Flash Fiction / Short Story – “Fiddling While Rome Burns To A Different Tune”

Hello womenfolk and blokeyfolk.

I have a piece of Flash Fiction for you to tuck into.

It was inspired by the prompt of a Juke Box, which I swiftly turned into a story about a music box and it is a sad one too (but don’t let you put that off, especially if you like a bit of mystery and drama too).


Music Box

“Fiddling While Rome Burns To A Different Tune” by David Ellis

A dulcet ringing in my ears, rattling for attention. The tune’s fortune now tragically faded, a shadow of its former self, metallic, scratchy, a fly in a bottle trying to frantically smash its way out.

There was once an echo of such refinement and carefully composed elegance that heads would have turned instantly, a beat to cha cha and tango in time all night to, without hesitation or trepidation.

I would get entangled in it, immersed so deeply, losing myself to the steady, incessant, intoxicating rhythm, a perfect moment of blissful, aural serenity.

When the walls come crashing down though, there is little left to hold the flood back, it finds its way into all of the nooks and crannies, permeating everything that stand in its wake.

Sound, like taste and smell, can evoke powerful memories of the past, building bridges and making connections that often would better remain buried at the crossroads of time immortal.

Speaking of taste, I can only savour wetness on my tongue and it is far from pleasant. Hot, thick and unrelenting, I could whine for wine but this is a bitter claret and not one for this sensitive palate at all. I try to force it back but I am powerless to resist its unsettling warmth.

You always loved that music box, perhaps more so than me but then we both know that aural delights are what brought us together in the first place. The irony is not lost on me, as I gaze at the broken pieces that lay around me.

I hope that your new one gives you as much pleasure in the few hours that you have left. Did I mention about the poison you just imbibed in your drink? I’m sorry but I figured something was amiss and it always pays to think ahead, I just wish that I’d had the foresight to wear a helmet.

We’ve reached the crescendo now, everything is going grey and sombre, quietly fading out, I guess you could say they are playing our song and now they are playing for keepssss…………

Whew! If that was a bit harrowing for you, maybe you would like to read more posts about happy memories instead, if so then check out the links below:-

1. Rima Hassan Looking Back
2. charlottesville winter Selective Memory
3. Fictions in Flashes
4. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society UPDATED: Back when I was young: Montreal’s Anglo/Irish Pubs
5. N E N S K E I Memories
6. The Contemplative Girl with Her Tickles & Fickles “Memories make me feel fine”
7. From Hiding to Blogging My Sweet Nest
8. From Hiding to Blogging By Chance
9. The Jittery Goat Mom’s Bitter Vivid Memory
10. Awake & Dreaming Memory On The Menu
11. tuckedintoacorner The Diary We Carry With Us
12. Journeyman Memories and World Travel -How and Why
13. risingrave28 Fleeting Memory
14. tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice Memory on the Menu
15. c21stguinevere In response to…
16. Sue's Trifles Perfect recall
17. eastelmhurst.a.go.go aah yes i remember it well
18. Tribal Connections Open notebook of memories ( daily prompt)
19. Jk109 Memories: a Kaleidoscope
21. Bob's Blog-O-Rama Daily Prompt : Memory on the Menu
22. Memory on the Menu Daily Post
23. Kruti Mehta Confession of a Blogoholic – Memory on the Menu
24. Ali Abbas The Door I Never Opened
25. sixty, single and surviving Daily Prompt; memory pop-ups
26. greyzr Making Memories
27. Prairie Views Remember When………
28. Y|M Thoughts Time Makes Deep
29. CultureShock.me Looking Back, Looking Forward
30. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss Memory on the Menu and the things that memories are made of
31. yi-ching lin photography twist
32. I'm a Writer, Yes I Am A New Day Begins
33. stiletto rockstar Because I Remember Evvvvverything.
34. Flowers and Breezes When I Become a Memory
35. Jerry Lane Searching through those memories.
36. dx0330's Blog Memory on the Menu
37. Under the Monkey Tree The Bull In Me
38. Willow's Corner I Remember When
39. Habit Building Done Write Vividly Vague
40. Blue Loft
41. idleandbored2 Memories
42. Unstuffy Quotidian I Chose This
43. Rain's Writing Realm Good Memories, Bad Timing
44. A rattling good story, I hope! A memory haze!
45. WELCOME TO MY WORLD Memories Memories….So Many Memories Which To Choose?
46. A Penny For Her Thoughts Memory on the Menu
47. Life is great Sad
48. TyroCharm Real Walk Down Memory Lane
49. the girl who thinks an awful lot Could zombies smell people?
50. REFLECTIONS Memory on the menu – The Daily Post
51. The Political and Social Chaos Blog How My Freaky Memory Scares The Bejesus Out Of Me
52. Lauren Kells The sweet haze seduction
53. Riverdale's Random Thoughts Memory on the Menu
54. LenzExperiments WPC: Do the ‘Twist’!
55. The Hillbilly Blogger Memories – New Or Old?
56. Morrighan's Muse Stain
57. just a journaler Memories – Smilies, Milestones, Moves, & More
58. Should The Rex Bring a Neo Folk Group With Fascist Ties to Pittsburgh?
59. Staying in Focus Stayin in Focus: Memory on the Menu
60. Schattenengel Clouds And Memories
61. Advocate of Entropy There’s cotton candy in your head!
62. Understanding and Embracing Diversity Memory On The Menu
63. A Bipolars Writings A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet
64. Call Me Incorrigible Tapestry Memories
65. Sam's Online Journal Recognition
66. HK's Huck le Berry Memory on the Menu
67. Basically Beyond Basic Memory of the Menu
68. 365 Days of Thank You 101 Years Old And Memories Are Vivid
69. The Hempstead Man #2 – The sweet, glazed kind please!
70. Prayers and Promises Memory Mist
71. lazymoan Yesterday
72. Never Nothing Going On In Retrospect: Being a First-time Mountaineer
73. Never Nothing Going On In Retrospect: Banaue, Sagada, and Baguio
74. Never Nothing Going On Surviving Mt. Pulag’s Akiki Trail
75. Never Nothing Going On FAQ
76. Dare to Read and Enter a New World… Wonders of Memories
77. RosieSmrtiePants Hazy Memories, Please
78. Wiley's Wisdom The Key to the Future
79. The Happy Lifeaholic Blur of Yesteryears
80. It's a blog Haze, please lift 🙂
81. jcm3blog photo-comment post for daily post – memory on the menu
82. Sye Random Talks [Daily Prompt] Memories.
83. My Life, My Way, My Words Memory on the Menu
84. Maine Forest Cafe Photographic Memory
85. yi-ching lin photographyturn
86. Raspberry's Daydreams Memory on the Menu
87. Simple Heart Girl Museums.
88. My Author-itis Ah, the Memories!
89. Encounter Faded into Beauty
90. Rita L. Nielsen A Backyard BBQ ~ Memories on the Menu
91. That's My Answer! Favorite memories
92. TheGEorgIApRncESs Memory on the Menu# Daily Post
93. Because I'm a Story Vampire Sweet memories…
94. Randomly Random Thoughts Memory On the Menu
95. Ollie number seven When I Almost Met Chris Jericho
96. All Things Cute and Beautiful Being Reminiscent!
97. adorablyobnoxious Daily Prompt – Memory on the Menu
98. When the Door Closes Where all the Others Go
99. A lot from Lydia Sweet Minty Memory


7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction / Short Story – “Fiddling While Rome Burns To A Different Tune”

    • Thanks Art 🙂 I’ve had comments on other platforms where people haven’t grasped what is going on fully but it’s meant to be a mystery and you don’t know if either the protagonist or his spouse deserved it! I knew if anyone would get it, it would be people like you who love a good mystery.

  1. There are some seriously dark thoughts swirling in my brain — or perhaps circling the rhythmic cycle of a music box. I would say more, but I’m too busy enjoying the suggestiveness and possibilities available here.

    There are some terrifically powerful and suggestive lines here.

    • Thank you again so much Patricia for your wonderful comments. I did enjoy creating a bit of mystery with this one and I’m glad to see that with you it has paid off and this makes me well chuffed 🙂

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