A small but merry band meet on Tuesday, December 21 to enjoy snacks, a visit, no business or even a suggestion of such, and 10 minutes (plus a few extra to finish up) of FLASH FICTION.
John, Dana, and Richard had all entered the CBC’s Flash Fiction contest and enjoyed the challenge so we gave it a try. The opening line was “The noise from above was quite irritating.” The closing line was “I should’ve known. “
Here are the results:
By W. Teresa Barrett
The noise from above was quite irritating. It was almost 4 am, don’t people sleep? I wonder what exactly is going on up there? Maybe they’re redecorating. I wonder if I should go up there and knock on the door. But what if someone answers? They’re obviously home and wide awake, and hell, I can’t sleep with that racket, he said to himself. Suddenly, silence. Could it be? Finally! It’s about time! The lights from the traffic outside made patterns on the walls and somewhere in the distance a car alarm sounded. It didn’t matter. It was too far away and now he was too tired to care about another sound. Just as sleep took hold of him, there it was again. The clock by the bed said 4:50. In another hour it would be time to get up. There’s not much point in going upstairs now he thought, by the time I get dressed, get up there, and tell them to be quiet and then crawl back into bed, it’ll be time to get up.
He got up, showered and decided to cook breakfast. Two hours later he was heading downstairs and out the door for work. Half asleep still, he nearly bumped into her – the woman from upstairs. She was just coming home it seemed.
“Good morning” she said to him, looking a little tired.
“Yeah” he replied, still annoyed but now more confused than ever about the noise upstairs.
That evening he passed her again in the hallway. She had a cat in her arms, with a harness and leash on it. She smiled a little. “I’ve got to take him to the vet” she said. “I think he might have caught that mouse last night when I was at work and ate it or something; he’s not himself today, and well… I found something that looked like a tail by my fridge when I got home this morning”. The cat, he said, I should have known!
By Richard McIntrye
The noise from above was quite irritating, but Carol tried to ignore it, it would be quiet soon enough once her new neighbors finished moving in. She sat down and cradled her tea cup and counted her lucky stars. The old tenant had been so noisy. Sometimes she would here the strangest sounds…granted she would have to stand very quiet and hold her breath. But still, she was sure she could hear her old upstairs neighbor opening a bottle; or clanking his tea spoon on the coffee cup; or the electric can opener grinding open a can of whatever. Well that was all over now, as she finally had had enough and complained to her nephew…who also happened to be the owner of the building. She was his favorite aunt and she plied him with crumpets and sad disturbing stories about the noisy tenant above. Her nephew was only too happy to oblige as a last favor before he sold the building and said he would take care of it. Carol was quite concerned to hear that the building was being sold but her nephew assured her that the new owners were nice as pie. Well that was that she thought as she set her tea cup into its saucer. She was pleased; maybe her luck was finally changing. Just then a battleship crash that would raise the dead near jolted her out of her seat. Drums and cymbals accompanied by catter walling. What the hell was going on? Carol stormed upstairs to source out the irritating racket, and was informed by her new neighbor…the “new landlord”, that their son was a music enthusiast and would be practicing occasionally; only Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Oh and sometimes on Saturdays. Carols heart feel to her feet…as she thought to herself…”I should have known.”
By John Burnham
The noise from above was quite irritating. More than that, it was threatening. Could it be the approach of Armageddon?
Just as well sleep through it. Yes, go back to my nap.
The noise continues. Louder yet.
I can’t get back to sleep with this racket. What can it be?
What gets louder when I’m unresponsive?
I should have known.
The 12 Minute Story
by Cindy Turner
The noise from above was quite irritating. As I sat in the cockpit, I was vaguely aware of it though, as my total concentration was on doing my pre-flight checklist and then making sure I executed a flawless aerotow I kept pushing it out of my mind. Still something wasn’t quite right about that noise. Now that I had managed to release at the correct altitude, I took stock of my situation. The stick was in place, the rudder pedals worked, I had my head-set on. Check. At this point in my flight, there should not have been any noise at all. Yet there it was, that faint sound of rushing wind through my headset.
My mind went back over the launch from the very beginning. There had been a new kid at the field who was eager to help out. The fact that he didn‘t know a tow rope from an aileron hadn’t seemed important at that point. We were all happy to let him help out with his first launch. He’d been the one to run with the wing and helps me straight down the runway. The fact that he had wiped out didn’t concern me at the time.
My mind kept going back to each step that needed to be done. Everything seemed normal. Now I was focusing on finding that next thermal. I happened to look up to do a check for other sailplanes. That is when I noticed it. The canopy was completely missing!! No wonder there was so much noise! Time to get into the circuit and land. Now! As I was bumping along the infield grass, it came back to me. Mr. Wonder Boy had been the one to supposedly secure the canopy. I should have known!
In 4 Nights
By Jock Mackenzie
The noise from above was quite irritating. I’ve been in motels and hotels from here to Brisbane and been less annoyed. I’ve listened to couples fighting, drunks arguing, traveling sports teams celebrating in advance of championships and late night movies of space invasions being played at maximum volume.
Anyone foolhardy enough to frequent cheat establishments like Motel 5 or the Abide With Inn or the Lundbreck Riggers Hotel deserve to be kept awake. Nightly rates of $50 and the promise of a free continental breakfast have to have some down side.
But this haven of rest was none of the above. This was my wife’s parents’ house. We weren’t in downtown Milwaukee or uptown Winnipeg. The outlaws were rural – from the farm. The only noises I should have been hearing were either cattle lowing from outside or, maybe, Donald or Gladys snoring up above in their quilted four-poster.
My bride lay beside me in deep repose. The banging sounds were obviously not keeping her awake.
What could it be? Not really banging, I guess. More like stamping. Midnight cloggers? And then a clunking and thumping. Was that clanking? Clanging?
I couldn’t stand it. I slipped from beneath the duvet and headed for the door.
Silence . . . what? Yes, the noises stopped. A shadow crossed the room.
I turned . . . staring out the sheer, ugly lace curtained window. Santa’s sleigh was zooming westward.
I should’ve known.
By James Folk
The noise from above was quite irritating.
I should’ve known. 86 minutes left.
“It won’t be that bad. Just one night.”
Like the birthday party with the broken water pipe, the family vacation that started on an empty tank of gas, the anniversary at the Mexican restaurant without an English-speaking server, and the children’s inflatable castle filled with water instead of air before springing a leak.
In the middle of church during Christmas mass, the choir and musical accompaniment swept around us on a fetid current of smoker’s cough and off-key piano strings. Less than half an hour into the service, and I was ready to shove broken glass into my ears to make the pain stop. 82 minutes left.
They say Heaven comes on the sound of harp strings, and Hell with accordions and bagpipes. I don’t know which to believe, but the accordions can’t be any worse than what I’m suffering right now. No angel could sound like that, not unless they got drunk and ran headlong into a support beam.
79 minutes left. “Just one night.”
I should’ve known.