WRITESPIRATION @sacha_black #103 52 WEEKS IN 52 WORDS WEEK 7 Jack and Jill #FlashFiction

This post was written in response to Sacha Black’s weekly prompt for 2017 (52 weeks in 52 words).  Join in here!

Sacha will post one prompt a week for 52 weeks, and the challenge is to write a story in just 52  words exactly. The value of conciseness for a writer is invaluable, as Sacha herself reminds us: ‘The art of being concise is nothing if not a muscle flexing ‘write’ bicep curling device’. This weeks’ prompt ‘The distance between,,,’ 


The distance between words and meaning

Part I: Jill


I cringed. ‘Sorry, busy.’

‘What about a film tomorrow?’

God, he’s slow. ‘Working late.’

‘Let’s drive down to Brighton for the weekend.’

Why doesn’t he get it? ‘My sister’s visiting.’

‘Something wrong?’

At last! ‘No, just busy this week.’

‘Let me know when you’re free.’

Never for you. I smiled. ‘Sure.’  


Part II: Jack

‘Coffee?’ I offered

‘Sorry, busy.’

Let’s try again. ‘What about a film tomorrow?’

‘Working late.’

She needs a break. ‘Let’s drive down to Brighton for the weekend.’

‘My sister’s visiting.’

Family problems. ‘Something wrong?’

‘No, just busy this week.’

‘Let me know when you’re free.’

She smiled. ‘Sure.’

She’s worth waiting for.


The difference between words and meaning or semantics (linguistic meaning) and pragmatics (contextual meaning) is a favourite subject for many linguists, and let’s face it, they have plenty to investigate!

We actually rarely say exactly what we mean, mainly because social etiquette values politeness over honesty. That means we expect people to understand what we mean, without saying the words we really feel because they would be considered impolite or inappropriate.


What we say and what we mean in translation!

Fortunately, there is usually a mutual understanding in a shared culture, but even then, there are some serious misunderstandings, as shown in my two flashes above.

Why is Jack insistent? Why doesn’t Jill want to go out with him? Why doesn’t he get the subtle message?

What if they’re both more honest with their intentions?


Part III: Jack and Jill.

‘You look lovely today,’ said Jack.

‘I’m busy,’ replied Jill.

‘Have dinner with me tonight.’

‘Don’t want to.’

‘Come to Brighton for the weekend.’

‘No way. Not again.’

‘What’s wrong?’

‘It’s over.’


‘We work together. There’ll be gossip, Mr. Smith.’

‘And if I weren’t your boss?’

‘Fire me and find out.’


I could go on, the possibilities are endless, but I think I’ll stop here, for now. 

Jack’s intentions are pretty clear, but what about Jill’s? Any guesses on what Jill means by that last line?