‘Flanerie’ in Flash Fiction Festival anthology 2021

Like the last piece, this was written in response to a challenge in the Great Festival Flash Off during the National Flash Fiction Festival. The whole festival had a Bake Off theme, and for this challenge, all the stories had to engage in some way with baking! ‘Flanerie’ was chosen as the winner by Helen Rye and Ken Elkes, whose comments appear below the story.

FLANERIE

When we meet, I ask Brian if he’s a community artist. He says, “No, I’m an artist who works with the community”. I don’t ask what the difference is, because I don’t want to look stupid.

Brian tells me his next project is about Flanerie, which is French and means wandering around. I say, “Around cake shops, right? Flan – erie, get it?”. He doesn’t crack a smile, not even a pained one, and I conclude he doesn’t like puns. Or cake.

He’s dark, short, with a dessicated look, as if painting murals in underpasses and building sculptures in city parks have kept him out too long in fierce sun that burned away everything, including a sense of humour.

Brian says his Flanerie project is about chatting to people, taking their pictures, collecting their stories. I follow as he flans, or flanners, until my feet hurt and I’m really hungry. I hope to lose weight, but I don’t. An old lady we meet asks coyly if I have ‘a bun in the oven’. Brian’s not interested in food, although he does like sex at the end of a long day flanning, or is it flannying, we’ll do it under a railway arch or up an alleyway. I’m still hungry.

Brian’s next piece of Art is a balloony perspex sculpture with tiny limbs, like Violet Beauregard after she turns into a giant blueberry.

I decide my first thought was better, and set out on a flanning odyssey of my own, sampling egg custards and stotty-cake, Chorley cakes and Banbury cakes and Bath buns, and tell myself this is my Art, I’m soaking up the culture along with the fake cream and custard and the doughnut jam that’s so cheap and runny, it can’t even remember what fruit it’s pretending to be.

Judges’ comments:  “This was a particularly tough decision, but in the end we chose ‘Flanerie’ due to its playfulness and comedic tone, which is seasoned with a hint of underlying sadness and quiet desperation.”

Thanks for reading. If you ‘d like to read new stories when they are published, click ‘follow’. My previously published work can be read on this site.

Published by

pblog13

A writer, beachcomber and part-time campervan nomad, based in Brittany

One thought on “‘Flanerie’ in Flash Fiction Festival anthology 2021”

  1. A great read, Patience. Where do you get the ideas from?

    You’ll have to put together a collection and publish them.

    Take care,

    Eamon

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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