Flash Fiction #100 – Milestone

Milestone

MILESTONE

This is my 100th Flash Fiction, so it‘s a milestone – or is it??!

The first Flash Fiction I wrote, I did so as a challenge by my blog-friend, BrainRants, who had tried it. The blog-post of Rochelle’s that I accessed was not a F.F., and the photo I downloaded was that of her Grandmother, which I used to write a [pioneering story.]

That first one was 101 words, just to prove that I could do it. Every one since has been exactly 100 words.  It, and a few of its followers, I did just for personal satisfaction, and to extend my stat numbers.  I soon learned how to LinkIn, and joined the group.  Christmas/ New Years -2014/15, Rochelle didn’t post a prompt photo, but I felt a surge of creativity, and used one of my own photos, of a double rainbow, to write a [Sci-Fi short story] that didn’t get linked.

(Technology apparently still eludes me.  It’s FF #32  😯 )

Inspiration does not strike every week, but number 100 is just over two years from my first. Along the way, I’ve read some interesting stories, and met some creative writers and nice folks.  Thanx, to Rochelle and the rest of you for having me along.  This week’s submission follows.

Clown

Copyright -John Nixon

PIANO, MAN

There was something strange about this piano. He’d got it for a song.  A classical pianist had used it for practice, but had mysteriously disappeared.

He had tried to play upbeat lilts, but they always seemed to come out sedate and serious.

Today, while playing for the kids, in his Happy the Clown show, he had reached up to turn the page, and somehow caught his hand. When he reached up to free it, his other hand got tangled….  and he’d ended up – where??

How could he be inside a piano??  And who was this old guy with the tuxedo??!

***

Here’s what he was playing, on YouTube ‘circus march piano’

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Piano Man

Piano

When I was a boy, with the best of intentions, my parent tried to make me musical. Fail!  Dad was a part-time entertainer.  He couldn’t play an instrument.  He only sang and told stories and jokes.  Perhaps sensing my loner tendencies, my Mother decided that I needed to learn how to play the piano, to be sociable.  Elton John had barely been born, and Billy Joel hadn’t.  Everybody played guitar.

Dad bought an upright piano, and I was sent for weekly piano lessons for three years. I learned a bit of the construction of music.  Later-in-life realizations about my lack of fine motor control and short-term memory deficiencies explained why I got nowhere with the piano.  I convinced my Mother that it was a lost cause.

Dad put it up for sale. When summer tourist season arrived, the ad caught the attention of four young men.  All musically inclined, they had pooled their money and purchased a good-sized cottage.  They wanted the piano for parties there.

They came to the house of a Saturday morning to inspect and sample the piano. It was pronounced solid and well-kept, but they wanted to try it, to hear how it sounded.  Each in turn sat and played it. They each had their specialty, but all played a wide range of music, jazz, dance, big band, pop, boogie-woogie, musical theater.

Mom and Dad were treated to more than an hour of great music. One guy even unfolded a section of newspaper and threaded it between the strings and the sounding board, producing an odd, buzzy tone.  Finally, everyone happy, the deal was done, money changed hands, and it was theirs to get to their cottage – but how??, in their car??

One of them asked if Dad had any suggestions for transporting it. Dad knew a guy….  A strange sort of duck, 40 and unmarried, with a half-ton pickup in a town full of sedans, but no social life.  He might be free, and interested in a bit of extra spending money.  After a phone call, he soon appeared.

He backed across the front lawn to our raised front veranda. A couple of stout planks were produced, and the piano was eased out the front door, and carefully down into the truck bed.  He slammed the tailgate shut, and headed for the cab.

One of the buyers asked, “Aren’t you going to tie it down??” “Nah, no need, she’s in there solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.”  He eased back across the lawn, out the driveway to the side street, paused at the stop sign and swung onto the main street….and the Rock of Gibraltar did a 270° off the side of the truck and smashed into 10,000 pieces in the middle of the intersection.

Four guys almost cried. They got back their haulage charge, and he wrote them a cheque for the price of the instrument, but they had searched for months for this piano.  They thought they would have to buy a new one in the big city, and pay to have it shipped 100 miles north.  There was no joy, or honky-tonk piano, in Mudville that night.   😳

Flash Fiction # 81

Piano

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan W. Fields

IN THE KEY OF F. U.

As a young lad, my parents provided me with piano lessons.

My teacher thought I was very musically declined.

After three years of intense study, I could finally….spell P.I.A.N.O.

Soon, I could carry a tune….in my studies briefcase.

I learned to play piano by ear. It sounded better than when I used my fingers.

As piano players go….I was often ordered to.

A neighbor once requested that I play ‘Far, Far Away’….preferably the next county.

The best thing that I ever played was….the radio.

When I decided to become an accountant, the Mayor gave me the key….to a different city.

***

And there you have the history of my musical career. Despite Rochelle’s theme, sadly, little of it is fiction.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Instant Philosophy Degree

The following is the general examination for a Doctor of Philosophy degree:

History

Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.  Be brief, concise and specific.

Public Speaking

Some 2500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom.  Calm them.  You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.  Your performance will be video-recorded.

Biology

Create life.  Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this life had developed 500 million years earlier, giving special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system.  Prove your thesis.

Music

Write a piano concerto.  Orchestrate and perform it with flute and violin.  You will find a piano under your seat.  In the interests of time, you may omit the coda.

Psychology

Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Moses, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Rameses II, Gregory of Myssa, Hammurabi, Freud, Hitler, Idi Amin.  Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate references.  It is not necessary to translate.

Sociology

Estimate the sociological problems that might accompany the end of the world.  Construct an experiment to test your theory.  Use charts if appropriate.

Political Science

There is a red telephone on the desk beside you.  Use it to start the Third World War.  Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.

Engineering

The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk.  You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili.  In 10 minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room.  Take whatever action you feel is appropriate.  Be prepared to justify your decision.

Economics

Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the National Debt.  Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave theory of light, the automobile industry.  Outline a method for preventing these effects.  Criticize this method from all possible points of view.  Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.

Physics

Explain the nature of matter.  Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.

Mathematics

If X equals Pi times A squared, construct a formula showing how long it would take a fire ant to drill a hole through a dill pickle, if the length-girth ratio of the ant to the pickle were 98.17:1.

Philosophy

Sketch the development of human thought, and estimate its significance.  Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

General Knowledge

Describe in detail.  Be objective and specific.  Abbreviations are permitted.  You will be graded for punctuation and grammar.

 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was why I decided to become a factory worker.  I tried to think….but nothin’ happened.  Mommy, my head hurts.