Flash-365 is a collaborative project between writer Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov. Each day, Ben writes a flash fiction story, sends it to Nikita, he draws a picture based on the story. Our goal is to do this for 365 days. One story, one picture, per day for one year. So far, so good.
A small man stood in my driveway. He was waiting for me. He pointed. He had eyes like flying saucers and no nose.
“I AM KLUBBIT!”
He had a French accent. I walked outside. The sun pounded on the poor little man.
“What do you want?” I asked. “I have to get to work.”
“I am Klubbit! I am an emissary from Fundiks. We have come to destroy planet earth! You have become a bad society, destroying your resources and warring. YOU! You are chosen to speak for your planet. Tell us! Why should we spare you?”
He had odd-looking knees. I think they might’ve bent outward.
I said, “yeah — alright.”
He stared at me a moment and then said, “What?”
“I said, yeah — alright. Now can I get to work?”
He looked lost for a moment, then said, “You must speak on behalf of your people.”
“Yeah…yeah — your name is what?”
“And your people are fun dicks?”
“Brilliant — yeah, no I think that is a pretty decent end to us, you guys go ahead.”
“But — ”
“Can I go now? I really will be late to work, you know.”
I turned to get in my car.
Klubbit crouched down. His knees did bend outward. He struggled to find words.
“You — I can’t — I can’t go back. This has never happened before, you can say anything, we only need a single reason, any reason.”
He looked up.
I shrugged. “Yeah. oh. well.”
“Are all of your race so empty?”
“If they’re full, they’re full of shit.”
I winked at him in the hopes it might make him feel better but he began to leak something gross out of the skin where his nose should have been and so I got in my car. As I backed slowly out, he placed a hand on the hood and gave me a lost look. I waved.
I got Dunkin’s on the way to work.
I was only five minutes late. Inside the office, I noticed that no one was in their cubicles. There was a noise of bodies coming from the breakroom. I looked and found all of my co-workers crammed in around the small corner television where a bald man stood on a stage in his underwear and a white tank-top surrounded by Fundiks. The President was placing a medal around his neck.
One of my co-workers, Hal — the kind of guy who wears an Irish Yoga T-Shirt on weekends and still says, “well aren’t you cool,” when you tell him about your day — nudged me.
“This dude just saved the human race. I guess these little alien fuckers were gonna blow us up, but this guy talked ’em out of it.”
“Oh, gre — ”
“Shut up,” Hal cut me off.
Everyone leaned in as the man in his underwear took the microphone and began to speak,
“These aliens here have agreed to spare America!”
The crowd went wild. People in the breakroom gasped and clapped. I noticed Klubbit hovering behind the man.
Cheater, I thought.
The man, our savior, spoke again:
“Now that I have saved America, we need to wake up and start solving the problems that have been plaguing the world by removing all of the trash that is poisoning our societies, I’m talkin’ bout the illegals, the homosexuals, the Muslims, the baby-killin’ whores, the — ”
Someone clicked off the television. We stood and stank in the silence that followed.
I turned to Hal and whispered, “one of those Fundik guys came to my house this morning.”
Coming-of-age stories are generally personal experiences and observations told through the eyes of one character. They can be heartfelt, emotional and even insightful, but still, it’s one person’s journey.
The King of FU is all those things, and more.
The narrator has a natural curiosity and endless questions, but he also has explanations.
Don’t expect those explanations to be delivered with childlike, wide-eyed curiosity and innocence though.
They’re irreverent, sarcastic, profane… and spot on!
Separated by a generation in age, the author’s childhood journey and musings were relatable to my own. We didn’t have the advent of technology, but upgrading televisions from black and white to color was a huge deal.
Covering topics from sibling rivalry to family pets, extended family, and parochial school, this read is too cute and humorous.
Sections about the opposite sex, masturbation, and porn are jaw-dropping and hilarious.
This project was actually 10 years in the making. I wrote it back in College and I had to read it as part of my final to a class of very serious writers. The reaction was a group full of stodgy poets snapping their fingers (because “we don’t clap here, we snap.”) And my professor saying something like “right,” or, “okay,” or both while I chuckled awkwardly at what I thought was a very funny story.
Two years ago, I reworked this story into a flash fiction piece that became a part of the Flash-365 project and was published in the art collective, Hijacked Amygdala. When our project ended, Stephanie, who’d been a long-time reader of mine, showed me some of her amazing work and we decided to take on the project of turning The Fox and the Bear into a living breathing ‘Children’s Book.’
The idea behind this story is that Fables don’t teach relevant lessons. In the world today, where the tortoise would be awarded a participation medal, and the Hare would be paying out 5 million-dollar settlements to quiet sexual abuse victims, and gaming any system is a publicly encouraged pastime, perhaps fables need to grow up a bit. (And having a laugh while they’re at it never hurt anyone.)
I hope you all have as much fun reading the fox and the bear as we had in making it.
Moreblueberries: My brother Elliot Davis helped me to format and place all of the text in this story. He did many things on his computer that I couldn’t even begin to lie about understanding and is responsible for weaving my words and Stephanie’s art into a cohesive whole.
KM: My friend Konstantin helped me to turn all of the images into something useable by doing things with computers and programs (that is as eloquent as I am able to put it)
Nikita Klimov: And of course, Nikita, who I’d be helpless with this kind of stuff without, took the story and created the webpage thetruthaboutthehare.com while I sat there and pestered him with “can we do this?” “what about putting that there?” “and how about adding this little thing” and “will they turn like this—yeah, cool.”
The Babushka Society a Radio Drama with Motion Graphics
Baba Yaga menaced Russian children for generations, but what would happen if you ran into her in modern-day Russia? The Babushka Society is a demented magical-realism adventure set in the heart of Saint Petersburg, where two young men stumble across a babushka conspiracy, led by Russian fairytales’ stalwart character Baba Yaga, to take the country of Russia back from the Hipster scourge.
I read THE KING OF FU last month & loved the way Author Benjamin Davis wrote his childhood memoir in poety verse. It’s a read that’s wonderfully different, it moves at at fast pace the writting is witty, a bit dark, sprinkled with humor & some great illustrations by Nikita Klimov. If you grew up in the 90’s or if you’re looking for a new genre to read in 2019 you should check out this great read! #GripLitGrl #bookreview
I’m very excited Author Benjamin Davis has given me opportunity to host a Giveaway of his book on Instagram & I hope you’ll enter! Head over to my Instagram page @GripLitGrl look for the post with the picture below & follow instructions to enter. (This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram.)
Book Blurb: The King of FU is a magically realistic poetic memoir about growing up in…
In the mirror, I attach the fake ears and tug the hat onto my head.
“It’s the wealthiest Preschool in St. Peter,” K had said, “they’ll pay you a boatload to just stand around as an elf for their Christmas party.”
I sigh now, as I did then, resigned.
I wash my hands and step out into the hall. The Babushka rolls up to me. Her rock-face is polished. Her eyes are onyx.
She points. I nod. I follow her directions to a door inundated with Christmas joy. I go through.
The room is vast, a gymnasium almost. It is crowded with all manner of Christmas. Bells float through the air, jingling. Ropes of ornament-covered pine snake along the walls. A fat tree absorbs the center of it all.
Children wander about the place. None are more than five or six years old. They are dressed almost exclusively in argyle. A snowman in the corner is telling a story as a small blonde girl discreetly stuffs bits of his backside into her mouth. On the other side of the room, Santa Claus is red-faced as he picks up a small boy. A red-nosed reindeer stands calmly next to him, chewing on the inside of its own mouth.
Santa places the boy on the red-nosed reindeer. The boy begins to wail. A woman in a black sweater runs over and pulls the child down. The boy runs off across the room. I see him slide on his belly down a thin layer of ice. A young woman in a blue dress stands beside it. She claps.
A fair-haired little girl walks up to me. Not dressed like the rest. A simple black dress.
“You got a cigarette?” she asks.
She sighs, “you got a cigarette?”
“I’m not a child.”
“Oh…are you a midg—uh I mean– a dwarf?”
“I’m DEATH. And, I want a cigarette.”
I’m not sure whether or not to laugh.
“What do you mean you’re DEATH?”
“I’m not sure what else I could mean. That polished rock turd out there hired me to be here so…”
DEATH shrugged, “I’m often in Russia this time of year anyway.”
I continue to stare at the frail-looking girl. She winks. “Just between you and me,” she lowers her voice, “I never go anywhere I’m not needed. Even for the kind of scratch, this place shells out.”
“Right,” I manage.
“So, you got a cigarette or not?”
“Let’s go have one then. Take my hand, everyone thinks I’m a child anyways. Pretend you’re taking me to the bathroom.”
She holds out her hand. I take it hesitantly. Suddenly she grabs it tight, very tight.
“Your time has come!” DEATH says, her eyes go black. I panic and jerk my hand away. My heart stops.
She bursts out laughing. She holds her stomach and bends over, a joyful tear falling from her eye. “You should see your face,” she gasps.
I feel like vomiting.
“Oh, that never gets old,” she says, catching her breath, “but, seriously, let’s go.” She holds out her hand again, her eyes back to blue. I don’t take it. She steps forward and grabs my hand anyway.
“Don’t be a pansy,” she says. She leads me out the door.
The fear in my legs has subsided by the time we get to our destination, a closet. Inside I light up two cigarettes. She takes one. She smokes through her nose. I can’t wipe the frown off my face. It’s beginning to hurt.
“So, what are you doing here?” DEATH says through the cloud that’s sprouted up between us.
“Uh, I am an actor.”
She snorts. “Bummer.”
We finish our cigarettes in silence.
“We better go back,” DEATH says, holding out her hand again.
I take it this time, apprehensively. Before we leave, I can’t help asking,
“What did you mean that you never go anywhere you’re not needed?”
~~How Russia Inspired a Year of Daily Art and Stories~~
Before I left for Russia, when I’d tell Americans where I was headed, they’d say, “why the hell are you going to Russia?” And, I never was able to answer, as much as I wanted to. I was only curious and even more curious about what made people quite so afraid. Were there monsters in Russia? Were there spies down every alley and primordial bits of darkness that I’d have to navigate in order to avoid being lost forever?
On the plane, I began reading a book called, Russian Fairy Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) by Aleksandr Afanas’ev. I’d traveled before, read fairy tales before. I have sat and read Grimm’s Fairy Tales then got off a train in Berlin where blue skies and a clean and orderly Starbucks greeted me.
The King of FU is FREE on Amazon Kindle today and tomorrow.
We have gotten to #13th for coming-of-age books on Amazon Best Sellers
With some more copies sold, it will get to #1. It is completely FREE today so if you have a Kindle App or Amazon account, please check it out and download it for a rainy day. Also, if you don’t mind sharing this post, we would be eternally grateful: Also if you could share this post and get others involved that would be amazing. Thank you!
From the 7th-9th The King of FU is available for free on Kindle on Amazon. Check it out completely risk-free (so long as you don’t read it aloud to any sensible adults.) And, if you enjoy it, please take a moment to leave a review letting us know your thoughts.