Friday Flash

Can I just say how much I giggled at this morning’s Google doodle? I might even have air-punched, just a little bit.

Image: independent.co.uk

Image: independent.co.uk

Instead of following its own colour-coded design, this morning Google used a rainbow pattern, presumably as a comment on the controversy raging over the Sochi Winter Games and the statements made by the Russian government regarding gay people over the last few weeks. I, for one, think this is amazing. The Google doodle, that is, not the ignorant comments. Surely the spirit of the Olympic Games is one of unity, sportsmanship, peace and equality?

So, what part of that means excluding gay people?

Anyway.

I hope the Games take place without incident, without violence, without shows of hatred. I hope they highlight the ideals of fair play, equality between nations and peoples, and the unifying power of sport. I hope they show the world how great human beings can be.

In this vein, this morning’s Flash! Friday challenge was to take this wonderful image:

Panathenaic Stadium during the 1896 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Image: blogs.oup.com

Panathenaic Stadium during the 1896 Olympic Games opening ceremony.
Image: blogs.oup.com

and the prompt word ‘envy’, and craft a story around them. The kicker? As with every Flash! Friday challenge so far this year, the story had to be between 140 and 160 words. Easier said than done.

So, I came up with this:

The Spirit of the Games

He passed through the throng unseen, trying to understand. A huge, hard-packed racing ring led into the unknowable distance. Tiers of chattering people – even women – rose high all around. Unfamiliar flags fluttered overhead. That particular feeling – the only thing he recognised about this place – was in the air. Expectation. Competition. Conquest.

But where were the offering fires? The temple to Zeus?

‘Stop!’ he instructed a passerby, but the command was ignored. Confused, he looked down at himself, oiled and ready. He was unused to being overlooked, accustomed more to greedy stares, flashing hatred, raging jealousy. He thrived upon it. It drove him to win.

But where should he go? There were no slaves to direct him. He could not see the athletes’ enclosure anywhere.

Then, a cheer rose from the crowd. He turned. A group of men, oddly dressed, thundered toward him.

‘Wait,’ he said, hands raised. ‘Please!’

But they passed through him, scattering his shade to the gods.

**

I’m off to stretch my writing muscles, oil up my typing fingers, and get my brain around the high-jump of my MS of ‘Emmeline.’ I started inputting my ‘final’ edits yesterday, thinking ‘Oh, yes! This’ll be a breeze. No problem whatsoever. I know exactly what I want to change, and I’ll get through them in about an hour.’

Famous last words.

Of course, what has happened is that every sentence I read has something in it that needs tweaking. Just slightly, but enough to take up precious cogitatin’ space.

As Captain Oates, my dear old friend, once said: I may be some time.

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