Twelve Days of Fast Fiction, Day 07: THE MAN WHO COULD

Posted: 19 December 2014 in 12DaysFF, Christmas, fast fiction, fiction
Tags: , , ,

Joanne Harris is a multi-award winning author with a string of novels to her name. Perhaps best known for Hotel Chocolat, she crafts her tales exquisitely, just as she does her characters, who remain in your memory long after you’ve finished reading the story. Whether it’s matters of faith and superstition or how the ostensibly mundanity of life can change gradually into something else, the themes of her writing similarly linger.

Joanne Harris would never buy chocolate from W Wonka, esq.

Title: The Man Who Could
Word: firecracker
Challenger: Joanne Harris
Length: 200 words exactly

The high backed chair had covered arms of deep wine which clashed terribly with the man’s green jacket, but he would never know for no-one would tell him. Indeed, had the man asked another’s opinion – which he would never do, having learned its folly long ago – he would hear nothing but compliments as to his unique style.

So he sat at his desk, blissfully ignorant and composed himself before his work. If he had spoken to others, and trusted them, he would have attempted to elicit sympathy while explaining the difficulties and complexities of his role, for he took his responsibilities seriously. But he trusted no-one, and spoke to no-one. He trusted only his ledgers and his judgement.

He could destroy someone’s Christmas with one stroke of a pen; malicious gossip, for example, he always judged harshly. Or he could be merciful – was carelessly lighting a firecracker really sufficient reason for the ‘bad list’, even if it scared a toddler into hysterics?

He had one pile of paper in front of him; two would result. He pondered no more, but began his duty. This year was kind; he didn’t hate everyone until a whole hour had passed.

© Lee Barnett, 2014

This story is part of The Twelve Days of Fast Fiction (More information on the Twelve Days here)
Day 01: This Lion Of Winter – challenger: Antony Johnston
Day 02: An Immense Pecuniary Mangle – challenger: Steven Shaviro
Day 03: Is The Pope Pregnant? – challenger: Matt Brooker
Day 04: Father Christmas Got Stuck – challenger: Bevis Musson
Day 05: Early Sunday Chop Suey – challenger: Michael Moran
Day 06: Of Tinsel And Fire – challenger: David Baddiel
Day 08: The Judge Disagreed – challenger: Rufus Hound
Day 09: Sweeping Up Shattered Chandeliers – challenger: Kirsty Newton
Day 10: Glorious Concatenation – challenger: Neil Gaiman
Day 11: Weaving With Angels’ Hair – challenger: Nick Doody
Day 12: Their Eyes All Aglow – challenger: Mitch Benn

“There are two hundred stories collected in this volume. They are funny, they are thoughtful, they are romantic, they are frightening. To me, though, they are more than entertaining. They are inspiring.” – Wil Wheaton, from his introduction to volume 2 of The Fast Fiction Challenge

Two volumes of The Fast Fiction Challenge, containing 180 stories in Volume 1 and a further 200 stories in Volume 2, for £3.00 each, are available in ebook format from the author; email for details.

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