother came in, bearing sandwiches.

“Whaddya doin’ son?” She was an understanding kind of mom.

“Tryin’ to get this woman’s attention, Ma. She’s an amazin’ feminist and I dunno what else to do to get her to notice me. Wish I could date her!”

 

©Emma Baird 2016

Miami Vice circa 1985

Some flash fiction – January-themed:

Jamie’s 2016 New Year resolution was to model himself on a 1980s lounge lizard whenever at parties.

Thus, he dressed in chinos, a polo shirt with a pastel-coloured jumper tied loosely round his shoulders and deck shoes – no socks. He also magically materialised beside any woman in need of a drink top-up or a light, proffering either a bottle of wine or a lighter.

Unfortunately for Jamie, he hadn’t taken into account Dry January. Most women didn’t require a drink top-up because they were abstaining (ditto the ciggies).

Jamie’s appeal depended almost entirely on the blunting haze of alcohol.

 

If you can do better (you can, you know) why not submit a story to the FridayFlashFiction website?

Flash Fiction Christmas Competition

writing comp 2The good folks at the Friday Flash Fiction website are running a Christmas competition. Unlike many other so-called writing competitions, this one won’t cost you a single penny to enter (that’s right, nada) and you are free to publish elsewhere too.

To enter, you need to come up with a story of 100 words or fewer, not including the title. You can enter as often as you like. The suggested theme is “World In Union”, but you’re free to write on other topics, too. Entries should be in the English language and the closing date is 23.59 GMT on Sunday 20 December 2015. The winner will receive a $50 USD prize, which is sponsored by Comely Bank Publishing
How to enter
  1. Email your story tocompetitions@fridayflashfiction.com OR
  2. Use the online entry form on the Friday Flash Fiction website.

For the Sake of Auld Lang Syne

auld lang syneWorld leaders don’t ask me to write their speeches, but they should… Here’s what might happen if they did.

For the Sake of Auld Lang Syne

At this time of year, it’s common to reflect on the last 12 months – what went well and what could have been done better.

Who am I to flout tradition? I too shall reflect. The successes:

  1. The British public defied the polls and voted overwhelmingly in my favour. So, no more pandering (or just pretending to listen) to whingeing liberals. Bring on the public sector and welfare cuts!

2. Our economic strategies continue to triumph. Where there is doubt about Conservatives, we point this out.

3. And finally, I got my way when it comes to military tactics. Bring on the bombs!

Auld Lang Syne, Part 2

I’ve realised that I did not mention my… less than successes. This government has a fine tradition of openness so it behoves me to do so.

The wretched lords rejected our tax credits cut proposals. Honestly, talk about biting the hand that feeds! At least the multi-millionaire Lord Lloyd-Webber saw sense and flew back to vote in favour.

Then there was immigration – the fear of which we used to incite votes for us. Turns out, there are more people coming to this country than ever before. We WILL reduce this!

And… Oi, you at the back, shut up!

Oink!

 

It was really tough limiting these two stories to a mere 100 words each.

 

The Origins

This week’s Friday flash fiction was inspired by my inbox… tediously full of sales emails this morning.

The Origins

Checking the door was firmly closed, Ardell’s Head of Marketing opened her desk drawer.

She poured herself a hefty slug of bourbon. It had been a stressful few months. Sales at Ardells had suffered and its management team twitched nervously.

“What can we do?” they railed. They lowered prices, they extended opening hours and they employed the pushiest salespeople, incentivising them with impossible targets.

Nothing had worked – and now it was Thanksgiving. She hadn’t even made it home to her family.

Oh well, she might as well put on a sale tomorrow. Call it something.

Black Friday maybe?

 

Friday Flash Fiction – TFI Friday

friday“TFIF this week for sure…”

“What happened then, to make Friday so welcome this week?”

“Oh, you know… clients. Demanding ones. Forgetful ones. I had to re-issue three invoices this week.”

“Last Friday wasn’t a great day.”

“Good point. There are a lot of people who won’t recall Fridays with favour for a while.”

“We should re-claim Fridays of course. Show them we are not afraid.”

“Too right! Fridays are when we kick back aren’t they? We go out and we celebrate with our friends and families. We drink and we eat and we laugh.”

Je suis en terrasse.

 

Pic thanks to Slapix.

 

The Panel 2016

This week’s Friday Flash Fiction effort…

THE PANEL 2016

In 2016, a new law was brought in. its jurisdiction was world-wide, but sneakily-worded legislation meant this was not clear.

It boiled down to: Every single comment you make on social media will be analysed by The Panel.

Who the f**k were the panel, wondered those who had noticed the sneaky legislation.

A booming voice: We decide if you are a threat. We know this because social media demonstrates your views perfectly and consistently at all times, and we work out your level of risk to national security.

[And taste.]

Watch out…

Let The Right One In

halloween-468026_640As it’s Hallowe’en tomorrow, this week’s Friday Flash Fiction effort is of course a tale for Hallowe’en.

If you think you can do better, why not submit a Hallowe’en-themed story to the Friday Flash Fiction website (rules – it must be original and 100 words or less). Here’s the submission information, or you can just submit your story submissions@fridayflashfiction.com

Let me know what you think…

Let the Right One In

“I’m dreading this evening so I am.”

Matthew had been the more gregarious of the two. It was the ultimate compliment to his hosting skills that so many people often dropped by, unannounced.

When he died ten years ago, she shut her front door and gradually those unannounced visitors stopped coming.

Hallowe’en, however, every year brought the neighbourhood’s children, craving comments on cute costumes and greedily demanding sweets.

The doorbell sounded at 6pm. She sighed and heaved herself up.

“Jenny – you’ve been hiding away too long. It isn’t good for a person.”

She stuck out a tentative hand.

Oh Matthew…

 

Originally posted on the Friday Flash Fiction website.

Atypical – Friday Flash Fiction

“It was not your typical start to a Friday…”

I love the first line of a story, don’t you? It offers up such potential, but I fear my first lines often promise far more than they deliver.

Take this morning for example. I awoke with the first line in mind.

BAM – what could that mean? But as I thought about it, I realised I’d made assumptions about the word “typical”, that there was some kind of universal Friday morning experience.

Were people commuting? Were they firing up their laptops at home? Were they, gulp, golfing?

Another false start…

 

If you would like to read more Friday Flash Fiction, check out the wordpress blog, Friday Flash Fiction and the website

Friday Flash Fiction – Cheese and Taxes

Dig in - it's good for you...

Dig in – it’s good for you…

It’s great discipline trying to write a story in 100 words – all those horrible fillers we are guilty of using (in order to etc.) have to be removed, which is the opposite of my other writing life where people ask for set numbers of words and I resort to fillers…

(Yup, when desperate I start writing out contractions in full.)

Anyway, on a Friday I practise “less is more” with a weekly 100-word story.

 

Nothing as Certain as Cheese and Taxes

Three things had changed Terry’s life that week.

First up was the discovery that cheese is really good for people’s longevity. He celebrated with a cheese omelette for breakfast, macaroni cheese and salad for lunch and ended his day with a huge pile of cheese and biscuits.

Secondly, a letter from the IRS announced the news that he’d overpaid his taxes for the last 10 years. Amazing!

Thirdly – and this was the killer – he decided to do a little cleaning up of his shop, Captive Born Reptiles.

He entered the python’s cage. Boy, it was mucky in there…

My inspiration was a couple of stories – one that cheese is good for you (excellent, excellent) and the other about a pet shop owner’s unfortunate cleaning experience.

If you enjoy writing flash fiction yourself, why not submit a story to the Friday flash fiction website or the Friday flash fiction WordPress account? This link will take you to the site and you’ll find the submission details there.