This was originally published years ago at Six Sentences. I have slightly revised it since then, but I think the revision makes it more of story and less of a prose poem.
There are no bakeries outside San Marco in 1968, no fish markets or butchers, only tobacco fields and salted meats between Carmine’s and the piazza. Dirt roads spread like long brown leaves from my cousin’s to the church-square and we ride to town on ox carts and warping wooden wheels.
I give my aunt a big roast in the cool dirt kitchen where summer meats are hanging. At dinner there’s a small cut roasted and I ask about the rest. Three quarters of my trophy, cured, turns above the table. Flies land on the slivers Zizi portions, oblivious and greedy. Li mericani! she says, forgiving my abuse.
All rights Chris Cocca, but do feel free to share, and, please, do comment.
Sudden fiction is another term for flash fiction, but the two aren’t simply synonymous, at least not to my ear. Don’t read too much into the title of this post. I’m not making some argument that the Gospel of Mark ought to be thought of as fiction or non-fiction by modern definitions. I’m talking about effect. Where does the writer mean to take us, and why? How do we know?
The Gospel of Mark is short, but it’s also very sudden. Replete with “immediatelys,” the narrative is constantly moving. Like a good short story, it feels meant to be read in one sitting.
I’ve just finished a sudden read in this manner. My sudden thoughts follow.
In Mark, Jesus is concerned with telling anyone who will hear that the kingdom of God is at hand, the kingdom of God is here, and that this news is good.
Often, his message gains traction through healing and exorcisms (these may or may not be the same). He is clearly opposed to entrenched religious systems and values, but not to the teachings of Israel’s prophets. His je ne sais quoi has precisely to do with his vision of God and God’s kingdom in the context of Rome’s empire, Herod’s puppet vassal, the Sanhedrin’s religious hegemony, the temple-merchants’ guild and the common-place fiefdom of first-century mores, beliefs, and expectations often beguiling his disciples or other parts of the general public. Often, those outside his immediate circle understand him best. He is arrested, tried, and crucified quickly. He even dies quickly. His tomb is found empty, and his followers are instructed by a heavenly presence to meet him, the Risen, in Galilee. No big deal. Biggest deal ever.
We shouldn’t be surprised.
I went to the doctor today to get some paperwork for school filled out. Since I hadn’t been there in a while, they made me do weight and height. It turns out I am the height I feared I was, not the one inch more I keep saying I am knowing I’m probably not. Well anyway, this lie will continue.
But, in related news, I have a very, very, very short story up at Nanoism today. The fitting part is the shortness, not the content.
I’m not short, by the way. Just concentrated. Potent.
I just got the galley proof for next month’s issue of AdmitTwo which will feature a hundred-word piece by me that I combined with a creative commons licensed picture from Flickr (with appropriate credit and permissions from the photographer. It’s the Dylan story some of you have read.
Now that that’s ready, I’ll be getting in touch with those of you that wanted to work on some pieces for future submission to this unique venue.
The prompt was “something big is about to happen but history will get it wrong.” This is a 100-word story. I found the image here and used ComicLife to edit it and set up the graphic.
I came across Six Sentences via a link at One Sentence Stories a few days ago and have really been enjoying the site. Six Sentences publishes stories exactly six sentences in length and is a fantastic venue for flash fiction. I submitted an edited version of my short piece Rain Dance and I’m proud to say that editor Robert McEvily has accepted it for publication. My piece goes up on October 29; in the meantime, check out the other work at Six. What can you say in six sentences?