ISSN: 1946-1712
Flash Fiction Online, June 2010: The Classic Flash Issue

In This Issue: Jake Freivald

Classic Flash Fiction

Do you think Flash Fiction is new or not respected? I’ve heard that a lot lately; and while I’m sure that newcomers who never write beyond flash length will have a hard time selling themselves as “serious” writers — whatever that means — I would like to counter those ideas by offering a collection of sub-1000-word stories from some great and popular Western writers: Bierce, Dickens, Kafka, Lovecraft, Saki, and popular 1930s-60s TV and radio writer Jack Douglas. You’ll see the winner of the Life Shortest Story Contest — from 1916. And, to honor the Census, there’s a topical piece from an 1891 Punch issue.

Bruce is still here, of course — writers, read up! Read more: HTML 

Short-Short Sighted #23: Bruce Holland Rogers

Let Me Repeat That: A Prose Villanelle

One of the best-known poems in the English language is “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, a poem that Thomas wrote for his dying father. One of the first things that a reader might notice about that poem is that there are two lines in the poem that repeat exactly. Do not go gentle into that good night is the first line, the sixth line,... Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #31: Saki

The Talking-out of Tarrington

“Heavens!” exclaimed the aunt of Clovis, “here’s some one I know bearing down on us. I can’t remember his name, but he lunched with us once in Town. Tarrington — yes, that’s it. He’s heard of the picnic I’m giving for the Princess, and he’ll cling to me like a lifebelt till I give him an invitation; then he’ll ask if he may bring all his wives and mothers and sisters with him. That’s the worst of these small watering-places; one can’t escape from anybody.” Read more: HTML 

Flash 6/2010: Bruce Holland Rogers

Border Crossing

An example of a prose villanelle, used as an exemplar for Bruce’s latest Short-short Sighted column.

Lately I don’t recognize this country, the land of my birth. The contours of the land are the same. I can buy what I always bought in the stores. The weather has changed, though. Last winter, we had no snow, but the wind blew love letters to dead soldiers into drifts up to my knees. Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #32: Charles Dickens

The Artful Touch

“One of the most beautiful things that ever was done, perhaps,” said Inspector Wield, emphasising the adjective, as preparing us to expect dexterity or ingenuity rather than strong interest, “was a move of Sergeant Witchem’s. It was a lovely idea!

“Witchem and me were down at Epsom one Derby Day, waiting at the station for the Swell Mob. As I mentioned,...” Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #33: Ambrose Bierce

One Summer Night

The fact that Henry Armstrong was buried did not seem to him to prove that he was dead: he had always been a hard man to convince. That he really was buried, the testimony of his senses compelled him to admit. His posture — flat upon his back, with his hands crossed upon his stomach and tied with something that he easily broke without profitably altering the situation — ... Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #34: Franz Kafka

Give It Up!

At 128 words, it’s very hard to give a “teaser” for this story. The author of The Metamorphosis and The Trial shows that he can create a sense of isolation without using cockroaches or bureaucracies.

It was very early in the morning, the streets clean and deserted, I was walking to the station. As I compared the tower clock with my watch... Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #35: Punch, April 11, 1891

Taking The Census

As I have but a limited holding in the Temple, and, moreover, slept on the evening of the 5th of April at Burmah Gardens, I considered it right and proper to fill in the paper left me by the “Appointed Enumerator” at the latter address. And here I may say that the title of the subordinate officer intrusted with the addition of my household to the compilation of the Census pleased me greatly — Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #36: H. P. Lovecraft


In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree. And within the depths of the valley, where the light reaches not, move forms not meant to be beheld. Rank is the herbage on each slope, where evil vines and creeping plants crawl amidst the stones of ruined palaces, twining tightly about broken columns and strange monoliths,... Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #37: Ralph Henry Barbour, George Randolph Osborne

Thicker Than Water

This story took the laurel in Life Magazine’s Shortest Story Contest, and was published along with 80 other stories in 1916.

Doctor Burroughs, summoned from the operating room, greeted his friend from the doorway: “Sorry, Harry, but you’ll have to go on without me. I’ve got a case on the table that I can’t leave. Make my excuses, will you?”

“There’s still an hour,” replied the visitor.... Read more: HTML 

Classic Flash #38: Jack Douglas

Test Rocket

Captain Baird stood at the window of the laboratory where the thousand parts of the strange rocket lay strewn in careful order. Small groups worked slowly over the dismantled parts. The captain wanted to ask but something stopped him. Behind him Doctor Johannsen sat at his desk, his gnarled old hand tight about a whiskey bottle, the bottle the doctor always had in his desk but never brought out except when he was alone,... Read more: HTML 

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