Category Archives: Flash Friday Challenge

Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 16

Here’s my Friday Flash Fiction Entry for this week.

This is this week’s picture prompt:

first-woman-jury

First Woman Jury, Los Angeles, Nov 1911. PD photo by Library of Congress.

The required story element the conflict between man (not gender-specific) and self.

what struck me about this picture were two things: the empty chair and the hats! How varied and amazing they are. I would have liked to write a story about those hats, but unfortunately my knowledge of millinery etiquette in US at the time is non-existent, so I didn’t dare venture into that territory.

On the other hand, I stared at that chair and wondered what the women were looking at, the camera? the accused? the victim?

Well,I decided they were looking at the photographer, and the following dialogue ensued in my mind…

 

The Empty Chair 

 

“Smile ladies. This photograph will make history. The first woman jury. You are indeed privileged.”

“Please wait. I’m afraid you can’t take the photograph yet, sir.”

“Why not?”

“Someone is missing,” said the woman next to the empty chair.

“Who’s counting? Smile, I haven’t got all day!”

“We have to wait for Hazel. There has to be twelve in the picture,” she insisted.

“Where did she go?”

“Her husband needed his lunch.”

“What?”

“She had to prepare lunch for her family.”

“Her duty is to the community. She has been appointed to be on the jury.”

“I’m afraid her husband only understands it’s his lunchtime.”

“Does he realise she could have serious problems for not fulfilling her municipal duties?”

“She’ll be back soon, I’m sure,” the woman implored.

“Your honor,” started the photographer. “I suggest calling the police to bring her back.”

“If her husband’s lunch isn’t on the table, she’ll have more serious problems than a visit from the police,” explained the woman.

The gavel hit the sounding block as the judge glared at the photographer, “We will adjourn until four o’clock. You can take your photograph then. Tending to her husband is far more important than a simple speeding motorcyclist. Don’t you agree, Young man?”

****

I wonder how the men of the time accepted women on the jury? And even what women themselves thought about it?

Fortunately we’ve come a long way since then, and I can imagine the emotional struggle each woman fought to reconcile the  advances in civil rights for women and their traditional obligations to their families.

According to the Library of Congress the photograph shows: the first all-woman jury in California who acquitted the editor of the Watts News of printing indecent language, on Nov. 2, 1911. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2009 and Los Angeles Times, Nov. 3, 1911)

If you’d like to know more about this weekly contest or check out some of the other stories follow this link.

Building from Bullying. #1000Speak 20 March

A Peer Mediation Project

While I was a High School teacher, I witnessed a lot of bullying. Mainly seemingly minor incidents such as: name calling, hiding or stealing personal objects, excluding by ignoring, spreading cruel gossip, etc. More recently, cyber bullying also became popular, where the same actions were performed on social media.

Although teachers are often the first to identify these events, a great deal of bullying goes unnoticed by adults, including parents, because the bullies are devious, and they have many accomplices, or people who are prepared to turn a blind eye, and even take part in the torture by watching and enjoying.

I started a peer mediation project at my school, which I’d like to share with you today, because it helped with many cases, but first, I’d like to share a piece of flash fiction on this subject, which I believe illustrates the point dramatically.

****

Mary was Alone

Miss Smith wrote the five words on the blackboard: Mary was alone at home.
“Now let’s finish the story together,” she invited the students.

Mary trembled. It was happening again in broad daylight.

“Mary? Stop daydreaming. Could you give us the next line?” ordered the teacher.

How could she know the child was struggling with a recurring nightmare?

“Let’s give Mary some ideas to proceed with the story. Can I have a second line from someone else?”

Mathew put his hand up and spoke, “She saw him watching her from across the parking lot, opposite her bedroom window.”

“Sounds good. Does that help, Mary?”

She shook her head, thankful that her hair covered her tearful eyes.

“He took pictures of her as she undressed,” continued Mark.

“He shared them with his friends on Facebook,” volunteered Peter.

“Can you continue now, Mary?” asked Miss Smith.

“She’s a nervous wreck, because she can’t eat, sleep, or study.”

“Change that line for: ‘she enjoyed the attention she’d never had before’,” Luke smirked.

“How does the story end, Miss Smith?” Mary asked desperately.

“She tells her teacher, who helps her understand she’s a victim of bullying and needs help.”

“She better not, Miss. Teachers’ bedrooms have windows, too,” warned Shirley.

****

I wrote this in response to a photo prompt on today’s Flash! Friday Contest, check out the other entries here:

It is my opinion that children, including adolescents, cannot cope with bullies on their own. They need the help of understanding and experienced adults, especially teachers, and other students, too. I became interested in this topic after taking part in mediation training courses for teachers. Students at my school also took part in similar courses.

I realized we needed students in the school mediation project because students who are being bullied can be more easily identified by other students, and students can understand and relate to each other more easily and willingly than with an adult.

We established various stages:

Pre-Mediation

  • Building awareness, and making the mediators and project known to students. Mediators were allocated a room, a mail box, and information was given to the community.
  • Reception of information /cases. This could be done by means of an anonymous or identified written communication by a third party, or a personal request by someone who was experiencing it directly.

Both parties have to agree to take part in mediation.

This is the best part and the biggest drawback. You can’t force someone to take part in mediation, and I hate to admit it, but I believe that the worst cases can’t be solved by mediation, because the bully refuses to cooperate.Fortunately, once they agree to take part, 50% of the work is done.

We offered all parties involved absolute privacy in all proceedings and a reduced (or even no) reprimand if they agreed to take part and reached an agreement.

Stages to mediation:

  • Separate interviews. Peer mediators speak to each party separately about the events.
  • Joint discussion. Mediators guide a session where both parties speak in turns about (i) what has happened, (ii) how they feel about the events, and (iii) what they ask of each other.

Active listening is encouraged by asking each party to rephrase what the other has said, immediately after each intervention, to make sure they are listening and understanding each other’s feelings and motivations.

Surprisingly, we sometimes discovered that the victim was doing something, unknowingly, that the bully interpreted as an offence, or that the bully had got the wrong end of the stick. Amazingly many of the cases were, or had started as misunderstandings.

Closure. Finally, an agreement, which could be total or partial, was reached by both parties.

  • The worst scenario was that they agreed to ‘ignore’ or ‘keep away’ and not harm or provoke each other in any way.
  • The best scenario was a mutual understanding and a return to normal relations between both parts.

Post Mediation Stage

  • Students (mediators) follow-up informally to make sure the situation hasn’t worsened.
  • Students who insisted on bullying after mediation suffered harder disciplinary measures. This rarely occurred.

The only drawback is that this works with ‘reasonable’ children who suffer or indulge in ‘routine’ or simpler cases of bullying, however, more serious cases which often go beyond the school walls need much more specialized and coordinated action with families, psychologists, social workers, and even law enforcement.

I’m convinced that the vast majority of incidents of bullying in schools, which I have witnessed, are not of the complex type, and therefore can be improved with peer mediation projects.

Have you had any experience of similar projects at your schools?

Flash! Fiction: Getting Through The Night

International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2015.

Dedicated to al the women who are forced to endanger their lives every day.

Act I
Jed nodded from across the street, so I jumped into the sports car with the stranger.
“What’s your objective tonight?” He asked me eyes locked on the windscreen.
I looked at my watch and sighed, “To get through the night. You in a hurry?”
“Yes,” he replied.
I took a swig of the flask he drew out of his inside blazer pocket.
“Call me Frank,” he added.
“Pity,” I moaned. I’d have to come back for another customer, and Frank looked clean and rich in his smart suit.
Act II
Minutes later, ‘baby take off your dress, yes, yes, yes,’ rang loudly in our ears, and whiskey flowed warmly through our veins.
“Lay back and put your head on the table.”
My legs dangled uncomfortably.
“Wear this eye mask.” He noticed my hesitation and added, “Trust me.”
Damn! It was going to be one of those nights.
Act III
“Jed’ll kill you if you scar me!” I warned pulling at the handcuffs and wriggling my roped feet.
A hard fist squashed my face down against the laminated surface.
“He’ll have to find you first,” Frank whispered as he lowered the axe he had whetted hours earlier. “All of you,” he smirked. “Every little bit of you.”

This is a piece of short fiction I wrote last Friday, 6th March, as a response to the Flash! Friday Fiction Challenge.

However, as all fiction, it also contains truth. According to  Women’sLaw.org, Women in prostitution have a death rate that is 40 times higher than women who are not involved in prostitution.

Also, sixty-eight percent of prostituted women meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the same range as combat veterans and victims of torture.

According to Wikipedia, In 2004 the homicide rate for female sex workers in the United States was estimated to be 204 per 100,000.

These are facts and figures, but behind the numbers, there are plenty of women who are living very dangerous and horrific lives.

Last Friday, as part of International Women’s Day activities at the Adult Education Centre where I work, a social worker and member of a local association, whose aim it is to combat human trafficking by helping prostitutes off the streets, told us about the women she works with every day.

She started her talk by debunking two widely held myths:

1- Prostitution is not the oldest profession in the world. The oldest profession is the exploitation of women.

2- Street prostitutes are not ‘merry women’, ‘women of accommodating morals’, ‘ladies of the night’, or ‘night flowers’ who have an ‘easy life’. They are socially excluded women in very dire straits, who have a very dangerous profession.

She reminded us that many of them are invisible to the law and society in general, because they are illegal immigrants, some suffer drug addiction, as well as physical and psychological abuse, while others are simply struggling to make ends meet.

She told us she deals with women from the ages of eighteen to seventy; students, housewives, drug addicts, single mothers, pregnant women, and grandmothers.

I was shocked to hear that she was acquainted with a seventy-year-old grandmother who had to feed her grandchildren whose parents were in jail.

I’m not an expert on the topic, so I’m not going to give any more facts or theories. I just hope you’re as shocked as I am.

If you’re interested in helping, I’m sure there are plenty of associations in your town in which you can volunteer, and if you want to find out more there are numerous articles on the Internet.

Success

 

Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 11: The Stalker

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;

Walter de la Mare (1873 – 1958 England)

640px-Cara-oculta-luna

Dark Side of the Moon, by NASA, Apollo 16. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The moon has fascinated both poets and scientists since the first human spotted it in the sky.We do not know for sure how the earth and the moon came into being, but there are two main theories proposed by the scientific community.

 

The first theory, called the ‘giant impact hypothesis’, which was developed by the Planetary Science Institute in the 1970s, claims that the Earth’s moon formed as the result of a colossal impact of a hypothetical planetary embryo, named Theia, with Earth, early in our Solar System’s history. More information on this theory.

 

The most recent theory, funded by the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), and published in 2012, proposes that the Earth and moon were both created together in a giant collision of two similar-sized bodies, which collided a second time forming an early Earth surrounded by a disk of material that combined to form the moon. More information on this theory.

381356main_image_1454_946-710

An artist’s concept shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In any case, both poets and scientists have acknowledge the intimate relationship between the Earth and our Moon, and are searching for ways of either explaining our fascination, or providing proof of our common origin and mutual dependency.

 

For last Friday’s Flash! Fiction contest, our prompts were the word moon and the following sculpture.

liverpool-a-case-history

Liverpool — Hope Street. CC photo by Harshil Shah. Sculpture “A Case History” by John King.

The idea instantly came to my mind to combine the poetic symbolism of the moon and the scientific notion that both planets had a common origin.

In my flash fiction, the moon has become the lover who has been traumatically separated from his beloved. He cannot come close to her, but he can stalk her from a distance, because he still loves her and misses her, while he is patiently waiting for a longed for reunion.

 

The stalker

 

Let me watch over you.
I see you searching for my torch in the night, in wonder, in awe, perhaps even in fear.
Please don’t fear me. I’d never harm you.
You know I’ll always be there, faithful to you alone.
I can’t live with you, but neither can I live without you, so I have to stalk you.
You have understood and forgiven me.
I look forward to seeing your flashing eyes and hearing the murmur of your breathing.
Your beauty is stunning. I admire your patchwork dress and your flowing waves.
I love you.
I miss you.
I wish I were still with you, still part of you, as I used to be, as I was meant to be.
I cannot come to you yet, although you have visited me, on occasions.
You think little of me, because you consider me ugly and barren, and I am, compared to you.
But remember this; we were together once and you loved me, until we were torn apart.
I long for the day you will take up your suitcases, renew your hope in me, and bring life to my lonely planet.
You will come and I will be waiting, Earthlings.

@LucciaGray
200 words.
Would you like to read some of the other stories in this weeks’ Flash! Friday challenge?

Flash! Friday Vol 3 – 10: Androcles, the Lion, the Kitten, and the Gladiator!

George Bernard Shaw is my second-favourite playwright.

It all started at school, when we had to read Androcles and the Lion, surprisingly at a R.C. Convent school. The play humorously and ironically portrays different types of Christians, and criticizes the hypocrisy and absurdity of some practices and beliefs.

 

Shaw_alphabet_paperback

Lavinia has some is brilliant lines. For example, when the Emperor visits the Christians who are about to be martyred:

Lavinia: Blessing, Caesar, and forgiveness!
Caesar: (turning in some surprise at the salutation) There is no forgiveness for Christianity.
Lavinia: I did not mean that, Caesar. I mean that we forgive you.
Metellus: An inconceivable liberty! Do you not know, woman, that the Emperor can do no wrong and therefore can not be forgiven?
Lavinia: I expect the Emperor knows better. Anyhow, we forgive him.
The Christians: Amen!
Or:
The Captain: A martyr, Lavinia, is a fool. Your death will prove nothing.
Lavinia: Then why kill me?”

Later, on my own initiative, I read a few more of his plays, courtesy of my local library; Man and Superman, A Doctor’s Dilema (my second favourite of his plays), Pygmalion, Saint Joan, and Mrs. Warren’s Profession.

wpid-20150215_185019.jpg

I actually saw this one at the Old Vic. Those were the days…

 

But the play I enjoyed most was Candida. I was nineteen when I first saw Deborah Kerr playing the main role in London’d West End, and I imagined myself playing that part (I wanted to be an actress then). I waited for hours at the back stage door for her autograph on my programme, and it was worth it, although she never came anywhere near my programme.

 

wpid-20150215_184946.jpg

This Programme is 37 years old! I can’t believe I’ve kept it (and found it) after all these years…

 

She offered us a smile, which I can still remember, and was wafted away like a feather into the London skyline.

Now, I’m the right age to play the part (a year younger than Ms Kerr), but I’m in the wrong profession, unless I ever join an amateur dramatics group and convince them to put it on. There’s an idea!

 

wpid-20150215_190215.jpg

 

Back to Androcles. Last Friday’s Flash! Friday prompt was a Gladiator and a picture of a cute kitten. This is what I came up with, inspired by my dear G. B. Shaw and his Androcles, both of whom seem to have been forgotten to younger generations, so let’s remind them about the story…

My entry for Flash! Friday 13th February

“So, is this flash fiction about gladiators?”
“It’s about a guy called Androcles who was a Christian in pagan Rome. He saw a lion with a huge thorn stuck in its paw.”
“A lion in Rome?”
“There were lions everywhere then. It was a wild and savage world. No electricity, running water, or mobiles. So Androcles took out the lion’s thorn and they become friends.”
“Friends?”
“This is a fable; a story including animals, with a meaning.”
“And what’s the meaning?”
“You’ll know when I finish telling you the plot. Androcles was taken prisoner. The Romans didn’t believe in free speech or freedom of religion.”
“Poor lion, lost a nice owner.”
“The lion was taken prisoner, too. Lions were used in the coliseum to fight with the gladiators, sometimes they ate up Christians too, for enjoyment.”
“A gladiator at last!”
“Chance would have it that Androcles and the lion came face to face in combat.”
“No kidding! I bet the lion remembered Androcles and refused to fight.”
“Exactly! He purred like a kitty when he saw him. How did you guess?”
“Because in all the films I’ve seen, it’s the gladiator who does all the killing. I suppose the gladiator does away with both of them, right?”

No drama this week 🙂

Would you like to read some of this weeks’ other entries? Check them out here

Flash! Friday Contest and King Sisyphus

I’m back again! I’ve taken part in most Flash Friday Contests since last summer, but this is my first one this year!

What do Flash Friday Contest and King Sisyphus have in common?

Basically the recurrent and repetitive nature of the challenge they face. So, is that a good thing or not? Isn’t everything we do repeated periodically… incessantly? What’s new in our lives? in the history of humanity?

Life often seems monotonous and disheartening. We do essentially the same things day after day, endlessly. We have the illusion of moving forward, and then we have to start all over again.

Winter with its leafless trees and barren fields reminds us of death, and the inevitable cycle of life, and long cold evenings invite our minds to search for impossible answers to eternal questions…

 

640px-Punishment_sisyph

Sisyphus by Titian (1548–49) by Titian, Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

The repetitive nature of life reminded me, once again, of what happened to the avaricious, deceitful, and murderous King Sisyphus. Zeus condemned him to roll a huge enchanted boulder up a steep hill, and once he reached the top the boulder rolled downhill again. Sisyphus followed it back down and resumed his useless task, time and time again.

 

MythOfSisyphus
Albert Camus, became my favourite writer when I read La Chute for my French ‘A’ level, as a teenager, and my appreciation grew when I was studying French, at College. In his 1942 essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd, comparing the absurdity of man’s life with Sisyphus’s futile occupation.

On his way down, burdenless, Sisyphus searches for meaning in an incomprehensible world devoid of God and eternal truths or values, while on his way up he is occupied with the unachievable task: the boulder will never stay at the top.

In spite of this, according to Camus, Sisyphus is finally happy because he has understood and accepted his absurd fate. In other words, the knowledge and acceptance that life is a meaningless task with no hope of completion, is our only chance of happiness. Or is it?

 

The struggle
I still admire Camus’s insatiable search for the meaning of life, however, I used to think I wasn’t so pessimistic or critical, any more. Perhaps because I have children and grandchildren, who have given my life another perspective, or perhaps because over thirty years have passed, and my rebellious search for a rational explanation to the ‘meaning of life’, has been dulled.

Yet last Friday, something happened. I saw a picture and wrote a story, and I realized that Camus’ ‘absurd’ is more ingrained in my subconscious, than I thought.

Photo prompt Flash Friday Fiction Challenge 6th February

rain

Dragons bidding

a-fleeting-moment

My entry: North and South.

I looked over the barren fields, dry wells, famished cattle, and dug my blackened nails into the thick, crumbly earth. My parched lips made a last feeble effort to cry for mercy.

I remembered how just before the meteor struck our planet, she had appeared and walked through me. I felt a shudder and my body froze for less than an instant.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she said.
“I want to live,” I begged.
“Go south,” she whispered and was gone.

That’s why I was there, dying in the waterless south.
Once again, I sensed the shadow of the spectre approach.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she teased.
“Water,” I implored. “My people need water.”
“Go north,” she whispered and left.

I turned to my people and said, “We must go north.”
They followed hopefully.

When we arrived, the streets were wet. We rejoiced and drank, and thanked the Gods.

The next day, the flooding started. Within days we were living in boats, frantically searching for dry land.

The fleeting ghost returned once more.

“Ask and it shall be given,” she smiled.
“Will it always be like this?” I cried.
She nodded and left.

@LucciaGray (200 words).

Want to To read some of the other stories? You’ll find them here

I’d like to finish on a more optimistic note. I’m sure we can be happy, but only Today.

Today is all we have, so make the most of it.

Have a wonderful day!

Lama

Flash! Friday (Micro Fiction) Contest

Eternal Love

The evening sun was waning and I needed her consent before conversion.
‘I offer you eternal love, Mina,’ I promised.
She looked into the glass of wine, lips pursed, and shook her head.
‘I prefer mortality.’
Seconds later I rushed out to the sound of the opening door. Lucy had arrived unexpectedly.
‘I couldn’t wait!’ She cried as she pushed past me into the hotel suite.
She kicked the door shut, grabbed my hand, and pulled me into the bedroom.
I heard the gust of wind waft into the adjacent room as the sliding balcony doors were pushed apart.
‘Did you miss me?’ she asked.
‘We need to talk.’ I answered.
‘Later…’ she whispered.
I heard the click of the door.
‘Let’s have some wine first,’ I said as I pulled her out to the balcony.
‘Sure. Whatever you were having,’ she said picking up the glass on the railing.
The sun set.
No time to explain.

 

I’ve never written a vampire story before and I’m not a fan of vampire novels or vampire films!

However, I must admit I do love the gothic aspect of vampire literature, and I did love Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’ll never forget Christopher Lee in the film role, perhaps because I was young and impressionable when I first saw it…

I can’t imagine what I saw in the photograph and glass of wine to concoct this crazy story!

Now I need to go back to re-re-re proofreading All Hallows at Eyre Hall for print…

By the way, Do you want to take part in Flash! Friday?

There’s still time today! or you can do so any Friday.

Rules:

* Word count: Write a 150-word story (10-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, excluding title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Monday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

Whatever you do, make sure you have a great weekend!

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 43

Today’s photo prompt:

 

Dragon’s bidding:

 

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

 

Silent Voters

I’m a fisherman, like my father and my grandfather. I go out every night and cast my net till dawn. I get a pittance at the market for my hard work and sleepless nights.

You like fish. You pay high prices at the restaurant, while my family can hardly make ends meet. You wear designer suits, and drive a comfortable car. What can you offer us?

You say you want to spend the night with me, on my little boat. You bring warm, waterproof clothes and boots, and the reporters take our picture.

Tomorrow the news will parade your empathy with the poor. You want me to nod, and smile, while the cameras record from the shore.

Tonight you will meet the others, the nameless, countless fishermen, who lost their lives for their families, and their country. Ask them to vote for you, when you join them at the bottom of the sea.

Wave goodbye.

Your journey ends here.

 

Have a look at some of the other entries

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 41

Today’s photo prompt:

Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin.

Today’s dragon’s bidding:

The Castle seen from the window is known as the Krak de Chevaliers (Qalat al-Hosn), in Syria.

Rules: Based on the photo prompt and including the Dragon’s bidding. Between 140 – 160 words. Enter your Flash fiction in the comments in the Flash! Fiction Blog, and add word count and twitter handle.

 

***********************************************************************************

My Flash Fiction for this week.

Her Eyes.

I’m back in the same hotel, overlooking the same Medieval castle, and lying on the same bed where I begged her to marry me and start a new life in another continent.

I met her when I was an international exchange student in Homs, preparing my PhD in petroleum engineering. I felt the unexpected thump of love at first sight when her supple fingers sunk into my stunned hand, and her warm honey eyes melted into mine.

My tutor, who introduced us, proudly announced that his only daughter was shortly to marry his brother’s son, her first cousin. I failed to dissuade her, and left, alone.

Too many years later, I read her letter one more time:
Although you are always with me, it’s time we meet again. Please come for me. Now I can leave’.

I looked at the picture in the envelope and sighed.

A child smiling at the camera.

Her eyes.

***********************************************************

Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 38

Today’s photo prompt:


Today’s Dragon’s bidding:

What really happened.

On August 29, 1965, US spacecraft,  Gemini 5, landed back on Earth after an eight-day mission. The return crew were Astronauts Conrad and Cooper.  The crew had to use the re-entry thrusters to orient the spacecraft due to system failures. The retrofire and re-entry were conducted in darkness by the spacecraft computer. However the computer had been misprogrammed with an erroneous rotation rate of the Earth. Cooper’s efforts compensated for what he recognized as an erroneous reading and brought the capsule down closer to the ship than they would otherwise have been, and probably saved their lives.


 

My Flash Fiction inspired by the photo and Dragon’s bidding:

The Alien (158 words)

‘Officer!’

‘Yes, Captain?’

‘Are we going to tell them what we saw?’

‘Sir?’

‘What really happened?’

‘Of course, sir. The information is recorded in the log books and databases.’

‘I mean who we saw: the alien.’

‘We didn’t see anyone, sir. It was just you and me on board the spaceship for eight days and eight nights. It was a boring, routine, flight.’

‘But you saw her, too!’

‘No, sir. I saw no one.’

‘But it’s thanks to her that we’re still alive! She told me to change our course. You heard her, too!’

‘We readjusted the data on the landing device because we saw an error, sir, and we recalculated.’

‘But the alien…’

‘With all due respects, sir. We can be acclaimed as national heroes, or become the laughing-stock of the media.’

The captain reflected for an agonizing moment before replying.

‘Of course. What’s the point of telling them?’

‘No point, sir. They’d never believe us.’

****

Would you like to read some of this weeks’ other entries?

This short piece makes me think about truth and lies.

We all lie sometimes, for well-meaning reasons, such as not to hurt people, or to make a point by ‘bending’ the truth. We sometimes decide that certain information can and should be withheld, for a good cause, like to protect someone who is not ‘ready’ for the truth.

In this case of my flash fiction story, the astronauts decide to lie due to fear of the consequences. They don’t want to be laughed at. ‘They’ll think I’m soft’, or ‘They’ll think I’ve gone mad if I say that’.

If you think you won’t be believed, why tell the truth? It’s hard to convince someone of the truth, without proof, so it’s easier to retreat and lie.

People get used to lying, that is, to saying what others want to hear, until they forget the truth. They forget who they are and what they really think. They are the sad, self-destructive lies.

It takes courage to say the truth, when you know no one will believe you, or when you could become a public laughing-stock. It’s easier to say what people want to hear.

Other times there are darker reasons to lie or hold back information. Somebody may want to deceive, confuse, or manipulate. Those are the blatant, dangerous lies.

Truth or lie? Did the astronauts make the right decision?

%d bloggers like this: