Flash Fiction: Perchance To Dream

Commence Flash Fiction:

    The best part of my day? That’s easy: those few blissful seconds right after I wake up, when I just feel my head against the pillow and the warmth of the blanket, before it all comes crashing back down on me and I remember where I am. That’s when the worst part of the day begins.

    There are guys in here who talk about their dreams. Not like what they want to do with their lives or what they’d do with a million dollars; I mean their actual dreams, where they can fly and talk to animals and shit, but I never remember mine. I haven’t remembered a dream for … well, long enough that I can’t remember what the last one was, and I have a pretty good memory. Like, when I was a kid, there were these smokestacks that I could see from the motorway when we were getting close to home. They were tall, with four rings of red lights around them every five meters or so. The top ring of lights blinked slowly, and on nights when the weather was bad, I could still see the red glow reflecting off the clouds, even if I couldn’t make out the smokestacks in the dark. I would tell my mum, “I can see the smokestacks, mummy!” And she would reply, “That means we’re almost home, darling.”

    On cloudy nights, I lie back on my bed, look out through the bars, and imagine that I can see a soft red glow slowly blinking against the orange reflection of the lights, telling me that I’m almost home.

Notes:recently drove up a freeway that I used to take all the time when I was a kid, but haven't taken for at least a decade. On my drive, I saw these smokestacks that I remembered seeing when I was a little boy. Like the protagonist of this little tale, I liked seeing them, because I knew that meant I was almost home. 

That memory stayed with me, and refused to release me until I did something with it. This afternoon, this little story sprung into my head pretty much as you see it here; I just did my best to write it down before it got away from me.

24 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Perchance To Dream”

  1. I must say that I have not followed your blog, twitter, or anything like that until today. I had a crush on you when I was 5 (that’s right, feel old…feel very old…), and have enjoyed watching your work since then as I have aged and actually learned to discern what is good from what is bad (and yes, your work falls under the “good” category). After reading this entry, I have decided that I must purchase your books, because I believe I would truly enjoy them. Many books written by actors are pure masturbatory B.S., but your writing appears to be written for the genuine purpose of expression, and not yanking your own proverbial “chain.” Thank you for that!

  2. Nice and subtle. It really allows the imagination to work hard and come up with the rest of the story. I like that.
    For me, it was never smokestacks. It was (and still is) a massive, pinkish wooden or fiberglass hippo with its mouth wide open that sits out in the middle of a field with the words “For Crying Out Loud” in large wooden letters sitting at the hippo’s feet facing the road. There were always animals grazing in that field around the hippo when I was younger–sheep, goats, maybe even a llama or two (I live in Indiana, by the way). I always thought it was strange and only recently found out that the land is or was owned by an auctioneer. Even now, whenever we pass that hippo I know that my old hometown is only five miles away.
    There’s a story in there somewhere…

  3. Welcome. Lots of folks like that here, I presume. In my opinion, start with Sunken Treasure (the link there is on the right…) A good follow up to that is Dancing Barefoot, moving on then to the Happiest Days of our Lives (don’t read the story about the cat in public – you will cry.) And finally, Just a Geek. There’s more of his musings to find, but that’s a good start. I’m a former writer/journalist/travelguru and I am addicted to good writers and Wil’s ranked high on my list.

  4. Very nice! Although when I first glanced at the title of your post, I thought it said SLASH fiction and I wondered just how..creative you were going to be :)

  5. Yup. It was funny, I too found myself wondering. It was “motorway” first, and then “mummy” to which my brain played a recently heard: “Look mummy, there’s an aeroplane up in the sky” in a little British voice.
    Personally, I think the character is just an American who grew up watching British t.v.. It started when his dad would watch Benny Hill, late at night, on the off chance to see a woman’s bare breasts, while his son lay peeking out from behind the sofa, barely breathing, knowing that if he were ever caught it’d be the strap for him.
    Or something… 😉

  6. At first I wasn’t sure it was fiction at all. Then at the end of the second sentence, I was like, “Yeah, I don’t think Wil’d be saying that about his life right now,” and I remembered that Wil’s been doing fiction lately… and the title… and I got it.
    But yeah, good effort, Wil. And different. You got away from the heavily descriptive writing you’ve tended to do. This was far more bare, which allowed the smokestacks to stand out, like they did in your memory of them.

  7. This made me sad and a bit homesick. The character comes alive for me, the first paragraph is all it takes.
    Maybe it’s because I have something that always told me we were almost home as well, a white factory building that I called the Smurf factory for reasons that now escape me. But whenever I visit my parents, it’s still there and it still means that I will be home soon. That’s a powerful feeling and you tapped it with your story.

  8. Is your ego really so small that you don’t even read published works about your character?
    I haven’t done anything notable on a wide scale, and that doesn’t stop me from googling myself every few weeks. Am I some kind of closet narcissist then? Do you guys not all do that?

  9. I don't think it has anything to do with ego … Wesley is a character I played almost 25 years ago, so it's not like I spend a lot of time and energy seeking out everything I can about him.
    Unless it's awesome pictures of those horrible sweaters. I'm all over that.

  10. There is a set of smoke stacks on a coal plant in Oswego, NY that I feel the same way about. For the five years I went to college in that town I’d catch sight of the stacks and know I was about ten minutes from what I considered my home. I guess what I’m saying is: I know EXACTLY what you mean, Wil.

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