“Time. Wow.” Excerpts by Neil Clark

What Would Happen If The Speed of Light Simply Changed

I knew the speed of light had slowed down to a snail’s pace when I looked across the street. The people I saw on the other side were from weeks ago.
I knew it when I looked down at what I was eating and saw breakfast, even though I was actually eating dinner.
I knew it when I first laid eyes on my true love, even though our children were already born.

[Unfinished]

Every morning, I’d ask this barista how he was, and he’d always say the same thing — “I’m here.”
Then one day, he wasn’t.
That was years ago. But I still think about that guy, all the time.

What We Can Learn from The Death of Mr McKenna

They found my old high school history teacher, Mr McKenna, dead behind a bookcase in his home. Neighbours had complained about the smell.

I looked into his cause of death. Apparently if you drop something behind a bookcase or a wardrobe, you should never lean into the small gap between it and the wall to retrieve it. If you lose your balance, you might get stuck. If nobody finds you, you might die. Apparently, this is very much a thing.

Instead, move the bookcase or wardrobe first. It might be a bit of a pain, but then again, so is slowly dying alone.

I don’t remember many lessons from school. Only those from Mr McKenna’s.
I remember him spending a whole afternoon convincing us ‘however’ and ‘therefore’ are two of the most powerful words in the English language, and we should always consider using them in any conclusion to any essay. I remember someone asking him what the point in learning history was. He told us, amongst many other things, history presents us with an opportunity to learn from our mistakes of the past.

It must have been awful for Mr McKenna. All alone, lodged against a wall as his last breaths left his body. The bookcase that killed him must have been stacked with so much amazing literature. Books about wars, scandals, revolutions, migrations, all kinds of hardship.
In all those pages, I bet there was nothing warning about the potential perils of getting stuck behind a bookcase. Maybe if there was, he’d still be alive today.
These words are going to be in a book. These very words, right here.

Maybe this book won’t stop any wars. However, maybe it will end up on someone else’s bookcase. Maybe when that person gets old and they live alone, they won’t die stuck behind it as a result. Therefore, these words about Mr McKenna’s death would have saved someone’s life.

I think Mr McKenna would have liked that.

“Time. Wow.” is available for pre-order and will be released on October 15th,
for more details please visit: https://backpatiopress.bigcartel.com


Neil Clark has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions anthologies, as well as longlisted for both the Wigleaf Top Fifty and Bath Flash Fiction award. His work was included in the Best British and Irish Flash Fiction of the Year 2019/20. His debut flash fiction collection is now available from Back Patio Press.

Twitter: @NeilRClark

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