This story was, like so much wonderful flash circa 2016-2018, born in a Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop. It’s about my Uncle, and there are truths in there about a shiv, a fighting knife, that were brought out by Kathy’s inspiring photo prompt. I didn’t realize when I selected it that Kathy’s dad is the handsome guy on the right. I imagined him being my Uncle before the war, before the Battle of the Bulge. Uncle Walt was a paratrooper. He went in a private, he came out a private. He couldn’t sit through the film D-Day. He was there. He was a private man. He kept those horrors on lock.
This was always a micro. The first draft was 142 words, and here it is at 149 (150 including title). The workshop challenge was, surprise, to tell a story using skills “of brevity and concision, nuance and subtlety, to … create a story with Emotion, Movement, and Resonance.” Kathy included a small gallery of photos with it, and I like picture prompts and chose her pop. I love flash fiction so much.
Thank you, Kathy Fish, for granting permission to use the photo here on my blog. What a handsome, playful guy your dad seems! Thanks to first readers Didi Wood, Dina Relles, Gemma Govier, and Kate Mead-Brewer for early praise and encouragement.
I hope you enjoy “Shaft.” Thank you to the editors at Cleaver Magazine. I am so happy to be Cleaver-official. What a wonderful publication. Here is a link to the story.