Somebody else’s family

MICRO FICTION

Knitted familyEtsy

KNITTED

It had been a long night and I was hungry. Single-crewed, I was lonely too. And it was cold. Working the moors can mean you don’t see a single living soul all night. So it was a relief when I was alerted to an emergency nearby.

The sky glowed a dark shade of pink as a beacon lit my path to be first on the scene. Two cars in a head-on collision, both on fire. I no longer felt cold. My first priority had to be survivors.

There was a single male in the first car, late for wherever he’d been heading. The second car was a family. Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone.

Working the sparse but tight-knit rural beat means you may never see a living soul most nights. It could be hours before anyone else arrived. This family moment was mine.

© Steve Laker, 2020

The mechanics of stationery

MICRO FICTION

42 words…

Notes from a public typewriterMr Hanson’s English

ENCLOSED

I pray no-one talk about these words if they might read them, for if anyone should hear those words, they will not be able to speak of them. Please keep my words safe.

Just that, typed on the front of an envelope.

© Steve Laker, 2020

 

German queen in nomad street

THE WRITER’S LIFE | MICRO FICTION

Throughout the whole Brexit debacle, ‘EU Rope’ never became a slogan. Still, we’ve done it now. A nation has hung itself. In other news, I won my appeal against DWP today at tribunal. Silver linings in the notepad.

On the day the UK left the EU, I liberated myself from a fascist social cleansing machine in the final battle of a 15-month war. I’ve been re-awarded my human rights and can now live a more independent life. More on that another time.

For now, if you wish to see all of life, spend a day in Ashford (where I had to attend court). There you will find every kind of humanity, from those who want to help you to the ones who’d rather eat you.

I met a man on my way to have my hearing tested, stood in front of a window. I noted our conversation in my journal as I was probed by inquisitors…

Queen Trump 2Someone is photoshopping Trump’s face on the Queen (It’s a B3tan)

PSYCHIC PSY

Guy comes up to me today, says, “Think of a number, any number.”

So I did.

Then he says, “Tell me what the number is.”

So I did.

Correct,” he said.

Amazing.

Staedtler Noris 122

Among all that nature can throw at a species, I found a judge, a doctor and a mental health specialist on a tribunal panel, far better qualified to determine my future than an out-sourced government contract to a private firm with shareholders. During a day in the wilderness I found beacons of humanity, acting independently on behalf of the crown. I bought a lottery ticket too: EuroMillions.

EU Queen3The Queen’s hat (original)

No doubt the Tories will eventually scrap the right to appeal against benefits decisions, now that the British public have blindly elected a fourth Reich. I may have lost the country which made me, but I’ve still got the Queen, who’s German.

For now if I really want to, I can be a nomad queen in Germin Street. At liberty with freedom of expression. 

Several moments in theatre

MICRO FICTION

The music of least interest tells you what’s happening on stage or screen. The melody needs to be different, so that it’s another voice.

Seated at a naked desk, without a single sheet of paper to write on, the typewriter becomes a mirror on the stage. A sheet of paper has two sides but reflections have more, as a cracked actor writes a trilogy in monochrome…

DresserCalifornia Typewriter

THE DRESSER

I hate my face. Why does it have to do so much? Why do I have to work so much on it? Why do I have to make so much up? I hate my fucking face.

I make it smile, laugh when I’m crying and lie when I talk. Sometimes I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to show this face.

But I go out. And on the face of it, I’m happy. I talk, I smile, I laugh, then I wipe my face in the mirror.

I smash my face into the mirror, so no-one can see me.

© Steve Laker, 2020

A walk-on part in roboticism

MICRO FICTION

Loosely defined as 100 words or fewer, micro-fiction is a group of places I find myself in while I have more to say than available words. More restrictive than fiction in a flash of 250-500 words, the micro format is the formation of volcanic islands in the oceans of many planets. They’re stories written on an antique typewriter, compressed into a microchip inside a laptop computer, a place of personal data trust. At 99 words, this is one short…

RobotRed-Face-Typewriter2Walyou

MIRROR PLAY

The man in the rainbow coat comes around every night about now, so that we can dream in colour as he illuminates our path.

Imagined in iridescent armour, I need him more than any white sword. Walking is placing trust with his hand in mine.

If I look, I’m blinded by the light the rainbow man makes for me. So I keep my eyes shut, and I dream in colour.

Tonight he forgot his torch, so we walked while he narrated a monochrome past. I couldn’t see him, but I trusted him when he said he’d brought some friends.

© Steve Laker, 2020

Curse of the horror writer

MICRO FICTION

blood-lamps bright

A HORRORIST PARADOX

I killed you a long time ago, but I had to be sure. I had to go back and check.

I looked at you again.

The sweet stench of a rotting soul, a taste of why I killed you long ago.

A reminder, never truly gone unless forgotten.

I held you once more, an incurable addiction, back in my hands.

Syringe pen red

© Steve Laker, 2020

A parable perhaps of many things; toxic relationships, if you like. Minimalism is the art of the lazy writer leaving the heavy lifting to the reader.

The paradox of being a horror writer. If you can’t stop thinking, you can’t cease to be one. You can never escape the nightmares, so long as the cursed red ink flows through you.

 

 

Ballerine dans le noi*

MICRO FICTION

The hardest stories to write are those with no ending. A good writer will leave much to the readers’ imagination, with minimal words carrying the weight of many possibilities. How many fingers do I have? 

DogMe19SL*Dancer in the Dark (by Lars von Trier, whose Dogme 95 was the influence for The New Puritans) is my favourite film of all time.

Like a year in review, words are a frustration for the author with much on his mind, both personal and fictional, and with only finite space to convey it. Like an alien with a universal mind perched precariously on human shoulders, he longs to talk. But he understands that the speaker has no control over how his words are interpreted. Despite the universality of communication, reception is subjective.

The writer with a planet in his head, processing knowledge and speculation of stories which he must write but which haven’t ended, needs to find the words. They have to be minimal, but they must convey a life in flux, with many possible outcomes.

He turns to The New Puritans, a movement resurrected from the turn of the millennium and now a retro-renaissance, using minimalism in an age of overload, trusting human instinct to read what artificial intelligence and societally-conditioned minds can’t. He strips their manifesto to its bone marrow, and there he finds the words…

Dog Pencil Case

DOGME 19

Kill me.”

It’ll hurt more if we leave.”

Staedtler Noris 122

How many souls are in one mind anyway? How many lives are lost through the terminal decline of a single entity? If we cover our eyes then spread our hands, do we see beyond those bars? He hopes his words will retain readers, his friends.

The Nouveaux Puritains manifesto:

Primarily storytellers, we are dedicated to the narrative form.

  1. We are prose writers and recognise that prose is the dominant form of expression. For this reason we shun poetry and poetic licence in all its forms.

  2. While acknowledging the value of genre fiction, whether classical or modern, we will always move towards new openings, rupturing existing genre expectations.

  3. We believe in textual simplicity and vow to avoid all devices of voice: rhetoric, authorial asides.

  4. In the name of clarity, we recognise the importance of temporal linearity and eschew flashbacks, dual temporal narratives and foreshadowing.

  5. We believe in grammatical purity and avoid any elaborate punctuation.

  6. We recognise that published works are also historical documents. As fragments of our time, all our texts are dated and set in the present day. All products, places, artists and objects named are real.

  7. As faithful representation of the present, our texts will avoid all improbable or unknowable speculations on the past or the future.

  8. We are moralists, so all texts feature a recognisable ethical reality.

  9. Nevertheless, our aim is integrity of expression, above and beyond any commitment to form.

After such a long foreword, the writer who started this wonders if his chosen words can be held in the hand. He questions if it will ever end, or if this is just the beginning of another story. Counting the fingers he has left, he has to conclude that for now, these are just the gaps between chapters.