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.

24 May, 2012

Flash Fiction: Of Studs and Kings

           Roderick was cleaning up a cardboard box in his cramped attic. He took out various things from inside; dusty books, photo albums, old game cartridges, Magic trading cards. All of these things were piled next to his best friend, Simon, who was admiring the vintage feel, especially the literature.

            He asked Roderick about buying off the stack of Huxley novels. “He’s a brilliant one. I’ve been looking for Doors of Perception for quite awhile now.”

            Roderick ignored Simon and proceeded to go through even more photo albums. It was the bottom of the box and a smile crawled across his face. More legroom here meant more alone time. Something Roderick desired since his new neighbors moved in with a nightclub’s trance lineup.

            He picked up a photo album from the box, flipping through the well-aged pages. Many of the photos were from his high school years; from football games to the senior prom. The Casanova of four teenage years with more drama than daytime soap operas and yet he embraced those years. After that, reality decided that he had little to be popular for and gave him meager pay to be the bastion of everyday grumpiness.

            He flipped through the photos a second time, admiring the varsity victories and homecomings once more. Then, the flipping stopped. Roderick gazed at a photo; monochrome in all its glory and on a page all to itself. It was a senior prom photo with him and his partner on the dance floor.

            Roderick thought back to that night; dinner, dancing, and the love of his teenage life. It was the first outing he ever had with her, which turned out to be the only outing after word was spread about the years of dedication he put into obsessing over her. This was more or less business as usual for Sir Stud Roderick, as Simon called him. Ironically Roderick blamed him for his failed dates.

            “So, how much for the books,” Simon asked.

            Roderick threw the album across the attic floor, ending up at the tips of Simon’s shoes. He looked down at the famed picture.

            “Lost in time again,” He asked. “You have to move on at some point. Higher academics, career ladders, new relationships, you can have something better than high school if you just build foundations.”

            Roderick grunted, “But she was my life!”

“Like the many other women you dated during high school. I remember the speech about the ‘centers of your world’. How many times was I forced to hear that? Oh yeah! Countless!”

“Well maybe if you understood-”
“What is there to understand; that I was to be at beck and call when you broke up?”

“What about understanding what it means to be my friend? Have you ever thought about what’s in it for me, ever!?”

            Simon remained silent, thinking about their high school friendship. He had a less optimistic view about their relationship even with the good bits at the pizza place in the mall. Most of the conversations had more to deal with Roderick’s woman-finding skills more than anything else and they were not the best either. Simon was consulted many times to conclude the woman search episode of Roderick’s high school life.

            Cassandra Volpe, Roderick’s senior prom date, was the only success story from those countless search requests. Only successful because of the combination of threats Simon received from Roderick going beyond the hopelessly desperate romantic speech. He played as a go-between between Cassandra and Roderick. The latter giving out the most love notes in a game of hard-to-get over with. Cassandra tried to negotiate her way out of this ordeal.

            “He’s such a stalker,” She said. “He’d probably ogle me the whole time with his lame jokes.”

            Simon, who couldn’t agree more with her sentiments, had no other choice. Those fists did major damage and a neuron massacre was out of the question.

            “Sorry, but Sir Stud has spoken,” He said, trying to imitate a royal servant.

            Nothing happened between the three parties until prom night. Simon hid among the dinner tables with Sophie; a best friend he could depend on. Roderick was not playing games. He prowled the venue looking for his servant and his mistress. Not like a lion or panther, but more like a bagger with forgotten items in tow.

            Simon was not worried about an impending doom at Roderick’s fists. He drank his punch, pinky up, and chatted about with Sophie. However, instead of talking of high school drama, celebrity gossip, or the marvels of the BBC, it was all about Lady Volpe.

            “I thought she was a ‘hell no’,” Sophie said, glancing behind at another table.

            “Tells you what I know,” Simon replied, sigh of relief on its way. “At least I wasn’t punched to death. That would have sucked big time.”

“But then what happened?”

“You think,” He paused, looking left and right then leaning in. “Sir Stud went mad?”

            Sophie shrugged, “Probably. I don’t know. I thought you were his bro-in-arms or something.”
“But would a ‘bro-in-arms’ just use his friend as a punching bag and a hook-up professional? I’ve got standards you know-”

“Yeah yeah,”

The lights were dimming and a man appeared on stage. The spotlight shined down. The dinner party of high school seniors remained silent; it was as if their favorite rapper entered the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” He bellowed. “The votes are in and the Prom King and Queen are…”

The silence of anticipation.

“Roderick Holland and Cassandra Volpe! A royal dream come true!”

The silence broke into whoops and cheers. The applause was as deafening as a heavy metal concert in a crowded room. Simon and Sophie looked at each other, surprised and baffled.

Baffling was also the same thing Simon thought about Roderick’s ‘what’s in it for me’. He stared intently at the picture then closed the photo album.

“As a friend, I’ll give you advice,” He said. “Being a Prom King doesn’t work on a resume."

For Flash Fiction Project Prompt 35       

16 May, 2012

Flash Fiction: Costume Party Memory

I was never one for parties. Whether it be birthday, holiday, or just a party for the sake of one, I lacked the ‘zest’. But, then again, what does ‘zest’ actually do for the party other than drunken Guitar Hero battles or dartboard competitions.

My friend, Hyde, thought he could help me find my party spirit; that ‘zest’. He invited me to this costume party a while back. For awhile, it was going smoothly; just a group of people talking about their lives and high scores on Temple Run. I even played some intense rounds of Dance Dance Revolution, sweating like crazy after each match. I could tell tales about how I defeated the Joker, Solid Snake, a Cyberman, and even that dude from Jersey Shore; all in one night and surrounded on all sides.

I was feeling good about this whole party thing, maybe I had found my ‘zest’. And here I was thinking that Hyde actually helped a brother out for once. Maybe I’ll actually watch some British television with him and go out for some tea. I had to keep all that to myself though, didn’t want him getting any ideas.

That was when disappointment struck. Out came the alcohol; scotch, brandy, whiskey, you name it. Sure, Hyde may have stayed a sober guy, but the people went wild. They were slurring through all of my favorite Guitar Hero songs, even Barracuda was wrecked by their voices.

Then it got worse, all the other sober guys went out back for darts. It was just me and Hyde out in the kitchen. Oh, I forgot about that old woman that hosted the thing. She and Simon were fighting over some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream about the new Doctor Who.

I paid little attention to the argument and tried to focus on happier thoughts. Me at home. Me at home on a day off. Me at home, on a day off, watching Glee and 24 reruns; all on my HDTV. This never worked, being far from home, in a place worse than my own job.

Instead, I did what any sensible person would do. I took my steps towards the front door, past the drunken gamers and that flirtatious guy by the stairs. I could hear Hyde calling my name, but the front door was calling my name even louder. I could see the light pouring in from the mail slot. The closer I got, the brighter.

I was ready for the golden moment, my hand on top of the doorknob. I swung the door open and breathed in the night air.

I was jogging towards my house just blocks from where the party was. There were little signs of life throughout the many houses I passed. The wind howled at me with cold breath. Slightly creepy stuff, but I wasn’t worried.

My worries only set in after small shadows began flitting about the bushes and blight of nearby yards. It’s as if the party followed me home or Hyde trying to drag me back for that extra game of backgammon. I tried calling for Hyde. No answer. Same thing happened when complaining about those drunks.

Afraid for my life, I started running towards my house. So close, but it seemed to drift further away every moment. The bushes rustled louder and the wind blew to a halt. I began to sweat for my life, running to those happier thoughts.

Then the shadows revealed themselves as several slimy lizard arms. Their claws dug into the soles of my feet. That wasn’t even the worst part. A larger shadow emerged from the front patio, taking the lawn with it. Its red eyes gleamed and roared something loud. I had wet my pants for sure.

The reptile arms then guided my body towards the horrid beast, whatever it was. It was at this point I began to pray and beg for forgiveness. I should have stayed at that party until they crashed for the night. I won’t mind listening to Hyde bark on about British stuff, Heck, at this point, I’d watch that EastEnders show or at least listen to his favorite critic; Mark Kermode.

But the monster didn’t care about my pleas. The arms dragged me and then lifted me for those final moments; eye-level with the beast itself. I could finally see it for myself; green and scaly skin. The face was the most menacing I’ve ever seen with sharp pearly whites like the ones on graffiti art or something. Then it’s mouth opened and the rows of teeth went on for miles.

The arms threw me into that pit. The air from beyond his mouth pulled me in.

I could only imagine the pain the teeth would inflict on my body. But all that actually happened was being covered in bed-sheets. I could barely see nearby curtains and that sunlight. Man, it was bright!  

For Flash Fiction Project prompt 19: Livewire