Two Words

Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 64

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on UNSPLASH

Two words, just two words. But what were they?

The man stares at his image in the mirror. He doesn’t remember.

He had made the cardinal sin. Never, ever, ever, assume you will remember later what the inspiration of the moment had handed you. When the muse spoke, you remembered, or if memory was a waning thing, you took notes. Inspiration rarely repeated herself.

An idea had arisen, and he had failed to honor it.

While cooking his sausages, some idea for a short story landed in his head; it appeared as a two-word title. Often an entire story flowed out of a single thought. Once you had a premise, a what-if question, a strong opening sentence, a unique dilemma, or even a titillating title, your work as a midwife helping birth the idea became much smoother.

‘Oh, that’s good,’ some voice in his head exclaimed.

And his intentions were true; he thought he would remember it later. He saw the entire structure of the story assemble itself, almost as if by magic, in his head.

But there had been wine. And rum before the wine.

Naturally, his memory wasn’t operating at peak efficiency. It was the way of such things. Chemistry. Finally, so much of life and our experience of it was subject to the dance and interplay of molecules, colliding, cascading, and re-colliding in one’s brain.

No matter how hard he tried, he could not remember the two-word pithiness that had fallen from the heavens before. It was gone.

It was only two words, a title, a title for a short story. One that almost wrote itself, so potent was the title.

He mourned its death as befitting a drunken author and resolves to do better next time.

When the gods smile down upon you, you let the sausage burn or turn them off as you jot down the heavenly gifts.

But the time for jotting down had come and gone. Now was the time of repentance and sorrowful regretting.

Surely next time, he would do better. Next time inspiration struck, he would abandon the sausages and take the notes as required.

His passion, only a hobby so far, was undeniable and deep-rooted, but underneath he realized it was immortality he sought through his writing. In publishing his fiction on various platforms and venues, he was hoping to find some consolation for the brevity of his lifespan. Not that his life felt brief. Not old, yet he felt as though he had lived for millennia.

He sees the opened packet of index cards on the kitchen counter. He resolves to do better. He vows to never be without two things: a pen and a short stack of index cards to record whatever blessings fell from wherever it was they originated. His mind was continuously asking, probing, testing, mixing, imagining. That was the facilitator for the ideas. Being forgetful was no excuse for not remembering inspiration.

He would do better; he would be better.

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