The ability to make
oneself unseen to
the naked eye
If I stay totally still,
if I stand right tall,
with me back against the school wall,
close to the science room’s window,
with me feet together,
if I make me hands into tight fists,
make me arms dead straight,
if I push me arms into me sides,
if I squeeze me thighs,
stop me wee,
if me belly doesn’t shake,
if me boobs don’t wobble,
if I close me eyes tight,
so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,
if I push me lips into me mouth,
if I make me teeth bite me lips together,
if I hardly breathe,
if I don’t say a word.
I’ll magic meself invisible,
and them lasses will leave me alone.
I found Nik Perring by accident on the web when I first started searching for suitable people to follow on Tweeter. You gotta start off by following somebody, right? Similar like-minded people and all that? Well here was a guy much like myself (just another writer on the web) trying to get ahead with his craft. To his credit Nik was already in print with Roast Books, but unusually it was with a collection of short-short stories. Now I gotta tell ya, I’m all for backing flash fiction ever since I fell into it myself back in 06-07, and will happily champion anybody who not only practices the endless possibilities of this gloriously dynamic format but manages to get published with it, because that’s good news for every fan and participant. Don’t forget, there’s absolutely no shortage of flash material on this blog. Sounds good, dunnit, saying ‘flash material’? Better than saying ‘manuscript copy’.
Any-old-hoo-hoo, the extract above is a short-short story from Nik Perring’s latest published paperback, FREAKS, co-written by Caroline Smailes and illustrated by Darren Craske. Check the usual places, like Amazon, for very competitive rates. Ebook there too of course. I like this sample because it kind of treads into poem territory, and reminds me of a scary broad daylight shape-shifting changing sequence in a horror flick…plus any book with a comic cover this impressive has gotta be good, hasn’t it?
One more thing: The “Manchester Titan”, novelist Nicholas Royle, got caught up in a kind of smack-slam-slanging match with Nik on Tweeter a few months ago, arguing the toss over the literary credibility of novels and longer works and suchlike over shorter bite-sized flash works. Now, Nicholas once judged a story of mine 1st place in a comp, so understand that I’ll never say a bad word about him, but this public social network brawl was unequivocally enthralling for the casual observer, probably the best Tweeter moment ever in my book, with each stating worthy points of merit for either argument. I found myself agreeing with both, and would love to encourage ‘Round 2’, if both gentlemen are up for it! Not to stir things up, but I did enjoy some interesting banter for a change! C’mon guys, gloves off…
Then again, I also seem to recall Nicholas locking horns with a poet. Maybe he picks fights with anyone who doesn’t write novels. Or isn’t from Manchester…