Saturday, May 9, 2009

Flash Fiction Fri... er, Saturday

Here's my monthly flash fiction piece. I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments.

*****

Brainstorming

Frankie leaned back in his chair, balancing on two legs. Crumpled balls of yellow paper littered the desk in front of him and spilled to the floor. "This isn't right. We need to capture the yearning that he feels, the ferocity, the desperation."

Jim's fingers twitched over his keyboard, his eyes closed. "But what is he even searching for?"

Frankie rubbed the stubble on his chin. "He failed at something and now he's trying to get back on top."

"A girl broke up with him?"

"No, that's so overdone. Do you really want to write another love song?"

"But that Springfield kid killed last summer with a song about his buddy's girlfriend. We can rip that off."

Frankie shook his head, pressed his fist against his chest. "I can feel it, right here." He looked at Jim. "He lost sight of his dreams, but now he knows he needs to fight to keep them alive. If we can get that urgency into a song, I'm telling you, it'll be gold."

Jim tapped the keys. Heart and Soul. "What have you got so far?"

Frankie twirled a pencil between his fingers. "The center of the storm. Everything's churning all around him but he's calm, in control." He slammed forward in his chair. "He's hungry for the challenge…"

"And he's dangerous!" Jim thrust his fist into the air, fighting a smile.

Frankie scowled, his eyes narrowed. The thread of a thought was dangling right… there… He stretched his mind, curled around the words, tugging, pulling until the string began to unfurl. He knew he was onto something. It was on the tip of his... Hunger. Strength. Like an animal on the prowl. He scribbled the words on a fresh sheet, then stabbed his pencil on the paper. Staccato. He hummed a few notes. Ten beats before the guitar came in.

Jim leaned closer. "Well?"

Frankie held up his hand and stared at spot on the far wall.

Jim moved around the table to read over his shoulder. "Oh, yeah. A cat on the prowl. Stalking in the night." He jumped around the table and gripped the back of his chair. "He's killed off the other predators – his rivals – so now it's just him and his will to survive."

"A cat?"

"Well, not a cat cat, but the spirit of the cat." He pointed at the page. "Can't you just picture it? A ravenous lion stalking through the jungle, so focused on his prey that nothing else matters."

Frankie's pencil skimmed over the page. The heart of a lion. Rising to the challenge of his rivals. He scribbled out what he'd written. Not the heart. What else…

Jim watched quietly. They'd worked together long enough to recognize when the other was on the verge of –

"Eyes!"

"Eyes?"

"The eyes of the lion." Frankie slapped his hands on the table, pounding out the ten beats in his head. "He's the hunter, fighting off his rivals. And what animal but the lion yearns for glory?"

"But a lion?"

Frankie waved his hand. "Or a tiger, whatever. The point is, his eyes hold all the passion. He won't quit until he wins the fight."

Jim tucked his hands on the back of his head. "I don't know. I still say a love song is the way to go."

Frankie threw one of the discarded pages at him. "The next song can be about searching for love, I promise."


*****

If you've made it to the end, please click for my inspiration. The theme was "Eyes", but I didn't want to say before you read it so I wouldn't give away the ending.

28 comments:

spyscribbler said...

Hah! That's fantastic, Melanie! Practically sounds like me writing, LOL.

And ohmigosh, I absolutely LOVE that song. I remember it was big when I was on swim team when I was little. I haven't listened to it forever!

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, I was cracking up the entire time I was writing this. Ibis and I almost had the guy doing our wedding video put together a video of outtakes to this song. How cool would that have been?

Benjamin Solah said...

Love it. I think writers will like this one because you can identify with them, going through the creative process and all.

And I love that song. I was obsessed with it in high school.

Melanie Avila said...

Ben, I just thought back to my zillion brainstorming sessions when I worked in advertising, but this was a little cleaner. ;)

Benjamin Solah said...

I'll be going through a similar brainstorming session soon with this socialist theatre group I'm in.

Can't wait to cowrite a play!

Melanie Avila said...

Ooh, good luck. It's been awhile since I've done anything as part of a group.

Turkey Lurkey said...

This was a lot of fun to read! I enjoyed the way the two characters were working together to come up with an idea. I've never been a part of a brainstorming situation, but I think it would be fun. Nice job!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Turkey. :)

Nadine said...

I loved it!! And that song is totally in my head now!!

My only comment was for this part: "But that Springfield kid killed last summer"

I had to read it twice because I thought they were talking about a kid that was killed. Maybe rearrange the sentence or even add the word it. "But that Springfield kid killed it last summer"

But those are just my thoughts, cause it's great as it is.

Nice job!

Travis Erwin said...

Great, now that song is going top be stuck in my head all day.

Good job though. I felt like I was there.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, I wondered about that phrase because I don't think people were saying it in the early 80s. I could just change it to something about "topping the charts", or something like that.

Did you get the song reference there? I did research for that!

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, I'm always happy when I have that affect on people. :P

Bailey said...

Love it! I was hoping someone would use this song for inspiration - what a great take on it!

EMC07 said...

Great Job. You drew me right in. I'm going to give you the same compliment you gave me. You show very well. I felt like I was in the room with them.

Frankie threw one of the discarded pages at him. "The next song can be about searching for love, I promise." Love this. I'm a big fan of that song too!

Well done. A very fun read.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Bailey!

Melanie Avila said...

EMC, thanks! I'm glad you noticed that line. I love hiding little things like that in these shorter stories.

Janna Qualman said...

One of your best, Melanie!

Robin said...

That was hilarious! My younger song was singing that song in the car just this week, and I was laughing, because it was written before he was born. Good old "Eye of the Lion".

Melanie Avila said...

Aww, Janna. Thanks!

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, that's just scary to think about.. :)

quez said...

Excellent - I know all the songs you mentioned... even the one by that Springfield kid. LOL! That had me grinning all the way through. Very nice!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks quez! I had a lot of fun with this. I think I need to try humor more often.

A Synchronistic Catalyst said...

All I can say is that I loved this!

It's awesome :>

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks!!

wntrgrrl said...

Brava! This is very well done! I only have one small quibble, with the emphasis in the sentence beginning “But that Springfield kid killed last summer with a song…..”. I had to read it a couple of times to get the sense you were going for. I think just italicizing the word “killed” would show the emphasis you need.

I especially liked the imagery of the phrase, “The thread of a thought was dangling right… there… He stretched his mind, curled around the words, tugging, pulling until the string began to unfurl.” Very visual; I’m seeing the idea unfold in Frankie’s mind.

Melanie Avila said...

Wntrgrrl, you make a good point about that line -- one other person mentioned it too.

I'm glad the mental line worked for you. That's how ideas unfold in my mind. :)

Terry said...

Good one. I called the 'Eye of the Tiger' thing about three paragraphs early, but I still laughed...;). Very clever take on the subject matter.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Terry. I had so much fun with this one -- especially the "research"!