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'Channel Hopping' by Cameron Smith

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction 'Channel Hopping' by Cameron Smith

Click HERE to read the interview with the writer.

Channel Hopping

The young girl slumps further into the chair. Her hand crawls along the soft fabric as she reaches for the plastic remote by her side. A well-practised thumb searches for the foamy buttons. The screen flashes into life.

Flick, flick, flick.

A parade of images passes by. Other worlds, glimpsed and then gone, reflect on the shiny surface of her unblinking eyes. Momentary faces vie for attention and half a second’s worth of fame.

A man and a woman looking concerned on a sofa.


A man pulling a face and a studio audience laughing.


A woman nodding and confirming for the camera that she can really taste the cinnamon.


A man pointing to a map and telling us it’s going to be a great day unless you live in Scotland.


A woman in a trouser suit demonstrating a vacuum cleaner.


A man with skinny jeans singing like a woman.

Sounds jump in and out. Fleeting voices start and stop like a broken conversation interrupting itself over and over again. Sentences struggle to begin or end.

“…the Health Minister today…”


“…pushed gently into the soil…”


…by this remarkable Peruvian marmoset…”


“…murdered, inspector, with…”


“…a copper chamber pot, probably 18th century…”


“…in a dramatic comeback for Burnley…”

Suddenly something intrudes on the parade. A large silhouette blocks the screen like a solar eclipse darkening the sky. The young girl shifts in her chair but her eyes don’t move.

“Oi!” she moans but the eclipse continues.

“Oi!” she says again, a little more urgent.

“You’re just flicking,” says the silhouette. “You’re not even watching anything.”

“No, Daddy,” the young girl replies and lowers her voice to an earnest whisper. “I’m watching everything.”

Flick, flick, flick.


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