Microcosms 31

This week’s guest host is the award-winning, multi-talented Sal Page! Over to you, Sal.

Weather: they say we Brits talk about it all the time. Of course we don’t, but whenever the subject of talking about the weather comes up, I get to do my ‘never a dull moment’ joke. Hilarious!

Peter Kay’s Nan in ‘Car Share’ really IS hilarious: ‘I’ve never known weather like it! I’ve never known weather like it!’ So true. I often talk to folk at least thirty years older than me who are still surprised, shocked even, by the weather. When I’m an eighty year old at a bus stop I’ll try to remember my experience of the 1976 heatwave and Storm Desmond from the end of last year. Surely we’ve seen it all by now? Or have I just tempted fate?

The photo is one of my Morecambe Kite Festival ones. Perfect sunny-cloudy-breezy kite weather for another year.

My characters and settings are of course all weather related. Whether you spin or not, have fun with it.

Sal

As usual, our contest will begin with three things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are character: TV Weather Forecaster, setting: Snowdrift, and genre: Fairy Tale.

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set. Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.

 

  • Ice Cream Vendor
  • Sitting-down Cow
  • TV Weather Forecaster
  • Umbrella Seller
  • Wind-sculpted Tree
  • Weather Goddess/God
  • Flood Victim
  • Wind Farmer
  • Heatwave
  • Thunderstorm
  • Snowdrift
  • Rainbow
  • Puddle
  • Cumulonimbus
  • Tornado
  • Jet stream
  • Horror
  • Adventure
  • Sci-Fi
  • Parody
  • Mystery
  • Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Comedy
  • Fairy Tale
Spin!

 

 

Judging this week is Microcosm 30 Judge’s Pick, Steve Lodge.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time to submit. (If you are new to Microcosms, check out the full submission guidelines.)

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

 

If you like, you may use the following picture to inspire you (optional).

Morecambe Kite Festival 2016 (Sal Page)

Morecambe Kite Festival 2016 (Sal Page)

Microcosms 32
Microcosms 30
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58 comments for “Microcosms 31

  1. 5 August 2016 at 9:08 am

    Geoff Le Pard
    Arnold’s Raspberry Ripple
    290 words. Ice Cream Vendor, Heatwave, Horror
    Arnold hated children, specifically whiny children, with their perleases and I wants and why nots? Maybe, he mused as he imagined forcing a ninety-nine flake up yet another little Jonny’s nose, it was the carers he detested. They allowed this cacophony of imbecilic demands to build to a crescendo. He knew the sort, well before they fumbled with their purses, as their charges suffocated him with their high-pitched expectations. The harassed and the hormonal, the fractious and the frantic, they sagged at the shoulders and waited, like the justly condemned for the release that came with the first mouthful: a slurping symphony of the serially spoiled.
    The heat reflected back off the buildings and created an insatiable need for ice cream. Today, thought Arnold was perfect. He smiled at his regulars and poured smarmy blandishments into the ears of the unsure. He had waited for this moment. Six months before, Arnold’s mother had passed unexpectedly in circumstances that required Arnold to maintain a discreet silence on the subject. What was he to do with the corpse? Storage wasn’t hard; he had industrial-scale freezers, but disposal appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle.
    Then inspiration. He de-sanguinated the body, flay-dried the skin, melted the adipose fat and rendered the bone crystalline. With imagination he created a whippy ice cream with the incontinent wobble of the terminally obese; a rippling raspberry that congealed nicely; and a crispy cone and wafer that had the taut pertness and translucence of the surgically enhanced.
    The produce flew from his van. It might not last, but he knew he would savour the moment when his misbegotten customers realised just what he meant, in answer to the question: ‘Where did you get this ice cream?’ with ‘From mother’.

    6+

    • 5 August 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Gruesome stuff, Geoff. One can’t help feeling that Arnold is in the wrong job. (I shudder to think how he made the flakes for the 99s…)

      [ Typo time: ‘charges’, rather than ‘chargers’ in the first paragraph, surely? And I would have thought that the silence Arnold maintained after the demise of his mother would have been ‘discreet’ (careful, tactful, prudent) rather than ‘discrete’ (separate, consisting of different parts) ]

      0

    • Sal Page
      6 August 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Deliciously gross and a great-sounding recipe! Loved the ‘smarmy blandishments into the ears of the unsure’.

      0

  2. 5 August 2016 at 11:31 am

    Reclamation

    Elements: weather god, puddle, horror
    300 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    The beads scattered on the slick pavement, red orbs bleeding out into the grimy puddle, white pearls skeletal teeth grinning up at the storm-cast night. The sidewalk smile caught Tarrant’s eye as he peered out from under his sodden and grubby sleeping bag. He tried not to think of Shango’s anger at the destruction of one of his sacred necklaces.

    Jeers and laughter caught his ear.

    Hide, whispered the self-preserving voice in his head, the one he usually listened to, the one he now ignored. Something was pushing him back towards the broken chain, an urgent whispering of words he recognised from long-abandoned ritual. Shango had said that one day he would reclaim his errant disciple. Tarrant slithered across the uneven slabs, hoping that by keeping low he would be ignored. The laughter grew louder, his face, their faces, all reflected in the puddle.

    “Looks like a slug,” said one. “Those horrible orange ones.”

    “I always squash them,” said another. “Reckon we should squash this one.”

    Tarrant felt the boot on the back of his neck forcing his face down into the filthy water, into the mouth now wide open in welcome. A blaze of lightning gave him a last glimpse of his attackers and something, someone, else.

    “Shango.”

    A steady pulse vibrated through his body as unearthly drums started their terrible rhythm. This was the music of possession, the mingling of life and death combined. Shango had reclaimed him.

    Tarrant’s body rose in jerky, unsteady movements. Shango had not taken on a human form for some time and its weight was unfamiliar. Not so the heft of the axe in his hand. He turned and grinned at Tarrant’s assailants, scything the blade through their open mouths, reintroducing the world to his holy colours – red and white, blood and bone.

    5+

    • 5 August 2016 at 3:57 pm

      I often wonder, Steph, whether you have a lexicon of horror components that you read every night until the juddering candle by your bedside is suddenly snuffed out… Or do you do research on an ad hoc basis?

      I had to indulge in a bit of Wikipedia-bashing myself to fully appreciate all the elements you shoehorned into this grim story. Great horror as ever!

      [ However, there seems to be a trace of tautology in the phrase ‘the mingling of life and death combined’, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂 ]

      1+

      • 5 August 2016 at 4:07 pm

        I get the vague idea first, that ‘something that rings a bell’ moment, and then like you I trot off to Wiki land :). FB came up with one of those ‘memories’ it likes to taunt you with and it turned out to be a voodoo story of mine that won a Luminous Creatures comp. Decided I really must do a bit more voodoo – hypothetically speaking – and hence this story.

        1+

    • Sal Page
      6 August 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Great to see Shango still doing his stuff. Put him in a story about fifteen years ago. A boy’s imaginary friend he called The Red Man. Love the drums, the slug part and the ending!

      1+

  3. 5 August 2016 at 1:17 pm

    The Old Woman and the Snow
    @hollygeely
    299 words
    TV weather forecaster, snowdrift, fairy tale

    There was once a kind old woman who was very lonely.

    She was a weather forecaster at her local television station until they forced her to take early retirement. She begged them to let her stay, for predicting rain and snow was all that gave her joy. Alas, the executives said she was growing too old and infirm, and sent her away.
    In her grief, the old woman wandered the forest near her cottage. She sat down upon a stone and wept.

    “Kind old woman,” said a tiny voice.

    The old woman looked for the voice’s owner and found upon the next stone a lovely fairy with glittering wings of gold.

    “You have always been kind to the fair folk,” the fairy said, and that was true; the old woman often left honey on her windowsill for the fair folk to enjoy.

    “Tonight before you fall asleep, predict the weather. In the morning, your wish will come true,” said the fairy.

    The fairy disappeared in a twinkling of lights, and when the old woman stood, she realized she was in front of her home. She climbed into her bed and predicted snow.

    In the morning the town was struck with the worst blizzard it had ever seen.

    A car crashed into the snowdrift in front of the old woman’s home. It belonged to the executive who had pushed for her to be fired. He scowled when he saw her watching, and she smiled and lifted her middle finger in greeting.

    A knock at the door revealed a young lady with a shovel. She had just moved in next door, she said, and she would be happy to shovel the driveway in exchange for a cup of tea and good conversation.

    The old woman was never lonely again.

    THE END

    5+

    • 5 August 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Ah, ageism – the modern-day curse of women that doesn’t require a witch! Great fairy tale feel to this, Holly… apart from the one-finger salute. 🙂

      0

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 10:35 am

      Oh that’s lovely Holly. Like the bit about leaving honey out for the ‘fair folk’. So glad I picked fairy tale as a new genre

      0

    • 12 August 2016 at 9:42 pm

      As always, you bring a smile to my face Holly.

      0

  4. Voima Oy
    5 August 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Twist and Shout
    285 words
    TV weather forecaster/tornado/(dark) comedy
    @voimaoy

    Gina DeLuca had her eyes on the sky, the gathering storm clouds over the cornfields. It was a dramatic sight, as dramatic as the twisted remains of the trailers in the trailer park a few miles back.

    Gina, an intern weather forecaster with Weather TV, was more familiar with the patterns of the Doppler radar on her screen. But today, she was riding in a van with Dave and Bobby Matthews, brothers and veteran storm chasers.

    Her meteorology professor Dr. Chinook had been a student of the famous Dr. Ted Fujita, inventor of the Fujita wind scale. Dr. Chinook used to say these self-organising storms almost had a mind of their own. He also said tornadoes seemed to have a surreal sense of humor. She saw a mattress on the side of the road, and a lamp with a porcelain shepherdess resting on it, as if the mattress had been placed there just to cushion the fall.

    Gina could feel the air alive with expectancy, along with her own rising excitement. She could hear the wailing of tornado sirens from Prairie Bend, the nearest town. The road was empty, except for the trucks and vans of other storm chasers. They were all headed toward the dark clouds.

    “Look at the rotation!” Bobby had to shout over the roar of the wind. The sky was the color of a bruise.

    “Let’s get closer,” Gina yelled. “I want some really good pictures.”

    The tornado sucked them up like a hungry vacuum cleaner. They screamed as they twisted round and round. In the debris of the funnel cloud, Gina could see a bicycle, a water pitcher, a rake, a dog bed, a wedding album and a pair of overalls.

    2+

    • 5 August 2016 at 4:19 pm

      I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist this one, Voima! TV Weather forecasting is a great job if you just stay close to the green screen in the studio. (Will they make it back from The Land of Oz in time for the 6:00pm bulletin?)

      1+

      • Voima Oy
        6 August 2016 at 9:37 am

        Thank you so much, Geoff. Love your comments on all the stories!

        0

        • 6 August 2016 at 10:24 am

          Thank YOU, Voima. Please feel free, like everyone else, to share the love with all the other entrants. 🙂

          0

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 10:41 am

      Brilliant! ‘Self-organising storms’ and tornadoes with a sense of humour. Who can resist the excitement of storm chasing?

      1+

      • Voima Oy
        7 August 2016 at 11:13 am

        Thank you Sal. Many thanks for choosing these weathery elements. So much fun!

        0

    • 12 August 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Something about your language Voima puts me always right there in the story. 🙂

      0

  5. A V Laidlaw
    5 August 2016 at 2:22 pm

    @AvLaidlaw
    299 Words
    Character – TV Weatherman
    Setting – Snow Drift
    Genre – Fairy Tale

    After The Snow Falls

    Once there was a weatherman who broadcast on national television and became a celebrity. People asked him if it would rain on their wedding day or if it would be windy enough to fly kites at the weekend. Sometimes they wanted his autograph. His photograph appeared on the cover of a listings magazine.

    One day, the producers called the weatherman into their office. They gave him expensive coffee and small expensive biscuits. They needed to make changes, they said, to better appeal to the 18-25 demographic. The weatherman was old; that was the trouble. The producers had bought a computer to produce the forecasts and hired a young model to present the weather segment. She would wear fashionable furs in the winter and a bikini during heatwaves.

    As the weatherman drove home that evening, a few flakes of snow fell against the windshield. He had not forecast snow and decided it was only a passing flurry. He drove on. The snow fell faster. It settled over the bare trees and the parked cars. After a while it was too thick for the weatherman to drive any further. He stopped the car and waited for the emergency services to rescue him. It might make the news, he thought. He could be famous again.

    Dusk fell. The snow stopped falling and a silver moon hung high and full in the sky. Someone tapped on the window. The weatherman opened the door, a smattering of snow falling on his lap and the cold air prickling his skin.

    “Are you the police?” He asked.

    The Snow Queen stood beside the car. She wore a dress as gauzy and glistening as the ice. Her eyes were pale blue and her cheekbones sharp and imperious. She took the weatherman by the hand. His heart froze.

    2+

    • 5 August 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Phew! What a way to go, AV! Can’t work out weather… er, I mean ‘whether’ this happened because it was his time, or because he failed to predict the snow – meteorologists everywhere, be warned!

      1+

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 10:45 am

      Excellent! I love that last line. His heart LITERALLY froze.

      0

  6. Sal Page
    5 August 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Round the World

    If you’re a weather goddess, like Joan is, this is the fastest way to travel. She stays at the outside where it’s slower moving. It’s easy to get jet stream sickness. She fights to remain upright. She has work to do.
    At the centre of the mile-plus wide tunnel of winds Joan can’t hear herself think. In the rush of icy air blasting her eyeballs, everything disappears: work stress and redundancy, cancer and bereavement, past memories and future fears. What could’ve been if the person she loved most in the world hadn’t gone. It shouldn’t have happened. They’d planned trips out and entered a competition to win round the world tickets.
    Joan looks down and sees shining cities, quilted lemon-and-lime fields, wooded islands bordered with wisps of white sand and blue-green map contours, herds of snow-white goats, black smoke and orange sparks from volcanoes, luminous red desert dunes.
    She aches to tell Patsy everything that had happened since. Losing her job. Bringing rain to ecstatic drought-struck African villagers. The party for her brother’s sixtieth. Pushing back flood waters and shifting clouds. Perfecting her parsnip soup recipe. How much fun switching the wind on and off was. She’d written to Patsy. Ink and tears blended together. She’d flung the letter at the bin and whipped up a tornado.
    A white horse on an apple-green hillside, fields of cabbages, floating match-stick logs, skyscrapers swathed in mist. Roped together mountaineers on snowy ridges, gorges, garbage and brilliant rainbows over waterfalls.
    The world. All the places they would’ve visited on that round the world trip.
    Patsy hadn’t died but she might as well have done. She’d lost five stone, met someone called Gerald, dyed her hair pink and swanned off to Scunthorpe.

    @SalnPage
    289 words
    Weather goddess – Jet Stream

    2+

    • Sal Page
      5 August 2016 at 2:56 pm

      … Comedy

      1+

      • 5 August 2016 at 4:35 pm

        “What’s the essence of comedy?”
        “I don’t know. What is the essence of…?”
        “TIMING!”

        3+

        • Sal Page
          6 August 2016 at 2:12 am

          Yeah. Better delivered verbally that one, I think. 🙂

          0

    • 5 August 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Love the double meaning in the title, Sal, and the phrase “It’s easy to get jet stream sickness.” I know all about that: I’m sick of it constantly being in the wrong place!

      Beautiful tour-de-force of the kaleidoscopic colours you might look down on if you were a weather goddess… or a Gay Pride Festival organiser!

      (I was a little confused at the end when Patsy meets Gerald… then swans off (more delicate phrase), pink-haired, to Brighton when Brighton Pride Festival is this weekend… Unless Gerald is a butch version of Geraldine?)

      [ Would you like me to change “the person she lived most in the world” to “the person she loved most in the world”? ]

      1+

      • Sal Page
        6 August 2016 at 2:30 am

        Yes please change that. Surprised there weren’t more mistukes given the circustances. 🙂
        The gay thing was not intentional. She’s loves her friend who let her down. And colour and rainbows are for everyone! So maybe ‘swanned off to Scunthorpe’ would be better. Or is that an edit too far?

        0

        • 6 August 2016 at 7:55 am

          Both edits made. Don’t worry I can edit until the snow-white goats come home, me!

          Pink in the rainbow?!? Reminds me of a nature programme I heard on the radio once. The presenter was looking at a mixed crowd of birds and said, “All the colours of the rainbow are there… Black, white, brown…”

          0

        • 6 August 2016 at 7:59 am

          circustance noun The pose adopted by a ringmaster.

          1+

          • Sal Page
            6 August 2016 at 8:23 am

            Thanks Geoff. I’m rather proud of circustances. See also trapeze artists, lion tamers holding up a chair and clowns with waterless buckets.

            0

          • 6 August 2016 at 8:54 am

            trapiss artist noun A circus health and safety nightmare.

            0

  7. 5 August 2016 at 2:25 pm

    The Sounds of Time Ring Fire

    It is a fireball.

    Intense.

    Aflame.

    Waves of sultry heat flutter on the Boardwalk, small torrid tsunamis of roasting warmth sizzle bare skin.

    Shoes melt; hair scorches.
    The children wilt. There is no shade.

    Sharks slink in the surf, skirting the shoreline.
    They wait.
    The cautious see fins slicing the sea.
    The careless wane in withering broil.

    The sky boils away.
    Radiating ulcers blister our flesh.

    The children tug at my arm, stretch my bones, pierce my ears…”IT’S HOT, DADDY. IT’S SO HOT.”

    I have no suffocating hugs for them.

    They are burning up before my eyes…

    And there, in the quiver of unremitting heatwaves, vibrating cauldrons of fever scalding air, down the Boardwalk, a time zone away, a drooling deviant decade rises from the depths of death, a cool, white-draped mirage standing at the gates of a blazing sliver of time.
    He is cold, exhibiting no sign of suffering from the blazing sun.
    He is a cool white-draped mirage singing, enticing, enchanting, so seductively, calling them from my grasp, urging them to run, run through the fiery warp into the chill of the past…

    “I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM.”

    “Stop!” I scream, my lungs bubbling with volcanic eruption, breathless, weakening, clinging to my children, hanging on to their sweet sweating palms, pleading, “Stay, my little ones, do not leave me…”

    “I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM.”

    The song travels the decades, offering its icy pleasure.
    My head snaps to the sight of sea.
    The call to cool in the water, the damp relief it offers so strong.
    I drag them away from the past…

    “I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM.”

    It tugs them forward.
    The Ice Cream Siren closes the portal.
    They are lost.

    I SCREAMMMMMMMMMMM!

    Ice cream vender; heatwave; horror
    300 steamy moments
    @billmelaterplea

    4+

    • 5 August 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Missed a Y in YOU.

      0

    • 5 August 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Wow, Bill! And I thought you had nightmares about the US Presidential election…

      Some very vivid, evocative language in this one. Definitely outside your normal parameters, Bill. I liked it.

      [ I nearly asked if you wanted me to be a “vender bender”, but I checked, and “vender” is a variant of “vendor”. I’ll let that go… this time. 😉 ]

      1+

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 10:52 am

      Wow! So dramatic and, dare I say, chilling?

      0

  8. A.J. Walker
    5 August 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Beanz Meanz Hypothermia – Get in!
    A.J. Walker

    Everyone loves Blueberri Brandisnapp the ubiquitous weather girl from Channel 6, Radio 7, in fact Radio EveryFuckingWhere and every bloody celebrity photo not-fit-to-wipe-your-bottom magazine. Okay, you can see not absolutely everybody loves her. It’s that bubbly mood that just goes on and on like a runaway train; that smile that blinds; those eyelashes constructed in Sheffield from weapons-grade steel. And don’t get me started on those perfect shaped just ‘slightly’ too big tits and the ‘Rump of the Year’ (two bloody years running). Yes, yes. I fucking hate her.

    All she does is read the weather and look too bloody perfect for a real person. Too unreasonably happy and never anything but nice. How can anyone like her? How can I compete with that?

    ‘Sunny, 82 degrees. Scorchio!’ She said this morning on Channel 6 Breakfast (and probably Radio 7; God, she’s probably got a YouTube channel too). Who says ‘Scorchio’? Bint.

    Anyway, I done the deal in Denmark on a dark and stormy day. I headed for the exit with some magic beans and a cup of expresso – the expresso is not pertinent to the story, but it perked me up briefly. So, anyway, these beans I was sold on the understanding that I could use them for a one-hit extremely-focussed weather wish. And today I’m gonna use them: Brandisnapp, I hope you’ve got your thermals! Actually, I hope you haven’t.

    ___

    Well fuck me! They only went and bloody worked. Front page of all the tabloids; ‘Brandi-Cold-Snapp’. She had to get dug out of a snowdrift on the A2 just outside Dover, whilst all of Europe’s beaches basked in the ‘best day of the summer’. She’s off work today; hypothermia apparently.

    I’ve finally found beans I like better than Heinz.


    WC: 300
    Weather forecaster: Snowdrift: Fairytale

    5+

    • 5 August 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Weather Forecaster / Snowdrift / Fairy Tale… again; definitely a popular combo of elements.

      A lot of good old Anglo-Saxon vitriol on display this week, AJ. Who knew there was so much bitching going on in TV weather departments?

      [ Should that be ‘…on the understanding that I could use THEM for a one-hit extremELy focussed weather wish.” Would that take you over the 300 limit? Ooh… the tension… I could make it ‘extremely-focussed’, a compound adjective. ]

      0

      • A.J. Walker
        6 August 2016 at 2:09 am

        Doh! Extreemelly embbarasing.

        1+

        • 6 August 2016 at 8:40 am

          Yeah! You should be like me – I never make a miskate.

          1+

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 11:36 am

      Haha! Love the title and character’s name. Can’t stand any weather forecaster myself (that one on Breakfast news must be blackmailing the other presenters – they seem to worship her!) & they deserve whatever the magic beans throw at them.

      0

  9. 5 August 2016 at 5:15 pm

    “Best in Town”
    @patrickjstahl
    300 words
    Ice Cream Vendor/Thunderstorm/Mystery

    The sky octopi were doing their dirty work as the line began to form. A few raindrops fell to the sidewalk beside my cart.

    I counted each of the women as they approached. Ten. Twenty. Thirty. They were all gorgeous, and almost all of them ordered vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone.

    Lightning split the skyline, but none of the customers bothered to look. They kept their eyes locked on my face. I shivered. Crowds attract crowds, right? I thought.

    When the storm opened up, I expected my line to rush away in a frenzy; instead, the women all pulled umbrellas from behind their backs, opened them, and resumed their staring. I adjusted my waxed mustache.

    A few of the women ordered novelty items or chocolate cones, just frequently enough to keep me in stock of vanilla while my wife brought over two more tubs from our apartment down the block.

    “What is going on?” my wife whispered to me, leaning in close. She smiled at the growing tendril of patrons.

    “I really wish that I knew.” I turned to my next customer. “And what can I get for you today, ma’am?”

    The woman took a small brass statue out of her jacket and set it on my cart. It was shaped like an ice cream cone. “I would like to congratulate you.”

    Some of the tension left my shoulders. “What is this?” I asked.

    “It’s an award,” said the woman. “Your homemade vanilla ice cream has been voted the Best Ice Cream in Portland by the Portland Coven.”

    “By the Cov—” I coughed. Witches. Huh. “Thank you very much.”

    The witch set a second, smaller statue in front of me. “And this one is for Best-Looking Cart Vendor.” Fifty witches winked at me in unison. I blushed.

    2+

    • 5 August 2016 at 6:34 pm

      Yes, Patrick, your entry was identified as SPAM. This is a new one for me: I’m just the spotty assistant administrator! But I managed to work out what I had to do. Are you submitting from your blog? Is that even possible? If this has happened before and you want to continue entering (please!), then maybe we need to resolve the issue.

      [ There’s a whole bunch of genuine SPAM that has been detected and dealt with – thank goodness! ]

      0

      • Patrick Stahl
        5 August 2016 at 6:40 pm

        As far as I know I’m submitting normally. I suppose it could be marking me as SPAM because it thinks my website is SPAM. I’m going to try replying to this without using the “Website” field.

        0

        • Patrick Stahl
          5 August 2016 at 6:44 pm

          Yeah, I bet that was it. Thanks!

          0

          • 5 August 2016 at 6:49 pm

            At last – a result with a technical query! Looking at the other SPAM comments, it seemed that a blog or web address was the common factor.

            I hope you are sorted now, and you can continue to grace us with your presence.

            1+

    • 5 August 2016 at 6:44 pm

      A waxed mustache makes you irresistible to witches! Who knew?

      Nice piece of whimsy, Patrick. I’m glad we retrieved it from the SPAM waste-bin. 🙂

      2+

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 11:40 am

      Ah this is really sweet and the ending did make me smile.

      0

  10. Meg Kovalik
    6 August 2016 at 12:11 am

    The Girl Who Watched The Sky

    Once upon a time there was a girl called Samantha. She was a solitary child who loved nothing more than to spend all day watching the sky. In all sorts of weather she could be found perched on a rock on the hillside, transfixed by the ever-shifting patterns that danced overhead.

    One wintry evening Samantha was walking back down the hill, empty cocoa mug in hand. It had snowed heavily that day but now the sky was clear and a full moon illuminated the ghostly scene.

    Suddenly she stopped. A very faint, tinkling bell chimed from within a nearby snowdrift that seemed to glow a little brighter than it should.

    She dug into the drift to get to the source of the light, which was now fading fast. Finally she uncovered an impossibly small, impossibly beautiful pixie lying unconscious within a frozen clump of leaves.

    Quickly she scooped the clump up in her mug and hugged it close, hurrying home to set it near the fire. She fell asleep watching the pixie’s face slowly regaining its colour.

    In the morning Samantha woke with a start. The mug had been licked clean and the leaves neatly stacked next to it, but the pixie was nowhere to be found.

    Samantha sadly picked up the leaves – and saw that one had writing on it:

    Your warmth and elixir have saved my life! To repay this kindness, simply write your heart’s desire on a leaf and throw it into the fire. Whatever you wish will be yours…

    Samantha scrabbled for a pen. With trembling hand she wrote:

    I wish I could control the weather.

    She stoked the dying fire and kissed her wish before consigning it to the flames.

    And that is how Samantha became the most accurate weather forecaster that ever lived.

    @meg_mediocre

    299 words

    TV Weather Forecaster; Snowdrift; Fairytale

    (A little late, I know! Hopefully still in with a chance…)

    2+

    • 6 August 2016 at 6:40 am

      Another entry with a wonderful fairy tale vibe. Great story, Meg; it unfolds beautifully. (But remember, children – never leave an open fire unattended all day and all night. 😉 )

      You got in under the wire, Meg. Sadly for me, my laptop was playing silly buggers – again! – at 2:00 AM (BST), when I was trying to finish mine, so I gave up before I fell asleep. It was yet another “Weather Forecaster / Snowdrift / Fairy Tale”! I may submit it later, if I finish it, as a just-for-fun entry.

      (Hats off to Sal for mixing things up by suggesting changes to the genres.)

      [ FYI, ‘fairytale’ does exist as one word, but only as an adjective, as in ‘another fairytale ending to one of Geoff Holme’s comments.’ 😉 ]

      0

      • Meg Kovalik
        6 August 2016 at 10:33 am

        I blame autocorrect for that one! As I typed it I had a moment of doubt as to whether it was one word or two, but my phone gave the all clear so I didn’t double check.

        Please do submit your Fairy Tale! I would love to read it.

        0

    • Sal Page
      7 August 2016 at 11:52 am

      The new genre of Fairy Tale? Meg totally nailed it, from ‘Once upon a time … ‘ onwards.

      1+

      • Meg Kovalik
        7 August 2016 at 7:43 pm

        Thanks Sal! It was trickier than I expected to get into the tone of it.

        0

  11. 6 August 2016 at 3:17 pm

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 299
    Weather Forecaster / Snowdrift / Fairy Tale

    [ A very late, just-for-fun entry ]

    “GELID”
    or
    “Watch Out Where The Big Bad Wolves Go, And Don’t You Eat That Yellow Snow!”

    Once upon a time, a young girl named Snowdrift was skipping merrily through an enchanted forest, until her path was blocked by a brook of swiftly-flowing, ink-black waters.

    An old wooden bridge stood nearby. She clip-clopped over the rattletrap bridge, but near the far side, the timbers creaked and croaked, beginning to give way.

    Snowdrift jumped to the bank, then saw the rattletrap bridge’s heavy lumber collapse onto a troller who had been lurking below. The troller was swept away by the swiftly-flowing, ink-black waters, but clambered onto a passing beam.

    “Serves that troller right,” said Snowdrift, gruffly, “lurking below a rattletrap bridge!” before adding, more kindly, “I hope he heard the shipping forecast.” She longed to be a TV weather-girl, smiling when forecasting sunshine and gentle breezes, frowning when forecasting wind or rain or storms; but she was just a silly little girl with no sense… according to her co-workers, the men who made the forecasts.

    Snowdrift saw the strangely snow-covered ground, and shivered. “C-c-colder on this side of the brook with its swiftly-flowing, ink-black waters,” she said.

    “It’s too wide to be a brook,” droned a voice coming from a mechanical contraption lying in the snow. “Its waters are too dark to be simply ink-black. That is what Mr Pharren-Hyte called… The Jet Stream. My name is Frosty.”

    Frosty explained that Mr Pharren-Hyte was an ingenious clockmaker who had fashioned Frosty to control the weather. But an uncontrollable burger-craving had made him fatter and fatter, until one day this meaty horologist had snuffed it. Frosty was left to control the weather by himself, until trapped by a falling bough.

    “Free me, and I’ll show you how to set the dials and levers.”

    Snowdrift smiled sweetly and lifted the impediment. “OK, Frosty. Let’s go kick some weather-forecasting ass!”

    3+

    • Meg Kovalik
      7 August 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Gorgeous! I do so love your tongue-in-cheek humour, Geoff.

      0

      • 8 August 2016 at 12:35 am

        Thanks for the encouragement to finish it, Meg. Glad you enjoyed it.

        0

  12. 12 August 2016 at 9:37 pm

    @JBertetta
    TV Weatherman/Tornado/Parody
    295 Words

    “And now we go live to Hurricane Alley with weather correspondent Ally Fitzimmons. Looks like a strange scene there Ally. Can you explain what’s going on?”

    “Strange indeed Hal. As you can see, everyone in Podunk is lining the roadway.”

    “It looks like a party.”

    “Oh, that’s not the half of it. It has the flavor of a political rally.”

    “Strange, considering Podunk’s history of tornadoes. I mean usually we see people heading for storm shelters or leaving town.”

    “That’s what you would expect Hal. But this is a whole other monster. I spoke to local resident Billy Bob Hickman earlier this afternoon and asked him why the apparent celebration. He said, and I quote, ‘We’ll at least them’s white clouds, not them big black clouds. Those is the bad ones. White clouds is okay.’ I didn’t really—”

    “Ally. Ally. Sorry to interrupt, but what IS that!?”

    Ally turned her shoulder as the patriotic crowd waved their flags and cheered.

    She turned again to the camera, at a loss for words.

    “Have you ever seen anything like it Ally?”

    The gathering clouds took humanoid shape with bad fluffy hair and took on an orange hue. In droves they ran toward it, arms open in embrace as the monstrosity lumbered forward like an incestuous drunk and consumed everyone in its monomaniacal path.

    “Ally? Ally?”

    “No Hal. I…I…All I can say, Hal, is that it seems a hateful storm. That’s the best way to describe it.”

    A man in a red hat ran between Ally and the cameraman, paused, then yelled, “This is the best damn storm since my granddaddy last wore his white hood!” Before he gave himself to the storm turned tornado, he pointed to the words on his cap: “Make America Great Again.”

    1+

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