@aliensoul77: Wow! Your Pica and Pyro stories are both vivid and enthralling in that morbid, must-look-at-the-car-crash sense. Love your work!
I put this together based off something I wrote in the 50 words or less section, whether it's good or not I don't know, but it definitely feels like it has potential.
I lit a cigarette, looking down from the hilltop onto the park. I pictured her face, along with her hair and dress blowing in the wind. She is the vision you have of the most beautiful girl, maybe even more. I miss her more than anything in this world possibly could.
I reached into my jacket pocket for the flask, and wondered what she could be doing this instant, before taking the drink of lonely men. The plot seems to thicken and the waiting becomes torment. One day maybe, these eyes will witness a miracle, or fall upon someone better. But the future seems grim, and every night is like the eve of some great destruction.
I always wrote a good hook, but never caught luck. The smoke choking and corroding a once beautiful laugh, the fluids burn my throat on their way down before putting on its bravery spell. I would call her one last time just to hear her voice before the night was through. The great collapse was just around the page in the form of a few pills. Lying there, waiting for the darkness to kick in.
It is moments like these that will get to a person, if you get the chance to ever stand up again you’ll be different from who you were then. The important will become so un-important and the roles will reverse. You will find that if you were willing to give it all up for one, you will go through great lengths to give it all again in life. The self-departure will appear as not brave at all. You will become art, and you will broadcast from the heart.
But if you decide to do it, use a bullet. An addiction to hope is a much crueler punishment.
@closure, thank you!
@Laurance, it's like a meditation on life. It's depressing, good job!
What stands out is an egg: the egg from which Time hatched. We reached a river and went upstream on our feet. The river wasn’t deep and we could walk. Cold water that reached my waist. I can’t remember why we didn’t walk alongside the river. I was carrying an old man on my back. He was, perhaps, a relative. I don’t know much about that anymore. Then there was an egg sitting on a giant waterlily. It bobbed, it glinted in the faint light. It was dawn now. Silence settled, and we heard only a crackling, the water. When the egg cracked open, that was it, we were back downstream.
Sounds like a metaphor for something but it eludes me.
Great stories. Sorry, I am a bit behind on life right now, but I will try to get around to putting these up for a vote soon.
Thanks to all y'all!
Here's a new one I did last week. Had to wrestle it down from ~750 words to 500. So hard to do, but it is so rewarding!
Catch Of The Day
Twenty-five years fishing and I'll tell you, the North Atlantic is a cold bastard. I'm at the back of Fergus' trawler, hauling in a net line, hands numb through the gloves, frozen I'm sure. We're miles out with a halo of seagulls overhead, which means there will be a feed on soon. I'm looking at the foam in the wake and wondering what keeps it from turning to ice, and wishing I was out of this wind and spray and back in Galway in a good seat near the fire at Callahan's, with a pint and a hot bowl in front of me, when Fergus screams.
He's stooped over a net he's just pulled. Fish are flapping all over the deck, ancient looking evil fuckers you get up here, all half-made like God lost interest. But Fergus doesn't notice, he's leaning over what I reckoned was a seal, but it isn't. It's a dead woman. I can see her tits and her hair's all matted and tangled with seaweed. Fergus isn't looking at her tits or her hair, he's looking at her fucking tail.
The diesels are grinding down below helping pull in the lines, but I see his white lips say, "Jesus, Pat".
His gloves are off and he's running his hands over her, over where the scales turn to skin, like like he doesn't quite believe any of it's real. I crouch over her top half and she stinks like fish guts, but at first glance she looks like any girl back home. Almost. Her arms are huge and brawny, and her fingers are webbed like duck's feet. I notice something in her mouth and when I pry it open I see her teeth aren't like regular. Rows of sharpened triangles like a shark, that's a real trouser shitter that is. That and the blue-tinged gills running down the sides of her ribcage. I start thinking about what happens when we get back, and people see her. Perhaps we'd be famous, Fergus and me. Get on telly at least.
And then there's some splashing near the prow and I hear the diesels change tune, and that's when we see the hands. Three of them, hair dripping, heaving themselves out of the water and over the side as we watch like gobshites, mouths open to the cold. There's a wet, scraping noise behind us and I turn to see there's already one over the back, crawled up the very line I'd been pulling in. I take a step back and trip arse over as the trawler lurches, and then I'm down and on my side and I see it was Fergus' legs that tripped me. She's on him. She was never even dead.
A cold, wet weight forces me flat on my back, and before I close my eyes the sky is white with seagulls which remind me of rows of sharp triangles.
Twenty five years of fishing, and I hadn't reckoned it'd end like this.
@Closure: That was fucking cool. I like the hell out of it.
@Utah Thanks! I am in Perth, Australia, so I think I posted it while a lot of folks were sleeping - nice to log in this morning and see your message.
I am finding these flash thingos really rewarding from a skills perspective - not only are they nice bite-sized creative snacks to work on (can try different voices, styles, experiment a bit), but then you jump in the editor's chair and look at your word efficiency and decide on the really critical words/sentences in order to get it down to 500.
I am trying to do one a week, as a supplement to other writing.
Like that idea closure - If you haven't copywrit it yet - I may steal it for my own benefit. Love the nuances of the craft. never-ending.
Guess I will throw this down for the Feb submit. Keep this monthly Flash going. I did post this on the writing prompt post, but oh well. 567 words.
Your Most Precious of Gifts
took out - gonna whore it out.
Seeing as you surprised me and picked my soppy Moon piece for the poll this month I thought I'd write you a late Valentine's gift. Heh. A dirty little prose poem? Something like that. Bored as hell and am away from my regular computer so I decided upon a challenge to pass some time. So here you go, baby ;-)
Her breasts taste like lime. I use citrus shower gel and it's rubbing off on her the way her hallowed aloes soak into me. Sharp & tropical, there's no mother's milk here. Throat with a hint of Sauvignon? From the bottom of so many bottles she sweats.
Salt on the small of her back.
The soles of her feet taste the same way the palms of her hands do. Her hair smells like home but she's never been there. Is it so wrong she uses the same shampoo as my sister? Because I love that. Her tongue a battery, lips live, tiny arcs of white guilt burn me where she bites.
Then there's the place I go to when it's time to lose sense. The place the perfume comes from.
@Fritz: You have a very distinct style. Interesting philosophical piece here and your earlier cat epidemic piece almost tempted me to pair it with Martin's cat piece and Utah's dog piece and do an animal-themed five. Thanks for the reads.
@Martin: Thanks man, I can almost smell her, taste her.
Flash Me! December and January five (combined as the busy holiday time yielded a paucity of subs).
Please, please vote!
Sweet, sweet sleep. Nothing in this life should be so sacred. Anything can happen when the conscious shuts down, or for arguments sake, shuts up.
One moment you're floating on an inflatable mattress, on a giant pool shaped like Mickey Mouse with three unattainably beautiful foreign girls giggling and taking turns nibbling at your penis. The next you're under the water. You can't move. You try reaching out for help but the girls pay no attention, those supermodel bodies just out of reach. You can't move your arms or legs. Suspended in a watery grave, you're desperate to break the surface for a breath. The girls' bums and their tiny g-string bikinis fade away and darkness surrounds you. The disappointment of losing them is nothing compared to the panic setting in.
Everett's eyes opened with force, only to discover he was still surrounded in darkness, struggling for breath. His brain scrambled to make sense of the current situation. A weight pressed hard against his face was about to be the death of him. He recognized the overpowering scent of cheap laundry detergent. His laundry detergent. He flailed his limbs in an attempt to free his airway. No such luck, he was completely immobilized.
Neve giggled and lifted the pillow from off his face.
"Finally," she sighed. "I thought you were just gonna lie there all day like a corpse."
"I almost did," he gasped, sucking in as much air as possible. His eyes darted around and his brain finally began to process his current situation.
Thick rope secured his wrists and ankles to the brass frame of his bed. Neve was peeling off the t-shirt he'd given her last night, and she was already sitting on his somehow still erect penis.
Life was never better.
by Martin Garrity (Wickedvoodoo)
You dance with more grace than any star. Pirouettes on black velvet. Let the stars burn out.
A lake at midnight. My hands ripple your face. Wait for calm then lower my head.
If I can't have the real thing I'll drink your reflection.
Then deeper. Flooded ears follow my heartbeat. Eyes underwater, there are two of you.
Grandpa's funeral was black and smelled like perfume and dirt. Mum's wedding ring dug into my fingers whenever she squeezed my hand.
"Grandma is all alone now, John", she whispered.
Perhaps she thought I was too young to understand, that I didn't look suitably upset. Grandma wasn't crying, even when they lowered the coffin down, so I didn't see why I should.
I overhear a lot of things, like how Grandpa died. Attacked by teenagers with a knife while pruning his rosebushes in the front garden. Bled to death in Grandma's arms. Earlier in the car, Mum and Aunty Susan had been talking about Grandma, how she'd been a wild child before meeting Grandpa. A smoker and a feminist, but he'd been her rock and had settled her down. They whispered about some ladies Grandma must have known, Mary Juana and Miss De Mina, and I was looking at a faded old photo of Grandma and Grandpa from when they first met - his army greens and her yellow dress and flowers in her brown hair. Her eyes were so blue then, the colour of a summer sky.
I threw one of Grandpa's roses into the grave and gave Grandma a hug. White and grey hair, black dress, her eyes misty and pale. Nothing like the photo. She smelled like cigarettes.
Everyone was squeezed in at Grandma's little house for the wake, hands cupped under scones. I overheard people say how 'drained' and 'frail' she looked. Grandma just sipped tea at the table and only spoke to accept their condolences, and once to tell Aunty Susan to clear away the old photos and 'all that wedding clutter' which had been set out. I asked Grandma if she had a photo of Miss De Mina, but Mum growled at me. Grandma didn't seem to hear.
When they'd all left it was just me and my baby sister Lisa and Grandma in the sitting room with the ticking clock. Mum had ducked into the kitchen for some afternoon tea. Grandma was holding Lisa on her lap, smiling and talking freely for the first time all day, which Mum liked.
"Don't you worry darling," Grandma whispered. They were nuzzling noses and Grandma was saying something in such a quiet voice that I barely caught it, but my face started tingling. I realised what she'd said was, "I don't need to stab any more men."
I felt hot and cold at the same time and I realised my mouth was open, but I couldn't do anything about it except blink a few times. I counted two ticks of the clock. I am not sure if she even realised I was there. Mum returned with a cutting board and some cake, and Grandma glanced over for a second.
"Not that knife dear. Get my sharp knife from the top drawer." Mum nodded and hurried back out of the room.
"Much easier with a sharp knife," she said, smiling.
She was looking right at me when she said it. Her eyes were the colour of a summer sky.
Today is the first day of the best of your life.
Sandra would repeat this new mantra out loud every time she met her own eyes in one of the many mirrors in her thimble-sized apartment. These were the eyes of a risk-taker, the eyes of a free spirit. These were the eyes of the woman Sandra truly wanted to be. Today, she would quit her sorry excuse for a job and all the phony security she felt it brought. She would fall in love on the way home, move to Northern France next week and live the rest of her life as high as a kite, eating fiddlehead ferns and caviar and all that. At least this is how she pictured it. 36 years old and she would find a silver lining.
After packing up her paisley pull-out couch, which served as her bed, her kitchen table, and her office, she began crafting the “New Sandra” breakfast special. Egg whites that weren’t from a carton and toast slathered with butter, real, rich, salty butter. As she was enjoying her breakfast, she gazed into the eyes reflected in her chrome yard-sale toaster and repeated her new mantra again: “Today is the first day of the best of your life.”
The sequence of events that led her to this epiphany of sorts is neither sad, nor alarming. It was merely a shipping error made by some large online bookseller. Sandra came home one day and saw that a package was left in what would normally be a hollow mailbox. It wasn’t her name on the mailing label, but it was her address and so she decided to open it. The book was called Today is the First Day of the Best of Your Life. While the author looked like a homely nun, with pasty white skin suffering from an excess of psoriasis that even airbrushing couldn’t mask, there was a giant sticker with an endorsement from one of those talking personalities on TV. Sandra didn’t follow this particular sloped-foreheaded icon with enough pins in her hairdo to survive a typhoon, but she seemed happy. As happy as Sandra hoped to be. She read the book in one sitting.
After her first real breakfast feast, Sandra threw on her coat and with resignation letter in hand, forged out into the world. Not a block from her apartment she spied a beige butterfly. She was so entranced by the unpredictable movements and the freedom this creature had, rising and spiraling through the air. She paused and for a moment, she let out her first very real tear of joy.
It’s not so much a shame that this new symbol of hope and promise was nothing but a common hawk moth, it’s that Sandra didn’t even hear the siren of the speeding fire truck when she took that next big smiling skip off the curb.
My dad reached out with his left hand, the one missing the last finger, and pushed open my bedroom window. There was no screen in the window so he didn’t have to remove it. We looked out onto the grass of the back yard and the shed at the back of it. Beyond the shed was a mile of cotton fields.
We lay on our bellies on the top bunk of my bunk beds, the rifle between us. Dad told me that this was how people hunted for thousands of years.
“On a bed?” I said.
He chuckled. “No. Waiting. Sitting and waiting.”
"Is this what Vietnam was like?"
“Nope. Vietnam was a lot more humid. Now you have to be quiet or it won’t be like the real thing.”
We lay there and waited. I think I dozed off. I know I was a little bleary-eyed when Dad nudged me with his elbow. He didn’t need to, though. I could hear the dog baying and it pulled me awake.
Dad brought the rifle from between us, came up on his elbows with the butt against his shoulder and the muzzle pointed out the window. My little sister’s dog came around the corner of the house into the back yard.
I don’t remember the dog’s name. Well, it wasn’t a dog, it was a bitch, in every sense of the word. Half red-bone hound, half blue-tick hound, with the red-bone showing more in the copper coat. Her brother had been my dog, but he caught a mange we were too poor to get rid of, so we put him down in the field behind the house.
The bitch was an escape artist. She spent nights tied up and in a chain-link pen, but when she decided it was time to leave, she left. Often as not in the morning we would find her chain draped over the fence, collar empty. Normally on those days the neighbors across the road would call my mom to tell her the bitch had crawled underneath their trailer at two o’clock that morning and begun to bay.
This was one of those mornings.
The bitch slowed to a trot in the back yard. She was a sleek, muscular creature. She stopped and stood a moment, head up. Dad exhaled, half a breath, and squeezed the trigger. The bitch leapt into the air as a gout of blood plumed from her throat. She went straight up and it seemed impossible she could jump so high dead. She twisted in the air and landed on her back. She didn’t make a sound, of course, with no throat. All the baying was done. She kicked a couple times, and then she stopped and all she did for a few moments was make a wide, red pool in the grass.
@Fritz: WTF. That post is a bit of an evolutionary leap, man. Cool shit.
Compare that with ten years ago. Lightyears.
@Fritz: Yeah sorry, I sold the rights to Disney for The Little Mermaid 3. You'll have to take it up with them.
But seriously, if it inspires you to write, then go for it!
It was a hot day in an obscure city of Mexico. The sun light pierced through an open window and onto a wizened beard.
Linton Robinson stirred in his sleep. He didn't dream, because all of his dreams had been made into reality.
He sat up and looked around his surroundings, as male lions do. What he saw was a floor littered with, what had been, forty young virgins. All within legal age of course. These women had been offered to him as tribute, but they would have bedded him willingly either way.
Linton woke up like this almost everyday. He slid his legs out of the covers and pressed his feet on the smooth wooden panels. He dressed, whispered sweet nothings to all the women, and went out the door.
The sun was bright and harsh, but Linton only felt the temperature that he wanted to feel. Today he had planned to do some extreme cliff diving. It was part of his daily routine. After he would traverse underwater caverns, without wearing an oxygen tank. Real men never used oxygen tanks. A real man relied on his lungs solely. His lungs were the equivalent of the natives of Peru, who lived at high altitudes and had double the lung capacity of regular humans.
Linton was halfway down the street, when he heard a car wheel around a corner. The car sped towards him and he could see the men were an unsavory sort, with an intention to kill. Fortunately nothing could harm Linton and he quickly pulled out a golden Desert Eagle. He aimed at the vehicle, gripped the handle, and pulled the trigger. All he needed was one bullet. The gun didn't recoil, because no gun ever recoiled for Linton, and the bullet pierced through the metal frame of the vehicle. The car exploded into a heap and the remains of the men splattered onto nearby adobe walls. All the guts and blood formed two letters LR.
He didn't dream, because all of his dreams had been made into reality.
He didn't dream, because all of his dreams had been made into reality.
Just so Chester won't have a reason to gripe - this is my Feb submit to the flash - 469 words - a whittled down version of what I already posted - to fit the 500 world limit.
took out - gonna try to whore it out.
Thanks Fritz, now that is what I like to see.
So march starts the 1000. What about feb? It stand alone? Or roll into march?
Yeah, February stays 500. But I want to try 1000 for awhile starting in March and see how it goes.
Yeah, I will be throwing up a poll for February as soon as the month wraps up.
Flash ME! has been on the steroids? Bulking up? Interesting. I look forward to seeing what people come up with for March.
Well, after I read some of the stories over in the prompt thread I thought I better open it up.
I have a story written out now but I suppose I'll wait till March. I mean wait, why wouldn't thou?
Yeah, especially if it is over 500!
As always, I look forward to it Dakota.
Do it at the stroke of midnight.
I will enter your goddamn contest of flash fiction! It can be about any topic?
Since I've been working on getting this under 500, here's my attempt at a February submission. 496 words to be exact. Thanks for giving this a read!
The murder took thirty seconds.
Three to grab the hammer, one to feel its weight, two to cock her arm back in an attack position and the rest to swing it wildly. Mad strokes smashing bits and chucks from an unexpected face. The sounds of smacking could be heard down the hall. When the deed was done, she dropped her weapon to the carpet, turned to the door and like a pixie haired version of Dirty Harry, walked out and away from the scene of the crime. The office onlookers were shocked to silence.
She was Mary, he was James and it all started when he introduced a high powered clock radio to the one room office. Working music, he called it, necessary for him to get focused, get down to the nitty gritty of tele-sales and cyber marketing. Something to liven up the room, deaden the street noise and annoy the receptionist. Mary was not amused.
Placed above her head on a metal filing drawer, the tuner was set to the local Lite FM station. A sloppy stream of oatmeal pop flowed from the speakers and slogged directly into Mary’s left ear. Day after day, she’d glare at James as he belted out Rod Stewart tunes to the beat of the Bose. Every attempt to lower the radio’s volume was met with a smiling salesman, remote in hand to raise it back up. Every time she conveniently forgot to power it on, James was there to conveniently fix the problem.
Three months went by. Before the radio arrived, she could be found standing outside late night clubs, waiting to see the latest indie bands. Now her idle mind rattled with Maroon 5 lyrics and Top 40 beat smacks. Her footsteps home marked Kelly Clarkson time. Her shower walls rang with Adele arias. Her boyfriend became very concerned.
The day of the crime was a rainy one, slick streets reflecting the grey buildings of midtown Manhattan. Mary came in sopping wet, her forgotten umbrella still propped against her apartment’s futon. Two steps and a trip over the outstretched legs of a repairman fixing a cracked water pipe brought curses to her lips. The stack of invoices on her desk represented three hours of tedium. Her dripping bangs hid eyes burning with steel.
The song’s what did it. Not just any song, some mass produced lump of noise designed to move records and fill concert seats. That she could huff off and ignore. This was legend turned pulp, brilliance made foul. It was a funeral dirge version of Sweet Child of Mine sung by Sheryl Crow. And James was enjoying it.
Weeks after the attack and her subsequent termination, the talk at the snack machine was of violence. Muttered in quiet tones, the witnesses swapped versions of a story that always ended in screams, a crash and silence.
And how that radio, splintered and smashed and hammered to oblivion, never stood a lick of a chance.
School House Blues
In our sleep, nothing is wrong, nothing is painful. And in the waking moments, if you look hard enough you’ll see the truth. Fluttering your eyes open for what seems like a single second in a whole other world. Looking at everything like you did on all those first days of school. Bright, hopeful even. The want, no maybe it was a need. The need to feel something new. You remember it, don’t you? Your innocence?
The deep breath followed by your first step in the door. Every year back then felt like it could be another life. Covered in new clothes, waiting to be judged by every enemy, or accepted by new crowds of friends. Maybe you had a plan devised in your head of how you would change everything. Find the friends that tough it out until the end, maybe a smile to sweep you off your feet? Some people had it all to begin with, some won everything, and others took what they were given.
As you get older, habits form. The clothes start staying the same after awhile. People start forgetting your name. If you were lucky, you got it right from the start and everyone still stands beside you. Hopefully you kept a lovely person, or found another, even if temporarily. But for many it seems to have changed for the worse, and they suffer in silence, walking around as empty shells of their former selves.
We’ll spend their whole lives fighting to be a shadow of the happy naive child we once were, or destroying what we’ve become. We will throw up walls, gather secret complexities for no one to ever know. And in fear we will dodge every question, every prod from another person with some subconscious understanding that a person in front of us, or a call away could change everything. We don’t want that though, I mean after all who wants to admit all their problems?
Instead we will settle for some second rate life, hiding behind some mask as we watch the future take the shape of something we never wanted it to be. Time will be consumed with empty talk and half-smiling jokes, we’ll cower in the fetal position behind some false bravado until we all die bitter, all the while secretly hoping that someone out there is wearing the same mask. Hoping that just maybe they’ll take it off and remove yours too, but as the generations corrode older ideals and nobody speaks from the heart anymore, the more everyone will feel alone. Missing the chances, scared of every risk, as we watch the world spin on without us.
Just sitting, and still waiting for all those bells to finally start ringing…
Can I post early?
My false bravado is the real deal.
@Alien: If you want it to go to March, post a story over 500 and I will know it is for March.
@Rachel: Yep. 1000 words or less. All the way down to Micro flash.
It's March already?! Damn. I have some work to do.
1000 words or less
So you decide you want to get married. You have been living this bachelor lifestyle so long that it just seems like time to settle down. Your buddies are like, “No, dude, don’t do it!” but your Mom is like, “Oh honey, I am so happy!” Soon you are buying a ring and asking her Dad for permission, you take her out to this fancy restaurant and you are down on one knee, all these other couples are watching. Women are giving dirty looks to their boyfriends and you look like the fucking hero because you just gave your girlfriend a ring that cost half your yearly salary. She sobs and accepts, everyone in the goddamn restaurant applauds because it is so stupidly beautiful. She shows off that ring to every person she meets, even strangers on the street and soon you are planning the wedding. You go see this wedding planner who looks like she is half-insane and under-medicated. Things are getting more and more elaborate until the wedding is costing almost as much as the ring. You start to panic and your parents offer to help you out. The big day is getting closer, you are getting nervous and before you know it, it’s bachelor party time. Your best buddy Chuck hires some really nasty strippers, the kind who give blowjobs in the bathroom while snorting coke off your cock. You get wasted and get head from some whore and she swallows then asks for a tip. Your buddy swears this is just between him and you and no one has to know what happened.
So you show up for the big day, get married and it’s the happiest moment of your life. You are crying, she is crying, your parents are crying, the whole goddamn church is crying because it is so goddamn beautiful. Even Jesus looks like he is about to start smiling on the cross. So you dance and eat cake and all that happy horseshit. Then honeymoon night comes and you can barely get it up because you are so damn tired. Eventually wifey goes down on you, for what will be the last time, and gets you up so you can fuck her. Marriage consummated. You are trapped.
So several years pass without incident, you are living a fucking suburban dream. You even buy a little dog named Mr. Pickles who shits all over the carpet but he is so goddamn cute that you clean it up with a smile on your stupid face. You are working so many hours that you almost fall asleep at the wheel coming home sometimes and have gotten into a few fender benders while wifey stays home and has her online jewelry business. For all you know, she is taking off her top and showing her ta-ta’s to guys all day on webcam for cash and putting it in a separate bank account. Yet you smile, she makes dinner, you have sex once a week at regularly scheduled intervals and you are just so grateful for a moment alone with your gigantic flatscreen HDTV that you don’t have time to be unhappy. Then one day you come home, she is holding a pink pee-stick and you are going to be a Daddy. You make sure to take time off work, you go to the OBGYN appointments and see that little mutant in the womb forming from fish-like creature into something resembling human. Her parents are thrilled, your Dad pats you on the back and your mother is sobbing like a hysterical bitch.
Everything seems so perfect then as the months go on, your wife’s moods begin to change, she is always screaming and yelling at you about something. You stay longer at the office just to avoid her and she is always calling your secretary and you tell her to tell your wife you are in a meeting. Your secretary is a bit of a slut and always smiling at you, and bending over to show you that she isn’t wearing panties. One night after work, she shoves her tits in your face and soon you are doing her doggy style over the copy machine. As soon as you pull out and cum on her back, you start to feel guilty and rush home. Your wife bitches at you and tells you that food is in the fridge. You eat alone in the kitchen and sob.
Then one day you are looking on the computer and find out your wife has a secret email account she hasn’t told you about. It takes you a few minutes to figure out the password but when you do, you are horrified, you find emails that she has been sending to your best friend Chuck for almost six months now. She is six months pregnant and then you read the words: It might be yours. You run to the bathroom and throw up. You plan a big confrontation for when she gets home and how you are going to scream so loud that the neighbors will hear—she come in and you chicken out. Nothing happens, you pretend like everything is fine. It’s like you have lost your mind.
The next day you call out sick and you stay parked a block away and look for Chuck’s car. Three hours pass and finally he drives up to your house in his Jeep Cherokee. You walk up to the house and quietly open the door. You hear the sounds of them fucking up the stairs. You have the gun in your hand so hot and slick that it makes you shiver. You have never been this excited. You slowly open up the door to surprise them. She is riding him cowgirl style, her pregnant belly bouncing in front of her. Then you remember, it’s your anniversary next week. Just before you open fire on them, you whisper, “Happy anniversary, honey.” Then you listen to the screams.
Alien - so... Not a fan of marriage? joke. great narrative - best part is the pace, keeps on rolling right along - very easy to ease in and go along for the ride... darkly amusing.
So, I follow Alien - and with something completely on the other end of the spectrum. A children's story.
To Please Chester - this story is exactly (my word counter says so) 1000 words (that doesn't count the title - so don't count the title).
And for an extra bit of flair I tried to do something different... This children story is a Microfiction Serial. Now is that a word? I don't know. But, I will define it. I have 7 pieces of microfiction that can stand alone as individual stories - but work together to form a greater whole. Really, I thought it'd work as an illustrated book - with a micro between two pages, you flip the page - another couple pictures with another micro - do that 7 times.... I don't know - I'm kinda crazy.
So... You're prefaced.
Saturday morning TV lulled quiet in the house as the Sun peeked from the horizon. Travis sat cross-legged with a bowl of cereal. He tried to crunch quiet, but every bite sounded loud enough to wake the whole house.
‘A man in shorts and a cut off t-shirt ran on an orange track. He had a big parachute attached to him. His sweat was green, but that was because of the weird drink he was drinking. His shoes had little knobs on the bottom.’
‘Life is Sport – Drink it up.’
“That guy must be fast.” Dad’s voice sounded scratchy. He yawned and pointed at the TV. “He’s so fast he has a parachute.”
“It’s the shoes, Dad. See them?”
“Uh-Huh” Dad poured some coffee. Travis’s cartoon came on.
“I want shoes like that?”
“You going to play sports?” Dad’s eyebrows rose up. It made his forehead wrinkle.
“But, the TV said life is sport.”
His new cleats were black and had white shoe strings. There was this great big flap dad called a tongue that folded over the top. He tied the laces as tight as he could.
“Let me snug those up, son.” Dad retied them. They felt better.
“These are my fast shoes,” he said, jumping up and running back and forth on the hardwood floors. His cleats sound cool on hardwood floors.
“So, shoes make the man?”
“I can go really fast in these shoes.”
“I can see that.”
“Can I wear them to school?”
“Sure. You need to break them in.”
“I don’t want to break them.”
Dad smiled, so he smiled. “Son, shoes like those, they’re so wild, you’ll have to break them in a little so they will behave.”
“You bet. Behave. You’re the boss of these shoes.”
“See, I’m gonna win!” A group had gathered. Mrs. Taylor, his teacher had stepped out to use the bathroom. The concrete floors made his shoes sound neat.
“I got some cleats for baseball last summer,” Gary said. He stared at the shoes. “But, my feet got too big for me to wear them.”
“My brother got some that look like that,” Molly said. Her mom had made her hair into a big braid. She smiled. One of her front teeth was missing.
Mrs. Taylor came back. “What’s all this then?”
“Travis has got new shoes!” Cody said. “He’s gonna win!”
“The race, the race!” More than one said.
“Back to your seats, children.” They all did as told. His cleats were loud on the concrete. “Let’s see who wins the race on this spelling test.”
The class groaned, all except Travis. He wasn’t paying attention. The big flap on his right shoe needed straightening up.
“Coach Larden, can we have a race?”
Coach said yes. He blew his whistle and all the kids lined up against the chain link fence. The wall of the elementary school was the finish line.
“Ready, set… GO!” He took off across the playground as fast as his legs would go. He’d told Dad yesterday he was the fastest. Dad hadn’t acted like he believed him. Well, this would prove it.
Most of all of the boys and nearly all the girls from his grade ran the length of the playground. Other grades were there too, but he didn’t count them. Fastest meant fastest at his age. Kids in the 2nd and 3rd grades were bigger.
He knew the trick to win. Never slow down. He hit the cinder block wall at full speed and used his hands to slow down. Something crunched in his right hand and he crumpled against the wall. A big light exploded, everything went green then it all faded away. He won, though. Dad would be proud.
His cast was royal blue with a royal purple edge. The guy who put it on said that meant he was royalty and that he should have people call him ‘your majesty’ while wearing it. Six weeks seemed like a long time though.
“Look Mom, Dad signed my cast.”
“Ooh, honey, in permanent ink too. Let’s me see it, ‘Girls love casts’.”
“Yuck Mom. Girls don’t like casts.”
“I’m a girl and I like it.”
“Uh Uh. You’re a Mom.”
Mrs. Taylor, his teacher, shook her head a lot when she talked and it was always from side to side. Her hair was part gray and part white, like it didn’t know what color it wanted to be.
“You’ll just have to try to use your left hand Travis. You may even like it. It’s something new.”
He looked at his left hand. It seemed to say hi for the first time ever. He wiggled the fingers on his right hand where they poked out of the cast. It was all numb, but the moving felt normal… more normal than his left. His right wrist itched.
Karen came and sat beside him. She had pure brown hair and her eyes looked bigger than anybody else’s. She was OK for a girl.
“Hiya Trav. I like your cast. Can I sign it?”
“You like casts?” He held out his arm for her.
“yeah. I saw you race. You even beat the old kids.” She signed his cast with a red pen and put a little heart on it.
She had dimples and spots on her nose.
“What are those dots on your nose?”
“Freckles. My Mom says all the cool kids have them.”
“Dad, Dad, guess what!”
Dad’s tools clanked on the garage floor when he got out from under their big black lawnmower. Wires connected to it ran into a box with a green light that hummed.
“What’s up son?”
“See,” He showed him Karen’s heart. “And, later, on the playground, we were running and she caught me and she kissed me!”
“I let her win, though.”
Dad ruffled his hair. “Good, Good. You don’t want to be fastest all the time.”
Dad laughed so he did too.
“Yeah," he said. “Not all the time.”
@ Danny. Yay. See, 2nd person is great fun!
@ Fritz. I love it. That is very cool. (edit - aha, I see you fixed it) Rock on.
And I guess I should follow your children's story.... with another (kind of) children's story. Well it's about a child anyway. Also, I tried to go for a 2.5th perspective. Or something like that. Basically it's 3rd, but I dabbled in mixing in a bit of 2nd to the narration for the hell of it. Not sure if it works but hey, Flash Me is nothing if not experimental.
A boy plays with his toys. He has a tank and were you to ask him he'd tell you it's a Challenger. It has a desert camouflage paintjob. He also has the desert combat version of Action Man. Bizarrely, Action Man is wearing a sombrero that has been borrowed from some other, forgotten, toy. Look closely and you'll see the Challenger is commanded by a pencil-topper Troll with lime green hair. Also, the caterpillar tracks are missing. Each wheels spins freely and alone. Were you to go into his room and look in the chest under the window you'd find all of his toys to be hybrids and combinations. Nothing complete, nothing new. By this point you might direct your eyes to the furnishing throughout the house. This place looks salvaged, stitched together from parts of other houses. The word 'cadaverous' might play on your mind. You might think of Frankenstein's monster.
The boy plays alone in the evenings. He has friends, of sorts, but they are school friends. Sometimes they ride their bikes past his house. On these occasions he ducks and watches them pass without shouting or waving. They don't know he lives here, don't like him so much they'd invite him anyway. Their relationship is defined by the lending of pencils and the communal mocking of girls with braces. Nothing more. Besides, he doesn't have a bike.
The boy repeatedly crushes Action Man with the tank and mutters to himself. The words aren't clear, but whatever they are he's mumbling them over and over. Next to him is a empty glass and a small plate covered in crumbs and dry tomato sauce. The boy made his own dinner, cold spaghetti sandwiches. Messy but tasty. He likes spaghetti sandwiches so much he's had them for dinner four nights this week. He daren't touch the cooker anymore. Not after last time. He was bad and nearly burned the whole house down. The dials on the front are still somewhat of a mystery to him and the gas got left on. It was bad because he shouldn't have been fucking messing around with things he doesn't understand. He knows that now. He has a funny shaped knuckle to prove it.
There's homework due for class tomorrow, a story about his family life to read to the other children. Miss Corrigan said each story must be at least two pages long and that everyone must read theirs aloud.
After smashing Action Man's face with the wheels of the behemoth one last time he puts them aside. He fetches his schoolbag from the hallway where it hangs from the frame of a skeletal motorbike that has been raped for organs and spare parts. Look out back and there's a yard, concrete fence to fence and home to two more vivisected bikes like this one. As with the patchwork house, you can only assume that somewhere exists a motorbike built entirely from the parts that were torn out of these.
The boy takes out his workbook and a pen. He always does his homework on time because if he doesn't then Miss Caulder might send a letter again and then he'd be taking the goddamn piss and he doesn't want to do that ever again
Trouble is he's having a hard time with this particular piece of homework. He's had three days to do it but has made very little progress. Accounting for the frequent crossings out, what he's got so far reads a little like this.
I live at home with my Dad, who is called Michael. He is at work most of the time. My Mum was called Sue but she died when I was four. Dad says that she was an decent ride but not good for much else. I don't know what that means. Dad says mum died of cancer. I learned how to spell that from seeing it on the news. I don't really understand but I think it means that her body got really old, really, really fast. My Daddy works a lot and comes home late. I like to play in the house when he is gone. I have my own key.
He has no idea how to proceed and has to read the story to the class in the morning. Nowhere near two pages and he doesn't know what else to write. Tears well like blood blisters. He doesn't like crying because he doesn't want to be a fucking pussy. He doesn't cry often but Miss Caulder is going to be angry and send another letter and last time the burn on his leg took a week to stop stinging.
A foot on the doorstep and the jangling of keys. Sniffing, he forces back the mucous that threatens to join the salt water in running down his face. A wipe with his sleeve soaks the tears and he stuffs his workbook away. You might think of a startled cat when you see the way he grabs the dirty crockery and scampers to the kitchen. He doesn't want to be a messy little bastard. He doesn't want to sleep in the yard again.
@ voodoo. Poor kid. Good show of his ignorance of the horror of the situation.
And continuing the theme... [this story is based on a drawing I made a really long time ago, so now it's an illustrated story, I suppose]
Goodbye To Yu
Tracy Yu was murdered when I was seven years old. She had just had her eighth birthday party, where we all made pig masks out of cereal boxes, egg cartons and glue on sparkles. I had coloured mine pink, because I had no imagination. Tracy, on the other hand, made hers orange. I remember her telling me she wanted to know what an orange pig would look like, because in her eight years on this planet, she had never seen one. When I put my mask on, the string broke, so I couldn't wear it without holding it up. Tracy's did not leave her face for the rest of the afternoon. Her long black hair framed it making the magic-marker coloured cardboard mask look slender and pretty, her bright smile glowed under the egg-carton nose, where the mask ended. She was a beautiful girl.
When I got into my father's car after the party, I realized I had forgotten my mask. I ran back to the door and Tracy's mother handed me the beautiful orange pig mask, thinking it was the one I had made. I smiled and took the mask, admiring it when I got home until I fell asleep. Waking up the next morning for school, the mask was still in my arms.
While getting ready for school, I began to feel pangs of guilt about having taken Tracy's lovely pig mask, and decided to give it back to her during recess. Just before recess, however, our class was told that Tracy was dead.
We were all sent home for our parents to deal with individually. There was no sense in making our teachers explain it to thirty children at a time. That sort of thinking is what causes enraged parents to yell at the secretary over the phone about their children coming home petrified from school. Some parents just don't want their kids to know about what can happen if you take candy from a stranger.
Of course, as i found out later, Tracy had not taken any candy from any stranger. Her murder was completely random, completely meaningless. I attended the murder trial, which didn't happen until i was fifteen years old. It took eight years, 3 months to find her killer. That was equivalent to more than two of Tracy's lifetimes. Her parents had long since moved out of town, thinking their daughter's murder would go unsolved. Seeing them in the city again left me unsettled. Her formerly chubby, jolly father was now pencil thin, rigid as an ice pick, and her mother's eyes had lost their maternal glow. I only made eye contact with her once during the trial. She stared through me, trying to see if there wasn't some part of Tracy trapped in me. Dissatisfied that I had become myself, rather than her daughter she turned back toward the stand without so much as blinking. Her father never shifted his stare.
The killer was a thirtysomething, pale, thin man with glasses. He'd admitted to the murder as a part of a twelve step program. He reached the step where he had to apologize to everyone he ever wronged. Before Alexander Philip King showed up unannounced at the police department, there was not so much as a lead. No suspects, no clues. Just a dead girl on the sidewalk, and an ugly pink pig mask with two uneven holes which her wide open, dead eyes stared through. Upon seeing the photos of her dead for the first time, I threw up, right into my purse. I didn't throw up because she was dead. I threw up because of the pig mask. Why did she have to die wearing my ugly pig mask, instead of her beautiful one?
She must have fixed the string.
Not even close to 1000, but here it is anyways. Something I think we can all relate to.
Why does it always seem like blank paper is laughing at you?
The clock ticks along untroubled by my lack of ability to write; but that paper, it laughs. The shuffle of papers being gently lifted off the desk by the fan is the jovial fanfare of thousands of college-rule pads. What was the difference between the two? Something about lines.
Tired of staring at the blank canvas, I lean back in my chair; crackling my spine. When was the last time I cleaned my ceiling. Is that something people do? Seems like gravity would do all the work.
Hopeless, I stare at my pen. So anxious; filled with unrealized words. I really don't like this pen. It doesn't write smoothly. I must find a different one.
After finding a suitable replacement, I move the pen to the first line. It rests there for a moment making a tiny ink-pool; so perfectly circular. How do you calculate the area of a circle? Who invented the idea of a circle? Triangles are cooler. They are the James Dean of shapes.
Lifting the pen I decide the page is ruined. Into the bin it goes where it rests with its dead brethren. Tomorrow is trash day...or was it recycling? What do they do with all that cardboard?
My swivel chair spins past the center of my desk. I start swaying back and forth. Soon enough I start spinning. I end up facing the door. I can see the fridge. There is fresh lunchmeat in there.
There is always time to write tomorrow.
@ meatseeker. You should illustrate my micro serial! Jk. Seriously though. Submit something to a contest or something. Im jealous of your gift. Im working on progressing past stick figures
Okay, here it goes. The most spiritual journey of my life. In a moment, I'll break through the molecular fabric of perception. Of existence. The answers to the secrets of life will be revealed to me. The transition to the real world will be jarring. I'm prepared for the strongest psychedelic trip known to man.
The 2 liter bottle is filled to the brim with pieces of excrement floating in urine.The gasses rise and stay trapped in a toxic cloud. The gas expands in a balloon, carefully taped on the top. I peel the tape away with surgical precision. While choking the balloon around it's neck, I take one last deep breath of fresh oxygen. Now I'm ready. My lips form around the balloon and I squeeze the bulb, forcing the gas into my lungs until they are about to burst.
Jacks, that made me kind of nauseous.
Thanks Fritz, I would totally love to illustrate books. I'm waiting anxiously by my mailbox to see if I got into the program I applied to at the Art College. One day...
Anybody up for a jemken party? BYOJ
thanks for this moment Dakota
I hope nobody was eating when they read it haha.
No, fortunately not. Very close to dinner time tho, very close bud
Hey to marquis de sade that would be a milkshake made in heaven.