Jesus Christ vs. Kim Chinquee in a Flash Fiction Match!

Disclaimer: First, I’d like to say I respect Jesus Christ and I respect Kim Chinquee. In fact, as objective as I strive to be, today’s match might be unfair, in that I’ve read a whole lot more KC than JC the last year (though I am reading the letters of Paul, the anti-woman’s rights, anti-marriage curmudgeon guy). I’m looking forward to teaching her book this semester, and I am not going to teach His.

But I will mention JC (and will include several parables in class–I teach a ton of flash in class!) because I think He might have been awesome. Dude talked primarily in Flash Fictions! He was ahead of his narrative time. Can you imagine a friend like that? Like you’re at a party and you turn to JC and say, “Oh, boy, there’s Todd. He’s crazy when drunk. Do you think we should even interact with that guy?”

And He gives you that celestial stare, places a hand on your shoulder, and says, “Listen: There were 100 sheep and this one lamb got lost…”

He also really liked wine! But I digress…

Today let’s match them in the arena of blog, one flash fiction each:

Kim Chinquee’s “Look What Sue Can Do” VERSUS “The Parable of the Ten Virgins” by Jesus Christ.

The rules are simple: Which author writes the better flash fiction in the two texts I have chosen? The categories are:

Best Opening Line

Best Image

Best Thing That Made Think

Best Reference to Nachos

Best Ending Line

Grab your Pop Tart and glass of red; and let’s begin!!

Best Opening Line

KC: “An announcer dangled fish and sang about Sue.”

A bit of a clunker, as an opening, but with a poetic sense, as usual for the lyrical Chinquee. We have the internal rhyme of dangled and sang, along with a traditional meter.

JC: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”

Hey now! Have you ever stood in line at a grocery store? Look at those magazines, the ones by the Rolos and the toenail clippers. What’s on their covers? What do legions of Ad Companies know (through exhaustive research) grabs you in those few seconds of gridlock?? Uh, a lot of air-brushed flesh.

(Here is an awesome article about this subject–In one issue of Vogue, this dude photo-shopped 144 images!)

As sad as true: But if you mention sex in an opening line, the reader is going to most likely continue (one purpose of any opening line). Ten virgins is a bit of overkill, but, hey, I am going to read the next sentence; and I bet you are too.

JC with a runaway winner here…

Best Image

KC: “She watched it soar above the water. Everyone was clapping.”

The narrator sits at some Seaworld type locale and watches a dolphin leap into the air. This is strong, in that the narrator and the Other are introduced. She versus Everyone. This narrator is existentially Alone, separated from the spectators, from the husband, and even from her child.

JC: “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

Did you get that, Nerf Herders? THE DOOR WAS SHUT! This is the crux of the situation, isn’t it? God just went all Old Testament on your ass. All plague and firestorm and genocidal sword. Forgiveness? Talk to the hand, fool.

I am calling a tie here. Both images serve as thematic microcosms–the entire point is caught in a single image.

Best Thing That Made Think

KC: “The men would go to the arcade. They would play and shoot the baskets.”

Simple, declarative sentences. Very Chekhov here (I bet not the first time someone has compared Chinquee to the greatest short story writer ever), in that the idea is brutally honest; and hits on a Chekhovian theme: the impossibility of true connection and communication between humans. We also have a hint of gender theory here, another division. “The men” (including her own son–think about that!) drift away in their world. And she is left behind, in hers.

JC: “And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so…”

I told you this was an Old Testament story trying to hide in the New. Do you get this? The “good guys,” the ones about to have a virgin sex orgy (going to heaven), do NOT help those who have less. Do NOT give of themselves. Instead, they say, “You don’t have any oil?” Too bad and enjoy hell, suckers!!

I am going to give Chinquee this one. It simply made me think more.

Best Reference to Nachos

Neither referenced nachos. Thanks, Guys and girls. Thanks for nothing.

Best Ending Line

KC: “They were far gone, heading their own direction.”

Well, obviously this line reiterates the theme, a classic CW technique. This is the period on the sentence. I do find it critical that the men were not just “gone” but “far gone.” The truth is we can never really know another. We walk this earth alone, folks. But it’s these exact moments of breakage that carry poetic impact. Flash fiction, like poetry, captures our flickering shadows.

JC: ” Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

I often tell my intro students: “Look, you know that last paragraph of your story, the one where you tell all the readers what you meant? Please delete it.”

Come on, JC! Don’t patronize your audience. We GET the meaning, dude. The last way to spread a religious message is to talk down to your collected audience. Sure, some people won’t get a parable, many people don’t have the cognitive ability to think abstractly (this is no fault of their own–mostly due to genetic and environmental factors). But write up to your readers, never down!

KC takes this one big-time.

Ok, now for the final result!!

Kim Chinquee narrowly beats Jesus Christ in this Flash Fiction Match!!!

Wow! A bit of a stunner. Who would have expected this result?

But then again, Chinquee is a professional writer. And Jesus was/is a busy Man; really placed on the earth to save the soul of man. Sure, his parables sometimes lacked, but he did found a world religion by age 33. I mean he tells stories more as a side hobby anyway, more as a technique to appeal to the masses. Still, I have to judge just these two flash fictions on their literary merit.

In my opinion, Chinquee prevails.

Until next time, folks. Be sure to check airplanes flying over with banners, or writer-blogs for future battles. And if anyone has any matches they’d like to see, just give a yell.

S

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10 responses to “Jesus Christ vs. Kim Chinquee in a Flash Fiction Match!

  1. I heard there was a nacho ref in the original parables, but it got the axe before going to print. I don’t know if that would have changed the outcome of this match. Maybe.

  2. ok, im commenting too much, so this is my last for a while, but I think you are on to something here.

  3. Crazy Cat Cousin

    AWESOME.

  4. Wow. Thanks for the close reading. (And thanks for teaching my book!)

  5. put me up against jesus and he’s cleaning my feet with his tears every time. buh-lee dat.

  6. I can’t even believe that it was that close.

  7. BEST IMAGE –

    a tie? come on now. the bridegroom “came” for god’s sake (ignore the pun). anytime there is a wedding, and one guy comes, and people follow him into a room… that image has seaworld licked hands down.

  8. You know I couldn’t resist this when I saw it on the list, even though it’s over a year old. I laughed out loud (lol, even).

    Happy parablizing to you!

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