Wednesday 26 June 2019

Flash Fiction - Slow

Flash Fiction - Slow

By Casey Douglass


Spinkel had always been slow. Not slow in a dimwitted kind of way, but slow in both movement and speech. His friend Rami often joked that Spinkel lived life at half-speed. Spinkel felt this was an exaggeration, as he knew he would have to do his version of “running” to even approach “half-speed”.

The doctors were stumped as to whether his condition was mental or physical, or both. After years of tests, pumping him with caffeine, stimulants and courses of cognitive behavioural therapy, they did what any caring doctor would do. They washed their hands of him.

As far as Spinkel’s job prospects, they shouldn't have been zero, but they were. He’d achieved good grades at college and shown himself to be a friendly, sociable chap. Employers however, wouldn’t touch him. Job after job passed him by. The Job Centre tried to help. They had the bright idea of having Spinkel re-classified as a robot. It didn’t work. They penalized Spinkel for their own failings. He told them to go fuck themselves. Slowly, of course. With diagrams and everything.

On a darkening evening, Spinkel found himself on the roof of the local multi-story car park. He considered jumping. He idly wondered if he would fall at a slow, ponderous rate. It was as he ruminated on this that he spied a gathering in a back garden on the other side of the street. His heart hit a heady forty five beats per minute as his breath began to catch in his throat. He saw a group of people, and they were slow too!

As it turned out, they were full-speed people, but people behaving in a deliberately slow fashion. After his chat with the leader, he bought a book on Tai-Chi and other meditative movement-based disciplines. He wondered if he’d found his niche in the world. He studied hard and became a teacher, running his classes at the local town hall and amassing such a following that he soon had to expand his operation. He brought his innate slowness to the postures and movements he performed, something even the best ‘normal’ instructors could only dream of. 

Spinkel fell in love with a frazzled woman who’d worked herself into a nervous breakdown. Together, they found that his tempo and her over-drive blended perfectly into the bosom of their intimate relationship. They had two slow children, were adopted by a moderately-paced cat, and lived out their days in a quiet cottage, packing every second of every day with only as much as it could comfortably carry.