Nick Bryan Dot Com

Friday short story time: "COL"

New Friday story, and I’m afraid it’s a bit shorter than usual. My usual thousand words is on the longer end for “flash fiction” anyway, this one just didn’t need to be that length.

And today I’m going to talk about the perils of excessive social networking website use; not autobiographical, I hasten to add. (My jokes are way better than his.) More stories available here.


By Nick Bryan

Three Days Ago

I finally added that girl on Facebook, I thought this might be how we finally bonded. Unfortunately, seventy-six minutes after she accepted my request (yes, I counted), her uncle died. I know he died, because she posted this:

“Uncle John passed away this morning. Can’t believe he’s gone. :’(“

So presumably she’s quite sad. I mean, I’m not certain. I know she used a crying face made of punctuation, but ever since “LOL” lost all meaning, it’s hard to tell whether feelings typed online are mirrored in the real world. I mean, are those real tears or are they “LOL” tears? Is she crying out loud?

It seemed rude to ask.

Two Days Ago

I woke up from a nap at 4PM, wondering whether I should have left a sympathetic message out of respect to the dead uncle. I mean, I barely know her, we’ve exchanged thirty-eight words at parties (yes, I counted), but still, it’s a nice thing to do isn’t it?

When I checked my computer, there were six responses to that status, many had the same surname, and one was from her. I didn’t recognise a single person there. Most of her friends had stayed out of it, so I’d probably gone the right way.

Or perhaps they’d all expressed their sympathy by private message or text. I do not have her phone number. Later, I typed “Sorry for your loss.” into the comments box and stared at it for a while.

And then it was bedtime.

One Day Ago

So, she posted something new today. It was surprisingly upbeat.

”Great day at work – boss was out so built fort out of stationary. Then it fell on Johnny’s head!”

So maybe she isn’t that upset anymore? How long does it take one to get over the death of an uncle? I mean, it’s only an uncle, after all. When my uncle died, I barely even registered it. Didn’t even warrant a Facebook posting.

So I decided, since she was being jovial, I could probably be funny in return. I settled on this:

“Did you only hold it up with sellotape? I really recommend staples.”

I waited for a while afterwards, but there was no reply from anyone else, which was a bit of a downer. No-one even ‘liked’ the comment.


I noticed today, for the first time, she appeared to be on the Facebook Chat instant messaging thing. After seventeen minutes or so (yes, I counted), it seemed reasonable to assume she was on for a sustained session, rather than merely glancing at messages.

After a stiff drink, I said hello. It was a little awkward, but we did manage to exchange more than thirty-eight words, thus doubling our total. And then, in a bid to try and move the stiff conversation onto a higher plane, I decided to try this message:

“Maybe if your uncle had used staples rather than sellotape to hold up his stationary fort, he’d still be with us today.”

There was a pause of six minutes, then she said:


Nothing else followed, I’m unsure what to think now. Maybe the uncle isn’t really dead.

Thank you for reading. Please ask before stealing. And remember kids, don’t spend too much time on Facebook.


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