Flash Fiction With Instructions

The protagonist’s story goes like this:

1.) You are young. You’ll get over it.

2.) Uncertainty is a verb with a past, present, and future tense.

3.) Life is frequently the punishment of Tantalus.

The plot like so:

1.) Naked truth needs a tailor.

2.) There’s nothing like killing and eating one of your enemies.

Exposition and crisis:

1.) Floss is your teeth’s best friend. Dim Sum chicken feet can be a special treat for your canine companion.

2.) Even Jesus sometimes picked his nose. Parked once in a handicap space, by accident. He was made in our image.

3.) If libido were faith we’d all be saints.

Complicating actions:

1.) Never trust a sleeping T-Rex.

2.) There are few things wrong with people that trying to correct them won’t aggravate.

3.) On the freeway of anguish, we are road-kill possum being eaten by a turkey vulture. It is summer. Sun glares off the asphalt.

4.) The Timber Doddle is a bird with its brain upside down. Counter-intuitive to behavioral observation, the human brain is not.

5.) A trickster sheep in wolf’s clothing will likely scare the shit out of other sheep.

The denouement:

1.) The lies of fiction are Truth.

2.) Prayer: do not expect too much from this product despite extravagant claims to the contrary.

3.) He/She becomes a philosopher on the difference between winter and spring. They could marry. Have kids. Live happily everyafter. Maybe not.

4.) In a mirror the image is always bass-ackwards. A lot of life’s like that.

5.) Even mystery is a mystery.

6.) I sneak up on myself, therefore I am.

7.) The male platypus has a venom-delivering spur on each hind limb. While not lethal to humans severe pain can make one less fond of this cute animal. A useful parable.

Endings:

1.) Ambiguity, irony, and paradox. They are all we have afterall.

2.) It is easier to read a good story than write one.

3.) Never explain the unknown by means of  amazement at the unknown. Almost never.

4.) Making sense of it all would be less difficult if God were a scientist rather than a fiction writer and poet.

5.) Of death’s final bouquet resist the least hint of eternity’s delicate fragrance.

6.) Listen at the edge of silence, make all your senses gulls or white-flecked breakers pounding the sand.

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Ed Higgins poems and short fiction have appeared in Commonweal, Monkeybicycle, Otoliths, Duck & Herring Co.’s Pocket Field Guide, Pindeldyboz, and Bellowing Ark, as well as the online journals CrossConnect, Word Riot, The Hiss Quarterly, Blue Print Review, Tattoo Highway, and The Centrifugal Eye, among others. He and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill with a menagerie of animals including an emu named To & Fro and a barn cat named Velcro. Ed teaches creative writing and literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR.