How to write flash fiction

A hard-boiled egg (photo by author)

Our cavemen ancestors had just discovered cooking, and after having had to cope with raw meat and bones, there was nothing they liked more than soft-boiled eggs, runny and easy to ingest, making no demands on one’s teeth.

In those days, language was very rudimentary, it was only beginning to take over from grunts, but with greater muscular control they managed to communicate to each other with body language, facial expressions, and guttural sounds, harsh, but adequate. They had just started giving each other names: Khraa was the daughter of a respected elder, Krock and his wife Freeckh. Harsh-sounding names.

They elaborated their best method for boiling their eggs. They obviously knew how to light and control a fire. Khraa would put water to boil, in a deep shell, and when it began bubbling, the egg was dropped in gently, and she spat on the ground. When the spit had dried, she took it out, and the egg was done to perfection.

One morning, Khraa was given the task of boiling three eggs for the family. She had only boiled one egg at a time before, but she thought that she knew how to cope with three. She got the water boiling in the pan-shell, spat on the ground and gently put in the three eggs. When the spit dried, she spat a second time, and then a third time, and after the third one dried, she carefully removed the eggs from the pan.

When mum and dad sat down to enjoy their breakfast, lo and behold, what they saw when they cracked it open, was not the creamy runny white that they were used to, but a smooth harder white, and when they bit into it, they were shocked. Initially, that is. But they chose to munch the mouthful, and ended up liking it. The hard-boiled egg was born.

However, they wanted to know the reason. Did you spit three times? they asked. Aye, Khraa replied, that I did. And she elaborated. After the first one had dried, I spat a second time, and then a third time.

No wonder, Freeckh laughed. You should have spat the three spits at the same time!

II. The voice in the other man’s head

A very sane man sitting on a park bench next to another man immediately picked on the fact that he was a schizophrenic. He knew that the man could be dangerous, that he heard voices which could sometimes urge him to carry out destructive things like setting fire to a house or even stabbing an innocent passer-by. I had better walk away, he told himself, but the moment he was about to get up, the voice in the schizophrenic man’s head began talking to him. It was so loud that the sane man could clearly hear every single word.

“See that man with a carrier bag,” the voice said, “he is a danger to the public. In the bag he has a bomb which he plans to detonate when he is within reach of the children playing football. You have to stop him.”

The very sane man saw clearly that the schizophrenic man had no intention of doing anything. I can’t let a mad terrorist kill little children, he said to himself, it’s down to me. Decisively he stood up, rushed towards the man with the

A lethal knife, Igor Fereiro/ Unsplash

carrier bag, took out the knife he always carried in his breast pocket because he knew the world was full of mad people, and plunged it into the man’s heart.

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Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.

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San Cassimally

San Cassimally

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.

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