Tue 10 Mar 2015
by Townsend Walker
The wind ponies of my mind take me to places I’ve never been. They race across plains of thought heedless of what they’ve never seen.
And a process begins, a thought, often an opening line, a search for a next line, a following line. A character may appear, or not. Keep writing. A location or event fully described, when that, then a person will appear to populate it, move around in it.
Flash is an experiment. What comes of it?
Capture an emotion—Charlie’s Life, MuDJoB
Charlie was a mean lad. Charlie was a mad lad. Charlie was rad bad. Charlie clubbed his cousin, then his aunt.
“Jail or Army, lad?”
Charlie got to go war. Charlie got to kill and maim.
Charlie got a medal. Charlie was a hero. Charlie was the man. Charlie was the man. Charlie got to come home.
Charlie got a wife, don’t know why. Charlie clubbed again, don’t know who.
This is not a life.
Develop a Plot—The Gun Wasn’t Hers, Flash Frontier
She hadn’t wanted it, but there it was, on the seat beside her. For your protection, they’d said.
She was driving I-90: Seattle to Chicago, beat-up Beetle. Running a package out for this guy she knew. A delicate instrument,—didn’t trust UPS. The pay was good and she was between gigs. Lots of empty country out there, they’d said. True. Miles of nothing but dirt and sky flying by.
Out past Billings, a rock hit the windshield. Shattered it. She jerked at the wheel, nearly drove off the road. Where the hell did that come from? She slowed the car to a stop and sat til her breathing got down to near normal. The sun caught hold of the edges of exploded glass, turning her windshield into a web of rainbow colors.
In the rearview, she saw something move—back alongside the road, by the loose rocks. Her stomach lurched. Grabbing the gun, she found the safety, clicked it off, willed her legs out of the car, onto the pavement. She walked down the road, scanning the horizon, hair whipping around her eyes.
But it wasn’t there anymore. It was behind her.
Play with dialogue—Overheard, Apocrypha and Abstractions
Probably wasn’t anything could be done about it.
You did everything you could.
When was it? A month ago we talked to him.
Given the circumstances, inevitable.
With what he was mixed up in.
Bound to happen, sooner or later.
Che sera, sera.
But to end up there.
I don’t know what else I could have done.
Did you hear about that thing a couple days earlier?
Why on earth would anyone . . .?
You know, it’s really been hard on Sally.
But she’s been a trooper though it all.
Did the police have to give out so much detail?
Hey, over by the pillar, is that her? Black hat.
These days . . . .
What do you think happens next?
There’ll be questions.
They talked to you yet?
Blonde in the blue dress by the window?
By the way, who found him?
They’re not saying.
Think this will change anything?
You see anything to drink around here?
Open a larger story—A Bottle in the Alley, Blink Ink
A broken bottle, jagged edges refract street light, emerald stripes on a gray lump, on patent leather boots. The figure in boots, now in white orthopedic shoes, walks into a Park Avenue apartment.
“Good morning Miss Chaney. A good night?” the doorman says.
“Profitable, very profitable.”
Strange, for a nurse to put it that way.
A small complete story—Swan Lake, Slice
The mountain of dirty crusted snow was turning to slush. Pedestrians huddled next to buildings to avoid being splashed by careening cars. A bus rumbled to its stop, five feet from the curb, five feet filled with Arctic ice melt. The door opened. A short man in a long, seen-better-days coat peered out, small blue eyes blinking. He moved cat-like to the bottom step. Passers-by saw his turmoil–the near certainty of an ice bath, the slim chance of safety on the sidewalk. He hesitated. Was he going to try? He peered across the chasm, bent his knees, rose on his toes, gracefully arced in a grand jeté, and finished with a delicate landing. The muffled beat of mittens greeted his performance. He bowed deeply. His audience moved on, carrying that balletic movement with them. That touch of theatrical surprise that softens the soul.
Townsend Walker is a writer living in San Francisco. During a career in finance he published books on foreign exchange, derivatives, and portfolio management. His short fiction has been published in over sixty literary journals and included in seven anthologies. A novella, La Ronde, will be published by Truth Serum Press in Fall 2015. Awards: first place in the SLO NightWriters contest, second place in Our Stories contest, two nominations for the PEN/O.Henry Award. Four stories were performed at the New Short Fiction Series, Hollywood. Educated at Stanford (creative writing and economics), NYU (economics and anthropology) and Georgetown (economics and political science). Website: www.townsendwalker.com.