Upstairs or Downstairs flash fiction

Upstairs or Downstairs #flashfiction

Over at the Carrot Ranch this week, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using two words that contradict. Examples include champagne and hard-rock; rosemary and sewage; duck down and firecrackers; sleep and square-dancing. Use one of these or make up your own. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch flash fiction contradictions

I haven’t gone with contradiction as much as confusion, but it’s fitting following something I wrote on my readilearn blog last week. In case you missed it, I wrote that being in lockdown has “felt like time has stood still and sped by at the same time”. That’s a contradiction. My story is a confusion.

Upstairs or Downstairs

Granny scratched her head. “I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha.”

“Whad’ya mean, Granny? I’m Arthur,” Arthur laughed.

“It’s just an old saying. Means I don’t know if I’m coming or going.”

“But you’re not coming or going. You’re staying here. With us.”

“I know,” laughed Granny. “I’m just a bit confused is all.”

“What’re you confused about?”

“I just came all the way down here for something, and I can’t remember what.”

“But this is upstairs, Granny. Not downstairs.”

“Silly me. There’s not much in my upstairs anymore.”

Now it was Arthur’s turn to scratch his head.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

45 thoughts on “Upstairs or Downstairs #flashfiction

  1. Hugh W. Roberts

    Granny sounds likes me when I sometimes open the fridge door and then wonder what I opened it for. I call them ‘senior moments’, although I’m sure we all get them, Norah.

    I’ve heard of the saying ‘Arthur or Martha.’ Even today, it occasionally crops up, even on the TV.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      I think you’re right, Hugh. We do all have those moments. They keep us on our toes. 🙂
      I’m pleased the term was familiar to you – I didn’t want to confuse my readers as much as Granny! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Sweet story, Norah, thanks for making me smile. Is Martha/Arthur an Australian expression? I haven’t heard it before, but fits the story beautifully. Alas, time’s whizzing by all too quickly for me although I know many who are struggling with lockdown boredom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Anne. Your comment about Arthur and Martha made me stop and think. It’s a saying I seem to have known forever but, like many from my childhood, never questioned its origins. Your comment made me worry that I had used something that could be considered insensitive or inappropriate these days, as much from my childhood has been shown to be. So I checked it out and most seem to agree that it’s a saying used in Australia and New Zealand to mean confusion. I was very relieved to find there were no other interpretations but I am grateful to you. I must try to be more mindful of sayings and their origins in the future.
      I agree with you about time. I think life must be like one of those chains on a pulley – the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        I didn’t think it was insensitive, but I did wonder if this was going to be a story about gender. But I liked it, especially the rhyming of the names despite the different spelling, as I imagine you would have done.

        But I agree about so many of our assumptions from childhood. Even though I am conscious that I disagree with much of my parents’ beliefs and attitudes, I still find myself echoing my mother sometimes. It’s good to question but can be exhausting.

        Liked by 1 person


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