An idea, or inspiration if you will, for poetry and short stories, can come from many sources, one of which is a tiny report in a national newspaper dealing with an off-beat or quirky event. One such news story triggered the writing of The Fall, which began life as a comic poem that I later reshaped to Flash fiction.
It’s probably a measure of my sense of humour that I regard the following story as comic rather than tragic fiction. I wonder what you, the Reader will make of it?
When Robert Frobisher hurled himself from his third-floor balcony, he wanted to die. He wasn’t seeking revenge but he got it, along with two broken legs and a dislocated pelvis.
The day had started well for Robert. He’d kissed his lovely wife, Paula, slipped behind the wheel of his red Porche Boxter and roared away from his luxury ocean-front apartment to begin another day of financial shenanigans at Morton Whitworth, a leading firm of tax consultants.
One phone-call can change your life and the call Robert answered mid-morning changed his.
Truly sorry, Bob; it’s been great, but, hey, ‘Corporate Downsizing’ and all that. C’mon, cheer up, man. Shit happens!
Minutes later, Robert Frobisher was climbing back into the red Porche, which seemed suddenly less a status symbol, more a quagmire of exorbitant repayments.
The drive home was a blur, as Robert replayed the conversation with Walt Whitworth, muttering the things he ought to have told the old bastard. Dread crushed him like a great fist as he thought of the gigantic mortgage he could no longer pay and wondered how he’d break the news to Paula. Paula, his heart’s desire: sexy, vivacious, but not, he reflected, tolerant of failure. What the Hell could he tell her?
Arriving home, Robert took the elevator to his second-floor apartment and turned to stone. There was Paula, his perfect Paula, half-naked in the arms of a pizza delivery man.
Uttering a howl of disbelief, Robert launched himself at the couple, who popped apart like two halves of a cracker, Pizza Man making a bee-line for the stairs.
Robert, never a violent man, felt his body convulse. It was as though all the blood in his sixteen-stone frame had turned to ice. Job, car, mortgage and now this. What was the bloody point? Something in him snapped. The door to the balcony stood open: beyond it, endlessly, the wide blue sea. All at once, Death seemed his perfect friend. Charging the balcony rail, Robert Frobisher jumped.
Pizza Man, exiting the apartment block, paused to fasten the zip on his jeans. Damn close call, he thought, as Robert landed on him like a meteor.