Check Stop, flash fiction

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  1. #1

    Check Stop, flash fiction

    Check Stop


    We were detained around midnight for suspicion of poetry. One look inside the car and the cop asked,
    “Have you heard or recited any poetry this evening, sir?”
    “I think I heard a poem and I may have recited a line or two.”
    Pale light from a lone street light cast a long shadow across his chiselled jaw. “A line or two?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “How many lines?”
    “Actually, I recited two poems, but they were short and only one per hour.”
    He leaned in through the window and sniffed the air. “Two entire poems?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “And how long ago did you utter these alleged lines of poetry, sir?”
    “I think two hours ago or maybe three. But I waited at least an hour after the last poem before I operated a vehicle.”
    He withdrew his nose and straightened up. “Well, sir, since you admit you have recited poetry this evening and because you are showing some clear indicators of the influence of literature, I demand that you take a poetalyser test.”
    “I’m innocent.”
    “That’s what everyone says. But you are showing indicators. It could be because you are a liberal. Or you could be impaired by poetry.”
    “Well,” I said, “I might be a liberal.”
    “And what about your friend there, is he a poet, too?”
    “Him?” I looked at the Poet Laureate sitting next to me. “ Hell no. He’s no poet!”
    “He is showing indicators too.”
    “What is a poetry indicator?”
    “I’m not at liberty to discuss it, sir. But if you refuse the test I will charge you under the Authoritarian Nimrod Act with ‘Refusing to Comply with a Tyrant.’”
    “OK fine.”
    “First of all, sir, I need you to stand with your hands on the vehicle. Do you have in your pockets any pencils or note pads?”
    “I have a pen in my shirt pocket.”
    “Don’t touch it. I will remove it. Do you have any recording devises or anything that might utter a poem?”
    “Utter a poem?”
    “Yes. Utter a poem.”
    “My cell phone. You just never know when some random poet might call and start to utter.”
    “OK, I’ll take that, too. Now, I want you to get into my soundproof, influence proof, squad car here and I will explain to you how the poetalyser works. If you refuse I will charge you with…”
    “The Nimrod Act”
    “That’s right. I will hold the microphone and you will speak into it clearly and melodically with gusto.”
    “How much gusto?”
    “Great gusto!”
    “Okay, what should I say?”
    “Its your neck, buddy.”
    “How about Bukowski?”
    “Who?”
    “Bukowski. A great poet and notorious drunk.”
    “I am not concerned with alcohol consumption.”
    “OK, um, “just then Faulkner came staggering in…”
    “Who?”
    “Faulkner.”
    “Who’s he?”
    “Another writer.”
    “A poet?”
    “No. He wrote fiction.”
    “OK, go on then.”
    “‘just then Faulkner came staggering in…’”
    “Louder!”
    “FAULKNER CAME STAGGERING IN AND FOUND THE WHISKEY…”
    “With gusto!”
    “… CAME STAGGARING IN AND FOUND THE WHISKEY IN THE CUPBOARD …”
    “YOU CALL THAT A POEM?”
    “Of course.”
    “THAT’S NOT A DAMN POEM!”
    “I’m not finished yet.”
    “WELL GET ON WITH IT!”
    “ ‘A TERRIBLE PERSON,’ SAID MY MOTHER. THEN SHE GOT UP AND PEEKED OUT ON THE PORCH.”
    “WHERE ARE THE RHYMES? IT HAS TO RHYME!”
    “No it doesn’t.”
    He glared at me with fire in his eyes. “THAT’S STRIKE TWO, MISTER!”
    “What?”
    “Strike three and you’re out. I will charge you with refusal to comply under the Authoritarian Nimrod Act…”
    “JACK AND JILL WENT UP THE HILL TO FETCH A PAIL OF WATER. JACK FELL DOWN AND BROKE HIS CROWN AND JILL CAME TUMBLING AFTER.”
    “I KNEW IT!” YOU ARE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF POETRY!”
    “That poem sucks.”
    “Well, you blew a 12.”
    “What does that mean?”
    “80 is the limit. If you score 80 I give you a frontal lobotomy. If you score 50 I just kick your head in and send you home.”
    “I told you I was innocent.”
    “Yea, lucky for you, you’re no poet. But you are definitely under some influence, so I would watch it if I were you.”
    “I’ll remember that.”
    “Go home and watch TV.”
    “Good idea.”
    “And be careful out there.”
    Last edited by TL Murphy; April 29th, 2018 at 08:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Glad I don't live where you live
    I leave real critique to the experts, after all I'm only a poet
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    I am a clay potato in a strawberry field
    -Darren White, from "Clumsy"

  3. #3
    Was that a Mountie? I thought everyone was nice in Canada. Seriously, I liked it a lot. I do have sort of a pet peeve in that I like for the protagonist, at least on short fiction, to have a name. That's your choice, though you might have missed a jibe, the cop making some snarky comment about his wimpy name. That's just a nit. You did misspell "staggering" when it was shouted. Also, the "Okay, um...," don't think you need another (") before "just." Good job.
    "Self-righteousness never straddles the political fence."

    Midnightpoet


    "If it weren't for sin, what would we write about?"

    Midnightpoet


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  4. #4
    Yes Midnight, a mountie. And don't belive everything you think. I've met some very nice mounites and some real jerks. Just like everytwhere else. I took out the second "ok, um" and fixed the spelling. Good call. Interesting idea about the name. It gets me thnking. I might use it. Not sure if mounties wear their names on thier uniforms. I'll google it.

  5. #5
    Tim this is original, funny and very interesting. I don’t know much about Flash Fiction but I would submit it if I had written it. I love it.
    There was never a great genius without a trace of madness. Attributed to Aristotle.

  6. #6
    I just love it Tim! Original and funny and for some reason makes me think of "Three Billboards Outside Epping"
    Just a typo in this line If you score 80 I give you an frontal lobotomy. should be "a"


  7. #7
    Good work, Tim. I'd submit it if it was mine. BTW, I'd not add a name to the detaining officer. That would make for unnecessary confusion. Lots of outstanding flash fiction is done without character names and I consider your piece one of those that don't need the names-- the writer names you included are enough. I like your story beginning to end. It gave me a chuckle and a reason to think about poetry and how it's sometimes viewed by others. I like how you imagined a potential (or poet-tential) DWI citation as for driving while under the influence of poetry. Some of us drive downright drunk on poetry and I imagine we can be dangers to others so someone has to check us now and then. Good work, as usual.

  8. #8
    LOL Pam, that is such an apt observation
    I agree
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    I am a clay potato in a strawberry field
    -Darren White, from "Clumsy"

  9. #9
    Honestly, I have no critique for this story. It was hilarious. Nice job.
    You know, if you think about it, there are 7-8 billion people in the world. Think of the odds. The fact that we're all here with each other kinda makes you believe in that whole destiny thing.

  10. #10
    Loved it tooooo! Probably no names are needed, but I am a name freak, so things usually get branded with some sort of moniker. That's just me, though. Too funny! Getting pulled over for suspicion of poetry. Heeheehee!
    Writing is 3% talent and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet Anonymous
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