by Erin Kelly

In his piece, “Spermicidal,” Charlie Bowers takes us on a flash-fiction storytelling journey with Tom, a virgin who is buying his first-ever pack of condoms. It’s an embarrassing rite of passage for young men, especially when there are so many options and the ultimate choice could be an unspoken indicator of girth, stamina and experience.

Spermicidal” was the top story in April for Every Day Fiction, with readers describing it as “breezy,” “humorous” and “brilliant.” The story is told in 500 words.

Flash Fiction Chronicles caught up with Charlie Bowers to ask him about this piece.

FFC: In your opinion, what are some of the greatest perks of writing flash fiction that don’t exist in other writing forms?

Charlie BowersCharlie Bowers: Perks? You can finish a story half-way through and blame the word count. I jest, but it is a fun and useful way to force yourself into making every word matter. With that 1,000 (or 500, or even 100) word limit haunting me every time I reach for the keyboard, I definitely have to think carefully. Sometimes that pressure is exactly what I need.

FFC: How long did it take you to write “Spermicidal” and is this typical of most of your other work?

CB: I wrote it in a few hours on my girlfriend’s laptop. Relative to the size of the piece, it was finished pretty quickly by my standards.

FFC: Tell us about your writing background and what inspires you as a writer.

CB: “Spermicidal” was my first published piece, so my writing background isn’t very prolific. Yet. Maybe. I only started writing seriously a few months ago and began to work on pieces as if they might one day actually become something. That was a good start, I think.

Inspiration breeds depression, for me. When I finish reading an excellent novel, I will immediately want to write something just as awesome. I never can, and before I can convince myself that I never will, I bury myself in another book. Hopefully one that won’t crush my self-esteem when I try to match it’s quality.

FFC: It’s tough to be clever through the written word. What’s your trick?

CB: If I ever find out, I’ll get back to you.

FFC: Is it a trick if you’re not aware you’re doing it?  Why didn’t Tom wink back?

CB: To me, winking is a very different gesture for males and females. I think James Bond is the only guy in the world who can be charming and wink simultaneously, and even he’s fictional. If I wink, people ask me if I need to lie down.