Flash Friday Fiction: Reality Bites

Château d'If, Marseille vu de la navette des Iles d'Or.  CC2.0 photo by Jacqueline Poggi.
Château d’If, Marseille vu de la navette des Iles d’Or.

Reality Bites

I wish I were anywhere but in this car today. We’re hurtling through the air at eighty miles an hour, and yet all I feel is trapped, like a wrongfully imprisoned convict, cornered between the exhaustedly grumpy husband, the irritable, scowling teen, and the too-exuberant-for-this-small-space little girl.

There’s no justice in this. Why should I be confined to this tiny front seat, when all I long to be is free, perhaps strolling the streets of London, gallivanting along the coast of France, or at least catching up with social media and trying to convince people to buy my book?

The husband sighs as yet another vehicle cuts him off in the left lane. It’s like modern-day jousting, this testosterone-fueled road rage, man vs man in the quest to get there just a little bit faster.

I focus only on this phone, on this story, willing myself to write in the middle of us zig-zagging lanes, willing my bladder not to empty itself right here, right now. That would only make everything and everybody that much more uncomfortable.

I know I’m supposed to be crafting fiction, a miniature classic in the vein of The Count of Monte Cristo. Too bad. This is what you get – a truth more frightening than any fancy tale: the dreaded summer family vacation.


So our fearless Flash Friday leader, Rebekah Postupak, changed up Flash Friday this week, adding in twists to spice things up. Here are the new “rules,” as quoted directly from the Flash Friday website:

* Novel Prompt: We will provide the name of a famous novel along with a summary of its story elements. If you aren’t familiar with the novel, no worries — our summary’s all you need.
* New word count: ROTATING. Each week will require a different min/max wordcount.
* Your challenge: YOU CHOOSE which two story elements to build your story on, and let us know which two you chose.
* Optional photo: for those who prefer photo inspiration, we’ll still include one, but it will becompletely optional to use it for your story. The only prompt you’re required to use = TWO story elements from that week’s novel.

Those are the general new guidelines. Here are the ones specific to this week:

This week’s novel: The Count of Monte Cristoby Alexandre Dumas.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these; be sure to tell us which two you chose):

* Plot: A clever, now fabulously wealthy man seeks revenge on those who once wrongfully imprisoned him.
* Conflict: man vs man
Character: escaped convict
Theme(s): revenge AND/OR justice
Setting: Napoleonic France

Not only did I have to craft my tale in accordance with these new guidelines, but I had to do so while traveling in the car. So, well, I did the best I could, taking reality and turning it into fiction. Or not. My story ended up being @ 232 words (counting by hand while on the interstate, so hey, I could be wrong.)

Elements: most of them. Man vs man, (not so) escaped convict, France, justice, etc.

What do you think? My take is it was better than not contributing anything at all!

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