The Narcissist’s Vindication. A flash fiction.

I entered this flash in a competition recently. It didn’t win. Let’s be honest; it didn’t even get an honourable mention. I was quite pleased with my effort though, so here it is for #fridayflash. The rules required use of the phrase ‘a race against time’.

Please comment if you feel like it. Go on. You know you want to.

Nip over to #fridayflash to find many other writers flashing furiously.


The Narcissist’s Vindication


In his twenties, Nigel lacked the maturity to control his flashes of inspiration.

‘Life,’ he said, checking his date was awake with a judiciously placed poke, ‘is a race against time.’

‘And death,’ replied Jane, ‘is when you come in last. It’s three in the morning and I was fast asleep. Goodnight.’

Unused to having his genius reposted with such cruel efficiency, Nigel ended the romance over breakfast.

With the passing years, Nigel’s situational awareness improved enough to deliver his bons mots on occasions appropriate to the subject matter.

‘Eating in such an establishment,’ he announced one evening at The Ivy, ‘is simply disguising man’s bestial urge for self-nourishment with the culinary gewgaws of the privileged.’

‘Oh,’ said Rebecca, ‘and there was me thinking we were celebrating my thirtieth birthday.’

The trouble with other people, he’d decided by his forties, is that they lack enquiring minds.

‘The fact is, no-one seems to be able to analyse life like me.’

‘Is that another of your pearls of wisdom?’ asked Amy, whose capacity to endure Nigel’s insightful affirmations had significantly diminished.

‘Just one of many.’

‘I see,’ she said, rising from the bed, ‘well, string them together and there should be enough to hang yourself. Goodbye.’

As the door slammed, Nigel decided that such arrogance was misplaced and grossly inappropriate in a person of limited intelligence.

In his later years, Nigel resorted to specialist, MENSA-approved dating agencies and cleverly-worded, cryptic ads in the high-end papers. The few dates which resulted from his efforts proved predictably inept at matching his mental capacity; a fact which he shared with Fiona one evening, as he poured the wine.

‘Believe me,’ she said, noticing with approval how a well-aimed glass of Château Lafite stains a shirt as thoroughly as the cheapest of wines, ‘you’re no Stephen Hawking.’

Later that night, Nigel paused to wonder how the eminent professor might apply physics to the problem of measuring out just the right length of rope required to break a man’s neck.

‘I might not actually be him,’ he thought, ‘but I’m surely equal to the task.’

He was.

© flyingscribbler 2012


19 comments on “The Narcissist’s Vindication. A flash fiction.

  1. Poor Nigel he hadn’t mastered the dating game had he.

  2. marc nash says:

    two words come to mind: “Come” and “uppance”. I like the casual way a different woman’s name was inserted each time, emphasising the repetitive behaviour patterns of this rigid man

    • I’m pleased you spotted that Marc. I did think about the names and use of and wanted them to act as markers as the decades went on and as his romancing abilities refused to improve.

  3. John Wiswell says:

    Sorry you didn’t win, Justin, but I got a big kick out of the “when you come in last” line. That was very clever.

  4. ganymeder says:

    Its amazing how someone so inept at the dating game still manages to sleep with all his dates. Hmmmmm.

    Entertaining bit of flash!

  5. Aaron says:

    Quite an insufferable guy, and yet landed so many dates anyway!

  6. I’m with Catherine and Aaron, how did this man land dates int he first place! I really enjoyed this story, Justin. It was a winning piece of flash in my book. 🙂

    • Thanks Danielle. As I commented earlier, I did worry about the inconsistency in his character. Given more time, I would work that differently. This is why I love #fridayflash. Constructive ideas. Thanks.

  7. Steve Green says:

    I do rather feel sorry for Nigel, I don’t think he really means any harm to anyone, or their feelings, I just don’t think he can help himself.

    It would be be lovely to see him meet a girl was the chalk to his cheese.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the story too Justin. 🙂

  8. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I’ve met people like that, where I’m being told how amazing they are, and surely no one else can be as insightful/witty/sensitive/etc. as they are. They just make me think of Lady Catherine de Bourgh from Pride & Prejudice!

  9. Katherine says:

    Owie. If the prize for the contest had been “painfully like real life” you should have won hands down!

  10. This was so clever and very very well put together. A sad end to a very sad life.

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