KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 4: Fall 2015
Flash Fiction: 504 words [R]

My Maladies

by Ron Carlson

Honestly, I was hoping to have a conversation, but my maladies have come between me and that possibility. My maladies, not to make a long song and epic dance out of it, but my maladies have afflicted me aplenty. It might help if I describe them, the way I did to the medical professionals: first, I had some backup which slowed down the server. I’d already had a virus or two, and I thought this was just my system operating, but then I started to blog, and that was terrifically unpleasant. Plus it is rude and embarrassing. I’d be somewhere and suddenly: blog. No, really: people don’t like that. It’s like an unwanted opinion: blog. I knew then what I know now: it wasn’t natural. Pretty soon it wasn’t occasional, but I was fully blogging. Some of my blogs were linked. People, my friends, knew I was blogging and I couldn’t tell them differently. After I had blogged there were people who examined my blog and sometimes there was matter in my blog which just upset everyone. No one wanted to have me blogging; as my best friend said, “If you’ve seen one blog, you’ve seen them all.”

All this time I was steadily downloading, and then with my blog in full-blown blog mode, I began to podcast. I had a feeling something was happening, and then it did. Podcasting was horrible. Pods! There I’d be, looking normal, but suddenly I’d cast a pod. I wasn’t used to this at all. I was casting pods everywhere, literally. The professionals were just confused by this and for a while they supported me. Cast that pod, they’d say. Don’t let them back up on you. Well, I’d been backing up the server. Now they said: podcast if you can. I didn’t want everyone to see my pods. But I could not stop casting them. Then my maladies achieved their current dimension which has caused me so much alarm. I started casting blogs. It was bad enough to blog, but then to cast them. And then I began to blast clogs which made no one laugh out loud. My heavens.

Now, I’m blogging pods and that’s disgusting. A blog-covered pod is more than I can stand. It’s hideous. I’m podding blogs and blogging casts. My maladies are such that now I’m all atwitter and I cannot even podcast in a straight line. Of course, I’ve omitted out of good taste the fact that all through my maladies I was also streaming in real time. And I also had several websites. Plus, all along I had been getting hits. These are the final stages so far, the professionals say.

There are other maladies to come, I’m told. It’s worldwide, of course, a pandemic. Everybody has it. We can’t even talk to each other anymore without a website casting a pod. I miss everyone. I just want to sit down and talk, to have a conversation, and I’m waiting for these maladies, blog, pod, tweet, to pass.

—Previously appears in The Blue Box: Flash Fiction and Poetry (Red Hen Press: Pasadena, California; 2014); republished here by kind permissions from publisher and author’s agency

[Note: The following copyright notice is included as per agreement with the author’s agency: “My Maladies” by Ron Carlson. Copyright © 2014 by Ron Carlson. From his collection THE BLUE BOX, published by Red Hen Press. Reprinted by Permission of Brandt & Hockman Literary Agents, Inc. Links within the bio below are provided courtesy of the agency.]

Ron Carlson’s
Issue 4, Fall 2015

newest novel is Return to Oakpine. His short stories have appeared in Esquire, Harpers, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other magazines and journals, as well as The Best American Short Stories, The O’Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, and other anthologies; they have been performed on National Public Radio’s This American Life and Selected Shorts. His book on writing, Ron Carlson Writes a Story, is taught widely. He is also the author of Room Service: Poems, Meditations, Outcries & Remarks (Red Hen Press, 2012) and The Blue Box: Flash Fiction & Poetry (Red Hen Press, 2014).

Carlson has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Cohen Award at Ploughshares, the Tim McGinnis Award at The Iowa Review, and the Aspen Prize for Literature; and his novel, Five Skies, was the One Book, One State selection of the Rhode Island Center for the Book in 2009. He is Director of the MFA Program in Fiction Writing at the University of California, Irvine and lives in Huntington Beach, California.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Ron Carlson’s Faculty Page at UC, Irvine (please note that his page was last updated on 26 July 2012)

Site contains text, proprietary computer code,
and graphic images that are protected by:

⚡   Many thanks for taking time to report broken links to: KYSOWebmaster [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡