To avoid spoilers, read Nick Black's story on Splonk: 'A Plan.'
I have not looked at a piece of micro-fiction on this blog before, and so I jumped at the chance to do so when I read Nick's wonderful story. I love this micro because it takes one of the most well known stories and conveys it in just one hundred words. ‘A Plan,’ deals with the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall. The image ‘Splonk,’ used to accompany the story is perfect, and immediately brought to mind Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost.’ You must take a look.
The point of view is set up in the first line: ‘The snake stepped up the side of the cliff, its gaze seized upon the haunches of the mammals up ahead.’ That the snake ‘stepped,’ is a great touch. So too, ‘the haunches of the mammals up ahead.’ That Adam and Eve are referred to as ‘mammals,’ feels anachronistic, maybe referring to a more modern, non-religious take on what humans are. The disgust the snake has for these ‘mammals’ is expressed in the description of ‘their stench, blowing down the mountain on the wind.’ This is a wonderful way to set up the conflict between the snake and its adversaries.
If it is the hero we follow and root for in a story, it is the villain who provides the conflict and lifeblood of story. It is a great choice of Nick’s to tell the story from the villain’s point of view. I can’t help smile when I read the line: ‘She’ll be the one to go for, it thought, then she can persuade him.' A playful description of the male/female relationship summed up in one line. Brilliant!
But the killer line is saved for the story’s end. The snake is clever enough to read the situation, and understands the dynamic between Adam and Eve: ‘The man’s will slapped dumbly from thigh to thigh, but the woman’s was a wildfire racing up and down her spine.’ Wow! This has to be one of the best last lines I’ve read in a short piece of fiction. Being a man myself, I could take offence at Nick’s idea that a man’s will (excellent pun) lies somewhere between his legs, but then… But joking aside, the description of Eve’s will is pure poetry, with the metaphor of 'wildfire racing up and down her spine,' implying all kinds of meanings. This is ambiguous and leaves the reader wondering, which is something great pieces of short fiction often do.
A truly brilliant piece of micro-fiction.
Note to self: Use stories that already exist; tilt them, alter the perspective, and re-tell the story in a new way.
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