Flash Fiction - Ida Keeps Falling by Jenni Fagan

  • The List
  • 17 April 2013
Flash Fiction - Ida Keeps Falling by Jenni Fagan

Latest in The List's series of ultra-short stories

She is to be awake throughout the entire procedure. They'll slice the top of her head open, saw through the bone (make it like an attic hatch — so they can peer in) and she was told to bring a

- It's important you chat to someone through the procedure, so we can see which areas of the
brain light up.

- This will help you diagnose why I'm falling over all the time?

- Yes, we hope so.

All they know so far is that it is not a cancer, nor a tumour, she's had a CAT scan, been to oncology, it is not Meniere’s disease, nor is it benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, no acoustic neroma, no vestibular neuritis, no herpes zoster oticus. Inner ear fine.

- This will be worth it, Ida, if it means you stop falling over.

It's not possible to nod in agreement so Ida blinks. Her friend blinks back and they are smiling then. It will be. It's so awkward, falling over in front of everyone, in the office, the water cooler shaking, bruises, arnica, staying home more and more. There is a tugging above her, then the surgeons fall momentarily silent.

- Well, Ida, we appear to have found the problem — the reason, for your balance issues.

- What is it?

- It's a little man, bout as big as your pinky nail.

- What?

- Yup, tiny little thing he is, and he's drunk, on a bicycle, cycling round and around.

- Okay — so, what do we do with him?

-Well, with your permission, Ida, we’d like to cut him out.

Signing a form then, a disclaimer, a dizziness and the surgeons working quickly so the anaesthesia does not wear off and wondering what he’ll look like, if they’ll let her take him home in a jar.

Jenni Fagan's debut novel The Panopticon (Windmill Books) is available in paperback in the UK, USA, Australia and Europe.