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The Essential Plotinus

The Essential Plotinus
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Samantha preceded us in everything. We knew when something was up because she’d start playing with her hair, twirling it around her finger, and look off into space as if she were watching a parade of strange animals pass by. Then the next thing we knew we were all diving out of airplanes or bungee jumping or taking a course in Russian. It wasn’t always something daring or eccentric; sometimes it was just a new dance. We’d walk into the club and there Sami would be, rotating between half a dozen partners, her arms and legs taking on a life of their own. The guys she was dancing with were trying to keep up without being quite sure how, or what it was they were trying to keep up with. Then Sami got sick. She’d gone off to shoot photographs on some continent she wouldn’t name (Rick—who was one of a dozen men in love with her—said it was Atlantis) and when she came back she had hundreds of pictures of indescribable beauty and some kind of bug. She was dangerously ill. We all sat by her bedside and there were a few times it seemed as if she might not make it. One night they rushed us out of the room and closed the door. A squad of hospital staff with complicated machines descended and we waited in the hall. Once a doctor came out and said it was fifty-fifty. Felicia broke down and had to be admitted for nervous exhaustion. Buzz, who was Rick’s chief rival, went on a bender—later we had to bail him out of jail. I kept wondering what would happen if Sami didn’t survive, how many of us she would take with her. Everything hung like that for two days, then into a rainy, dark night. We were all passed out on hospital furniture the next morning when I heard something nearby that sounded like a bird making a long take-off over water. I looked up and there was Sami standing in front of me, dressed in street clothes, with a big smile on her face. She took my hand, pulled me out of my chair and said to everyone: “Who’s for some breakfast.” So we all bundled onto an elevator and went out into the street. It was a beautiful morning. There was a kind of golden net hanging over everything and the wet pavement glistened as if during the night someone had polished it with oil. The sun cut diamonds into all the storefront windows. I still remember those eggs—the best I ever had.
Date: 2005-03-10 00:22:07

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Another neat "snapshot" story. I once found a book (think it was even a series) called something like Sudden Fiction, a collection of very, very short "stories". If you could find a copy you might enjoy it.
*CA* 2005-03-10 00:27:17
Don't moments like this seem to completely drain you, then fill you back up with an even better fuel? One that gives you more mileage and faster horses. Sharper vision, lighter on your feet. The transition is hell, but the results are sublime (see the aforementioned eggs).
A-Wix 2005-03-10 03:39:38
Christine, thanks. I know that Sudden Fiction series and may even have one around here somewhere. This form was really popular in the 80's and still persists today; it works pretty well on the Internet, where long texts can be difficult to read. And it provides some of the compression of poems while allowing a little more play with character and narrative than even prose poems often do. Of course some see it as a symptom of the decline of literature; I generally watch the Weather Channel for that.

Andy, yes. The old trope of the descent, then rise--and a good plate of eggs.
tom de plume 2005-03-10 19:29:30
Flash fiction :) Found you via the Story Project and am about to have a longer look around.

The view of it as a decline depresses me, getting a real story in so few words isn't laziness, it's hard!
sylvia@intrigue 2005-03-14 06:28:37

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