Hello, hello, hello my brother and sister bloggers and flash fiction writers and the rest of you cats out there. The word “cats” really dates me, doesn’t it? But the Old Soldier doesn’t mind being dated. The Old Soldier is a survivor. Today is a day of celebration.
It’s a day of celebration because according to Google, The Gazette is the #1 flash fiction blog in the world! If you Google flash fiction you will find The Gazette on page one. As of today, The Gazette is #4 on the first page. The other three links are not blogs. So, there you have it. The Old Soldier must be doing something right.
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So, that’s it for Thursday. The Old Soldier is celebrating with a six-pack of Past Blue Ribbon…
Scott Delaney is the Old Soldier’s alter ego. I really lived what Scott goes through. The thing about the following story is that it’s all exposition. It flys in the face of “show don’t tell.” It’s a perfect example of how not to write a flash fiction story.
Jocks And Ballerinas
When Scott Delaney turned eighteen he joined the army to get away from killing his father who would get drunk and beat his mother. He attended Point Park College in Pittsburgh just before he joined the army and went to Vietnam when the college was still a two-year institution, a junior college. After he was discharged from the army and after he enrolled and finally dropped out of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh he hung around at Point Park College for several years. He wasn’t an official student but many of the professors knew of his serious interest in writing short stories. His youngest brother was president of the student body. Scott was admired by his youngest brother who introduced him all around. Scott became well-known on campus. He was issued a special library card and could take out books just like a student. He carried his notebook and collections of the writings of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara and Gertrude Stein everywhere he went. He usually sat at the same table in the snack bar, writing in his notebook and watching the students.
By chance he had picked an empty table where the female ballet dance majors always sat. He was surprised when several student ballerinas in black leotards and white tights, their dance bags slung from a shoulder, came over and sat down. It was their table and that’s where they always sat. So, he always sat there, too. You could tell a student’s major by where the student sat. There was mixing but the groups stayed relatively stable.
The school had a fine baseball team. Many of the jocks on the team belonged to this one fraternity which had the worst reputation of any group on campus. Sometimes in the snack bar they really carried on occasionally bringing their bats and taking full swings at imaginary baseballs. Scott was always afraid they’d smack someone walking by. It never did happen while he was there. He became friendly with the president of the fraternity. He joined the fraternity as a “social” member.
The president of the fraternity was no saint but he was constantly worried about the wilder behavior of some of the other members. It was funny. It was like riding a souped up truck with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake.
Still, to be a dancer or a jock you had to work through a lot of pain to become any good. Not until years later, long after he had stopped hanging around Point Park College and was putting together his first book of short stories, did Scott Delaney realize he liked jocks and ballet dancers for the same reason.
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