Where the hell is Tony's #FridayFlash?

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.

Another chime.

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.

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  1. You are a delight Mr Noland. Loved this, really made me laugh.

    Now if you manage to get @neilhimself to tweet the link to this, you'll be laughing too.

    You clever so-and-so x

  2. The most clever #fridayflash I've seen yet, sir. Well-played Tony.

  3. My LOL moment - Barack Obama just slipped in there all casual-like! You're funny!

  4. Love it! And you posted it just in time too, before the end of Friday in Australia.

  5. @Emma: You're delightful yourself, Emma! This was me messing about because I couldn't think of anything for a FridayFlash.

    @Carrie: Thanks, Carrie!

    @Cathy: Oh, me and Barack, we go way back. 8-)

    @Red: I was hoping to get in under the wire!

    n.b. to Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, Susan Orlean, Margaret Atwood, Barack Obama and even Salman Rushdie if he should happen by: I admire you all. If you want to RT this, great, but otherwise just keep doing what you're doing.

  6. Tony this is superb! I giggled my way through it. Wonderful.

  7. Very very funny. Feels like the circle is closed now. However, there will be another Friday next Friday.

  8. Now you've explained what those writers and the president have in common - you. Well played!

  9. Possibly the best thing you've ever written, good sir.



  10. Oh I absolutely loved this. The circle between Friday Flash and Twitter is finally complete.

  11. Cute, Tony. I love self-referential humor and this was just a hoot! Yes, we're all "waiting for your hot track" (gwen stefani, "Whatcha Waitin' For?"). Naturally, even the President would be concerned when it didn't appear ... :D

  12. Just brilliant, hilarious, love the self-referential humour too. You are a class above. We wait with baited breath for next week's Friday Flash.

  13. This was good, Tony. Don't get me wrong. But your best #fridayflash will probably involve robot bees. Self-aware, explosive robot bees.

  14. This may be the Andy Warhol of #Fridayflashes. Clever. You made me giggle more than once.

  15. Left me smiling...thoroughly enjoyable innovation

  16. I am going to pretend that this is really the way it works, because it is too fun. Poor Neil being stuck as the point person...

  17. Rebecca: Thanks! Giggling lowers your cholesterol, did you know that? I'll bill your insurance company next week.

    Anneke: In my mind, the circle is always spinning, spinning, spinning.

    Laura: Don't I wish this were all true!

    Jim: Why, thank you!

    Icy: Now all I need is Jhumpa Lahiri to tweet about me and my mission will be complete, too.

    Janet: Oh, I think if anyone is waiting for me to sing a hot track, you can go visit my Audioboos. That should be enough of my singing for anyone.

    Alison: Thanks! Next week will probably not be nearly as funny, but you never know.

    John: I'll leave it to Neil Gaiman to write the story about self-aware, explosive robot bees. I still have bear trapping on my to-do list.

    FAR: Thaaaaaanks!!

    Gen: I'm glad you liked it! See my comment to Rebecca about the giggling. No co-pay for the treatment, but my hourly rate is horrendous.

    Fictdoodles: Thanks!

    Valerie: I got lost in this little daydream for precisely the same reason. I wouldn't worry about Neil - I sincerely doubt he's ever going to see this, so what he doesn't know won't bother him. Of course, if he comes out with a new book about the Great Death in the Bee Kingdoms, we might have to have a chat.

  18. Killer piece, Mr. Tony. No wonder the world's greatest writers are watching you. For what it's worth, I'm a great proponent of visualization. Imagine it vividly enough, and it will materialize. Better watch out. Fame's a bugger.

  19. You are too much, Mr. Noland. This is the best thing ever.

    Yes, studies have shown that the moon goes off course by 16 degrees if TN doesn't post a flash on time. But don't worry, all is well. It's returned to its natural orbit now. Thanks for saving the world one more time, Tony. :-D

  20. Hilarious, Tony. And what's more, probably too. Hope you remember us little Friday Flashers when those big timer's sweep you up into their midsts. For what it's, I think you'd do "self-aware exploding robotic bees" at least as well as @neilhimself.

  21. Brilliant Tony! You have really outdone yourself with this one.

  22. haha, very funny. Now tell me about the dancing bees

  23. Well I doff my cap, sir. Truly funny.

    But thanks for putting me onto this. Posted my very own first Friday Flash Fiction today.

    Already I'm addicted.

  24. Love it! Very funny. I want to be impotant enough everyone hangs on my posts.

  25. Hahaha! Did your writerly ego need a little boost this week? Stop peeking into my fantasies, dangit! ;)


  26. Mike: I like visualization, too, but I suspect this is more like hallucination.

    Gracie: Other people move markets. I move orbits.

    Maria: Thanks! I'd don't know if I'd do self aware exploding robot bees better than Neil Gaiman, but I bet I'd do them sooner.

    Rachel: Thanks!

    Paige: Thanks! Here's a link about bee dancing.

    icb4: Thanks, and welcome to FridayFlash!

    Raven: Hey, I'd like to be that important, too!

    Cecelia: Ha! Does it show that much? 8-)

  27. Nicely done, Mr. Noland. A good little laugh for a Friday afternoon.

  28. This post was so much fun to read. Lighthearted, humorous and creative. What a great way to combine the Twitterverse into a story.

  29. Wow! Self-aggrandizement and narcissism all rolled into one meta masterpiece. AND you got Neil Gaiman to actually reply to it on Twitter.

    You lucky dog. Good job.

  30. Okay, I'm smiling. I won't forget this one for some time.

  31. Great job Tony, truly unforgettable!

  32. This was a fun read! Loved it!

  33. @Danni: Laughter is good for the soul - enjoy!

    @Adam: Thanks!

    @laradunning: Yeah, I pretty much whipped together a bunch of great people into a light, frothy puff pastry. I'm glad you liked it!

    @antisocialbutterflie: Wow! Self-aggrandizement and narcissism all rolled into one meta masterpiece. I sometimes think that's where my real skill set lies... I should have gone into PR! AND you got Neil Gaiman to actually reply to it on Twitter. You lucky dog. Good job. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that he read it, liked it and said so. I suppose he could have sent the Sandman or the Anansi brothers after me if he hadn't, so I'm also glad I dodged that bullet. 8-)

    @Donald: Okay, I'm smiling. Me too!

    @Jason: Thanks!

    @Elaine: I'm glad you liked it, and thanks for stopping by

    @Dan: I had some goony fun writing this one, Dan. Sometimes, those are the best.

  34. I adore meta humor. You rock. :)

  35. This made me giggle until my husband stared at me like I'd grown a second head (this happens more often than I'd like, but...)

    Very funny. Thanks for the laugh :)

  36. freaking awesome on so many levels. There is some sort of 1 plane consciousness of writers that lets us jump instantly from one mind to another.( I totally pulled that out of my ass, but I'm sure it means something.) It felt so real I thought I was reading an interpretation of a transcript. *heh*

  37. Wow, even the POTUS keeps an eye out for your weekly installments? I need to hang out with you more often. Funny piece, Tony. Thanks.

  38. @ganymeder: Thank you, Catherine! I like meta humor, too!

    @Seleste: Hey, have your husband read it, too. He might not think it as funny, but at least he won't think you're crazy!

    @Monica: I'm glad you liked it! It felt so real I thought I was reading an interpretation of a transcript. I actually tried to use more British turns of phrase (e.g. a doorknocker that "wanted" polishing instead of "needed") to make it sound more like Neil Gaiman. Of course, my channeling of Margaret Atwood and John Scalzi is pure dreck, but you can't hit every note right all the time!

    Thanks to everyone for your reads and comments. This #Fridayflash has meant a much-needed good couple of days for me.

  39. I really enjoyed this, but you have left me wanting to know about the bees. Maybe next week?

  40. Wow, I had no idea you were such a big shot, Tony! You'd better make sure to get those stories up on time. Lots o' people are counting on you!

  41. Well, there's Tony going all meta on us. A #fridayflash about a non-#fridayflash.

    Nicely done, Sir. Clever and a fun read.

  42. @Tim: The bees are now on my "to be written" list.

    @Eric: Wow, I had no idea you were such a big shot, Tony! I'm a legend in my own mind.

    @KjM: Well, there's Tony going all meta on us. I never meta #fridayflash I didn't like!

  43. I'm so behind getting on top of commenting for the past few months... however, just stopped by to let you know that you've made me laugh aloud on Friday, I really needed that.
    So thank you for being such an amazing writer! :)

  44. Tony -- really neat idea to turn the friday flash block around - how do you all do it every friday??!!!I laughed out loud at this.

  45. @Estrlla and Brinda: Thanks for reading! I'm glad you liked the piece - laughter is the best kind of thing on any day.

  46. Just love the idea of the bees dancing the story of their demise.


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