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When you hit thirty or so, you start to realise that your life won’t amount to much.  Barring catastrophe or the sudden discovery of a hitherto latent genius you’re unlikely to hit the headlines.  That’s what women mean when they talk about biological clocks and feeling broody, and men when they talk about sowing oats and getting their feet under the table.  It’s this urge to have achieved something.  Copulation mainly.  “My loins are fertile,” you wish to announce to the world, rather than, “I was third best fascia and soffit salesman in my area last month,” or, “I spent all weekend watching Taggart reruns in my socks.”  

So I hit thirty and had a kid, because it’s what you’re supposed to do.  And the child is, no thanks to me, well-adjusted and healthy and starting secondary school next year and lives with its mother about three hundred miles away.  I see it biannually, which is more than sufficient for both of us.

So I hit forty and, still in my latest dead-end job, decided the kid was probably a cop-out, because my sole input was seventy million sperm cells (probably still quite drunk from the night before) and the three maintenance cheques I paid before I got fired from Associated Fascias and Soffits.  Since forty is too young, nowadays, to experience a midlife crisis, I decided discovering my latent genius was the only option.

I won’t tell you the number of things I tried before I settled on my particular area of expertise.  I will say that fire juggling is harder than it looks and that Russian is only moderately easier to learn than Urdu.  Eventually, though, in the local library when I was looking for volumes on sword dancing I came across a slim volume with a cover faded to such unreadableness that I immediately and unreasonably, without even looking inside it, formed the view that it would provide me with my next field of endeavour.  It’s like when you get a hunch about a particular set of lottery numbers.  The hunch is invariably wrong, or almost invariably since I suppose someone wins sometimes.  I borrowed the book still without looking inside it, a raised librarian eyebrow the only indication that I had hit upon something unusual.

Rushing to catch the bus home (driving is not my genius, so I gave it up to concentrate upon areas in which I might excel), I shielded the precious tome from the drizzle, the words within already osmotically entering me.  At home, I pulled down the blinds, made myself a cup of tea, and read.  I found myself nodding and, before long, pre-empting what the book would say.  The book was The Art of War by Sun Tzu.  Before I was a fifth of the way through I knew I had found my star-fated destiny; to be the greatest military tactician of the age.  

Alas, the MOD begged to differ, despite the endless letters and CVs I sent.  No longer content to hone my skills playing battlefield strategy games, and unable to rely upon the present regime to allow my genius to flourish, I resolved to stage a coup.  It is the only way my talents will receive the recognition they deserve.

Luckily, my years as a salesman have given me charisma sufficient to build, and lead, an army.  First, I think, a popular uprising is called for.  I predict a riot.
FFM day 4

Prompt is the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band covering the Kaiser Chiefs' I predict a riot.

Please check out the other efforts for today.
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Much like your character's feeling after looking at the book cover, I had to continue reading after seeing just the first four words.
In all honesty, it wasn't a disappointment, although I have to admit sincere heartache at seeing the brevity of the piece.
But in that, you have achieved the best that flash fiction has to offer - capturing attention, containing an entire story, and leaving a reader wishing for more.
A fabulous piece of writing, creatively combining lethargy and life in one twisted character.
There's a hint of scifi in there, a little bit of Philip K Dick's looking into the man and finding the reason, which gives it an irony much appreciated.
All in all, a grand effort.
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Geak-of-Nature Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
excellent!  I'd spell out Ministry of Defense for the non-Britons, though.   I chuckled seein . sasa. otot referredreferreferefrer. hildchildchilchichc. hethetht.
Geak-of-Nature Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
That last sentence was supposed to read, "I chuckled seeing how the child was referred to as 'it'".
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Student Writer
This was brilliant. I love the character you've created, there's something almost manic about the way he thinks which is quite attention grabbing. Once I started this I couldn't stop and it was well worth the read. A very amusing piece.
DailyBreadCafe Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013   Writer
Well done on the DLD
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013  Student Writer
Hehehehe, love it xP

Got a very British, local feel to it. 
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Ozuchi-Kozuchi Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This has already been critiqued twice, so I'll keep it short. I loved the dry humor and wit of this nameless, faceless war-lord to be. You have great word-choice and pacing; the ending (as in the last paragraph) didn't feel abrupt to me, and flowed well with the rest of the piece. I'd love to see his rejection fleshed out a little more however, because this does indeed have great potential. :)
Nemonus Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
I really like the voice here. Your prose is tight and confident, very professional-sounding. The character certainly seems like more than the setup of a punchline for me: there's a potential for a Walter Mitty sort of story here, or an entirely different one where this officious guy actually starts a cult. I had a hard time finding something to critique here: your sentences flow well, your vocabulary is varied, and the whole thing has a sharply, darkly humorous feel. These two sentences did jump out at me as not as professional as the others: "It’s like when you get a hunch about a particular set of lottery numbers.  The hunch is invariably wrong, or almost invariably since I suppose someone wins sometimes." I think it's the second person in the first, and the suggestion of hesitation in the second. It would be tighter just as "I suppose someone wins sometimes." That would also more quickly get to how thinking of the lottery lead to him picking up the book.  

I do tend to dislike prophecy in realistic fiction: have you ever really had an inkling like that about something that turned out to be important? But the world you create here may or not be entirely realistic, and the character is clearly a bit mad, so take that with a grain of salt. 

(The impression of madness reminds me: I like how the character always refers to the kid as "it". That says a lot about him.)

Good work.
joe-wright Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013   General Artist
You're right in thinking this has potential beyond a joke. A middle aged man suddenly discovering that he's a brilliant military tactician is a unique idea that could easily support a novel or something. You've already built in ideas about his estranged son that could also be expanded upon.
The fact that he's bitter and unsuccessful meant I started thinking about Will Self's 'the book of dave'. I'm personally not a particular fan of the book but elements of it might have an angle worth considering if you're trying to think where to go, I don't know.
Vigilo Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Student Writer
Best. I cannot believe you wrote a flash fiction piece on I Predict A Riot. This is so awesome. :heart:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013
Mid-life crisis! Why suffer it alone?
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Bahahahahah! This is great. There's the right amount of irony and humor and truth to make it relatable.
KiriHearts Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013
I can't get past anyone being a fascia salesman. (Also: sewing oats? I am intrigued.)

Everytime I read this it makes me roll my eyes. Awesome.
fyoot Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013   Writer
sowing oats, it should be.  Typo >.<
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