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.