Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction 20: Variations of the Truth

Awwww there’s one fewer “Truly Intelligent Person” in the world today. So very sad :(

Anyway – today’s challenge was one first put to me by one of the more interesting profs I had in my undergrad years. “Write your paper without using any form of ‘to be’.” I remember that being quite the challenge, so thought I see if I could make legible, enjoyable fiction following that same rule. Let me know if I pulled it off :) And then, if you’re looking for a challenge, try it yourself! I actually found it easier in fiction than academia, but I also have several more years of writing experience now too so that *might* make a difference.

Thanks for reading!

Variations of the Truth

"Don't even ask," I told my coworker as I hobbled into the room. She looked at me with a laugh and raised eyebrows.

"Marc told me to go jump off a cliff, so I went base jumping," I told her straight faced; a perfectly logical explanation. In somebody else’s world perhaps. "Didn't land well." I finished.

"So I see," she said, knowing the details as I’d described them didn’t likely occur in precisely that fashion, but willing to play the game that amused us both.

But Jamie, poor Jamie, the third person in our now three-person business, still didn't understand the games Ally and I played and had the disturbing tendency to take us seriously. "Carrie! You could’ve died! What happened?"

"Well," I started, unable to resist the challenge and sticking as close to the truth as I possibly could under the circumstances, " a bunch of us hiked up the steps carved into Baker Hill; everybody else seemed so cheerful about it, but to me it seemed just like a workout."

Jamie looked at me knowingly, "who do you jump with?" he asked.

"The others didn't jump," I clarified, "they came from some exercise club. I just happened to run into them on the trek up. They had planned on doing some yoga type exercises at the top, then I guess hiking back down. I watched the start of the yoga, but since I really don’t care for it I continued off by myself. A thick coating of mud covered the rest of the path to the point it resembled an obstacle course -- I had to jump from rock to rock, and even slipped off one particularly nasty one; I should definitely have considered that a sign to stop."

"Oh Carrie, you had a sign like that and you didn't go back?" Ally tried to play along but it came out sounding false, at least to my ears. She could never pull off surprise parties either, for the same reason. I turned slightly so Jamie couldn't see me roll my eyes at her.

"Anyways, I got my chute all set and took a running leap off the face, but I misjudged the distance and landed just a little short. Not so badly as to do any serious damage, thankfully, but I sprained my ankle and now I have to hobble about on these." I finished, waving a crutch in the air.

At that Ally lost it entirely, laughing so hard tears ran down her face. Really, I didn't think my story seemed *that* funny, and Jamie looked utterly appalled at her behaviour.

"Sorry Care, but I just figured out what happened. You told the truth!”

“And that’s funny?” I asked, playing my role well.

“I can picture every single movement of it. Because I've done it! Including the flying leap that landed short. However, I followed the instructions. And that made all the difference."

"Instructions?" Jamie asked dubiously, finally cluing in to the fact that perhaps the details of my story lacked a little accuracy.

Jamie looked at me curiously while Ally tried to contain herself enough to explain. I simply shrugged, trying my best to look as though I had no idea whatsoever what she thought.

"The instructions," she started, still giggling, "at the start of the obstacle course state very clearly 'Do not jump on the wii balance board'. Carrie clearly missed that rule."

I looked at Jamie, somewhat apologetically. "She's right," I told him with a shrug.

He looked at me silently for a moment, trying to decided whether he felt angry at being played. "Next time Carrie," Jamie started with his frustration evident in his voice, "if you're going to jump off a cliff, find a cliff -- you clearly need a longer time to get your feet under you!"

"Now shall we get to work ladies?" Jamie asked, with half a smile indicating he had accepted his role as audience-participant with good grace. Perhaps he would fit in after all.


ahhhh wii! good story. I liked


Funny! Telling the truth is always the best option, even if it is misleading. :) Glad Jamie was a good sport.


Ha! I liked it Laur!

Also, love the new blog look!


It's true--it does clearly state not to jump on the wii balance board. Good, entertaining story!

On another note, I love the background picture on your blog. Very cool!


Thanks all :) A little silliness today but what can I say? We all need that some days :)


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