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The final shot

by lang-lad 

Posted: 22 September 2012
Word Count: 345
Summary: A snapshot of how she knew it was soon to be over.

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“I’m coming too. Wait. I’ll get my …”

He doesn’t linger while she runs about hopping; shoes, jacket, scarf, gloves, wallet, keys, handkerchief, two peaches from the bowl for later; one each.

He walks out of the door and the car’s moving as she gets in. “Where are we going first?” He looks in her direction, past her, at the on-coming cars at the junction. Eventually he says, “What?”

She’d have stayed in but how would that have been compared to being here? Like abandonment. Instead of estrangement. She’ll discover which is worse. Soon.

He parks and he gets out. He has to wait for all the doors to close before the central locking will work. She slams her door just too late. He’s pressed the remote sensor on his key-ring. Their timing’s off. The doors have not locked. She opens hers to show him.

He sighs. He’d have been striding off by now. This is what he knows she will do forever if he lets her into his life. He’ll have to break his stride, make room for her. She’ll always be a step behind, a whole step, a whole second wasted, a heartbeat not his own. She however will always hang back for him. Damn her. She’ll make a point of slowing her pace for him, always accommodating. Faster. Slower. Slower. Faster. Faster. Higher. Harder. Anything. Any bloody thing he wants. Anticipating. Compliant. She anticipates. Thoughtlessly. Anticipates his every need.

They enter the church. He’s looking at the wall friezes today. Measuring some of the specifics of some of the particulars of the stained glass and playing with the perspectives of the chancel and the knave. He’s had his equipment set up in here for a few weeks now. He’s climbed all over the tower, looked over balustrades, discussing nothing. He’s busy. He’s alone. He’s taking one very precise measurement. Then, struggling with a difficult angle, “Hold that light a bit higher,” he says. She does.
“Just as well I’m here,” she says.

He pauses. Looks at her. Sniffs. And presses the shutter.

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Comments by other Members

euclid at 19:02 on 22 September 2012  Report this post
I wondered about point of view. It seems to switch from her to him.

Not sure this works.

I like the idea, though, and the treatment.


Becca at 08:18 on 23 September 2012  Report this post

'She’d have stayed in but that would have been worse than being here. That would have been like abandonment instead of estrangement. She’ll discover which is worse. Soon.' This is the line that stands out and makes the POV waver, but if it's the omniscient POV, it's okay. Worth thinking about if you want to change this however.
I think this is a little nugget of a story. But it's flash fiction, so what about letting the flashers read it too?

lang-lad at 12:50 on 23 September 2012  Report this post
Thanks Becca and Euclid. I've written a piece of flash fiction? Well well. I had thought of it as a fragment till I looked at it the other day and wondered if the reason I'd abandoned it was because I hadn't appreciated there wasn't much else to it beyoond what it already was. The POV does seem mashed up but how to make sure the reader knows this is deliberate feels like my only problem, if it is a problem.

Thanks for the suggestion to post it to the Flashers. And thanks for the fresh perspective. Insightful and perspicacious as ever.

Ian02Smith at 14:34 on 23 September 2012  Report this post
Interesting idea, but I think it needs some development and expansion. There's a lovely "what am I doing here" feeling about their relationship, even if the two characters are both only thinly sketched.

It never really gets going for me. There's no clear turning-point of tension or conflict, which often seems to work well for short stories.

And I think she should slap the silly bugger for being so superior.

M Farquharson at 14:53 on 23 September 2012  Report this post
I think it needs to be developed into a longer story; he is intriguing, despite being a silly bugger, and I want to know why she's keen. I think the POV gets confused with his exit from the house because I'm expecting it to be her. I like the image of her grabbing two peaches. His work is interesting too and I love the irony at the end: "He's alone... hold that a bit higher." sounds vaguely familiar! what's here story?
Best, Mary

Cornelia at 10:41 on 26 September 2012  Report this post
I liked this but I agree it's more fragment than flash because there's no ending, climax or epiphany, just a sense of a dilemma and a lack of resolution, except for a hint in the final image.

The frantic pace at the start is a good hook, I think, and makes the reader want to know what all the rush is for. The detail of the peaches is excellent -last-minute grabbing of snacks in a no-time-for-lunch day ahead.Not that peaches are very transportable, but the more exotic fruit is different, suggestive of her personality.

[quote]while she runs about hopping[/quote]

This is a bit strange - she can't be running and hopping at the same time.

[quote]This is what he knows she will do [/quote]

The sudden change in pov ois disorientating here. We imagine it's her point of view at the start because of the line of dialogue. If it started with something like 'He watched her running and hopping about the flat', or 'She was telling him to wait...' it would establish the pov as his.

[quote]How thoughtlessly thoughtful.[/quote]

[quote]Their timing’s off.[/quote]

Both good resonant lines.

[quote]They enter the church.[/quote]

This was my favourite bit because it seemed to explain the haste. I thought that after all it must be their wedding day (although why the peaches I don't know and surely her family would be there to help her get ready)

After that we have the slow reveal of his role as photographer and hers as his assistant, but again the pov is obscure - is she watching him or are these his thoughts? Is the exploration of the chaurch an extended metaphor for their relationship seen from his rather clinical point of view?

[quote]“Just as well I’m here,” she says.[/quote]

This is the denouement, I think, and a very subtle one. It's what was bothering him - the fear of dependency and loss of freedom clashing with his need for her practical assistance,maybe the sexual dependency too. More prosaically, she's expecting more than he's willing to give. Plus she gets on his nerves, always late and in a muddle -my thoughts about the impracticability of peaches are confirmed. No wonder he's sniffing. The shutter maybe represents his decision -he'll definitely 'shut' her out .

I think this works better on a second reading, but it might be better still expanded into a short story.

I hope these thoughts are not too far from your intentions.


lang-lad at 09:03 on 28 September 2012  Report this post
Ha ha! Sheila, you've analysed it perfectly. I'm going to take everything you've (and everybody else has)said though. Thank-you very much for taking the trouble.

LizLogan at 17:38 on 17 October 2012  Report this post
I really enjoyed this fragment (that's what I thought it was) and was disappointed when it petered out. (By the way, churches have a 'Nave'. Knave refers to a character in a pack of cards). Yes I see what others mean about POV, but then I thought this piece was in it's early stages. Characters are interesting, not communicating , and both with a lot to learn. Are you going to let them learn? I too liked the peaches - that's real. Yes, Sheila had it right. And I too wondered if they were in the church for their (disastrous!) wedding.
Do go on with it - I want to know what happens.
regards Liz

lang-lad at 18:31 on 17 October 2012  Report this post
Ha! Nave. Of course. How silly of me. Thank-you. Oh imagine if that was them on their way to a wedding! Thanks for the encouragement. It is a fragment. I want it to be a snapshot. If I get a chance to take it further I'll let you know.
Cheers, Liz

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