Fiction Section: Fun Fiction
I recently learned–throughout the duration of a course I took in Flash Fiction–the great difficulty in crafting a complete and effective story in less than two pages and now hold a deep appreciation for any writer who can successfully do so. In this April’s issue of Write from Wrong, we are pleased to share two very different stories that each accomplish much in few words.
M.D. Poole’s “Brown Derby” invites readers onto a bus ride through New Orleans, where we witness a scene that highlights the author’s acute awareness of human interaction. Poole’s successfully crafted dialogue and description contribute to the distinct setting of the story and create a small, delightful window which encapsulates a situation many amused readers will find relatable.
“Jenny’s Woods,” written with a skillful manipulation of language by M.C. Myers, carries with it an aura of strange magic. It’s choppy rhythms and repetitions, coupled with the distance placed between reader and plot give the story an eerie poeticism.
We hope you will enjoy these stories, and come back to visit us again next month.
Sunday morning in New Orleans, the old women go to church, hobbling and bobbing their hats and feathers. The bus drives to and from sanctuaries, daring to visit the places that tourists don’t care to look. The buses are cheap. The young driver grumbles, “Only bus drivers don’t get Sunday off.” He puffs to no one about how the city couldn’t get along without buses, not like the trolleys that only go up past the school and back. He pauses at a corner, waiting for the old lady with the net hat while she waddles to the door, handing her transfer ticket with a “Bless you, son.”
The next stop, the man steps on. Half way down the aisle, the only young girl on the bus looks up at him, and wonders if he’s a Baptist preacher, nervous and late. He doesn’t hand the driver money or transfer. His close beard, peppered to match his gray face, covers his expression. He stands at the front and shakes out the words, “Please, sur, some money, I haven’t et in five days.” His hands are cupped and quiver like his voice. Those practiced words repeat, “Five days, sur.” On the front row, the lady straightens, lips pursed and stares ahead as he raises his voice to speak the third time. His knees are bending all the time, and finally he sits in the front row next to her.
The light changes and the bus rolls on. The driver, in his slow motion way, pulls out the wallet, a high school graduation gift. Hunched during the next red light, he pours over papers and pictures and old tickets, till he pulls out two bills. Green flashes. The driver folds the dollars and reaches back to the stubble man. He watches the cars he drives past, and he hears, “Bless you, sur, bless you, five days.”
The man lifts himself. It’s the corner of the Brown Derby Bar, open even on Sunday morning. The girl watches the bus door slam behind the man, and continues watching. The driver uses the rear mirror. As the bus turns, so does the old man, entering the Derby with a slap on a buddy’s back. The girl sighs, and the driver shakes his head, smiling.
M.D. Poole has published approximately 25 poems and stories in journals such as Callaloo, Southwestern Review, and Black Willow. She has had six of her plays produced in off-Broadway and regional theater, and has taught English and theater at SUNY-FIT for many years
Jenny was a night walker. Jenny was healer. She had no enemies, she also had no friends. All who entered her woods knew they were on neutral ground, be they two or four legged, winged or otherwise.
When one needed Jenny, they followed the path to the glowing circle of blue light and there they found Jenny. She could communicate in any language, both verbally and mentally. She appeared in all shapes and forms for those who needed to see her in a certain way.
Because Jenny was a night walker, her forest was always very dark. Not one drop of sunlight was able to pierce the dense canopy of leaves. When one came into her presence, they came humbly to ask for her assistance. They could not bring anger or resentment into the circle, for if they did, flaming balls of blue light descended over them and they immediately found themselves outside the woods once more. Jenny was compassionate and all-wise to those who needed her. Other night walkers felt safe with her, day walkers too.
One day as many were gathered in the circle, man and best together, a great and evil force descended into the woods. Some became afraid. Some became angry and asked permission to deal with this evil darkness.
Jenny waved her hands in a circle and the blue light began to expand, growing larger and larger by the minute. As the light penetrated the dark woods they could hear piercing shrieks and moans until suddenly all was quiet and serene once more. As the light slowly receded back towards the circle, some noticed a beautiful silver outline and realized they were standing in a structure rather than on the ground.
Once more they felt peace, knowing that nothing could harm them because this was Jenny’s woods.