In Spite of Contradiction…

There were collections of angels disguised as beggars going about, shoring up the levies, getting the ration of beer, and breakfast, like the rest of us, though many took more complex tasks…

There were silent lookouts searching the skies and waves, variously for signs of approaching relief or rogue waves, or signs and portents, or drifting uprooted game-rules…

Megawatts pouring through the lines in intermittent spurts – it cut short battery lifetime, but it was the only electrons we’d got

Besides the painstaking process of knitting together a cohesive body, or ‘super-organism’, as the drum-line shaman liked to say, out of castoffs and the displaced, whoever washed up from the storms, there was the not-small matter of netting and otherwise getting vittles; crops undrowned were yet damaged…

A neat can of worms, random collections of tools and hardware, what prayers and amulets some resorted to, a clashing mishmash of faiths and delusions and political philosophies (the last suddenly separated from all the mechanisms and scaffolds they had formerly been structured by)…

None in our area has yet resorted to violence, yet it’s a precarious jig to keep up, learned without definite instruction, improvised and duct-taped and rigged up with bits of string – Nor could it be determined or directed by any unifier, not by more than small fractions each; ad hoc councils there were, yet without ever any holding the last word, nor majorities in attendance, as people stayed or drifted, without borders or any ‘security forces’ any recognized; as I said, we had been curiously at peace, including lack of ‘legitimate violence’…

A pile-up came for the lottery; I drew a short straw, lonely signal duty, a long hike up the canyon to the crow’s nest, half a week…

In spite of our contradictions, former dilemmas, antithetical positions, we managed to get on, for a brief spell; and with my own reluctance to ship out up-trail, still I also relished the promised solitude –

Notwithstanding the adventures or monotonous grinds all had before seen coming or staying put for themselves before Upheaval & Storm; this certainly wasn’t what any had planned, yet in a small way, adventure nonetheless, and in a small way, very ordinary and routine rotations of the sundial, just as before;

The shock of it all had left most without arguments. Who knew?


This (unplanned & off-the-cuff) flash story owes some props to “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven and “The Fifth Sacred Thing” by Starhawk

Various things have delayed Synaptic Syntactic a couple weeks further. But still waiting to see a rejection or acceptance from POETRY Magazine, which may require me to swap out one or both of the 2 opening verses. 6 months and 29 days of their (loose) 7 month notice period have passed; could have been turned down at any point in the interim and haven’t.

[edit: typos, phrase & sentence clarity]

[aside: I haven’t read a great deal of flash stories (fiction or otherwise), but have taken a stab at writing a few, either on purpose or narrative verse, and it seems to me that the vast majority of possible flash stories leave beginnings and conclusions strictly optional. Have also found Amber Sparks’ “May We Shed These Human Bodies” instructive, though many of those shorts exceed flash in size (‘best small press debut of 2012’; one reviewer compared it to Aesop’s Fables) ]

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