Where the hell is Tony's #FridayFlash?
by Tony Noland
Sitting in an airport, quietly eating a blueberry muffin, Neil Gaiman's phone chimed to the sound of an incoming DM.
D @neilhimself So did he die, or what? He's usually pushy & obnoxious, but he's been so quiet.
He wiped the crumbs from his fingers and responded.
D @margaretatwood No idea. He always has his #FridayFlash up on Thursday afternoon.
D @margaretatwood Has @susanorlean said anything? She's a big fan of @TonyNoland, too.
The plane was delayed by snow in Chicago. Strange, since he's flying from Dallas to Los Angeles, but it's an interconnected world, he thought. The connections are no less real just because they seem to make no sense. He looked down at his phone again. A Friday without one of Tony Noland's stories was like a brass doorknocker that wanted polishing.
He knew Susan Orlean somewhat, having met her at a "Writers on Twitter" charity event. Their writing spheres overlapped only slightly; he wondered if it would be appropriate to ask her directly if she knew why Tony was so late in posting his story. It was impossible to put out a general call, of course. Having a million and a half followers was as bad as walking through a minefield with an active hive on a hot day.
His phone chimed again. John Scalzi said:
D @neilhimself DYK what's up with @tonynoland? @wilw and I wr looking for his #fridayflash. Nthing new on Landless since Wed. ???
Neil smiled and typed in a response.
D @scalzi I thought you were going to stay off-line in the mornings, and work on pay copy? Where's your dedication? Your work ethic?
Instantly, the response came.
D @neilhimself Haha - for @tonynoland I make exception. Funnier than @stevemartintogo + angsty writer whining = good for laugh.
The crowd at the flight agent stand thickened momentarily. He thought that an announcement of some kind was imminent, but it was just one obnoxious passenger wanting to know precisely WHY the plane was delayed. Clearly, the man was unused to living in the moment when the situation called for it.
D @scalzi Question: your tweets are grammatically correct, but your DMs are rife with internetisms. Why is that?
D @neilhimself Like to remind self of AOL roots. Condense text when don't have to = deep editing irony. Tautology metahumor. LOL4U2?
Neil sighed. You can take the man out of the University of Chicago, but his blood will always run maroon. It was sometimes difficult to know when John Scalzi was joking, since his humor was often so multi-layered that it became indistinguishable from idiocy. One was then left wondering if it was, in fact, simple idiocy which John had presented as a challenge for the reader. What is the mystery of this empty box? Only the sharpest, deepest minds would come up with "The mystery is that there is no mystery." John was a complicated fellow.
D @neilhimself Neil, do you know anything re: @tonynoland's #fridayflash?
How strange, he thought. Everyone outside the profession assumed that all writers knew each other well, that it was all one big family. He considered how to respond tactfully.
D @barackobama Sorry, Mr. President. No info. I don't actually know him, just read and admire his work.
D @neilhimself OK, thanks.
The gate agent picked up the phone and began to make an announcement. Nothing happened, even after she switched handsets. On the board behind her, the flight numbers rolled as the departure time was pushed back another hour. Neil's phone chimed again, but he pushed the mute button and slipped the phone into his vest pocket. Pen in hand, he opened his notebook and took a deep breath to clear his mind. It was his hard and fast policy to use flight delays to let his mind wander and write whatever came of it. He'd gotten several quite good ideas that way. Tony would post his story at some point; he and everyone else would just have to be patient.
He thought for a moment, pen paused over the blank sheet. Robot bees? Explosive bees? Self-aware, explosive robot bees? Bees that wrote out poetry in their wax?
No. Bees that usually danced out poetry as commentary on the quality of the flowers they'd found, but were now dancing out elegies of the great CCD dying. The Great Death of the Bee Kingdoms.
Smiling, he began to write.
===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.
Like it? Tweet it! Tweet