Alligators and Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a strange beast, isn’t it? It’s compressed like a poem or a joke. It tries to do many things in a tight space: create a tiny narrative arc, suggest fully-formed characters in a gesture or two, allude to vast underground currents of backstory and theme.

But because it’s short and goes down easy, I think readers don’t give it the attention they would another form, if they read it at all, which the site stats indicate they don’t. Good flash fiction, like any literature worthy of the name, rewards deep reading. But the name and the length invite people just to flash their eyes over it.

If no one reads it, or if they read it carelessly, what’s the point? Well, it’s a great exercise. I’ve learned something from every flash fiction Neil has wrestled me to the floor and forced me to write. And I was thinking this morning that maybe it is a fundamentally religious exercise anyway, a private devotion, shared with few, if any. A small sacrifice of time, craft, and imagination to the Mad Novelist.

To that end, then, here is today’s offering: The Interpretation of an Alligator

I wasn’t as surprised as I should have been when I read that Bobbie Baker had come home from work one afternoon to find a five-foot alligator on her doorstep. I should have been as shocked as she was when she poked it with a broomstick, and it flicked one ancient eye open to glare at her. Bobbie’s doorstep is in New Jersey, a thousand miles north of alligator territory.

“I bet I know who did this,” I said…

(Read the rest!)

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About Julie Goldberg

Julie Goldberg has lived a life entirely too entangled with books. She is a school librarian, former English teacher, compulsive reader, occasional jazz singer and the author of Lily in the Light of Halfmoon. You can email her at perfectwhole@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter @juliegoldberg.
This entry was posted in Books & Libraries, Criticism, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Alligators and Flash Fiction

  1. MARK ESTES says:

    “wrestled me to the floor” like “wrestling alligators” Thank you for stimulating my curiosity enough to read your most recent flash fiction. It brought memories of my high school friends – none of whom were as creative as yours. well done, you’ve left me simultaneously satisfied and hungry for more.

    Mark Estes infopro@me.com 510 735 7115

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