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Flipping (for The 500 Club)

It’s Thursday, and I’ve got a minute to play along with the 500 Club at The Parking Lot Confessional. If you like to dabble in flash fiction, you should mosey on over and play too.

Here’s my entry for today, using the first prompt. I ran a little over 500 words, but I was having too much fun to stop.


Today would be like any other day except it wasn’t of course. It was monkeyshines again. And by monkeyshines I mean a bunch of hulking big white guys with sharp pointy sticks wanting to hurl me off the top of a mountain.

Let me go back and explain. I have this annoying habit. It’s called flipping. You ever sit down at the local coffee shop and find yourself next to some patchouli-scented charmer who proceeds to regale you with stories about tripping the light fantastic, crystals, salvia and astral projection? If you do ever find yourself in such a horrific scenario, you should do what I do, which is to say, “Jerry Garcia’s dead, man,” and get yourself a to-go cup.

Harsh. You know what else is harsh? Flipping. Flipping is when you go to sleep and your id or whatever starts spewing up chunks of dreamscape, and your stupid stupid body just decides to invert or whatever, and instead of waking up in your warm comfy bed, you wake up in dreamland instead.

Sometimes it’s not bad at all. Kinda fun, even. I have particularly fond memories of some places- Puddingworld, the McDuck Vault, the land where everyone’s farts smelt like either baking bread, brewing coffee, or freshly cut grass, the utopian underwater kingdom of the psychic cephalopods- some places are pretty good. The best place of course, is the heart of the dreaming, the world where I met Sensei, who taught me how to keep record of my travels through sympathetic magic. I’d rather get back to Sensei’s world than my own. There, I’m but a simple student. But Sensei is teaching me how to control the flipping. Someday, he says, I’ll ride it like a wave. That’s there, though.

Here? Here I’m a goddess. Which is actually not good. Not good at all. Sure, goddess SOUNDS like a good gig, but only if it involves dedicated servants, maybe a fatted calf. In this place, the goddess comes in human form to marry earth and sky together. And the way she does this is by being flung from the top of a mountain. I got elected goddess by virtue of my purple hair (not natural, but it’s like the Matrix here, where you appear as you see yourself, insert “I know Kung Fu” joke here, move on) and brown skin.

And even though Sensei knows where I’ve gone, there’s nothing he can do about it. Only I can save myself, by being preternaturally clever. Or by passing out. If I can reach a dream state, I can get out of here. Only problem is I haven’t slept since I got here two days ago. I think they’re spiking my food with stimulants. I stopped eating the slop they throw through the bars last night, as a precaution. Did I mention I’m in some kind of crappy bamboo cage? Yeah. Anyway, I’m due to be chucked at sundown, aaand here comes the priest (you can tell he’s the priest because he’s got the biggest hat) with … a golden goblet? He’s holding it out to me. Jackpot? I take it through the bars and sling back the whole thing in one go. Tastes like cardamom and wormwood. Jackpot turns from question mark into interrobang.

The priest ululates and more of the Hulking Big White Guys (HBWGS) step forward and left up my cage. Here we go, up the mountain and the Priest’s Special is churning my guts worse than any Irish Car Bomb. The borders of my vision fuzz. It’s hard to breathe up here but the HBWGS must be used to it. Grass gives way to lichen, lichen gives way to bare rock. The sun blasts mercilessly overhead. But it’s sunset. Sunset.

The HBWGS flip open my door, grab me by the elbows, haul me out. The priest is ululating again and it’s making the HBWGS shift and shiver, go gray like the rocks and I dive into the gray, I chase it down, breath regulated, muscles straining, I dive into the gray of drug dream as the rocks disappear beneath me and my hair blows back in the screaming wind.

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  1. Amy wrote:

    *puts on best Keanu impersonation*


    You ARE the light fantastic, Amy McLane.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
  2. S. C. Green wrote:

    Wow. Your stuff never fails to draw me in. I kind of felt like I was dreaming or on drugs for part of it.

    Friday, July 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
  3. marc nash wrote:

    This is a real gem of a story. I like the vertiginous plunges of realities it takes. The ultimate flip you do on the reader of which is the more desirable reality, being Goddess of one world, or prisoner of another.

    Only thing I’d say is you don’t need to invoke the Matrix to explain things – you should trust to your own abilities within the story that we’ll get it.

    marc nash

    Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink
  4. Amy McLane wrote:

    Thank you Marc! Sorry about the terrible delay in reply, my spam queue decided to eat a bunch of perfectly good comments and I just now found them.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

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  1. I Write Like… | The Parking Lot Confessional on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 6:43 am

    [...] Amy McLane, using her recent story, “Flipping“. You ready for the result, [...]

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