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#thesideshow June 6th 2016 Flash fiction Slit Slot Aperture Gash Vent Perforation Shutter Foramen Chink Cleft Peephole Outlet Eye by Marc Nash

Seephole: He rang the door buzzer. While he waited for footfalls on the other side of the door, he weighed up the buzzer tone as to whether it was like that of a quiz contestant jumping in to answering a question, or the production team blazoning an incorrect answer. Or even just calling time. He saw the cover of the peephole being moved aside as the light changed and he fired his pistol straight through its glass as to where the target’s eye and a bit further back his brain, would be. The mark had got the question asked by his executive producers entirely wrong according to their way of thinking. It was not ever a question he could have answered entirely to their satisfaction, but a better answer would have seen him fire the gun through the letterbox and into the groin. Scarcely a consolation prize, but you would get to live to fight another day. Blood started to seep out into the hallway from threshold. That could do with sealing by a door sweep he thought to himself as he turned and left.

Pea Shooter: The archer stood pressed invisible against the arrow-slitted casement, raining his shafts down on the heads of the besiegers. They in turn brought up their bombards in the shape of church bells and chamber pots and prised him out of the masonry like shelling whelks.

Concentration Camp: The perforations of the leaves’ stoma were gently respiring, when along came the aphids. Their stylets shot forth through the vent of their rostra, as they proceeded to puncture the vessels of the plant and siphoned the liquid sugars under the pressure of the breach. In marched the legions of ants to palpate the aphids to release the concentrated honeydew from their rectal orifices. Any aphids that threatened to sprout wings to secure more lebensraum for themselves, were stripped by the vigilant soldier ants and held in place.

C Clamp: Her smile was permanently imprisoned behind her brace’s steel bars, only ever seeing the light of day in the exercise yard of a yawn.

Convex: He could prescribe the sitter’s emotion, for he was the lord of light. At his whim he determined the shutter speed of his camera, shining the light on this aperture of their life they had exposed themselves too in this one fleeting moment. He himself had no chink in his own emotional makeup, shuttered off and shadowy as befits the omnipotent.

Collide-o-scope: She was dilatory. For a full two seconds after the metal screen had juddered clear there was nothing on the other side of the window. Finally she mooched in and started rubbing herself. He tried to fall in step with her rhythms, but found her motions too laggardly for his own pace, more listless than lingering. And then the screen guillotined her display. He struggled for coins in his pocket and then to penetrate them into the slot. The screen began its withdrawal, revealing her feet planted firmly on the floor and slowly exposing the rest of her body in stasis. Like corroded clockwork she rose up from the chair and began her slow coursing over her body. He found himself quickening all the while, contending not with her rhythms but against the dread drop of the shutter and the one-armed fumble for money to put in the slot. He was timed out again.

Catherine Wheel: Sputum was emitted from the gash of his mouth like a girandole. But it wasn’t being showered in spit that concerned her. Nor was it the amount of perspiration welling up from his pores and running in rivulets down his skin. She remained unperturbed by the imminent discharge of semen from the blinking meatus of his member. No, she was anxious about the stork-bite vein bulging in his forehead that it might burst and cull him. Not that she would be upset over his grand mort following on immediately from his petit one. She was alarmed by the prospect of his deadweight crashing down and fracturing a rib or two. Adam’s revenge finally assuaged by Eve’s forfeiture in kind.

Bar None: What he had come to realise was that it wasn’t a stork which delivered your family’s lot, it was the slot machine. The never so aptly named ‘One-Armed Bandit”. That which stole away your adult life so effortlessly, it was as if it did indeed have one arm tied behind its back as it prised away your pleasures and spited your future happiness. Unless you hit the jackpot with your offspring. Three ‘Lucky Sevens’, and you might, just might land the perfect, undemanding, self-sufficient child, but the odds are just about that, seven times seven times seven, or seven cubed, one in every 343 of your kids turns out like that in your drop bucket. Three bells, that’s a doozy winner too right? Not if she’s female, more like Hell’s Belles as in Macbeth’s three witches all rolled up into one. A couple of cherries and you got a nymphomaniac on your hands when she hits teenage. The watermelon? Don’t tell me that don’t look like a woman’s pudendum? A lemon, well I don’t have to tell you what that means… It’s also called a fruit machine for a reason, if you catch my drift. Chances are good, or bad, you may end up with a son who goes a different way through the catflap. What? Yeah, me and the old lady will give it another spin I reckon. Our last chance saloon.

Marc Nash has published 5 collections of flash fiction and 4 novels. He is temperamentally and artistically iconoclastic, always looking for different narrative structures. He collaborates with video makers to turn some of his flash into kinetic typography videos.