Thursday, February 21, 2008

Flash Fiction: Da Vinci and Father Abraham

The following is very quirky flash fiction modeled on stories by David B. McCoy, who, like myself, is a fan of the late Richard Brautigan. You can sample McCoy's work at Buffalo Time.
Da Vinci in My Kitchen

Da Vinci is aggravating. I have seafood gumbo on the stove, and all he can do is waft his wrinkled hand over the large pot and make notes, writing backwards in order to record the smells being analyzed by his Florentine nose.

“I need information about everything,” he says, scratching his beard. “Everything.”

“Did you ever finish your helicopter?” I ask him.

“A what?”

I point to my son’s Coast Guard Search and Rescue model on the shelf.

Da Vinci’s eyes open wide. “A helicopter! Yes!”

He runs out the kitchen, the weathered screen door banging shut several times like weak applause. A few minutes later, I see him on the steps, peering through the screen.

“How much garlic do you use?” he inquires.

“Doesn’t really help when making helicopters,” I reply.

“Smart ass,” he says. And then he’s gone.

Not Bad Work When You Can Get It

Our story thus far: the universe has collapsed from gravity and dark matter floating in the interstellar void, only to explode again in another Big Bang.

Fast forward fourteen billion years. Lester Hoop sits in his yard, burning leaves as sunset brushes crimson, orange, and purple across the horizon. His neighbor, Miss Ruby from down the road, saunters up and sits next to Lester on a log. They share cheap whiskey from Miss Ruby’s brown paper bag.

“I’m tired of it all,” Lester moans. “Bang and crunch, bang and crunch, and it always ends up with us sitting right here burning leaves. The universe is nothing but a yo-yo.”

“Not much to do about it,” Miss Ruby says.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Lester proclaims.

He gets the chainsaw from his barn and starts cutting down trees on his five acres of crimson heaven, mowing ‘em down like a rabid logger.

The next time around, Miss Ruby sits by Lester, who is once again ready to cut down all the trees in his yo-yo universe.

“Wait a minute,” says Miss Ruby. “If we have to keep goin’ on like this, why don’t we go inside and make love instead?”

Lester rubs the stubble on his chin and puts down the chainsaw. “Damn good idea,” he says. “Should have thought of it billions of years ago.”

In the halls of eternity, Lester and Ruby sire a nation of children, like Father Abraham. Not bad work when you can get it.

Pic: public domain


Lana Gramlich said...

Thoroughly enjoyed these snippets today. :)

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

I knew that was a weird sunset the other night. This piece reminds me of Red Dwarf if you know it...

Went to Clos Luce some years ago.
Neat. Underground tunnels up to the Kings chateau and models of helicopters; and mona lisa rode there rolled up in a saddlebag.

Nice one. Keep 'em coming.

Scott from Oregon said...

Now THESE make me feel obtuse...

I take my hat off to ya though.... (so I can perhaps scratch my noggin'?)

I like that these are unsettling and trans-temporal...

They are, aren't they?

(Are ya gonna enter Jason's contest?)

Sandy Carlson said...

These are fun. How long before Lester and Ruby realized the universe could get along without them?!

Charles Gramlich said...

I think I might have thought of the making love plan a bit earlier in the round of universes.

Marja said...

loved these stories Quite funny. Hmm wonder if it would take me that long to come up with the idea.

Bernita said...

Aw, cute!

Billy said...

I like this kind of weird flash fiction. It is modeled on some similar pieces I found many years ago at the Brautigan Virtual Library. I like quirky fiction, and the work of David McCoy (featured at that sight) caught my eye. It's at Buffalo Time

Thanks, Lana. Just having some fun.

Julie, I have a bunch of these ... if people don't think I've gone round the bend -:)

Scott, don't feel bad LOL. They're intentionally obtuse. I'm a big fan of a very quirky writer named Richard Brautigan (see top of this response). Yes, trans-temporal :)

Sandy, thanks. I think Lester and Ruby are too busy to work out the celestial mechanics here :)

Charles, better late than never! Plus Lester needed be to disgruntled. (Not that I've ever seen anyone gruntled, which is called, I am told, a "lost positive." LOL

Bernita, thank you! It's not in danger of being anthologized! :)

Lane said...

I love these flashes.A few sentences to stake out a scene is not easy. The manic Leonardo one is fab.
Had a look at McCoy's and the Crowbar one is macabre:-) Will have to look out Brautigan.

Billy said...

Lane, they're fun to write. I'd love to do a whole book of them, even if I had to self-publish.

I like McCoy's stories, though I too found one or two a bit .... um, disturbing.

Brautigan is definitely quirky with a capital Q. I tell most people to try him at the library before laying out money. He's not everyone's cup of tea. I tend to like experimental fiction.

Janice Thomson said...

Hi William,

What a wonderful blog you have here - so many interesting things - I shall definitely be a regular.

Thank you for your kind remarks on my own blog.

Billy said...

Thank you, Janice, and thanks for stopping by. I'd like to put you in my links list if that's okay.

cargwaps said...

Aha! Lester and Ruby were definitely on to something here. I wonder how long before we start seeing things the same way. We don't exactly have a billion years to finally wake up and smell the yo-yoing universe's coffee :) *decides to throw down own chainsaw and stalks off in search of life* :)

Billy said...

cargwaps, we humans are kind of slow I guess. At least these two wised up finally :)

cargwaps said...

Haha. Wise up with your help billy. :p