Somewhere between a resource and some free fiction this time – having already posted about what I think about the Novella
Here’s another subsection of fiction, and a sub-sub section at that. These definitions were original taken from a website inviting submissions in the following categories – I need to investigate as to how legitimate these classifications are – watch out for a future post in Resources
In this example: The Mini Story: short works of fiction of between >100 and 150 words in length.
Firstly – here’s the original, longer version– written for a Christmas short competition for the now defunct Blue Murder magazine. The story had to include 6 words (Turkey, Brandy, Taxi, Store, Gift and Fruitcake ).
Flying in For the Holidays
“The stupidest question in the world,” I explained to Brandy; “Is ‘Did you pack this bag yourself?’”
“Why’s that stupid?” she asked.
I sighed, “You ever hear anyone say no? It’s a bullshit question.”
“Well, they got to ask.”
“I know they’ve got to ask. But it’s a bullshit question. That’s all I’m saying.”
I took another sip of the yellow goop they’d stuck in front of me.
“That shit’s disgusting” I said and passed it over to Brandy’s tray.
“It’s Egg nog.” She said, like she was Martha Stewart or something.
“No.” I explained, “It ain’t. It’s the airline’s idea of being festive. And it’s cheaper for them than giving me the goddamn scotch I wanted.”
“Well, you were the one that wanted to fly out on Christmas Eve…”
I leaned in close and said quietly in her ear, “Brandy, my sweet. I am flying in on Christmas Eve because Manny wants to know where the rest of his money is. Remember?”
She nodded, and seemed to flinch a little, as though I was going to go crazy again. But I remained calm, “And remember how angry Manny gets?”
“But it’s Christmas…” she protested.
“Yes. It’s Christmas. And if I can’t think of something to tell Manny he’ll be giving me a wreath. And it won’t be very festive.”
She nodded again.
Brandy started in again on how she wanted more independence, how she wanted to go to hairdressing school. She didn’t stop until I put the headphones on and watched the movie.
I’m sorry to say, I didn’t fall asleep until it had finished.
The difference between Brandy and the plane was that she was still whining and squealing after we’d touched down. The plane began to taxi in to Terminal Three and I was actually sorry that my ears had popped… Five hours in coach, and I’d had to sit through one of the worst movies I’d ever seen. Brandy was trying to convince me it had been romantic.
“It wasn’t romantic, sweets. It was a turkey.”
“Well, I thought it was romantic. And my opinion counts for something.” She pouted. I could just about remember in the dim and distant past when I had still found that pout cute.
“Sure it does. And when I want an opinion on which store to blow a wad of dough in, I’ll be sure to ask you. That you have a gift for. But don’t talk to me about film like you’re Pauline goddamn Kael.”
She shot me a hurt look. “Ricky, how many times have I got to ask you not to keep bringing up old girlfriends?”
I stared at her, “Old girlfriend…? Jeez, Brandy, you really are a fruitcake.”
She didn’t like that.
There are a lot of things Brandy doesn’t like. Me still selling, despite the promises I’d made. Me still selling shit that I bought from Mannie. Me insisting she come with me today. Me making her feel stupid.
The plane stopped, and Brandy was up, stretching up to the overhead locker, and I thought she still had a good bod on her. Maybe that was why I put up with the airhead comments, and the earache she kept giving me. Maybe that was why I lost my temper sometimes when I thought she was flirting with other guys. It’s not something I’m proud of. I ain’t a macho kind of guy, but damn, the woman could get me steamed up.
She passed me my jacket and smiled. Earlier sulking already forgotten. She wasn’t so bad.
We got off the plane and stood round the carousel waiting for our bags to appear: mine, a small overnight case, Brandy’s big enough to live in for a week. When they arrived, she looked pissed that I didn’t offer to carry hers, but I intended to stay true to my promise that if she packed all that shit, she was going to carry it.
The airport had made some attempt to make itself look festive, a couple of the security guys even had Santa hats on.
And there seemed to be a lot of security guys. I noticed that fact as three of them approached me as we walked through Customs.
“Good evening, sir.” The tall one said, as he laid a hand firmly on my arm and started to lead me to one side.
“Oh, what is this shit?” I asked, looking around for Brandy, to tell her to wait for me.
But Brandy was already walking off, not even glancing back.
The guard was patting my jacket down, and I gave a theatrical sigh as I held my arms up. I was used to it. I seem to have a face that invited suspicion in airports…hell, anywhere.
But there was nothing theatrical about my surprise when he pulled a cigar from my jacket pocket.
He looked at it.
I looked at it.
His buddies stepped closer and they all looked at it.
“Did you know it’s illegal to have Cuban cigars, Sir?”
I looked from one to the other, “I don’t even smoke.” It sounded dumb even as I said it.
“Could you open the bag, please sir?” asked the tall one’s buddy, snapping on a pair of latex gloves as he spoke.
So I did.
And they rooted around a little and pulled out a large packet.
And I suddenly knew where my lost stuff had gone.
“I…I…” I began, and then just shut up. I wasn’t even going down that road. It wasn’t even worth denying. The only thing more stupid than asking someone if they packed the bag themselves was someone denying they’d packed the bag themselves when they were caught.
The last thing I saw before they took me into that little room was Brandy disappearing out of the Exit doors with that big bag of hers. I figured she had enough stuff in there to start a new life…
So not the best short story in the world, but back in 2000 or so when I wrote it (a time period where a lot of fiction featuring airports have sadly had to be revised for facts- and not just because of mention of things like Cuban cigars), it met the criteria and I got a nice letter from that magazine who already had two of my shorts on their books to be published in the coming months to tell me they were closing. Sigh.
So, for fun, many years later in an exercise in editing I wondered if I could get some of my stories down to Mini Story length…so here’s the under 150 word version. As I say – just for fun.
Flying in for the Holidays- The Mini Story version
We got off the plane and waited for our bags. Mine an overnight case, Brandy’s big enough for half her wardrobe.
The airport had made some attempt to look festive, a couple of the security guys heading towards me had Santa hats on.
“What is this?” I asked, looking around for Brandy, but she was already walking off, not even glancing back.
“Could you open the bag, sir?” asked Santa Guard, snapping on a pair of latex gloves.
They rooted around a little and pulled out a large packet.
I suddenly knew where my lost stuff had gone and why Brandy had agreed to pack for me.
The last thing I saw before they took me into the little room was Brandy disappearing out of the doors with that big bag. I figured she had enough stuff in there to start a new life…