Today marks the launch of Best of Friday Flash 2 which contains one of my stories, Scar Tissue.
#FridayFlash is an online writing community where people post a piece of flash fiction (1000 words or less) to their blog, link it to http://www.fridayflash.org/ and drop in to read and comment on the work of others.
Writers are from all over the world and five of us included in this anthology are from Australia.
It is my privilege to host Jason Coggins (Melbourne) whose Moult World stories are brilliant (and not for the faint of heart).
“Back in town the amber beams of the street lamps swept us like inept search lights. They lit nothing more than our shoulders and baseball caps. The night wanted us out of its darkness. The roads were empty of traffic. The streets silent save for the sound of heavy breathing and thud of our footfalls.
It was gone Nine when we reached Cutler’s flat.
The note taped to the door said: “See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar”.
Steve tore it from the door with his fat fist. The two pink rolls beneath his chin –which wrapped around where his neck should have been– wobbled.
“We got the bastard,” he growled.
For a couple of years back there I was knocking out tales of monsters and wise-ass protagonists as if I was mining a big fat, juicy mother lode of fantasy fic. I was hitting a word count of a few thousand a week as my mind kept me awake at night telling me bonkers narratives I was simply compelled to share with the interwebs. Sadly, this proliferation was pretty much fuelled by a solitude you can only experience upon moving to a new country and having no friends. The only ‘friends’ I actually had any day to day ‘contact’ with existed behind the #FridayFlash and #TuesdaySerial hashtags. Anyway, I guess I was carving a bit of an outrageous niche writing that which I loved to write. Still, I got to thinking about those poor pathetic actors who are typecast in the same role for their entire careers. And urged on by the amazing Carrie Clevenger to “ditch the unicorns and break the mould!” I decided to write something, gulp … realistic.
Thing is I am an ICU nurse and I get “real” handed to me in big globules of hard to swallow reality all the time. That is why I wrote bonkers stories in the first place. So, no way was I going to retreat into the bloody and often macabre world of modern day hospitals for the ‘authenticity’ I craved.
Fortunately, my iPod saved me! When good old fashion, gritty realism smacked me in the face as New Model Army’s “The Hunt” rang out from my playlist.
The song evoked images of teenage years spent walking the perpetually raining streets of my hometown; always in a gang, always walking with grim intent (though to be honest our only intent was to look menacing). Dark imagery galore! Yet provocative as the imagery of the song was it played second fiddle to the inference that something really … really … nasty was about to be done to someone who totally deserved it … and then some.
Anyway, not once stopping to consider why I was operating under the assumption that for something to be considered real it also had to be dark and nasty I opened Jodi Cleghorn’s #[Fiction]Friday prompt #169. “The note taped to the door said: See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar. ” and was off!
The comic strip adaption you see attached above came some time later and in collaboration with Blake Byrnes who wields a paintbrush like Zorro wields a sword. Now, with this story being published in the Best of #FridayFlash 2 courtesy of the mastermind, which is J.M Strother I feel I have come full-circle.
So thank you to all my old friends who lived behind the hashtags #FridayFlash and #TuesdaySerial … it was a honour and an absolutely pleasure hanging out with you x
Once upon a time Jason Coggins wrote speculative fiction to escape the real world. He wrote (a lot) and was published (a little). However, the real world bit him on the ass in 2011 to 2012. He came to realize that outside his door, a growing disenfranchisement in society was growing and playtime was over. Today, he organizes a Street Medic collective, which provides medical and emotional support to social justice activists throughout Melbourne and Victoria.
Jason may return to writing one day … but that day probably will only happen when the sun rises to shine upon a much nicer world.
You can visit the other Australian writers listed below and read a little about what inspired their story.
Jodi Cleghorn (who is hosting Stacey Larner)
Jason Coggins (who is hosting Jodi Cleghorn)
Tim Collard (who is hosting me)
Stacey Larner (who is hosting Tim Collard)
You can purchase Best of Friday Flash 2 from eMergent Publishing.