Flash Fiction – Calling all Cars!

 

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I sometimes miss the old Flash Fiction website – it was a vibrant online community of semi- (and not so semi-) hobby writers, who gathered at least once a week to be challenged to produce a small piece of original fiction.  Inspired by the photo prompt or directed requirements – we operated on a tight timeline to pop out a tiny slice of creative wordplay.

I’m sharing this piece again – as it was one of my favorite flash pieces, and, well, ’tis the season 😀

 

 

 

Calling All Cars!

157 words

“Calling all cars!  Calling all cars!”

Every year, we get the call.  Every year, we respond.  Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

“Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly.  Full facial hair, white.  Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

“Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin.  No plates evident.”

My partner and I lock eyes, knowing …HATING… what’s coming.

“Ocular trauma to multiple victims.  Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash.  “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters  “It’s always the naughty ones…”

“Suspect 3.75 inches tall.  Last known locations… “

A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

“Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.

Advertisements

Flash Fiction – Not all Reapers are Grim

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

This is a Flash Fiction post I created waaaaay back in July for Flash! Friday.  In the spirit of cleaning up my drafts folder – and actually putting content on the T&T (instead of amusing myself at night by twisting wire into pendants…) I’m posting some of this old stuff.

The book FF suggested for this week of flash was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 

Not all Reapers are Grim
Elements: Character & Conflict (man v man)
with just a hint of Theme…
102 words

 

Snatches of sing-songy intoxication wiggled their way around the filthy towels valiantly clinging to the charred beams masquerading as walls.

“Food for all!”

“Comfort and Fun!”

“Dreams come true!”

The man in the bright-purple great-coat wandered the alley – an ocean of deserted street-urchins caught in the wake of his swell as he sang us songs of dreams.

Willingly we followed him into the dark building – visions of meat and heat and candy and comfort dancing in our heads.

Only to find combat, blood and death, all broadcast LIVE to the well-paying audience.

 

He planted our dreams.  Harvested our nightmares.

Flash Fiction – Old Mack Donald

Rose lineup Flash FictionI got a shock when the winners of the latest Flash! Friday contest were posted…I got a double-mention!

Not only did my story of the week make 2nd runner up (Which is the highest I’ve been in the ranks!) but the judges also went through some of their older judging weeks, and picked out stories that, for one reason or another – continued to stick in their minds.

So I’m all excited and bouncy and stuff 🙂  I’ll be damned – I CAN write!

The weekly contest was a tough one – we had to incorporate a farmer as our main character, and the photo to tie in was three men in bakers whites looking intently into a long window.  I fought over this one – cussed and swore at it – no matter how I tried to tie the farmer in with a baker, the story wanted to veer wildly off-course.  At the zero hour, I finally threw up my hands and said – ‘Ya know…I’m just gonna do the damn song…”

And then, that magical line appeared – the last line in the story.  There it was – beginning line, and end line.  The story almost filled itself in.

You Know You’re Singing this Song…
197 words

Old Mack Donald – he had a farm. He’d inherited it from his father, who had it from his – and so on and so forth back to the first Donald to set foot in the country. The chains of tradition had bound Mack to the land for longer than he’d drawn breath.

“The Donald Men always tilled the soil,” he’d say with his soft drawl to anyone listening. “And we always tended to the beasties. I didn’t know no different.”

But Mack was old – and Mack was tired. And, above all, Mack was sick of life surrounded by the cacophony of brays, snorts, peeps, moos and oinks from the assembled livestock. At any time, day or night, there were animals sounding off. Sometimes they were panicked over an errant shadow. Sometimes, especially in the spring, they were busy finding a mate to continue the cycle of life for the farm.

And sometimes, Mack swore – they made noises simply to piss him off.

So Mack sold the farm to a huge conglomerate, and slipped into clean, crisp baker’s whites. His bread is the best in 5 counties.

Old Mack Donald sold his farm – to knead a bit of dough…

And our esteemed judges had this to say:

TS – I don’t know if I remember the passage of even one week in the last seven years of being a mom where this song wasn’t stuck in my head at least once. So… thanks. For that. 😉 Ee-I-ee-I-Oh, I did enjoy the fun feel of this piece. I may or may not have laughed out loud over the “cacophony of brays, snorts, peeps, moos and oinks.”

And I love how Mack takes his final revenge on the animals that have drowned him in never ending brain vibrating irritation: he becomes a chef, and I bet (even though the story doesn’t say), that one or two of those animals might have found their way onto a plate. –Apologies to any vegetarians. 😉 Nicely done. Now I’m going to go drown out “Old MacDonald” with something infinitely more enjoyable, like “The Wheels on the Bus.”

MK – I saw this and smiled. A few times recently I have tried to incorporate songs as a theme of my stories and really enjoyed how they made the reader respond. The writer has picked a song here that was always going to spin around in our heads all day. It’s totally on-theme, and the writer has crafted something that is memorable, humorous, yet also deals with the progression of character. I’m not sure what the bakeries in Virginia do differently than the bakeries in England, but I’m scared that my fellow judge thinks it’ll involve the use of animals on plates. 🙂 Remind me not to eat bread at Tamara’s if I ever find myself in that part of the world 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The story that stuck in the judges heads was one I created in December – and showed up on the T&T shortly after I’d posted it.  It was sooooo new a posting to me, I hadn’t gotten the ‘Flash Fiction’ banner done yet (although I was close – I was using the origami flower lineup…)

They called it the ‘Jailbird Santa as Best Character’ and this is how they introduced all the special mentions on their final, tear-inspiring duty as judges:

Alas, our time has drawn to a close, and as we’ve looked back over our time as judges for Flash! Friday, we’ve been amazed all over again by the magnitude of talent that has been displayed on this page over and over again. You’ve written your hearts for us, and we’ve so enjoyed the experience of delving into each story and reveling in every world that unfolded before our awed gazes. Truly, we are sad to end our time here, but a hearty thanks to each one of you for making it all so worth it. Thanks to our Dragon mother, who unselfishly gives of her time to make this board what it is, and I (Tamara) thank you, Mark, for being the best possible judging partner a person could ever ask for.

Over our time, each week we were up to judge, we wished we could choose more winners than we were allowed. So on our last time, we went back and picked out three from various weeks – the “Unsung Story Awards.” These, for one reason or another, didn’t make the final list the week they were entered, but they stuck in our heads, and we hoped to give them a little recognition this time.

And now, before I use up too many more tissues, one last time, here are our results.

Guys – you will be missed as judges, but I’ll still look for your stories each and every week!

Calling All Cars!
157 words

“Calling all cars! Calling all cars!”

Every year, we get the call. Every year, we respond. Every year, our department fails to close this decades-old case.

“Person of interest male, white, late 70’s, portly. Full facial hair, white. Last seen wearing bright red suit and hat with white fringe, black belt, black knee-boots.”

My hands curl around the steering wheel, mentally preparing for the yearly bloodbath.

“Suspect get-away vehicle tiny sleigh pulled by 8 animals of reindeer origin. No plates evident.”

My partner and I lock eyes, knowing…HATING…what’s coming.

“Ocular trauma to multiple victims. Eyes replaced with charcoal briquettes.”

I yank a cigarette from the pack on the dash. “Shoulda been nice…” I whisper, even as my partner mutters “Here comes the weird part…”

“Suspect 3.75 inches tall. Last known locations… ”

A string of addresses follow, blanketing the car in a wall of sound.

“Public Enemy number one…” I growl, flipping on the siren.

Flash Fiction – Waterfall: 1 – Man: 0

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

It’s rare I have 2 ideas for a round of Flash over on Flash! Friday – and even stranger to tie the two stories to each other – but that’s what happened this week.  We had the challenge this week to use the Man vs. Nature theme, and a wonderful shot of a waterfall for out photographic prompt.

I couldn’t help but to get a bit silly in the first piece, but…never fear – I got all serious by the end of the second.

Enjoy!

 

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Dream

196 words

 

“Give me a sound ship. And give me the waves. Lastly – Give me a star to steer her by.”

These were the prolific words I first heard on my Father’s knee. Words I dreamed about every instant of my childhood. Words I clung to going through my rebellious teenage years. Words I saved and sacrificed for throughout my working career. Words I finally realized into reality in the sunset years of my life.

If words can lay a path at ones feet, a map of desire one will follow throughout the long, yawning years of existence – then it was these three simple statements which laid my bootie-clad toes on the trail.

I never doubted – never wavered in my life’s goal – and earned the freedom to pull my lifeblood from the water. My ship is small – but our hearts beat as one. I go forth upon the waves to pit my wiles against the most abundant element on the face of this Earth. Proudly, I cast away from the shore to sail off into the crimson and gold sunset.

I’m fairly sure…no…I’m positive… I never requested a freaking WATERFALL be at the end of my journey!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To Dream, Perchance…ending in Nightmare

209 words

 

“Well…NAOW what?”

My dream is shattered – its bones lay scattered amongst the rocks, its body reduced to splinters and flotsam dancing in mocking merriment amongst the tidal pools swirling in complete abandonment at the bottom of a rather unexpected waterfall.

I first felt the pull deep in my gut – the stern suddenly pulling hard a-port as the bow shoved water out of its way starboard. The spinning sensation intensified in my head as I felt the hastily-dropped anchor scrape along the bottom of the river-bed…dragged without purchase by the strong current of gravity-influenced water.

At least the water washed away my body’s response to the chaotic, tumbling, twirling, ugly dance we performed over the lip of the falls, ending with my spectacular belly-flop in calmer waters. You know that old saying: ‘First you say it, then you DO it?’ Yup…accurate.

I raise an ineffectual, dripping fist toward the heavens, screaming my protest at the top of my aged lungs.

“This wasn’t part of the dream, damn-it!”

Unheard, to be certain, as the throaty growl of the towering sheet of clear/green-y water drowns out all other noise.

I lay a wet cheek against a pillow of mud – letting the salt of my tears mingle with the remains of my boat.

 

Flash Fiction – The Chains of a POW

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

I’m continuing to dig out the flash pieces I’ve submitted for Flash! Friday – here’s another one I’m rather proud of.  I’ve never served in the military, but I was the oddball child (of 4) who didn’t.  My family is steeped in military service.

I can only imagine what it must be like to have to serve as the might of this nation – a position that is equally vilified and revered – or to take another life in the execution of that service – but the voices certainly have their take on it.

With Memorial Day looming on the calendar – this is a small tribute to what some people have to go through after having offered their bodies and souls for the good of their country.

Enjoy!

The Chains of a POW

205 words

 

Innocent eggs and bacon sizzle merrily in their pan.

The chatter of machine guns
forcing their deadly payload
into unsuspecting human flesh.

Fruits, ice and yogurt whipped to a cold, sweet froth in the whining blender.

The howl of the air-raid sirens
bouncing off the barricades
singing the song of death’s guarantee.

Bread warming, drying, golden brown in the toaster that ticks, ticks, ticks…

“GRENADE!!!”

Screaming. Endless screaming. My throat is sore, my head aches – but the scream will not stop pouring from my lungs. The flashback knifes into my brain, no less real, no less sharp or shiny than the cutting utensil on the countertop before me.

Blood – copper-tinged red runoff from the steak stains the white marble cutting board.

So. Much. Blood.

An ocean of brutally spilled life, thwarted promise, foiled dreams. I’m overwhelmed by the fluid – drowning in an endless typhoon of death.

He stands again, firm and solid in my mind’s eye, atop the wooden battlements, armament cradled lovingly in the crook of his arm. Cold eyes, cold face, determined to end my screaming by slamming the butt of his rifle across my fragile nose.

They say you have to let the war go – but it refuses to loosen its grip.

Flash Fiction – For so Long as One Remembers, we Shall not be Forgotten

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

Once again into the fray that is flash fiction over on Flash! Friday – our hostess on the site delights in putting 2 prompts together that require some serious shoehorning to put together.  I love how this makes me shuffle perceptions around!

This week the photo prompt was a Navajo man dressed as Zahadolzha – one of the panoply of Native American Gods, and the required story element of the week was a downtown setting.
Mind twisting, no – trying to put these two together?

My story is nowhere NEAR the intensity of what others put up, but it holds its own.  Enjoy!

 

 

For so Long as One Remembers, we Shall not be Forgotten

210 words

Silent. Unmoving.

Only the breeze running slow fingers through the feathers in his hair betray his composition is flesh and blood, rather than stone and determination. The traffic buzzes around him and his carefully cultivated square of earth, grass, tree and bush. He, and the meticulously-designed park in the center of town, appears curiously out-of-time.

Memories. History.

He remembers the Great Spirit crafting a beautiful blue-green jewel; proudly displaying it within the sterile blackness of all. The Sky Woman shaking the Water of Life from her shawl. The Breathmaker again sculpts his figures out of clay while the Trickster tempts the pale ones from across the great Ocean. The devastation visited upon the Earthen Mother.

Knowledge. Wisdom.

The child at his side, a waxed paper cup of water, sugar, and unnatural chemicals in her outstretched hand – a kindness for this strange figure clothed in the furs and feathers of his native dress.

Their hands touch around the offering. The child’s eyes widen and age as memory flows.

Torch. Passing.

The ancient man – a figure appearing from time long forgot – fades to nothingness in the afternoon sunshine bathing the downtown park square. The child, her head full of old memories, will carry forward the History of the People.

Flash Fiction – Flash Frenzy Round

Rose lineup Flash Fiction

There was a new twist for Flash! Friday called “The Flash Dash!”  posted a few weeks back I had the opportunity to participate in.  I had a blast with this one.

She posted the prompt:

Start the story with the words:  “He shouldn’t have sounded the gong”

at exactly 10am EST.  Everyone had 30 MINUTES (!!!!!) to post their creations of anything up to 500 words.

Let me say that again:  THIRTY.  FREAKING.  MINUTES.

I’ve gotten used to the tight timelines on normal flash challenges – you have a day to come up with your best work.  I usually have to work work in to this equation, as well as sleep, work prep, eating, commute – all the stuff that happens on a day to day basis.  But this – 30.  FREAKING.  MINUTES.

Talk about pressure…but the good kind.  The kind that gets you hyper-focused on what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, and exactly WHAT you are putting together for story details.

Long story short – I read the first sentence.  Cursed it.  Howled at it, much like the sound howls across the bowl of the gong.  Then I got into it – and put this out with 2 minutes to spare.

Enjoy!

To Witness

155 words

He shouldn’t have sounded the gong, but the great disc of beaten copper had other plans. It needed to sound. Needed to ring. Needed to spread its message far and wide.

Needed to release the entity painstakingly trapped within the myriad reflections chasing each other across the bell’s etched bowl.

It had picked the slight man out of the teeming crowd of curious onlookers, each salivating at the chance to glimpse this freshly-unearthed artifact rumored to date from before the earliest of Antiquity’s greatest civilizations. Captured his will with a single flash of redirected sunshine. Drew him through the crowd like a lodestone.

The man struck the copper disc in a flurry of speed, using his head as the mallet, and the gong sounded. Vibrations not heard since before the dawn of civilization rang out amongst the crowd, who were unfortunate enough to witness the release of the last remaining Old God.

“I aaaam FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”