Flash Fiction: Nun For Us, Please

Yesterday I was texting our contractor about some budget items when my phone autocorrected my sentence to: “Once we have the nuns we can decide”.  I chuckled and corrected “nuns” to “numbers” before I sent it, but the phrase stuck in my brain because it really sounded like a flash fiction prompt.

So here goes:

Nun For Us, Please

“Once we have the nuns we can decide when to perform the ritual.”  Zaz raised her carapace and ruffled her iridescent wings in a show of confidence.

Chith eyed their acquisitions, antennae drooping with doubt.  “I don’t know…”  Squealing and grunting from inside the pen made her spring back with a chitter of alarm.  “Are you sure?”

“Magic brought us here.  Magic will take us back,” Zaz said with more certainty than she felt.  “The incantation I overheard mentioned us by name and talked about going home, so it has to be the right one.”

“It didn’t say ‘Zaz and Chith’,” Chith objected.

“Well, no, but it said ‘Pik’ee’ over and over.  An incantation that repeats our race in every line is obviously about us.”  Zaz ruffled her wings again.  “So all we need now is nuns.”

“You said ‘nun’ when you first told it to me, not ‘nuns’,” Chith argued.  “Maybe we only need one, and we’d better get it right.  If we hadn’t been so careless last time, we wouldn’t be in this fix.”  She peered into the pen, her mandibles drawing back in revulsion.  “I hope nuns aren’t like this.  These are so noisy and smelly.  Are you sure they’re the right thing?”

“This is what the human male with the face-fur showed me when I told him the incantation.”  Zaz drew herself up on her hind legs to deliver her newfound knowledge with authority.  “These are pigs.  Nuns are some kind of special human, so they should be cleaner.”  She hesitated.  “Though the furry human was actually quite smelly, too.”

“Are you sure he wasn’t lying?  Because that…”  Chith indicated a malodorous lump beside the pigpen with a contemptuous mandible-click.  “…is either a joke or an insult.  Or both.”

Zaz’s thorax bristled.  “It’s human food.  The cooked muscle of an animal; a ‘cow’, the furry human said.  I can’t help it if it’s disgusting; the incantation required it.”  Her thorax hairs wilted a bit.  “It didn’t smell as bad yesterday, though.”

“It must be rotting.  We’d better hurry up and get our nun.”  Chith backed away from the pigpen.  “Do you know where to get one?”

“Yes, the furry human showed me.”  At the skeptical dip of Chith’s antennae, Zaz bristled again.  “I’m sure he wasn’t lying.  He was very religious.  When I spoke to him, he ritually smashed a beautiful shiny vessel of liquid and prostrated himself to pray to his deity.”  She paused, one antenna cocked mischievously.  “He said ‘Please, God, I swear I’ll never drink again, just make the giant talking bug go away’.”

Chith clacked her mandibles in amusement.  “Let’s go get our nun.”

*

Sister Mary Agnes made the sign of the cross and gave herself a firm mental reminder that all creatures were precious to God.

“I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand,” she said faintly to the two huge beetles standing on the convent doorstep.  “Exactly what do you need me for?”

“I told you, for a magic ritual.”  The larger beetle, Zaz, buzzed the words by modulating her carapace over her vibrating wings.  “We are small Pik’ee and we want to go home.  The incantation says we need a nun.  We have roast beef, and pigs, too; though I’m not sure about them.  The incantation didn’t mention pigs, but the furry human said ‘definitely pigs’ so we got them just in case.”

“And this incantation…” Mary Agnes asked with rising trepidation.  “Where did you overhear it?”

“A human female was teaching it to her young one.  Like this.”  Zaz recited:

This little Pik’ee went to market
This little Pik’ee stayed home
This little Pik’ee had roast beef
This little Pik’ee had nun
And this little Pik’ee went
Wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

Mary Agnes closed her eyes in a short prayer for strength, then drew a steadying breath.  “I’m afraid I have bad news for you…”

* * *

P.S.  And now I want to write a joke that begins, “A nun walks into a bar with two giant talking beetles…”  😉

Anybody else want to have a go at it?  Please do!  Write a flash fiction piece of 750 words or less using the prompt “Once we have the nuns we can decide”, or tell a joke about a nun and two giant talking beetles.  If you have a blog, post it there and link back here; or else drop your joke or story in the comments below.  Have fun!  (You retain full copyright to any joke or story you post here.)

23 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, Writing

23 responses to “Flash Fiction: Nun For Us, Please

  1. I loved this! It was so creative and awesome..except..well..I am terrified of beetles…and ahem ..giant ones?? lol.

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  2. Haha now that was most creative. You are a word wizard my friend. Since I have been saying this little verse to baby grand daughter these days it hit a particularly hilarious chord. Now each time I will be imagining two large beetles and a puzzled nun! Thanks for that… I think. 🙂

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  3. He was my first boss as an engineer. A couple of years later, I got to transfer to another department. My new boss? The guy I was hired to replace after he promoted up from the job I started with. Another great boss. And I worked closely with another engineer who had promoted up from the same group and had worked for my first boss. Great engineers, excellent supervisors. 👍

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    • Oh, guess I oughta mention that I’ve worked for a much higher percentage of bosses on the polar opposite end of the scale, too. Then again, haven’t we all? 😖

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      • Oh. Yeah, I was about to tell you how lucky you were to have such all-time great bosses, but maybe not so much. I’ve actually been incredibly lucky with employment; but then again I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life so I’ve only had a few actual bosses. I find clients are much easier to work with. (And if they’re not, I express my regrets, dump them, and find better ones. I love having my own business.) 😉

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        • Yeah, I’ve done that, too. Owned our company for ten years. A bank crash finished that chapter. Hindsight shows it clearly to be the best thing that could have happened. Long, boring story, but I got an engineering degree out of the deal. Then we moved on. Keeps getting better.

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  4. Herewith a brief flash of fiction:

    A nun walks into a bar with two giant talking beetles. She is disheveled, sweating profusely, and covered with smudges of dirt and grease. “Gimme a cold one, Tommy!” she calls out. “I’ve been through it today.”

    “Coming right up, Sister!” he replies with a knowing smile over the din.

    The beetles both pipe up with, “Gimme a cold one, Tommy! I’ve been through it today!”

    The bartender, clearly ignoring the beetles, zips a large, frosty mug of beer down the polished surface of the bar after she plops down, clearly exhausted, on the one remaining empty stool. The nun catches the hurtling beverage with practiced ease and raises it to her lips in one fluid motion. She drains it without spilling a drop in something under four seconds, but not quite at her record of three point five.

    “Thanks, Tommy!” she sighs contentedly, her gratitude evident. Then she fishes around in a pocket for a long moment. Her hand reappears and she slides two sets of car keys back down the bar.

    “They’re all yours, Tommy,” she hollers at the bartender. I never want to see these wretched things again as long as I live! And tell our idiot software engineer brother at the Volkswagen plant that this batch of autonomous, self-driving, speaking, magnetic-levitation vehicles still has a LONG way to go before they’re ready for prime time!”

    As soon as Tommy retrieved the keys from the bar with one hand, he zipped another cold one down to his sister. “What’s wrong with this batch, Sis?” he asked. “You know I’ll have to tell him something.”

    Well, first,” she replied, “he needs to change their nomenclature designation. Everyone who saw these wretched things today called them ASS-MAGnets…”

    ***

    I know, I know. Even now, someone is shouting, “Quick! Stop him before he flashes us again!!”

    Remember, it was an open invitation. Just sayin’… 🙂

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    • Bahahaha!!! Sounds like the new VW Beetles aren’t quite there yet. And if nuns are doing the testing, that explains a lot about why some of the new car features require the patience of a saint… 😉

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      • Bingo! Gee, you’re GOOD!! Give the lady a cigar!!

        Years ago, the excellent gent who was my always-calm mentor and supervisor at my first gig as an engineer always had the perfect bit of wisdom for every challenge. No kidding. I learned much from him. One of the things was that “engineers are patient. Good engineers are very patient. Great engineers are exceedingly patient…for just barely long enough. At that point, they revert back to serious ass kickers and get shit DONE.” Best boss I ever had.

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  5. jenny_o

    I love it! I’m completely devoid of the fiction or joke-writing gene, sadly, but I love reading both 🙂

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  6. Pingback: Expanding Order – Beyond the Sphere

  7. Fun post, Diane, and I feel a little sorry for Zaz and Chith… all that hope dashed! I love that incantation though!
    Where will we be without autocorrect, hey? I’ve posted a response to your challenge over on my blog.
    Thanks, Diane! 😀

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  8. Really trying to think of a joke or a story this may take some time

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