Flash fiction and metaphors go well together because metaphor is a great way to introduce an idea to the reader in very few words. Synecdoche is a somewhat related idea in which an object serves as a stand-in for a larger idea. This is used ALL the time in storytelling, and once you know what it is you’ll start to notice it everywhere.
In my flash fiction story below, this wheel of destiny is a metaphor for chance, while things like vehicles at 16, getting college tuition paid for, and cruises to Jamaica are metonyms for affluence.
Wheel of Destiny
On her 16th birthday, Abbey’s parents sat her down in the formal living room, a slate grey sofa and love seat combo, to hand over the keys to her first vehicle.
“Life is full of choices, Abbey,” her father said. “And the choices you make will impact your entire life.”
At the coffee table, her mother pulled out a vertical spin wheel. At the center, it said, “college.”
“This is the Wheel of Destiny. It will tell us where you’ll go to college.”
Abbey felt happy about this. The brightly colored slots had the names of the big state schools her friends might attend and three aspirational out-of-state schools.
But when it came time to take her SATs, Abbey had a bout of seasonal allergies, and she struggled to keep her focus.
When it came time to apply to college, Abbey’s mother set the Wheel of Destiny on the table again. This time, the aspirational out-of-state schools were gone, and the local state college took up a quarter of the wheel.
“You won’t be eligible for the academic scholarship, so we had to make changes,” her mother explained.
Abbey attended the local state university and selected business administration for a major. When it came time to interview for companies, Abbey wrote in the names of telecommunications companies with sales and marketing positions on her Wheel of Destiny. She wanted to work in retail, but the sluggish economy meant those places weren’t hiring that year.
When Abbey got married and wanted to start a family, she and her husband talked about dates and life plans.
“I don’t want to be pregnant during our fifth-anniversary cruise to Jamaica, and I don’t want to have a baby around Christmas,” Abbey explained. She took out her Wheel of Destiny and wrote in a range of dates based on these considerations.
One afternoon driving home from work, Abbey felt perplexed and called her mom.
“I thought I had some control in life,” she explained, “but the stuff that ends up on the Wheel of Destiny is usually because of mundane life stuff.”
“I suppose so,” her mom said, “But that’s no reason to lose heart. Have you decided on a name for the baby?”
“Yes,” said Abbey. “I think I’ll name her Arya,” she said. “We heard it on Game of Thrones and like it a lot.”