To bring in 2009…a little “flash” fiction


This is a car crash.  It’s happening right now.  A collision in progress.  Metal folding and bending, glass slow-motion bursting, bodies swaying in their seats.

And the thing is you see it with perfect clarity, high-def to the max.  You watch in fascination as the air bag blooms in front of you, a time-lapse explosion expanding toward your face as you lean forward to meet it.

Something else.  A heaviness.  In the region of your chest.  A tug in your neck that isn’t quite pain but soon will be.  A sound, a soft exhalation but really a scream in the midst of being born.  From the backseat.  Ten A.U.’s behind you.

Any moment now it will all come rushing in, a cacophony of distress, a wall of noise and sensations.  Someone, maybe even you, might be in the midst of dying.

On the threshold of an instant.  The law-defying lip of an event horizon. Falling…and forever suspended mere petaseconds away from nothing at all.


(A tune-up of sorts, the equivalent of a pianist cracking his knuckles.  No pre-planning, just put fingers to keyboard and see where it takes me. Some of my best stuff comes through this process.  It requires a leap of faith…and a willingness to fail.  I like “Accident” and welcome your thoughts on this modest example of “automatic” writing.  If you’d like too see more of my short-short prose, go to the “Rarities” page and check out some of the work I’ve posted there…)

* Also, be sure to have a look at my latest post on RedRoom where I talk about nearly taking my stupid head off New Year’s Day.  And the important object lesson I drew from the experience.


  1. Amy's Sister :)

    Hi Cliff – I finally made it to your website, and wow. I’ve read this piece about 6 times now. I won’t be able to explain this well – but it really speaks to me about both the journey of the New Year and the things in life we crash into. When I read the line about leaning forward, I thought, “I recognize that breathless feeling of knowing that something is about to happen and not knowing if it will be met with gratitidue for what I have escaped or grief over what I have lost.” It is exhilarating and terrifying.

    This was a great piece to read at the beginning of the year. I’m looking forward to reading more.


  2. (S)wine

    Yeap. This is sort of how I do it too. Of course, (S)wine is mostly dedicated to flash, but the process is similar. I have a new one now comparing modern poetry to punk songs. You know, stuff like Bukowski and Rollins. It’s almost as if we’re competing for people’s attention spans now with Facebook and Twitter and all that. It’s nuts. But I like it.

  3. AnOminous

    The joys of freewriting and, the other side of the coin, the terror of the whole leap-of-faith aspect are indeed scary. Not the actual writing, but the public posting of raw, uncut, directionless narration, like being naked or uninhibited and drunk on risk.
    Love the imagery and the subtext, but mostly just the slow-mo feel, the non-violent violence of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.