So my mother and I are in Midwest City, Oklahoma for the Rose State Writer's Short Course. (I promise I'll write all about the conference later!) It's really great to get to spend some time with her and what's one of the first things we do? Pull out our 642 Things to Write About and pick a prompt. So here it is, from page 52.
Flash Fiction Prompt: You wake up by the side of the road lying next to a bicycle with no memory and no wallet. What happens in the next hour?
photo by Lee Orr
Memory is a strange creature. Gravel scrapes my palms as I sit up. I remember the word gravel. I recognize the pain of raw, exposed skin. The sun is setting over the mountains.
I remember sunsets and solar systems. Nine planets. Well, if you count Pluto. I do.
The front wheel of my bicycle is bent and spinning slowly, an awkward elliptical rotation. Like Pluto’s. How can I know so much about a tiny frozen rock that I’ll never see? Never touch or smell or stand on. And yet… I can’t remember my name.
I stand, dusting pebbles and dirt from my capris.
They took away Pluto’s name. No longer called “Planet.” I doubt it noticed.
The prairie stretches around me, empty and nameless. Where was I going? My bicycle points towards the mountains like an injured bird-dog. West.
Manifest destiny. Go West, young man! Pikes Peak or bust. It’s strange what the brain chooses to store. What gets erased. The sun sinks lower.
Even without a name, I exist. I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I act.
I pick up my mangled bike, pull it back to the road, and point my feet towards the mountains. Maybe I’ll find my name somewhere on the road. Maybe I won’t. Either way, my feet lead me West.
I head into the sun.
Check out my mother's very different - but equally fun - response to the same prompt here!