SYNERGY • by Oonah V Joslin

Phil tried out the new swivelly chair for size — took a spin or two just to get the feel of it and put his hands on the desk proprietarily. “Hand me a book, love, will you?”

“Any book?”

“Any book.” Marta handed him a book.

“No, not that — a big book.”

“Well, you should have said size mattered. War and Peace — will that do?”

He took it and thumbed the pages.

“Strange,” she said, “how many titles are like that.”

“Like what?”

“Something and Something,” she replied. “Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Art and Lies.”

Le Rouge et le Noir, Crime and Punishment, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” he continued.

“Why is that?” asked Marta — confident that he would supply an answer.

“Synergy,” he said.

She looked blankly at him.

“Synergy. You can take any two ideas and link them with a conjunction and bingo! The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.”


“To begin with you can ask whether one has a causal link to the other. Can punishment exist without a concept of crime? Surely it would be reduced to gratuitous cruelty? Crime on the other hand, in the absence of punishment ceases to be crime — or does it? Then you can examine the poetic resonance of the phrase — its alliterative qualities and balance — its musicality.”

“I see what you’re getting at,” she said.

“And you can think about whether it embraces antithetical concepts too — is Zen really compatible with motorcycle maintenance?”

“Yes, I see now,” she said. “Art and Lies is an interesting one to conjure with. Of course, these are the books everyone has bought but nobody’s actually read.”

“I read Zen,” he protested indignantly. “Fascinating stuff! This isn’t thick enough.” He handed War and Peace back for re-shelving. “It’s the floor, I think, as well as the leg… Give me Crime and Punishment.” He jammed it under the wobbly desk. “You see? That’s perfect.”

“Good,” said Marta. “Let’s have some coffee.”

“And a biscuit,” he called after her.

Oonah V Joslin lives in North East England with her husband and a cat. She writes short fiction and poetry but is currently working on a first novel.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Lindsay

    Great comment on the state of literature. An interesting “antithetical comment” of its own! Well done!

  • Excellent flash, Oonah, all the more powerful for the touches of domesticity and humour.

  • Fabulous flash, Oonah. So many layers, nicely done!

  • Very very funny! The ending took me completely by surprise. I’m still laughing!

  • Kristina

    I never tire of reading your work!

    I see myself and so many of my literary peers in Phil, hehe!

    Fabulous as always, Oons!

  • Bill West

    Terrific flash.
    Well done Oonah.

  • Oonah, what a terrific juxtaposition of concepts! Tilting chair and high art. The profane and the sacred. Love it–and you gave me something to ponder today.

  • gay degani

    A perfect Monday morning piece. Can someone hand me a copy of The Profound and Profane.

  • Sam Douglas

    This one I really liked! Talk about putting things in perspective. Great job, great message.

  • Is this a true story? 😉

    Nicely done!

  • Michael D. Turner

    All too true!
    Nicely done Oonah.

  • Cute story, nice ideas!

  • Avis Hickman-Gibb

    Nice one Oonah! As always.

  • Mark Dalligan

    Great flash!



  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank you to everyone who read and commented so kindly. I’m glad to have made you ponder and laugh and I hope you will all rush out and buy Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance and READ it! It’s a great book – honest 🙂


  • Another clever tale, EDF! You’re setting precedents here, best be careful. Nicely done, Oonah.

  • The quality of our submissions has really ramped up as the site has gotten popular, but authors like Oonah, Sarah Hilary, and Avis Hickman-Gibb have always been strong. We’re lucky to get submissions from them!

  • Bloody BRILLIANT

  • Ha! Funny stuff, Oonah!

  • Lol! Oh, brilliant, Oonah! Well done! So tongue-in-cheek, this one!

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank you Jordan for your comment. It’s Hickman-Gibb, not grub, by the way but I am sure she’ll appreciate the sentiment as much as I did. 🙂

    • yoy. changed. I was tired

    • Avis Hickman-Gibb

      grub? GRUB?!!!

      • Don’t trust her Avis ! ! ! The evidence is right there in the comment. I said “Gibb” :S

      • Been waiting for this one 😉 ! !

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank all of you for your appreciation. I do like a good laugh! 🙂 🙂 NAH

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Why can I only put one smile? I want to put two to start my name

    – some people never grow up!

  • Kate Shaw

    Love it! This is one of my favorite flashes so far on EDF–and that’s saying a lot!

    • Oonah V Joslin

      Kate that is so complimentary. Many thanks, Oonah.

  • Peter Rowney

    Thanks Oonah; I re-enjoy this each time I read it.

    • Oonah V Joslin

      Thank you for coming back to read it again. I appreciate it. Oonah 🙂

  • Mel

    Hullo. I’ve been trying to work out how to email you because I have been perusing some of your work and enjoying it muchly.
    Would you care to have a look at and perhaps grace us with your presence?
    Thanks for the smiles and ponderings elicited by your work. Mel

    • Oonah V Joslin

      Mel, Thank you. I am very reticent about blog sites and stuff. I really don’t know enough about web security and things to feel happy about it but I did go and take a look and wwho knows, I may send something in…


    Yet another great flash Oonah. The others have said it all.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank you for your comment Jennifer 🙂