99 Word Flash Fiction: Charlie Chaplin

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

“I’ve found a secret drawer in Dad’s bureau” Charlie’s daughter told her sister. They looked out at the mountains ringing Lake Geneva contemplating breaking in. Their excitement rose as they saw an envelope hidden in the back. 

“This confirms Great-Grandma was a gypsy. Dad was born in a caravan. No wonder MI5 couldn’t find records of his birth.”

“But why didn’t he tell. He could’ve re-entered the USA but he let them believe he was a bolshevik.”

“Yes and he could’ve got that knighthood 20 years earlier.”

“Charlie Chaplin was not only silent in movies but also in life.”

This week Charli has given us a prompt to look at an old mystery.

May 20, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about an old mystery in the current time. Is it a discovery? Is it solved? Does it no longer matter, or does it impact innocent generations in between?

Respond by May 26, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation.Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

My story is a BOTS and the mystery of Charli Chaplin’s date and place of birth remain just that — a mystery although the finding of this letter in 2011 perhaps gave weight to the assertion in his memoir that his  “grandma was half gypsy.”

For further information on the actions of the FBI and MI5’s investigation see here.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in creative writing, flash fiction, Historical Perspective and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Charlie Chaplin

  1. Norah says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this BOTS. I had no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Charlie Chaplin liked being a mystery but was insulted by the way he was treated by the FBI. No matter, his work speaks for his talent.
    Your story is quite clever, much enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sharon. Yes I think must have liked stringing them all along to keep the letter hidden all those years. He could have quickly put to rest the matter of his birth but I doubt that J Edgar Hoover would have trusted his communist leanings any easier.


  3. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, that’s a fabulous mystery! Great last line! You make the discovery play out so intimately, as if we, the readers, are privy to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. joannesisco says:

    This was really interesting. I wonder how someone would fare in today’s uber-security world without birth records.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sherri says:

    What a fascinating BOTS this is Irene, I had no idea. Oh I love a good mystery and now I am utterly intrigued by Charlie Chaplin’s story, thank you for that 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I had no idea either. Charli sent me searching for an old mystery and for one reason or another Charlie Chaplin was it. The US refused reentry to him in 1952 and they queen wanted to knight him not long after but they refused to let her because they didn’t want to upset the US who still had him pegged as a Red supporter. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        So interesting, I’m so glad you sought out this mystery. I do remember something about his so-called communist ties. I wonder how he felt about missing out on his knighthood?


  6. A. E. Robson says:

    Your mystery has captured so much about Mr. Chaplin’s life in such few words.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great take on this one! Can’t wait to see what everyone did. I almost went the historical route but wound up with something a bit… Well, mine’s a tad flat this week. Whatever. Tomorrow is another day and my mind is spinning with unsolved mysteries of all sorts now. See what Charli did to us? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charlie rears largfe in our town as this is where he made m,any of his early silent films. We celebrate Charlie Chaplin days each year along with a film festival.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It was fascinating about Charlie Chaplin’s past. I think he liked it that way as it went with his on screen persona of the Tramp

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Old Mysteries « Carrot Ranch Communications

  11. mj6969 says:

    Fascinating how details that we all take for granted, like date and place of birth, once withheld, or brought into question, can throw everything into a new light. Great story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s