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Strangely Non-Sequitur

by Samhain

“Well, well, well, Good morning Seattle!” crackled a male voice on the radio. “You’ve got a fine morning ahead of you to start your work week, with a projected high of 63 degrees and some patches of sunshine throughout. The Seahawks will be moving on to the playoffs, hopefully scoring another big win for the Evergreen State! I-5 south currently has a traffic advisory from 8 to 11 due to construction near the Tacoma exit…”

George rubbed his eyes, forced himself to a sitting position. Everything in him wanted to collapse back on the pillow and skip work that day.

But I gotta get paid, he grumbled.

Charlene, his wife, lay wide-eyed staring at the ceiling, breathing heavy.

“You all right?” he slurred, wiping his eyes.

“The damn radio startled me,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m awake now!”

He smiled, kissed her on the cheek. “You’re so beautiful.”

Her eyes sparkled with desire. “I wish you could stay today.”

Suddenly, the phone rang. Loud. Obnoxious. Straight out of the thirties.

George sighed, dragged himself across the room, answered.


“Greetings, Mr. Thwaite.”

It was a deep voice, sinister, altered through some kind of tech.

“Who’s this?” George demanded.

“I am… the Secondary Protagonist,” said the voice profoundly.

“The what?” He pulled the phone away from his ear.

“Look out your window, Mr. Thwaite, and you might yet understand.”

George turned his head right, stared out the plate-glass windows to the towering cityscape from their tenth floor perspective. The Space Needle was visible in the distance.

“Okay… what am I looking for?”

“Just watch.”

Four seconds later, a beautiful monarch butterfly fluttered past and continued on out of sight.

“George, what’s going on? Who are you talking to?” Charlene asked, concern in her voice.

“Did you see it, Mr. Thwaite?”

“I… yes…”

“And now it begins.”

All of a sudden, the line cut off with a click.

“Mr. Sec—” he shook his head, set the phone back down on its stand.

“What just happened?” Charlene asked, frowning.

He crawled back in bed, hugged her tight. “Wrong number.”

The two of them shifted positions, and both dozed off.

“Well, well, well, Good morning Seattle!”

George snapped awake, eyes wide and staring at the ceiling, breath heavy from the shock.

Charlene pulled herself up into a sitting position, looked down at him.

“You all right?” she slurred, wiping her eyes.

“The damn radio startled me,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m awake now!”

The radio continued. “…due to construction near the Tacoma exit. Meanwhile, our favorite real-life hero whom we affectionally call the Batman was seen saving passengers from a derailed train late last night…”

“Oh, look, a butterfly!” Charlene exclaimed.

George shot up, stared out the window. “Wow,” he breathed, “so it is!”

The monarch fluttered by in greeting, and continued on.

All of a sudden, the phone rang.

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429 Reviews

Points: 46225
Reviews: 429

Tue Nov 23, 2021 10:40 pm
Plume wrote a review...

Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

Ooh, this was an interesting piece. It had a bit of a Groundhog day vibe to it, what with the radio and the semi-repeated events. I was impressed by the flow of your dialogue, as it was very natural and worked so well to carry the story along. I also really enjoyed how well you were able to immerse the reader in the story. Starting with the radio announcer was a great choice; you did such a convincing job of giving the announcer a believable voice, and it immediately drew me in.

Now, I know this is flash fiction, but I feel like there were certain things that could be better explained. I though the addition of Batman felt a little random, especially because we don't know if it was in the original radio announcement. The reader is left wondering if it's simply an innocuous radio announcement, or if maybe George has switched realities to one where Batman exists now. The wording of it was phrased slightly weird to, which makes me wonder if Batman is a fictional character in George's universe and they're calling this mystery hero Batman as a reference to that. I just think that it was a bit ambiguous and leaves the reader with more questions than answers. Since you've already got persisting questions throughout the story, this seems like an unnecessary bit of confusion. The significance of the butterfly was also a little underexplained. I think with flash fiction, the reader should be left drawing their own conclusions, but the writer should set it up so that the reader really only has one or two conclusions to draw from. This feels more like the beginning to a story than a piece of flash fiction.


“Well, well, well, Good morning Seattle!

Since this whole thing is one sentence, you don't need to capitalize "Good morning." Same goes for the one in the second part of the story.

Overall: nice work!! I think your story pacing was really nice, and with some more isolated and story-like elements, I think it could become a really great piece of flash fiction! I hope to read more of your work here soon! Until next time!!

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20 Reviews

Points: 60
Reviews: 20

Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:16 pm
Mooilky wrote a review...

Hello, I am leaving a review.

First of all, (“I am… the Secondary Protagonist,” said the voice profoundly.) This was hilarious.

The repetition of the radio waking up either spouse, and that they say the same thing was interesting to me. I loved the inclusion of Batman.

Initially the phone call happened before seeing the butterfly. Then, after they fall back asleep (or did they never wake up to begin with?) the phone call happens after seeing the butterfly. It makes me wonder how/if the contents of the phone call will be different than the first call from the Secondary Protagonist?

I did feel like the question of needing to go to work was a little abandoned. I've definitely fallen back to sleep when I needed to go to work, but if felt like the idea is brought up and abandoned. Which is fine.

Another thing I'm wondering is if George remembers the first phone call. I don't think that question needs to be answered narratively, but I'm certainly thinking about it lol.

This was an interesting read. Thank you for sharing your art.

Best Wishes <3

Samhain says...

Thanks for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I like to create sympathy for my characters, then set the monsters loose.
— Stephen King