Flashes of Vice (Volume III) is a collection of 44 creatively strewn short stories or flash fiction. What is remarkable about this collection is that it isn’t just a potpourri of stale stories duplicated in numbers just to make a voluminous collection. Far from it. This particular collection is one that will have any reader spellbound by its intrigues and no-hold-bare-it-all prosaic aloofness. The author Vincent de Paul is not a neophyte in the literary-dom, he’s a seasoned and well profiled Kenyan writer who knows his ink just like a chef to his onions. This collection is the third in his series of vivid flash fiction stories.
The collection premiers with the opener ‘quote-story’ titled 72 Virgins which is sort of a preview to subsequent stories of similar theme and scope. Virgins in Short Supply is an epistolary story from Allah writing to Terrorists who go on suicide bombing and killing rampage in the belief that they shall be rewarded with 72 virgins in Jannah (heaven). Don’t Die a Virgin is another shocker story of a virgin girl who after escaping by the whiskers a terrorist attack, made up her mind to whore her virginity while on earth so when she died she won’t be some virginal offering to a bunch of horny terrorists in heaven.
Though terrorism is a recurring theme in the collection, other virgin themes were also explored clinically. Love and sex is another recurring theme. Unlucky 13 is the story about a young career lady who seems to be having a bad day on her birthday until things turned around in the latter part of the day, she got home thinking she had been burgled only to realize the burglar was her lover who had prepared for her a surprise birthday party reserved for them alone. From Saudi Arabia With Love is also a bitter-sweet love story of a Kenyan woman who left for Saudi Arabia in anticipation for greener pastures which turned out to be a sham after all. She was sold into slavery to a wealthy family whose son Khalid had a soft spot for her. This love shared between slave and master’s son turned out to be her waterloo.
Incest and child abuse is vividly exposed in Father’s Love which is a dark tale of a daughter haunted by her father’s many night visits to her room in the dawn of her mother’s demise. Number 22 is a sympathetic story of an orphan child (Blessed Angie) who was salvaged from the hypocritical Orphan’s Home she grew up in by a sympathetic visiting female shrink.
Aside the regular everyday themes, this collection also boasts of a number of innovative well researched science fiction. Alien Invasion is a sci-fi story narrated in the epistolary form. It’s narrated by the son of a Defense Minister who was among those hijacked by some aliens who plan to invade earth. Zika Vacine also passes for a good Sci-Fi story, even though it’s quite hyperbolic. When the world is plagued by a deadly virus, The Zika Virus, the discovery of a group of scientists made the only difference to salvage the death struck world.
The collection climaxes on a controversial note (well, there are quite a number of such stories, Blessed Virgin Merry which is a fictional tale of the untold sexcapades that go down in the Vatican, is nothing short of controversial) with the story How Did The Dead Escape which is a fictional retelling of the biblical fable on the resurrection of Christ.
There is never a dull moment reading through the snippets of stories, occasionally some stories might seem to drag or come across as a staid monologue but in the whole the collection is a worthy read and I wholeheartedly recommend it to every literary connoisseur out there who craves to read something refreshingly different from the norm of staple stories.
Photo credit: Vincent de Paul
About the Author
Vincent de Paul is the author of ten books, including three collections of Flashes of Vice, four poetry collections, and a novel. He is also a freelance writer, published on several dailies in Kenya, and his poetry has been published in two anthologies in East and West Africa. He has a diploma in Creative Writing from the Writers Bureau, UK.