The Last Dictionary
Written by Rebekah Postupak
He shouldn’t be alive.
That’s what people whispered behind the verbal luminary’s bent back after he hobbled by, as though he had toilet paper dangling from his shoe or had inadvertently voted Republican. It’s true he was famous, or used to be: he had, at ninety, actuated the speech of an entire generation with his glorious compendium of words. And no slapdash effort that: it was a linguistically gustatory triumph (said the Academy), a monument of his age for all the ages. Tributes were written. Lavish ceremonies held. Journalists pre-wrote glowing obituaries, ready to post at a single click.
But he kept living.
Newsrooms yawned and moved on.
Other people died. Words died too: a flux of syllables and breaths tumbling forgotten into an impervious past. No morphemes replaced them.
“I’ve one more word,” the luminary said at last. “Ethereal.”
In confusion the world watched as he, weeping, fell silent.
150 words exactly, inspired by this week’s Monday Mixer flash challenge and using 7 of the 9 listed words (overachiever attempt, of course), from the required selection: