Friday, 2 October 2009

Flash Fiction Fridays

In honour of the subject of the story there is a bit of a trick to reading it. If you not
sure what to do I've left instructions at the bottom. Enjoy the story
and feedback and comments are always welcome.

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B is for Blank
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It arrived just as I hit send on my column for the Phoenix Republic. The address wasn’t familiar, other than that it belonged to a free service that anyone could sign up for. It was the first line of the e-mail that grabbed my attention 'I have to set the record straight...' clicking it open I scanned the contents. Someone calling himself Mr. Griffin wanted to meet and wanted me to tell his story, apparently his real story. I would have ignored it if I had anything else planned but the evening was clear and the place he wanted to meet was just around the corner.

At the restaurant I looked around for anyone sitting by themselves waiting. “Do you have a reservation for a Mr. Griffin?”

“Yes, I’ll show you to your table.” She led me to an empty booth at the back with a heavy curtain for privacy. “Anything to drink?”

“Coffee, thanks.” I set my mini-recorder on the table as I sat down. The waitress was back before I’d even consider if I’d been had.

She disappeared behind the curtain leaving the carafe on the table. “Thank you for coming,” a voice from the opposite side of the booth said but there was no one there “I wasn’t sure if you would come. I’m Hawley Griffin, although you likely know me better by that nickname Wells hung on me The Invisible Man. I never even met him you know. All of those lies he wrote about me where based on stories of man who was prejudice.” As he finished his introduction the coffee carafe rocked then floated into the air as he poured us both a cup.

I stared blankly trying not to show my disbelief as I watched cooling ripples form on the coffee from nothingness. “That story was fiction^”

“Yes and no, some of the events where real others made up by him and Kemp, that’s what I want to set straight.”

“Alright,” I said having no idea what I was getting myself into. I pressed the record button “It’s October 2nd 2010 and I’m sitting at a table with the Invisible Man or as he would rather be known Hawley Griffin.”

“H.G. Wells got the opening right; I was a scientist working to bend light rendering something invisible. Filled with the foolishness of youth I tested it on myself, ruining my life. Afterwards I was understandably angry and confused. I did some things I regret when I look back on them. Certainly I wasn’t trying to kill anyone I just wanted help.” There was a deep sadness in his voice as he talked about these events.

“Where did the story come from than?”

“It was Doctor Kemp he was jealous and wanted to claim my formula has his own. So he discredited me through Wells. Later he raised a mob against me in Burdock. I barely escaped catching the next ship to London and hid naked below decks for the journey” He gulped down his coffee and I could see it going down his throat before fading from view. It was enough to make me want to throw-up but I calmed that reflex.

“What happened in London?”

“I tried to get on with my life but it was impossible without cash, which I couldn’t get legally. So I turned to petty crime which in a cash society was easy. A streetwalker offered me assistance believing I was the Holy Ghost and gave herself whole to me. Through her I rented a small loft where she kept house and was the breadwinner when I wasn’t on my sick bed.”

“Was your sickness related to the serum?”

“Partially, London is a retched climate for a man who spends most of his time running through the streets naked.”

“Is that how you ended up in Phoenix?”

“When I was healthy enough I worked on a cure until my vision failed me completely. It had been gradually going since I injected the serum. So no cure, no sight, and nothing holding us to England we moved to better a better climate. America was a lot to get used to, but being a dad even more so. There isn’t a lot to do on an ocean liner as a blind and invisible man so Martha and I kept busy in the cabin.”

So how do you spend your days now?”

“I spend a lot of time with my grandkids and family, they have grown up with my condition and don’t think it is anything special. I also spend a lot time on the internet it is a wonderful thing for a man in my state. You can reinvent yourself as anyone I have a wonderful online relationship with a blind woman in Toledo. I’ve gotten myself a decent job that I do across the internet. I’m having my first taste of a normal life in 100 years.”

Seconds later the curtain opened slightly but no one came in “Are you still here?” I asked tentatively.

“Yes, I am.”

Beside the booth a young man appeared out of nowhere fading slowly into view and fully clothed. “Sorry Grandpa, mom’s calling and wants to know where I am we’ve gotta go. She’ll be pissed if she finds out I helped you with this. You know she doesn’t want it to go public.”

“Too right Justin I’m so sorry.” He sighed “I so wish I could appear and disappear like they do, youth always taking what we give them and pushing it one better. Trevor I’m going to have to cut this short, perhaps you would be willing to join me for dinner another night. I’d be happy to fill in the details we glanced.”

I just stared at the boy in disbelieve it took a moment to realize I was being spoken to again. “Certainly, I’ll e-mail you?” the boy had disappeared again and I was all alone I think.
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If you haven't figured out how to read the story try highlighting

11 comments:

Michael Solender said...

very clever and fun. well told.

Clive Martyn said...

Very clever concept and excellent delivery - well done :-)

Linda said...

Cool - how'd ya do that? Beyond the wild special effects, smart story. Enjoyed very much... Peace, Linda

Laura Eno said...

Very well done and clever! Good story.

Al Bruno III said...

Excellent!

Netta said...

An original take on an old story -- loved the concept. :)

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Heh, modernisation of the Invisible Man - I love that he's got an online business!
also the concept of the kids going one better and being able to switch between visible and not.

My one gripe (for lack of a better word) was the lack of commas in certain places, but that's just me!

shannon said...

Very imaginative way to highlight the story! Enjoyed it and look forward to reading more. :-)

The Writer said...

Clever, clever. You are so clever. I'd like to see more on this, but I'm just greedy. The story had great pacing and movement and felt like a natural conversation.

J. M. Strother said...

Great concept and execution. I was a bit annoyed with the white on white type at first, but that quickly, ahem, faded as I was drawn into the story. The only thing I would change is the boy being fully clothed. It's inconsistent with the rest of the mythos.
~jon

ganymeder said...

I liked the whole blank-highlighting thing...I thought it was clever.

I really enjoyed the actual story, but I agree that the clothing on the boy at the end through me off. Maybe it could be explained?

Fun read!I wish I'd thought of it!