‘Cartoon Eyes’

I’ve gone with a shorter format again today. While I’ve written many short stories at 500 words or more, squeezing a story into anything shorter is pleasingly unchartered territory for me.

I half remember a George RR Martin quote where he opined that the best way to improve your writing was to read (or write -this is where I forget) as many different genres as possible.

I’m fast realising that one of the great benefits of flash fiction (a term I only just discovered this week) is that it allows for just this; and dabbling in new genres is as much of the appeal to me at the moment as the challenge that such brevity brings.


‘Cartoon Eyes’

The first note is stuck to his windscreen. It’s a pair of cartoon eyes. They are looking down and to their left. He assumes its Dave in accounts ‘havin a larf’. He crumples it up and drops it. He never litters but he feels a vague, cloying embarrassment that whatever the joke is he’s not in on it. A tiny act of rebellion; his anger manifest.

The second note is on his front door. The same pair of eyes stare back at him. This time one is half closed. He assumes it’s meant to be winking but to him it looks tired or maybe even retarded. A pang of guilt accompanies him as he enters his house that he thought of the word ‘retarded’.

He cooks for himself, eats, washes up and blends the banality of his work into the banality of television. On the way to bed he makes a last minute deviation to his study and his computer. He tells himself it’s to check his work email because he will not admit to himself that its for pornography. But it is.

A jpeg icon sits in the middle of his desktop. He opens it. The third note is a pair of eyes again. But they’re crosses.

They’re dead eyes.

He realises someone is standing behind him.




2 thoughts on “‘Cartoon Eyes’”

  1. I find that in many ways, the more rules you impose on your writing, the more freedom you have and the more creative you are, so that rather than staring at a blank screen and thinking ‘I could write anything’ and the crushing pressure that brings, imposing some restrictions really helps focus the mind. I’m going to try some Oulipo at some point. There are some great rules and restrictions there.


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