FICTION: two post-election tales

Posted: 21 May 2015 in fast fiction, fiction, politics, writing
Tags: ,

Every so often, I write a short piece of fiction for this place. Occasionally, I pull out from the archives a story I wrote some time ago that (a) you probably haven’t seen and (b) I want to have a larger circulation. I hadn;’t quite realised until I checked quite how many had their origins in politics, or at the very least were inspired by politics. 

So here are two very different tales of fast fiction, both set after elections, one the night of the election… one sometime later…

Title: Infinite Density Explosion
Word: memetics
Length: 200 words exactly

Midnight; nothing would change now

He leaned over his desk and checked the newsfeeds, sweating. This hadn’t been planned.

A decimal point in the wrong place. Dammit.

He cast his mind back to the meeting three months earlier – Lord, was it only three months ago? – and the throwaway question when the subjects of amateur political punditry, blogs and replication of content had arisen: could memetics be an answer?

The first test run had been with a council by-election in a small town out in the sticks. Bloggers passed around a question and answer meme, unknowingly being subliminally influenced. The target was a 5% majority. They got 4.972%

Then they tried it with a parliamentary seat. Leaflets, blogs, advertising; they’d aimed for a 9% swing. Even the death of the candidate on the eve of the election, a heart attack during congress with a goat, hadn’t changed the result: a 9.015% swing.

But today?

He looked at the general election exit polls. A 100% swing, and that only because that was how high they could calculate.

He looked at the pistol his boss had left him an hour ago.

He looked again at the screen, and again at the pistol, pondering…

© Lee Barnett, 2010


Title: Once Within Memory
Word: truffle
Length: 200 words exactly

There had once been something called a chocolate truffle.

The younger of those present would snigger at the tales when they heard older people mention them with fondness.

There had once been hamburgers.

Less tolerance of this was expressed by the younger generations at what was regarded by them as an abhorrent practice. This had less to do with the rights of animals and more because of the now widely held belief that humanity at least now possessed common human dignity.

There had once been universal education.

And again, as they did upon hearing the older generation reminisce about long extinct qualifications, those who had been born more recently would sigh, as if to excuse the stories, and the people who told them.

There had once been naturally born children.

And those without navels openly laughed at their forebears, blatantly mocking the ugliness and blemishes that everyone of the older generation carried on their bodies.

There had once been elections.

Only the very old remembered these, and their recollections were either listened to with barely disguised impatience, or with irritation that was not disguised in the least.

There had once been freedom.

But no one talked about that any more.

© Lee Barnett, 2010


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