For September, I encourage those of you who have ever considered writing a story, a novel, a memoir to write. It is scary, but fulfilling…every person possesses within stories, either real or imaginary–which by the way contain reality. I find sharing fiction harder than writing my blog. In a sense they expose a person in ways essay type writing does not.
But taking a big deep breath, I have chosen a few mainly Flash Fiction Shorts [250-750 words] that I have written over the past few years to share. I hope you enjoy some of them, but even if you don’t, I hope YOU will try writing down some of those stories you have inside. Let’s start with:
Curiosity Nips Cat
I am a curious person. For example, while watching PBS News recently, I asked my husband if he thought I looked as old as the woman being interviewed. He, to his credit, has developed keen skills after fifty years of marriage to turn loaded questions into questions of his own, “hmm, how old do YOU think she is?” Since she had been Secretary of something under one of our former presidents, I flipped open my tablet and googled her. She was four years older than I. OK! I had my answer or did I? I eyed my husband, tilted my head, examining his expressionless countenance. Had he answered my question?
I say I am a curious person; however, others since childhood have given my inquisitive streak less than positive reviews. I lost count of how many times someone shook a finger at me and expounded, “curiosity killed the cat!” And since my name was Catherine, shortened to Cate or Cat the proffered advice took on ominous tones. I learned to rein my need to ask embarrassing questions, open other people’s closets, drawers and refrigerators, but nothing took away my ‘need to know’ mentality. Going undercover, sometimes literally, I continue to examine the world around me and the people in it with an interest that some might label nosiness. I am pretty sure I would have made a great spy, but that is a story for another time. To my credit, or rather to God’s, my need to know everything did not translate to a need to share everything.
People’s stories, why gravity works?, how the Bernoulli theory explained vocal expression? Background places in novels, SO much information and such a finite brain to store it in. Enter the informational highway of the Internet. Curiosity has no limits. . .and sometimes no common sense either. For as I learned there are places on the internet that no sensible person should tread. . .and I am NOT the ONLY curious person, read ‘spy’ out there.
It was so innocent. I have been reading a novel set in France, Israel, and Syria about terrorist cell groups that function to recruit on the Internet. I was curious. So, I did a few searches soon finding myself in a chat room with other women. For a while, I silently scrolled through the chats deciding that for one, these women were younger than my daughters and two, they were headed down a disastrous path. After a few conversations about the invidious evil of western culture, Christians, and Jews, about beheadings, bombings, and wiping the face of the earth with the blood of these evil doers, I took a stand.
Clearly, these young women needed a grandmother’s perspective, so I plunged in as so often I do asking a barrage of questions. Obviously, the wrong approach. Confirming my conviction that these girls were barely out of Junior High School they stonewalled me. Turning on their cyber heels one by one the young chatters disengaged from the conversation…only one icon remained blinking, JalaM.
I stared at the empty chat box next to her name, counting the blinks, expecting shutdown at any moment. My curiosity heightened with each blink. Then tiny dots appeared in the box. JalaM was typing. “Who are you? What are you doing HERE?” Being a curious person myself, I appreciated her curiosity so I told her. Well, I stopped short of giving her my address, but I answered her questions. Then in horror I watched as the screen turned into a mass of pixel boxes, followed by one of those 404 messages proclaiming the site to no longer be available. I sighed, fixed a cup of coffee and sat down at the computer again. This time I headed to Facebook to catch up with a friendlier group of people. Just as I was clicking the ‘love’ icon for a picture of Janice’s new grand baby, my doorbell rang. I let my husband answer it, looking up as he entered the room flanked by two gray suited stern faced men.
“Cat, these men are from the FBI. They have a few questions for you.” He looked perplexed. I looked up, smiled and said, “My momma always told me ‘curiosity killed the cat’. Took me 72 years but I finally used up my nine lives.”
Neither Agent smiled.
Word Count: 721