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Flash Fiction

"This Time Around" (2003)

     Crouching at his desk, reading the last lines of his response letter, the ambitious writer mildly frowned; his story had exceeded the “325 word limit.” Darn, he thought. Oh, well. He figured that getting a response alone was quite the accomplishment; he wasn’t quite used to getting recognition for something like this, and was pleased that an acknowledgement had actually arrived long after he forgot he submitted anything.
     “…shorten your short story or submit another one within the word limit rules…” You know, he thought, I think I just might do it that way. After all, he did not care much for repeating himself anymore. He wanted to keep himself challenged by frequently coming up with new, fresh, and original ideas. Ideas that were unpredictable and radical. It was always fun and interesting to conceive of such ideas – new ways to surprise, perhaps even baffle the reader to whom his work was being presented. Of course, this time around, the institute would probably be familiar with his style and approach already – and if they weren’t, they would be once they’d read his previous submission, which was to be attached to this second, “improved” one. There was no telling exactly what the reaction would be to his work; he did not think highly of it himself, that was for certain, yet he did not wish to treat the entire process as a joke. He totally respected the regulations of the contest and what the representative was trying to say – which begged the question as to why he could not follow the required format in the first place. At any rate, he got right to work as soon as he possibly could following the letter’s appearance. Now, let’s see, he thought, what would be a good idea this time around…a sly self-referential story, perhaps? Maybe that would be a little too bizarre. After all, the people at the institute may have seen the movie “Adaptation”…

A Harvest of Tales: Short Stories from Young Writers of Canada (paperback). Wendy K.      Burgess, ed. British Columbia: Young Writers, 2003. Page 282.