28 December, 2012

An Experiment in Flash Fiction: Part 2

This part of the experiment was inspired by my Uncle's comment, wanting something to do with zombies, and a prompt from +Writ's new community page.

If you haven't yet, make sure you read Part 1, otherwise things won't make sense.

Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

     Jeff kept looking at his smartphone while the helicopter flew over the bay. He was looking forward to this assignment, the first in his freelance career. The ad called for combat experience, something Jeff knew thanks to his countless years of martial arts. Now the waiting game, Jeff was briefed on the assignment countless times.

    “So we’re going onto this ship…thing,” He said. “And investigating what again?”

    Simon sighed, “The reports from the rescue crews. I thought you had experience in Resident Evil and zombie films. Viruses, mutations, that sort of thing?”

    Sophie nudged his shoulder, “He looks more Deep Fear than Walking Dead if you ask me. Guts, yes. Brains, not so much.”

    Jeff sighed and swore under his breath. He put the smartphone back in his pocket and looked straight at Simon, grinning.

    “Good! Now I’ll go over this again,” He said.

    It was a pretty straightforward assignment; go investigate a naval ship where reports indicated some members of the crew mutated into something else. This was what Simon called Operation Typical Day. Jeff rested his head on his own fingers during the umpteenth explanation.

    “So what’s your job in all this, Sir?” He asked.

    “Recording and writing down the whole thing,” Simon replied. “My friend here will be taking pictures and provide you with backup.”

    Jeff started laughing uncontrollably. All those tournaments, the street brawls, the studies under a highly respected teacher. All for this assignment.

    “So I’m pretty much your bodyguard,” He said. “While you and her investigate some dead, messed up bodies that could kill you at any time. The government must be desperate if they’re hiring journos for the military.”

    Sophie quickly took out her laser pistol and aimed it at his head. Simon pressed his feet down on top of Jeff’s, only softly.

    “So it’s a fraud then?” Simon asked.

    “What is?” Jeff replied.

“The resume you sent us.” He leaned in closer to Jeff. “Claimed that you were highly literate, a well to-do member of some mafia skilled in various martial arts, and a banker’s best friend. An air of a dreamer, I think.”

    Jeff stammered, “It’s real, Sir.”

“Then why…did you say that I’m from the government?”

“B-because you are.”

    Sophie sighed, “Then it’s all mad fake! Should I fry him?”

    “Not yet,” Simon replied.

    He took out a folded piece of paper from his coat pocket and unfolded it. He passed it towards Jeff who recognized it as the flyer that started all this.

    “The hell’s this for?” He asked.

    “Simple question,” Simon replied, pointing down at the small text. “How is Neath a part of the government?”

    “Screw this one up and zap goes your life,” Sophie replied.

    Jeff grunted, “I don’t freakin’ know!”

    Simon grinned, “Then think on it. There’s plenty of time before we land.”

    Jeff sighed, this first day on the job receded back into the interview. Now the job and his life were on the line.

07 December, 2012

An Experiment in Flash Fiction: Part 1

Note: You may also translate the title as: A Short Story in Small Parts.

This was not intentional by many means, I was writing a flash fiction piece with some familiar characters and then I petered out by 766 words. While my flash fiction usually wraps itself up without any hesitation, this one ended abruptly, begging the question, "What's going on here?". So with that being said, I've decided to split this one into parts. Unfortunately, I don't know how many yet considering that the idea for this flash fiction just came into mind.

While this gives me a good excuse to play around with Scrivener, which I installed in October, I also want to know your thoughts. Where should the story go?

Let me know in the comments here or on my Google+ profile with any additional suggestions. Without further ado, my flash fiction experiment begins!

Edit: I cut it down to 526 words to make things more intriguing. Also, if there's an absence of suggestions I'll use a picture prompt from writing communities like +Writ and +Flash Fiction Project to further the story.

    “The battery still works,” Russell said, popping through the door.

    Dana woke up from her nap and turned to the door. Yep, Russell was still working on it; a battered Lincoln from the back-road’s pothole. It took him hours of waiting just for a tow truck to bring it back to his house. Considering this recent discovery, it was hours well spent.

    “Wha,” Dana asked, attempting to lift her head.

    “There’s still hope for that stallion,” Russell replied. “No matter how old and screwed up it is, I’ll raise it from the scrap heap.”

    Dana grumbled, “Yeah, you and your bad self. Fixing cars like it’s nobody’s business.”

“Ah,” Russell jumped back. “Do you doubt your mechanic?”

    Dana grunted and put her head back down. Russell laughed and went back to the garage.
It had been a long day aside from the Lincoln. Dana had her hands full on her day off thanks to Simon. He had been going through a sort of throes that even she could not understand.

    “Why is it so hard for you to say something,” She asked.

    Simon told her he felt there was no way to say anything, whatever it was sounded like a top secret something plus an extra dose of hush-hush. Dana tried to get this secret out but to no avail, “You’d think I’m mad!”

    She woke up to a series of sharp pangs on her shoulder. She finally stirred and turned her head around to look at her suspect.

     “I know you got this thing down,” She said. “Just go get me some yoghurt will ya?”

    “That’s funny,” The suspect said. “Russell told me you loved mac and cheese. You know, the instant Kraft things?”

    Dana rubbed her eyes, she did not realize that the person was Russell’s customer. Dana slowly lifted herself out of her seat.

    “Russell’s full of himself,” She said. “I got tired of that stuff months ago.”

    “So that’s why his shelves just…bare,” The client said. “So sorry for what you have to go through.”

“Nah! We’re cool!”

    The woman just smirked, “And yet you complain about him. Just doesn’t add up.”

    Dana huffed, “So dense!”

     She decided to go grocery shopping for breakfast. Scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash-browns were consumed with Russell gorging through most of the seconds. They mostly remained silent except for Russell who was explaining the repairs to his customer. She nodded throughout his ramblings regarding the new doors and essentially the entire hood.

     “When?” She asked.

     “I’ll have it online by sundown,” Russell replied, grinning. “You’ll be cruisin’ before you know it!”

She nodded, “Cool!”

    She left Russell and Dana alone in the dining room, with Dana giving a scowl Russell’s way. She remembered the first time he got a car online. She could barely figure out the controls and driving it was out of the question.

    “Relax, girl,” Russell said. “I’m just doin’ as she says. To the T!”

    “Well, fine,” Dana sighed. “Just don’t screw it up.”

“Definitely don’t wanna! She’s been scaring the crap out of me.”

    Rushing back into the garage, Dana was puzzled by his newfound fears. Who was his customer?

28 September, 2012

Flash Fiction: Sense of Taste

    “If you knew that was tasteless bread,” Peter said. “You would have never taken the whole loaf.”
    “But it looked so much like corn bread,” The android replied.
    Peter was getting tired of teaching the logistics of taste. It had taken weeks for his android, a Humanics 180, to activate its taste buds.
    Peter had tried making breakfast that morning, some pancakes and an omlette. But the android just ate them like usual, no recognition of maple syrup or cheese. So it was back to the programming and Peter played around with its binary code.
    Turned out that a section of the code for taste was garbled thanks to a corroded chip. He took it straight from its head and slipped it into his overcoat. Back to the shop, in the corner, where all the Humanics chips were hidden from makers and breakers.
    180, being a discontinued model from recently, had an abundance of replacement chips. Each being full of updated firmware. Overwhelmed by the mass of compatibility, Peter left with a box.
    He plopped it on the workshop bench, sorting the chips from interpretation and recognition. He connected them to his desktop, trying to find the mint condition that would last for the android’s lifespan. Most turned up aged or corroding worse than the chip it already had.
    There was one chip that Peter was pleased with, a fresh recognition fragment. He plopped the chip into the android without further analysis, booting it back up.
    “Good evening, Peter,” It said, grinning.
    Peter exhaled a sigh of relief, “Lovely isn’t it?”
    “…Yes. If that’s what you believe.”
    “The sunset I mean.”
    “Ah! Makes sense now.”
    Peter took out the loaf of bread, a combination of grains and pepper baked from long ago. In Peter’s case, long ago was usually two weeks when he wasn’t programming casual games.
    He set it out on the table, sliced clean from beginning to end. Feasting on one slice each, they slowly made it through the loaf. Peter observed the android’s face, watching the twinges from its lips.
    When its face winced with distaste, Peter smiled, “If you knew that was tasteless bread, you would have never taken the whole loaf.”

For Writ's Summer Writing Challenge , extended to the end of September.

14 September, 2012

Flash Fiction: How Many Times?

            How many times?
            The same guy kept showing up at the cafe, armed with complaints. It never stopped; everything was a target for scrutiny.
            Yet I was stuck with him again. Good old Turner. Man of his word, if that word was in his favor that is. He was also politically passionate, an armchair pundit more or less.
            “So can’t wait for these elections to be over,” He said. “Time to get rid of these clowns and get a real politician.”
            He was on a non-stop tirade about some convention of politicians that ticked him off. It all had to do with the ties, always with the ties.
            “A true politician never wears a snap-on,” Was his favorite lesson. “To tie a tie is true dedication to this country.”
            The fact that he could pinpoint the type of tie a politician was wearing from a television screen would be surprising to most. But I was the only one who knew his TV-watching habits. Always in HD. Always in widescreen. Always on a channel I never heard of.
            How many times?
            His complaints about everything else were exactly the same. He darted the guys from work and school that were different from him from neckwear to personality.
            “So you remember Seamus from Marketing,” He said. “That lazy slob never did work on those group projects.”-He then put on a funny voice.-“I can’t do that. Ma won’t let me.”
            How many times?
            And if he wasn’t complaining politics or putting a bad name on everyone else, he was working on one thing.
            “Look, Ian,” He told me, taking out his tattered notebook. “I’ve got some good stuff going on in Act 3.”
            This was the only time he beamed, telling tales of the characters partying in some pavilion, or how ridiculous they all were on paper.
            “So once Act 1 gets finished then we can finally start that journey to Hollywood,” He said. “I’m still waiting, Ian.”
            How many times?
            That was a question that I’ve asked for years when it came to Turner. The grating finally broke as I snatched that notebook and strolled off back to the house. He never ran after me and I haven’t seen him since then.
            How many times did it take for me to realize? Why did I give myself up in the first place?

For The Knights of Microfiction curated by Kathy and Jessica McKendry

06 September, 2012

Friday Flash: Fear Messenger

            My RSS feeds told me the worst was yet to come. Every shooting and looting, every disaster that struck the town next door, and every missing persons report prophesied it. Nothing was over for too long as the mean world was just around corner.
           “Get your head off that machine,” My grandpa would tell me. “The work’s not gonna do itself you know.”
            But I couldn’t bear to leave the Messenger. Someday it would save my life and even the family. Yet I pried myself to the so-called real life.
            All those people and their newspapers. Such smelly ink and banter ruled the day even if the beer remained untouched. I could still recall that debate over some opinion piece on property rights.

            How could those suits be so lax in a time of constant crisis? A criminal could be released from court thanks to corruption. With the disease being disguised as a request for a bathroom break. It would fester despair for many years knowing that Louis ‘roll-up’ Coe is still at large; released from prison after five hours.

            The Messenger knew how to solve my worries no matter what it was. Surviving many a year from killers, drug dealers, hurricanes, and even that strange man across the street. It definitely was no easy feat.

            And just yesterday I finally met someone who realized the insanity of it all, someone who knew the Messenger. He took me through downtown so I could meet the protector of day-to-day humanity.

            However, I was disappointed to find out who…it was. Multiple monitors were on display behind the windows, playing the reports I watch on my feeds.

            “You may just want the basic package,” He said.

17 August, 2012

Flash Fiction: Friday Night Frustrations

           Andy walked into Mark’s apartment as a waterlogged fisherman who caught a school of disappointment. Mark paused his game of bus simulator still on the first level.
           “Did you find it,” He asked, taking a sip of his green tea.
            Andy sighed, “The rental store’s been gone for years now.”
           “Yeah,” Mark agreed, grinning. “But what about that Redbox?”

            Something clicked inside Andy’s brain and the door slammed behind him. Mark shrugged and returned to his game where he navigated through intersections. Every bus stop had Mark biting his lower lip, sweating.

            He muttered to himself, “C’mon. C’mon.”

            All he had to do was brake and turn precisely in short taps and flicks. Then victory would be achieved with his passengers disembarking for the mall. It was just within his reach and…

            “Found it,” Andy said.

            Mark jumped in shock, his game docking him some points for slamming into the bus stop.  He got up and walked towards Andy in a stride of stomping.

            “What was that for,” He asked, snatching the DVD case from Andy. “I almost had it.”

            “What do you mean almost,” Andy said, pointing at the case. “You have it now, thief.”

            Mark growled and gestured Andy to follow. They sat at the sofa where the TV screen blinked, “Game Over”.

            Mark lifted his palm towards the screen, “You do not know how frustrating it is to drive a bus. Took me about 15 tries before now just to get near the end of the level! Had to break out the instruction manual just to get the hang of driving it and now you ruined everything!”

            Andy looked at the screen, baffled. He could not understand the importance of the video game that made Mark sulk from reality into the television.

            “Does George Clooney drive buses now,” He asked.

            Mark just shrugged back to reality, “Maybe People magazine knows something about it.”

            He continued on into the kitchen and took out the lasagna from the oven. They ate and discussed Andy’s discovery of online shopping and the countless speedo swimsuits he ordered. He then took out the Redbox’s latest bounty, battered and bruised from the laptop bag.

            “Great thing about my laptop,” Andy said, booting it up. “Takes on DVDs and plays them.”

            Mark exhaled in relief. This time he would be able to see Ocean’s Eleven in its full glory. Even when Andy inserted the DVD into the optical disk drive, Mark was starring at the computer screen ready for the movie to begin.

            “It’s a shame about the graphics card,” Andy said.

            Mark jerked his head from the monitor, “Huh?”

            “I mean, it can do YouTube and play high-res games,” Andy said. “But it has this strange…thing going on.”

            Mark frowned. The same situation with his TV played through his mind on repeat. He took out a frying pan, and prepared his throwing hand.

            “Relax, Mark,” Andy shouted. “It can read the disc, but…ah! There’s the problem!”

            They spent the rest of the evening watching Oceans Eleven with the Rat Pack in all their glory. Andy spent the following morning calling the computer shop trying to find a specialist in optical temporal disk drives.
For Flash Fiction Project prompt #44.

20 July, 2012

Flash Fiction: Serviced Comsumers

           The priest gestured for his following to be seated. He took out a cooking pot and placed it on a nearby column; a small one painted black from top to bottom. He squatted down and fiddled around with the column.
            The audience was looking at him, baffled. The priest kept lifting the pot up and down, looking down at the column when the former happened. It was all there, the red rings of the burner operating as usual. He placed the pot back on the column and addressed a confused mass.
            “Seems that Sir is out of range,” He said. “Let’s try the prayers again. Reach out and pull Sir back in.”
            The prayers were like any other in the Order of Serviced Consumers. Starting with “O’ great Sir”, then something about domestic goods and being blessed to use them, and ending it with “Have a nice day”. The church prayed, their sound amplified throughout the architecture of large spaces.
            The pot remained silent. No boiling and certainly no mobile phones were going to pop out at this rate. Out of range was definitely the problem.
            “Manager McGuffin,” a girl called out. “Maybe Sir prefers landline.”
            McGuffin walked forward and leaned out, searching. Then succeeding after trying to squint through forests of six-foot one, “What do you mean, lady?”
            “Well, you remember back to the Founding,” the girl said. “When everyone was hooked on smartphones.”
                The early days of Serviced Consumers mostly consisted of crowdsourcing through social networking and flyers on café bulletin boards. Some of the founders used smartphones to ease the tedious booting up business they were annoyed with. Easy and portable, they worked for the Founders.
            Problem was their early followers. Some of them had a fondness for playing with computers.
            Manager McGuffin smiled, “Most landlines are immune to the dark arts. Good mind, lady.”
            He then walked from the nearby pews to an ambry. He looked through the self with the Etch-a-Sketchs, beta max tapes and a Dreamcast until he found a landline. It was just a standard one from the late 20th century with the phone cord, receiver, and square buttons.
            He took it out and plugged it into the column, opening a small hatch for the phone cord. The prayers happened again while McGuffin dialed some numbers. Moments later, his face became pale.
            “Employees of Sir,” He asked. “Any idea where the nearest phone company is?” 

For Flash Fiction Project: Prompt 40.

29 June, 2012

Flash Fiction: Of Prose and Lectures

This is for an assignment for Literary+ where each assigned pair wrote 100 word bios. Then we wrote a flash fiction, up to 300 words, based on each other's bios. Unfortunately, the bio I based this piece on no longer exists, but the narrative alone should alleviate this issue.

            Rehearsal time, and the director paced the stage, sweating bullets. The cast sat behind him, some on their mobiles and others trying to memorize their lines. The script was one giant poem, a convenient mnemonic aid from a poetic scriptwriter. The problem was the performance itself. Those action cues could not cue themselves.
            The director turned to the cast. One inhale, one exhale.
            “Remember this is only a play,” He said. “Acting is all part of the show.”
            “But sir,” An actress said. “What’s a play?”
            He usually forgot about that bit. The cast arrived out of nowhere, like a poof and there they were. Grown-up, but with very little knowledge of the arts. Everything else was fair game.
            So the director once again explained the concept of plays, actors, actresses, and scripts. The cast acknowledged every little detail, even the history of Shakespeare.
            “Alright,” The director said. “Are you all ready now?”
            One big, “Yes”, from the cast and it began again.
            The execution of the early cues and lines went smoothly. The director relaxed his shoulders and calves standing in a corner.  It was further near the end when…
            “Sir, what does this all mean,” One of the actors said.
            He showed the director a page of the script. The verses combined the English of centuries past with some twenty-first century jargon. He then got up and addressed the cast yet again.
            He lectured on about the English language, bringing up the Shakespeare bits again alongside other dialects, mostly colonial nineteenth-century. The cast nodded through all this and continued the rehearsal.
            It was over by evening and the cast took off for dinner, drinks, and five-hour naps. The director remained at the venue, contemplating on becoming a professor instead.

22 June, 2012

From the Fishtank: Always Listen to Town Hall

This first originally appeared on my musings blog for a writing challenge by Rachael Harrie.

Shadows crept across the wall, prompting Lacey to wake up from her daily slumber. 

“Another day,” She muttered. She got up and stumbled towards the kitchen. She fixed herself a cup of macaroni and cheese and orange soda, the true breakfast of champions. As the meal cooled down, she checked her e-mail and found a message from Town Hall; reminding people to keep their shirts on when going outside, summer or winter. Lacey yawned and continued to eat. Shortly after, she prepared herself for the big day, ready to take on the local Skip-Bo champion, Fischer, and take his title. Then she swiftly opened the front door, ready to take on the world, until she saw her neighbor. 

He was mowing the grass, no shirt, no shoes, and not even pants. His chest was sweaty with greasy black hairs disorganized by the power of balding and lack of grooming. The only thing he wore was a pair of boxers with bulldogs scattered about. 

“Evenin’ Lacey,” He said, taking his eyes off the grass. Lacey went pale, chills running up and down her entire body, and eyelids heavy. She passed out on the pavement, and for the evening, everything faded.

From the Fishtank: Triumphs and Falls

This first originally appeared on my musings blog for Flash Fiction Project's Broken TV prompt.

Mark was softly weeping. His television sat on the curb, its screen shattered and frame broken. A DVD jutted out from the built-in player on the bottom of the frame. It was one of those movies that George Clooney stared in; Ocean’s Eleven.

Mark remembered the moment of triumph at the CVS’s Redbox, when the film was finally available for rent. He had been going on for weeks at the local university, talking about nothing but Clooney. It was as if George Clooney was a language all to himself. Then last night, the triumph was something to be celebrated.

Mark rushed back to his apartment, ran to the living room, and prepared himself for the sacred ritual. TV input set to built-in DVD, he proceeded to take Ocean’s Eleven from its makeshift case. Fingers on the edges, he carefully inserted the DVD into the slot, as if it were glass.

He grinned, beaming from side to side, then came a loud ‘woo’ from his mouth. He waited as the player made its small squawking noises. Few minutes later, the squawking was still going and the screen was a generic blue.

Then his worst fears came true: “Unable to read disk.”   

From the Fishtank: Simplicity

This first originally appeared on my musings blog for Flash Fiction Project's Travel prompt. I'm transferring over the three pieces I wrote there to here to be covered under this blog's Creative Commons License. 

Laurie watched the 1 o’clock train pull into the station with little fascination. She had gotten used to waiting for trains since her new job required quite a bit of train hopping. All across New England, and sometimes New York City, she would wander the train stations and the streets of many cities to sell her wares; packed into a backpack and suitcase. Some days would bring fruitful profits from antique seekers while others brought the speculators embracing the corporate cloth.

Regardless of the uncertain gains and losses, she held her head high; being one of the few traveling vendors left.

Passengers began to exit the train and scurry to the nearby taxis or into the station itself. Laurie prepared her stall. She hoped that today would be a good business day and knowing many of the locals was a benefit.

Unfortunately, business that day was the same as any other; very few antiques were sold. She closed shop and proceeded to a nearby hotel overlooking the nearby river. She stared at the light on her bedroom ceiling, contemplating life. 

Regardless of the lack of profits, her job allowed her to be free from her past. Obsessive boyfriends, they will keep running. Boring neighborhoods will never be a twinkle in her eye. The countless hassle and bills caused by small parking lots, paid for and left behind.

No need for hot-tubs or high-definition televisions, Laurie embraced the simple life of the salesperson.

20 June, 2012

Flash Fiction: Birthday after Birthday...

           Summer solstice brought with it the loudest royal celebration of all time. Princess Rae would have essentially aged by a minuscule amount and what a birthday it was. The servants of the Gemi Royal Family had set up an elaborate affair of food, boating competitions, drinking games, and folk songs, with amplifiers bursting many eardrums. She would be spoiled rotten with all that and the gifts from the other empires.

            The press had nothing to say but positive things that were said every year, only adding a sentence if something notable happened. Nothing usually did. Same thing with the speakers at the Royal Banquet, the same ones booked every year.

            And this has been occurring for almost 5 years. The royal planning committee never got together after the first meeting with anything regarding the Princess. That was until a few months after this year’s celebrations.

            They had found their inboxes flooded with complaints from the royal family. They also were tired of the repetition, all except for the Princess who did not write a complaint. So the committee appointed a subcommittee who specialize in event planning. They in return, also appointed advisors who were to seek out alternatives to the country music and motor-boat racing.

            The efforts of both committees amounted to very little. A comedian was added to the speaker line-up and a DJ was hired for a late night dance section. The year that they played, the Princess was not even in the empire’s borders. Not even the Royal Family itself.

            Instead, the following day, a news report was broadcast and the Gemis got to learn all about some tropical resort, at least for thirty minutes.

For Flash Fiction Project: Prompt 30. Happy Summer Solstice!

19 June, 2012

Flash Fiction: In A Straight Line

Have you ever noticed how people never walk in a straight line? No? Thought so.

Me? I happen to know about this little secret. All that time sitting around between classes wasn’t wasted on me. The student body just walks without knowing this. Everybody else does the same.

So what’s this secret, you ask? Well, it’s not rocket science. It’s all about the attention you give to those feet. All you usually think about is where you’re going or walking hand-in-hand with that partner of yours. At least this is what I usually see with the result being the same: diverting from the straight line.

I’ve managed to develop this into some sort of pet peeve. I mean…it’s not in the lunch-lines, but it’s just everywhere. People just walking left and right, left and right. You too, and you never knew it!

Well, let’s see if I can make it to History class again.

For Flash Fiction Project: Prompt 29.

11 June, 2012

Flash Fiction: Golden Years

             Two janitors walked down an empty school hall. Dim lights illuminated the hallway at the doors to desolate classrooms. Just only a week ago, the school was filled with children running about and teachers attempting to teach them, even through the childhood squabbles.
            The custodians were cleaning up the last remnants of papers scattered around. One of them, sweeping some study guide scraps and construction paper, kept glancing at a photo. It was a band picture, embossed in vintage shades of brown and black; the band of nineteen-fifty-something.
            “Hurry it up,” The other custodian said. “Lockdown’s comin’ fast.”
            His partner just nodded and muttered an, “I know.”
            It was hard to let go of the fact that the local board of education had voted in favor for the school’s shutdown. It served as a foundation for the community in the face of adversity and misbehavior during school hours. It also was the home for local recreation programs after school; some of the town’s best athletes started out from there.
            Problem was that in this day and age, with lightheaded politicians and an ever-growing population, it became more a sardine can. It was just reeking of small fish crammed in small classrooms. The politics behind it also smelled foul, but that was always wafted into the air by a fling of, “Nothing to see here.”
            “Johnny,” The custodian said. “We’ve got no time for sightseein’.”
            “Yes, I know,” Johnny replied. “But aren’t you going to miss this place?”
            “What’s there to miss? It’s just work.”
            “Says the guy from out-of-state.”
            “Ugh! Why would you wanna remember a place like this? It’s just poop and papers, that’s all we do.”
            Johnny sighed, “If you had kids here, you’d understand. We had some of the best teachers back in the day. Even the politics wasn’t that bad, and you could speak your mind at the meetings.”
            The custodian continued to sweep, taking papers down from nearby bulletin boards. Children’s drawings and notices for nearby classes were easily thrown into that portable trashcan he pulled around.
             “It was like a dream come true…almost anyway,” Johnny continued.

For Flash Fiction Project: Prompt 37

Also, the piece was inspired based on local events; slightly exaggerated since I grew up in the education system and attended the mentioned school for about a year.

04 June, 2012

Flash Fiction: They Were the 'In' Thing

“It’s not making a full circuit,” The tailor said.
He was looking at a pair of Roderick’s trousers. They appeared to be an ordinary pair, something one would wear for nine-to-five shifts. Yet here he was at the tailor’s, trying his best to create a constructive complaint for double the money he spent.
“Oh sure,” He said. “I’ve ran some major laps in those. Gotta stay in shape for the ladies.”
The tailor sighed, “No, I mean they’re not making a full circuit.”

“What does a pipsqueak like you know about pants?”

“It’s my profession, and I can tell you that they are not working properly.” The tailor leaned in. “You know what they are right?”
Roderick grinned. He had made the purchase at a punk clothing store. Alongside the skull T-shirts and leather jackets he was familiar with, he found those pants for a thrifty price. The advertisement, promising sex appeal and a fit body, had inspired him, discarding his love of biker gangs for chic clothing.
“Aren’t they the best,” He said. “I thought that McNeys sucked the balls from men.”
“True,” The tailor replied. “They fry them instead.”
Roderick cocked an eye and shook his head, “What?”

“These are the signature Eclectic Electric; McNey’s first in their lineup of light-Up denim fabrics.”
Roderick chuckled and started sweating torrents.
“Relax,” the tailor said, unfazed. “They don’t really do that sort of thing.”
“Then where’s my sexiness? Those legs of mine ain’t eye candy, even after all that running.”

“That,” The tailor took out a switch from a trouser pocket. “Is when the eclectic turns electric.”
He pressed a button and the pants were lit in neon colors. Another button press and they began to circulate in a simple pattern.
“Made for nightclubs,” He said. “Not for gym.”

Prompted by: Nina Pelletier's Prompt-and-Share assignment for June 2, 2012.

31 May, 2012

Flash Fiction: Swimsuit Dilemma

“Does this one suit you, sir,” A salesperson asked.
“No! I don’t want trunks,” Andy replied. “Those are for elephants. What I want are speedos.”

“We don’t sell those here, sir.”
Another clothing store, searched from front to back, and Andy still could not find a new pair of speedos. He reveled in the thought of all of the world’s skin-tight clothing for men; gone and never to be manufactured again. Haunting him for several nightmares straight, he decided to take it down in a mental fight for the ages.
This meant making ads for the community bulletin boards in cafes and that niche near the bathrooms in the Barnes & Noble. It was like a missing person’s ad, without the person and more ‘bring-on-the-briefs’.
Days passed, and countless viewings of TV films had only brought Andy quivering in despair. Nobody phoned him to give him tips on the precious speedo store from beyond city limits. Not even packages touched his doorstep, treasures he would keep sacred in his dresser.
He decided to go back and purchase the swimming trunks. That was when he noticed an unfamiliar face in his car; dressed in a white t-shirt and kaki shorts. He was playing around with a laptop; chuckling away. Andy looked nervously at him, and then went around into the car.
“Hi there,” The young man said. “Ready to do some shopping?”
 Baffled and surprised, Andy nodded, “About time!”

“Exactly, PC, Mac, or Linux?”

For Flash Fiction Project: Prompt 36

28 May, 2012

Flash Fiction: Final Moments

The guns swamp triumphs over the mediaeval alien. He stood in silence without a flinch to his name. His body heat escaping through the wounds left by the lead, some of which ricocheted off the armor.

Few men injured, they continued to fire at the knight with the same results. He began to charge at them, limping with every step. The soldiers, with guns reloaded, readied their aim at the assailant.

“Hold your fire,” The commander said.

The soldiers remained still. The knight continued to charge forward.

“Heathens, be gone,” He gasped, taking one big swing with his blade.

The swing was not a sharp and precise crescent from the role-playing games or fencing bouts the soldiers were more familiar with.  The frontlines were able to doge the attack unscathed.

The knight stumbled forward onto his knees, gasping for quick breaths. The commander began to walk toward him with the soldiers creating a corridor. Rain ran over his worn torn face. He looked down at the knight who was bleeding from the bullet wounds.

He pointed his gun towards the warrior then withdrew it. With him dead, the commander turn to his platoon, “Good work, men!”

It took a wave of salutes for the ‘game over’ message to appear onscreen. Continue? The player was not going to take anymore BS missions and stormed off from the arcade.

27 May, 2012

Flash Fiction: Overlooked Babysitting

“Good God, man! What have you done!?”

“I don’t know! I did everything it said on the note. Even to a T!”

            The first night of babysitting and Barry thought he had it all down. Joan’s mother had instructions; simple to follow for simple needs children. Even TV time was the least of worries since Joan had gotten into drawing. That did plenty of damage to Barry’s paper supply, at least for his inkjet printer.

            Times for snacks, homework, dinner, and bedtime, were also simple to follow. Except it was difficult for Barry to coax Joan into doing her English assignments. She loved her drawings and further loved math.

            “They’ve got this thing called geometry in it,” She said. “There’s like drawings galore of circles and triangles.”

            That struggle was nothing compared to what Barry was facing now. Joan was face down into her dessert, corn bread and chocolate ice cream. Being the nervous type, too nervous to check for snores or breathing, Barry phoned a nearby babysitting helpline. He had explained the situation and the instructions left behind, but they seemed to have the same type of nervousness.

            Barry waited minutes while the helpline’s staff scurried about their offices, cross-referencing data regarding children and health. The on-hold soundtrack blared New Age numbers mostly consisting of the same ocean sounds. He took the opportunity, putting the phone on speaker, to check on Joan.

            He looked close at her Adam’s Apple to see if some breathing action was taking place. There was. Barry relaxed and hung up on the helpline. He forgot about the two hours of Draw Something they played together.

For Flash Fiction Project prompt 34.