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RLG8 - A Subtle Flick

by Colonist 

Posted: 02 August 2004
Word Count: 813
Summary: My take on the RLG8

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A Subtle Flick
By Del Shannon

When I read back through my journals from that time, although I can see traces of myself in some of the entries, most of it sounds like the thoughts of an entirely different person. The odd thing is, it wasn’t even that long ago. What’s a year? One spin of the earth. I look at the globe next to the desk I’m sitting at and press a finger onto South Africa – holding for two counts – then spin it. Four years click by before I finish my exhale.

God must breathe like this, like me, I decide as Australia comes to a stop in front of me. Great sweeping breathes while decades are flung off the earth. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Every sense alive, absorbing the scene around me.

This was something I had to learn to do, breathe properly that is. Even last year I wasn’t doing it right. Gulping air like a cod thrown onto the deck was more like it. These gulps of air matched my journal entries perfectly. Abrupt passages explaining only the most important details. Like a monosyllabic newspaper reporter. Who – first name only. Where – cryptic things like “Hallway” or “Garden.” How – stupid things like “The usual.” When – “9 pm.”

It wasn’t until later, six months ago to be precise, that I started thinking about the subtle things, like why. And this is when I changed as well. No better proof of this than the journal. When I learned to slow down, to breathe, to spin the globe and send another day or week or month into history, I began to understand God.

No, I don’t think of myself as perfection personified, but I began to understand why He didn’t take another job. To spin the globe, to be in control, I liked that. I’m guessing God does as well.

So, what will it be tonight? Where will God’s hand come to rest? Does He go about it like me? I do my fair share of planning but I’m also quite opportunistic and decisive. Just like God.

I flip the pages forward to my latest entry and reread it. I know its good but I couldn’t tell how much so until I started at the beginning and forced myself through those first hacked up passages. Just for fun I stood, faced the window where my own reflection served as an audience, and read again the last passage – aloud this time to let the words echo around me liberated from the pages.

“Her name is Ann Fuller. I chose her for her hair, which is an earthen brown and is short, cute and flipped in a bob like so many of the young, beautiful women at my office. It spoke of her personality, almost begging to try anything once.

“We agreed to meet at Laudusio, one of the better restaurants downtown. The dinner was delightful and we both ate and drank just a little too much and laughed just a little too loud. I never get drunk on these dates. Instead of ordering a second bottle I slowed and reminded myself to breathe (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and drank in the rich smells of garlic and butter, while discretely checking my pocket. It was still there.

“The end of the meal brought tiara misu, shared in forkfuls passed across the table like wedding cake, and espresso to sober up for later. Stepping out of the restaurant a cab swooped upon us forcing a quick decision. This time it was her eyes that betrayed her. She’d love to share a ride home.

“We stopped at her place first and another impish smile invited me up. God should have been taking notes. As we climbed the stairs I stopped her in front of her door with a gentle hand on her bare shoulder and slowly I turned her toward me. Her eyes were practically drawing me inside her. We kissed, lightly at first, as if we would break each other if we pressed too hard. Then our bodies found their footing and we came together. Her hands, so desperate now, scooped under my shoulder blades and drew me tighter.

“The trap was sprung.

“My other hand unfolded the small knife, now removed from my pocket and held in my left hand, and swung to the back of her neck. A subtle flick was all it took.”

I finished the passage and looked at the wisp of hair lovingly taped to the bottom of the page. Your life was in my hands, Ann, and all I chose to take was the smallest lock of your hair. A lock just like all the others.

I closed the journal and shared a smile with myself. I am a benevolent God.

End A Subtle Flick

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Comments by other Members

olebut at 15:52 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Colonist I am not sure I am the best person to comment on this piece but I will try to give what I hope is a constructive view.

I think the overall plot and twist in the tale is great but I think perhaps you could have hightened the tension a few degrees more before cutting to the punch line.

I was being taken somewhere exciting and some how when I got there I felt a little let down. hope that doesn't sound too disheartening just think it needed that extra bit of tension and the spooky music.

but saying that i did enjoy the story

take care


Dee at 18:13 on 03 August 2004  Report this post
Ah yes, Del. I like this.

The power of life or death. He could have killed her but chose not to. The only unanswered question it leaves me with is why he is doing this…

Great story.


Colonist at 23:41 on 04 August 2004  Report this post
David and Dee,

Sorry to be slow to respond (swamped here in the states) but I do appreciate your comments. I'm trying to force myself to write blurbs like this in the 700 to 800 word range as practice for my 3 month newspaper column gig I'm starting this Sunday. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. While I liked the idea it turned into a bit of a struggle trying to fit this idea into such a cramped space. But it's fun to try.

Thanks again. I'll get to reviewing the other RLG8's as soon as I can dig out from this big pile of work. The nerve of some clients, expecting me to design things for them.

Take care, Del

Jumbo at 12:20 on 05 August 2004  Report this post

I enjoyed this, but I felt it was given away too early by the phrase I chose her for her hair. Something softer may help keep the mystery for longer eg I remember her hair, which is an earthen brown and is short. Just a thought.

But a great story, and some nice images: the spinning globe, the parallels with God.

All the best


bjlangley at 12:33 on 05 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Del, I think you've created a very interesting character here, and the way he compares himself to God builds on this.

This is where I disagree with Jumbo though, I think that he chose her for her hair, made it work all the better for me when it was revealed that he chose to take a lock of her her, like all of the others.

All the best,


SamMorris at 14:54 on 05 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Del,

I thought this was wonderful. I loved the aloof peculiarity of the mc. Some of the descriptions, like the spinning globe, were very deft. The idea of a man trying to think like a god, and where that might lead him is a very interesting thought.

To spin the globe, to be in control, I liked that.



geoffmorris at 23:12 on 05 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Del,

I'll get round to reading this in full sometime in the next week so I'll comment then but I have to point out an error.

One turn of the earth is a day not a year, once round the sun is a year!


Account Closed at 07:41 on 18 August 2004  Report this post
Hi Del,
I was drawn into this story, loved the breathing and turning of the globe. This led me down a false path of either memory loss or illness or emprisonment - counting time but not really seeming to see it pass.

His strange hair fettish was an interesting ending that took me by surprise. I enjoyed the description of the meal.

crowspark at 19:19 on 22 August 2004  Report this post
Good story and a neat twist.


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