FURIOUS FICTION – APRIL, 2021.
STORY MUST BEGIN IN A QUEUE
YOU MUST USE THE WORDS DROP, LUCKY, CROSS
YOU MUST INCLUDE THE IDEA OF A MAP
– ‘You know she’s gonna screw this up?’
– ‘Oh, yes! She always does.’
– ‘She’s useless.’
– ‘An impostor!’
– ‘She’ll definitely lose her job.’
– ‘And the house!’
– ‘And then her husband.’
– ‘He’ll take the kids.’
– ‘More importantly…She won’t be able to pay for her Pilates class. Her glutes will turn to porridge!
‘WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?’
Everyone in the queue turned around to see a tall figure in dark green fatigues.
‘It’s another storm, Captain. A failed one this time.’
‘I CAN SEE THAT! WHY HAS THE LINE STOPPED MOVING?’
‘The Gate. Overwhelmed, ma’am.’
‘NOT AGAIN!’ The line broke apart as she said this and then festered around The Gate in strange rhythmic spasms like flies around a dirty, sticky wound. The Captain sighed and then straightened her cap. ‘ALL THIS BECAUSE OF SOME COUGH LOZENGES?’
‘Yes, yes, yes,’ the small remaining line nodded and then chorused, ‘Lucky Drops! They sooth your throat while killing germs!’
‘ENOUGH!’ the Captain stamped her foot, causing one of the many of her medals to tumble with a loud clang onto the hard floor.
‘It’s the final presentation to the client.’ Someone at the back piped up helpfully. ‘There’s a lot riding on –
‘I KNOW!’ The Captain barked. She thought for a moment, stroking her chin. ‘THERE’S ONLY ONE THING WE CAN DO.’
She retrieved something from her top shirt pocket and flung it heigh into the air where it hovered for a moment then spread out like a giant sheet until it was the size of a drive-in cinema screen.
‘ALL OF YOU!’ The Captain bellowed, ‘YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!’
‘No, I’m new,’ said someone in the front.
‘FOLLOW THE SUBHEADINGS.’
The Captain blew a whistle and the festering stormy mass (and what was left of the line) flew upwards to their appropriate group – Introduction, Background, Market Advantage, Social Media Marketing, Net Returns, and the biggie, Why Advertise With Us.
The Gate was all but clear but for a lonely figure standing in flippers and wearing a blue clown outfit while whizzing a rattle around their head.
‘WHO ARE YOU?’
‘Spontaneity!’ the clown shook their pink frosted hair. ‘You just never know when you’re need –
The Captain shot the clown in the head.
‘WE WON’T BE HAVING ANY OF THAT NONENSE.’
Happy that the dark clouds of the brainstorm had now cleared and absorbed into her Mind Map in some kind of clear and navigational fashion, the Captain walked nonchalantly up to The Gate and crossed into the advertising executive’s fraught little world.
‘NEELA SINGH. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. IT’S TIME TO KICK SOME SERIOUS ASS!’