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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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 (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 – 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?