Further Flash Fiction by Bella Basura
from the proposed Anthology – The Short Answer – short stories of 100 words in length.
Auntie Shocked Sees The Light Photo by Bella Basura 2013 Still from “Abandoned Video” With Phil MFU
Shaking firm hands with poker-faced thank-you-for-your-time, I close the door behind me.
Standing waiting for the lift down, I depressingly relive the interview.
I see myself lurching, a raddled old maid in rouge and blotchy mascara, wearing a charity-shop power-suit, manoeuvring square shoulder pads into a diminishing round hole. I trail mendacity and inappropriate extended metaphors across the interview room carpet. Bluff and fluff falling away. The interviewers look at me, disappointed in their expectations, they recoil, their faces cave in and close.
Instantly, I know it’s over, even before I mention my criminal record and false identities on Facebook.
Weird Winter Wishes Photo: Phil MFU Cambridge 2012
Calm Time Charmed
by Bella Basura
It seems I have been here a year, living in this charmed place, a sleepy little bower in the bosom of paradise.
Here, time moves so slowly that it feels never-ending. There, out in the real, grey world time turns gyrations, so that at the intake of a breath galaxies burst into being, only to recede into cosmic void at the beat of the outbreath.
So that by the time I make up my mind to return,
hundreds of thousands of years have passed, and I suspect,
everybody has evolved into a future-race of super-bellicose giant killer-crabs,
walking sideways, angrily.
At first the landlord didn’t tell us about the murder,
we found out after the lease was signed,
we’d already moved in.
In the end, I read it in the local newspaper,
she’d lived in the flat across the landing,
her husband stabbed her in a frenzy,
she escaped him but died in the stairwell.
I carried the constant knowledge that the woman had bled out on my doorstep.
The morning of the murder, he told me later,
the landlord had hidden in the bathroom.
The woman had died screaming and banging on a door nobody dared answer for fear.
Back in February I took part in Liminal Phases, a Temporary Temple Productions spoken word performance event with Jonny Marvel, Shakeynavelbones and Faradina Affifi at CB1 cyber café in Cambridge. One of my pieces, Granny Takes a Trip – billed as a psychedelic puppet show, was entered for the Soundwork 2015 monologue competition in September and although it didn’t come first Granny was shortlisted. See here. The winning entry was recorded by Soundwork so I’m pretty sad that I didn’t win. I guess I’ll need to find another way, maybe recording the piece myself. Any ideas?
I’m re-posting this detournment because a friend recently introduced to friend who used to live in my home town, listening to him, it struck me how negative my view of the old place was. Maybe that’s because I went to school there and he chose to move to the town as a young adult. He spoke of a scene and good times, but I mainly remember always being in a rush to catch a train out of there.
Over the next few weeks I intend doing maintenance on my site – mending broken links and re-jigging the archive – so please bear with me if it all goes to shit and falls off the internet. It is temporary. I will be back.
My face is tingling in the dark, burning in the glow of the campfire. Everybody is gathering beside the fire, with chairs or on blankets. We draw in close, into a warm unbroken circle. Faces catch shadows in the firelight, some gaze into the fire, joyful voices ring close in the air.
Updraughts whip the fire’s flames into glittering orange cinders that spiral out into the deep night air, our wishes and dreams and petitions waft up in sparkling clouds, fading off in the height of the near-dark sky.
The night stays in my memory, I remember the misty rain that sprinkled around us. My head and back, places untouched by the drying fire’s heat, are drenched in the light summer-rain. Around me sit friends, with drums and guitars, flutes and voice. People dance a circle dance, close to the fire, edging and following the glowing circle of firelight. Somebody close by is playing a Hurdy Gurdy, It’s steady rhythmic drones build a deep, earthy resonance around which percussion, pipes and chants weave, flow, wax and wane. We are a circle within a circle with no beginning and never-ending, the chant hangs, spinning gently in my memory.
The memory now is so faded that I don’t recall who I was with, who sat beside me, who opposite. Mainly, I remember is the roaring fire, music, dancing, chanting, the heat and the rain. That we were there together, celebrating harvest in the ancient act of community. We are the old people, we are the new people, we are the same people, stronger than before.
Earlier this week I spent the day with Gary, an old friend and travelling companion.
He gave me what he described as “A dancing skeleton“, a 9cm plastic jointed marionette that was part of a Day of The Dead hoard we’d collected while in Mexico City and Oaxaca State in October and November 1993.
Jointed plastic marionette. height 9 cm. Collected by G. Ruddick Mexico 1993. Donated 2015.
Gary recalled the guy who sold it to us making a line of the little fellas leap and dance, but…more…