RESULTS – Microcosms 33

Thank you to all who showed us their holiday snapshots in Microcosms 33. An increased number of submissions this week: a PB for quarter 3 of Microcosms – must be the Rio Effect! Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.

Please don’t forget that Microcosms exists primarily to provide a platform for the flash fiction community to hone their skills, and secondarily to give entrants a chance of receiving an accolade from that week’s judge. We also have the vote button for anyone, not just fellow entrants, to register their favourite/favorite(s) and thus establish a Community Pick.

Remember, you can reply with a comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.

Many thanks to Bill Engleson for judging MC 33. Here’s what he had to say:

What an incredible week. I barely survived our latest heat wave. Today, some drizzle was predicted but it won’t amount to much. The challenges to my humble and delicate body (weather and garlic cultists) and loose-lips-sinking-ships mind (thinking outside the cardboard box I plan to recycle AND the heady responsibilities associated with rendering fair and impartial microcosmic judgement) began with attending a raw garlic eating party (equivalent to wine tasting, apparently, or so I thought) on Tuesday (to which a number of garlic-immune mosquitoes were also invited, or just showed up the way entitled bugs have a habit of doing) and ended with ferociously hot temperatures mitigated only by sitting in front of a fan for hours at a stretch and wallowing in Olympic magnificence…and intermittent tasty scandals. It was all made bearable and, sadly, worthwhile, by the creation of the Lochte Mess Monster.

I did step outside from time to time, principally to water the veggies and the more perishable plants but I saw that all the water in the world wouldn’t save some of them. A few would never be medaled in my Gardens Podium.

I don’t travel much these days, so this episode of Microcosms was a fabulous substitute. Also a reminder to stay at home if at all possible.

Nevertheless, I do bring some personal experience of bus travel. I spent the summer of my sixteenth year (or was it my seventeenth year?) travelling the breadth of Europe with 300 young Canadians with not quite enough (or, conversely, precisely the right number) of adult chaperons.

But that, as they say, is another story.

So, without further ado (adieu?) ado, let’s take a busman’s holiday trip into the wonders and delights of Microcosms 33. There were a baker’s dozen to choose from and though all were tasty (and a few quite fattening) I had to lower the boom and make choices. That’s just the way it is in the stark world of Judging.

Bill

 

Favourite / Favorite Lines

Steve Lodge – I peed by the side of the bridge for what seemed about eleven minutes (a personal best).

Dana Faletti – “Borgs on top, humans on the bottom!”

A V Laidlaw – What you got there? Sam would ask him. Science, the boy said, viruses and pathogens.

Brian S. Creek – He leans forward and whispers. “You want me to do my trick, don’t you?”

Geoff HolmeYou’re taking lots of socks and sandals

Stephanie Ellis – “No,” said Paula, waving a ticket in front of him. “You can drive up to the Lakes. I’m flying. I’ll meet you there.”

A J Walker – He turned the camera transmitter on and walked around the vehicle, making sure the helmet-cam took in everything.

Stella TurnerOMG Jodie the oldie at the front is singing!

Sal Page – The roots are there, like Mum promised, pale as her skin but cold and damp.

Meg Kovalik – The compulsion to keep traveling west was strong today; the implant set his nerves on fire with an insatiable urge to get to the sea.

Voima Oy – The Star Galacto Motel was pink as the sky at dawn, as pink as the row of lawn flamingos flanking the parking lot as we landed.

Joshua Anthony Bertetta – “Pickings, of course, are slim.” She turned to the little girl, sweat beading along her brow, and smiled. “Unlike you little sweetie…”

Brady Koch – “You’re blessed to not know of life before the Faceless. The war, the strife, the overwhelming weight of it all.”

 

Honourable / Honorable Mentions

A V Laidlaw – The Wheels of the Bus

As a child, I never had a school bus driver. We walked or biked everywhere. Here, in the country, school bus drivers are indispensable. But I live on an Island where children are in short supply. Still, there are enough to warrant a bus. The Wheels of the Bus is a beautiful little parable; one yearns for children to be waiting at the next bus stop. It looks like Eliot White was not part of the solution. Shame, Eliot, and all your dangerous science, viruses and pathogens…but nicely done, A.V.

Brian S. Creek – Little Colin Gardner

While I am still bamboozled by the fact that I don’t know who Colin Gardner became after he grew up, (although I googled him and there is a Colin Gardner, The Bike Magician who might know a trick or two) I am glad that Colin shared his trick with Mr. Mitchell and saved one and all from the Claw. Colin has the potential to become Dick Tracy because the Claw and his gang have a retro feel to them. He conjures Flattop Jones for me, a nemesis of Dick’s back in the day. That was even before my time, I hasten to add.

Now if only Colin could have dispatched Eliot White, (this is an example of microcosmic flash fiction time travel by the way) Sam Jones world might not have disappeared.

 

Runner Up

Steve Lodge – Mindscape

Perhaps why I loved this skit is as selfishly simple as the fact that I live on an Island of 1000 people, give or take, which does not have a Pub.

(Incidentally, Steve, you should start to franchise The Rabbit and The Dermatologist.)

Maybe the heat was a factor.

Of course, maybe it was the series of fine turns of phrase, or just maybe it was some cheesy longing of mine to hop a freighter and see what is on the other side of the Straits of Gorgonzola.

Whatever it was, ‘Mindscape’ grabbed a hold of me and I grimaced and chortled (but mostly grimaced) throughout the whole piece. Some great lines and, really, both runners up belong in a photo finish with the champ.

Stella Turner – Body Parts

I felt so fashionable reading this great tale. I don’t text but the narrator’s interior monologue made me want to take it up:

OMG Jodie; this is so much fun…grim gruesome fun…and I’m the oldie in front belting out a tune. Whaddayathink about that?

But, back to the factory; there’s work to be done. What work exactly is somewhat unclear, at least to me? No matter what I think it might be, a part of my brain shies away from the answer. Given the gruesome quality of many flash fiction bits and pieces, Body Parts seems to fit right in though, channeling Soylent Green with its own flesh fiction twist. Lovely, even by my finicky pescetarian standards.

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 33.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

Community Pick

Geoff Holme – Saga Holiday (2016)

266 words
Road Tripper / Double-Decker Bus / Parody
[ Parody of theme song to Cliff Richard film ‘Summer Holiday’ (1963) ]

You are going on a… SAGA HOLIDAY
They’re de-signed for people… just like you.
It’s your first time on a… SAGA HOLIDAY.
You’ll have so much to do-oo-oo:
Whist and bingo… Woo-hoo!

You’re trav’ling on a bus through Norfolk
With wrinklies who use wa-alking sticks.
You quali-ify… since you we-ere born…
In nineteen sixty si-ix.

Geriatrics love a… SAGA HOLIDAY,
Doing everything the… others do:
Up at half six on your… SAGA HOLIDAY;
Breakfast, stroll and lunch will see you through
To a nap at two.

You’re too old now for Club 18-30
And all that foreign sun, sex and sea:
The food’s gre-easy… and they ca-an’t make…
A decent cup of te-ea.

No all-night raves on a… SAGA HOLIDAY;
These are thi-ings tha-at… you outgrew.
It’s a slow pace on a… SAGA HOLIDAY –
Can’t go rushing round like you used to:
You may nee-eed the loo.

You’re taking lots of socks and sandals,
You’ve ditched your killer stiletto heels.
Your roller-er skates… have been re-e-placed…
By a walking-frame on whee-eels.

It is full-board on your… SAGA HOLIDAY
But if you pop out for a… vindaloo,
Don’t forget you’re on a… SAGA HOLIDAY;
Take your de-entures out with you
In case you nee-eed to chew.

They lay on lots of entertainment:
You’ve booked up for a sightseeing trip.
Let’s hope tha-at you… can keep up with…
Your new replacement hi-ip.

My worst nightmare is a… SAGA HOLIDAY.
When I have to be put… out to grass.
You can kee-eep your… SAGA HOLIDAY.
I’ll be off through a Swiss moun-tain pass
To Dignitas…
To Dignitas…
To Dignitas.

 

Judge’s Pick

Sal Page – Roots

As one who frequently plunks his rump onto the handiest couch and rivets his gaze on whatever is radiating out from the Tube, well, this tale while so incredibly uncomfortable and threatening to read, spoke to me as no story or person ever has…except my wife, on a regular basis. I was there, sitting right beside Pammy (hopefully that doesn’t sound too inappropriately peculiar) snacking away, watching the Olympics, totally immersed in world sport and righteous inactivity, munching to the beat of my own drummer.

What a strong young woman she is; unmoved by the athletic perspirations of her parents.

And oooh, what effective parents Pammy has!

This story needs to be shared with the parents of the world. Especially those out riding their bikes and leaving their little Pammies and Hammies at home vegetating.

As one who frequently plunks his rump onto the handiest couch and rivets his gaze on whatever is radiating out from the Tube, well, this tale while so incredibly uncomfortable and threatening to read, spoke to me as no story or person ever has…except my wife, on a regular basis. I was there, sitting right beside Pammy (hopefully that doesn’t sound too inappropriately peculiar) snacking away, watching the Olympics, totally immersed in world sport and righteous inactivity, munching to the beat of my own drummer.

What a strong young woman she is; unmoved by the athletic perspirations of her parents.

And oooh, what effective parents Pammy has!

This story needs to be shared with the parents of the world. Especially those out riding their bikes and leaving their little Pammies and Hammies at home vegetating.

300 Words
Teenager / Olympic Games / Horror

‘Sure you don’t want to come? Get some fresh air?’
Pamela glances up at Mum & shakes her head. She thinks about what’s under the cushion at her elbow.
‘Dad’s got your bike ready, Pammy.’
‘Nah, wanna watch this.’
‘You’ll grow roots into that sofa.’
Dad, in cycle helmet, peers round the door. ‘We’re having crab salad again, Pam-Pam. Remember?’
He makes a double-snappy gesture with thumbs and forefingers. Pamela wishes they’d just go. There was a triathlon this afternoon. Rowing. Taekwondo.
‘Bye then!’
Pamela turns the sound down to hear them head off, bells pinging. She yanks the crisps and doughnut six-pack from beneath the cushion. The triathlon’s starting. She tears open the crisps. Who needs the outdoors? Sunshine, wasps, embarrassing parents, the chance of seeing horrible kids from school. She’s left them behind, no idea where she’s going next. She extracts the first doughnut. For now, the Olympics is all she cares about.

She wakes, stiff and confused. The last thing she remembers was the athletes jumping on their bikes. Now it’s the medal ceremony.
Pamela tries to get up. There’s a ripping sound beneath her, accompanied by a searing pain. She falls back, panting. She peers around, terrified, but curious. The roots are there, like Mum promised, pale as her skin but cold and damp. She dares to touch them. They’re real, disappearing deep into the sofa. She reaches down and pulls out a twenty pence coin. How long did she sleep for? An hour? A week? A month? Where are her parents? Maybe they had an accident. She pictures them side-by-side in hospital, blood dripping from beneath their helmets.
Sunlight blazes through the window. Her roots itch. She’s wet herself. She pulls the last doughnut out and sinks her teeth into it, as the Taekwondo begins.

 

Congratulations, Sal. As the Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 34
RESULTS - Microcosms 32

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17 comments for “Welcome to Microcosms!

  1. zwoodle
    26 December 2015 at 4:15 pm

    We’re going to do a soft launch on 1 January. We’ll be e-mailing everyone shortly. Stay tuned!

    1+
  2. 12 September 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What’s happened to all the stories from last week’s competition?

    0
    • KM Zafari
      12 September 2019 at 6:31 pm

      They’re all still in the system but not displaying on the front end. Part of the glitch I’m trying to resolve. :/

      0
  3. 13 September 2019 at 6:37 am

    Who is Stoner, please?

    1+
  4. 13 September 2019 at 11:20 am

    Ghost; Haunted House; Comedy
    298 words

    The Gang, Fifty Years On

    “Hey guys, it’s our anniversary. It’s fifty years since we got together and solved our first case.”

    “That’s right. Why don’t we do something to celebrate? We could stay the night in the old, haunted house.”

    “I’m not really sure. None of us are as young as we used to be, we’re all in our late sixties now.”

    “Yeah, and I’m not sure that I want to stay up past my bedtime.”

    “Oh, go on, it’ll be a bit of fun. It’s not as though any of us get much of that anymore.”

    “It just won’t be the same without the dog.”

    “You’re right about missing the dog. I even miss that annoying little one that accompanied us on some of our later adventures.”

    “OK, it’s a date then. We just need someone to drive us out there before it gets dark.”

    “I’ll organise some supplies. Some drinks, a snack, spare walking sticks, and a flashlight for each of us.”

    “I’m not sure that I see the point. We never managed to find any real ghosts or monsters, never in our entire career. It was always a scam of some sort, and always one carried out by ordinary, everyday losers dressed up in costume.”

    The overnight stay was uneventful until just before dawn when they heard someone moving about downstairs. Silently they crept down the stairs only to find a fat balding man dressed up in a sheet going, “Woo… woo…” As it was obvious something untoward was going on, they phoned for the police. When they arrived a few minutes later the police arrested the would-be ghost. As he was taken away the last thing the gang heard him say was, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky pensioners!”

    2+
  5. 13 September 2019 at 11:52 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head.

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping’ in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    0
  6. Geoff
    13 September 2019 at 7:32 pm

    Stoner, haunted house, drama
    295 words
    Gardening
    ‘Hi Pete. How’s it trucking?’’
    Pete blinked, hoping his neighbour was another bad trip.
    ‘Garden’s looking great. Not many weeds. Ho!’
    Pete sucked in air, disorientated by the lack of smoke. I need to cut back oxygen. ‘Hi Greg. You after a packet?’
    ‘I was just wondering how you get them so… leafy?’
    Pete licked the paper. ‘You planning your own? Take some seeds, man.’ He sealed another joint, willing him to go.
    ‘I don’t think so. What’s the secret?’
    Pete looked at the soil at his feet. ‘Peace and love, man.’
    ‘Seriously. We grew cannabis at college but that was inside in Cheltenham. You manage outdoors, in Scotland in January…’
    ‘I rely on my relatives.’ He kicked the dirt, exposing the head of a femur. ‘That’s Auntie Jane. The plants love her.’
    Greg’s eyes widened. ‘That’s your aunt?’
    ‘Think so. Hang on.’ Pete put down the Rizzla packet and bent to the bone. ‘Yeah? You sure? Right ho.’ He looked up. ‘Uncle Portius. They look the same at that age, don’t they?’
    Greg rubbed his eyes. ‘I must be passive smoking your product. Did you just talk to a bone?’
    Pete laughed. ‘Course not. Bone’s don’t talk…’
    ‘But…’
    ‘They’re ghosts. I you like I can do you some Mexican spicy and my second cousin’s torso as a starter kit…’
    Greg backed away. ‘Maybe later.’
    Pete started another joint and covered the bone. He’d need another dozen for the school run. ‘Thanks Ponti, I’ll get you that pint of Ruddles later.’ He looked down the rows of fecund and fullsome plants to a slightly saggy group by the hedge. ‘And I’ll pick up some dubonnet and lemon for Granny Emmaline. Wouldn’t do to let her crop get peaky, what with festival season nearly upon us.’

    2+
  7. 13 September 2019 at 10:25 pm

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy

    That’s Some Spooky Shit, Man–Sailing the Silvery Seas with Long Joint Spliffer

    Man, I had more wobbles than a bobblehead.

    Bobblehead?

    Bubblehead for sure.

    Or Stubble head?

    Like man, that cat had a gnarly beard. Facial hair all wiry and dense. I could feel it, man. Spikes shooting out of his face like fireworks.

    Bazooka hookahs, man!

    Reefer creepers!

    Maybe it was the Maui-Zowie? Or the BC Bud? Or, get this, the Alberta Muerta?

    Made that up, man. Killer weed, though.

    Whatever it was, it was some magic shit. Maui Cowie poop, eh.

    Hah! I don’t know what that is.

    Anyway, I’d been up all night zinging in the shower, tingling in the tower, baying at the full moon, a giant silver dollar beauty, when I got the urge man to go down to the waterfront, watch the river flow.

    You ever done that, man? The river! Love the river. Like its dark, man, and late. The taverns have all closed. Streets littered with the soulful. Sky’s storm ready. Clouds gathering like jumbled sheets on a bed that’s never been made. Guess you know where that metaphor comes from. Anyways, you can feel it. Something’s gonna burst. So, I go down to the river and I see it through the thick fog. Like its out of the movies, man, full masted, skull and crossbones flapping in the night wind, and that ain’t no Errol Flynn standing at the helm. Not on your booty. Its someone eerie as hell, with some yo ho hoing and a bottle of bong…and I’m thinking, Bong? James Bong?

    There I am, staring at this vessel, double o sevening away, and this dude starts walking the plank and says, “Sorry Mate, no gambling tonight. The Jolly Better’s closed tight. City ordinance.”

    “Bummer, man” I bleat, “and me with the munchies and a pocket full of pieces of eight.”

    4+
  8. Angelique Pacheco
    14 September 2019 at 4:56 am

    Stoner; Ghost Ship; Comedy
    135 words

    Green Boo-ty

    I saw through the haze
    A ghost ship’s hallways
    Twisting and turning
    The maze was daunting

    A ghostly dancer beckoned
    “Get naked,” she reckoned
    My mind said, “Okay!”
    My body said, “Let’s play!”
    The scene was rearranged
    And the actors were exchanged.

    The captain wore coat tails
    He clung onto the rails
    He shouted for pirates
    And called us bandits
    Zombies took me to the ledge
    To walk the plank to the edge.

    When I came down
    We were back in Cape Town
    I found myself at the pool
    Standing starkers like a fool

    The mystical dancer
    Was a Trans performer
    Security was cuffing me
    No zombies could I see.

    Don’t ever take the green stuff
    It can be quite rough
    Make sure you buy local
    Not pirated forms of diabolical.

    4+
  9. 14 September 2019 at 6:19 am

    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    WC: 365
    http://www.awalker.org
    @zevonesque

    One More Sausage

    Fred was hungry. It was his semi-permanent state. Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms. His best buddy, Havant, had just as voracious an appetite. Being a dog it was expected.
    Their holiday to France wasn’t going well. The language was unfamiliar and the food was not as good as anticipated. It was four days before Fred discovered that they were in Hamburg. And, whilst it was just two letters shy of his favourite word, it wasn’t in France.

    Things began to look up when they went for a couple of currywurst after a big breakfast. They got chatting to a groovy guy by the wurst-stand about all things sausage related ,which had got them a) excited and b) hungry again. Being at the wurst-stand that had been easy to deal with. There was always room for one more sausage.

    They shared a funny cigarette with Groovyman, which made them giggle. He said he’d never seen a dog smoke before. Fred said it happened regularly, usually when he’d spilt cooking oil on Havant.

    Groovyman enquired why he was called Havant. Fred explained that it was short for Havant A. which left him none the wiser. He then told them about the sausage barge, where the price for a four hour trip includes an ‘All That You Can Eat’ buffet. They weren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they heading down to the docks with big loping strides and stupid grins.

    At the docks everything was a bit blurry. Clearly they were in danger of fainting from hunger. So they got onboard the SS Hamburger with expectant bellies and an aim to make the buffet their home. Havant A. realised something was amiss when their boat passed through a series of locks without the gates opening. The lack of taste to the buffet wasn’t an issue, but the lack of substance was. When the captain turned up minus his head even Fred thought something was amiss.

    Then they smelled the Sausage Cruise pass in the other direction. It was a good job Havant could swim and Fred could float.

    2+
  10. 14 September 2019 at 4:03 pm

    stoner; ghost ship; comedy
    287 words

    Oscar

    The USS Bronson departed the solar system on the first Wednesday in October, carrying 420 tons of prime marijuana for trade on the rim. Its wormhole jumps were automated.

    By the first jump, the crew, consisting of Oscar Slama, was baked. He sat in the captain’s chair with a bowl of chips in his lap.

    In front of him, he appeared.

    “Wha…?” he said.

    “Don’t freak out,” Oscar 4-6 said. “I’m just more you, in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions.”

    “Whoa,” Oscar said.

    “Got a light?” asked Oscar 4-6.

    After a second wormhole jump, as the ship navigated n-space on its trip to the rim planets, Oscar 7-9 joined the others, who, using a bong, were now ozzy. He immediately commenced baking brownies, a smoking blunt held between his clenched teeth.

    Croned, the three talked about the meaning of life with others who joined them subsequently.

    “It definitely has something to do with this yup yup,” Oscar 64-66 said.

    “Dude, it’s like … like … life,” Oscar 90-92 said.

    “Having trouble finishing my sentenc… ” Oscar said. Oscar 99-101 refilled his bowl with organic, unsalted puffed peas.

    “How many are me?” Oscar said. “I mean, how many of dimensions of me are they …?”

    “Infinite,” said Oscar 19948892…

    More wormholes, more dank. Infinitely more Oscars, steetched.

    “Let’s all squeeze in together,” Oscar said. “Dudes, I am so fazed …”

    “Dude, not out here in n-space. You got to stay spread out in n-space.”

    “No, squeeze in,” Oscar said with the frown of the chonged.

    They burned the crops. They squeezed in, all infinity of them.

    The ship flew on, empty of Oscars and budda.

    The Oscars looked around.

    “Where are we?” they asked themself.

    “In this universe, we’re God,” said the part of Him most lit.

    “Dude!” they said.

    0
  11. Diego Piselli
    14 September 2019 at 5:04 pm

    THE BARGE
    Stoner, Ghost Ship, Comedy
    282 words
    The rumor had spread with lightning speed, fuelled by media coverage.
    A mahogany barge, loaded with Lebanese weed was floating somewhere in Amsterdam canals, unattended
    Smokers in coffee shops hotly debated the matter. Abe swore he saw it moored near Singel canal; Alwine claimed to be certain that the ship was far in the harbor; Rastafarian waiters fabled about an Iranian merchant, owner of the barge tugged along his princely yacht, vanished with a Circassian beauty.
    Eventually, on a warm summer Saturday night, the Quest had its beginning.
    Hordes of stoners, old hippies and weirdos of all kinds gathered in Dam square and started scouring all the canals, walking on the banks, boating or paddling in muddy waters: braver and youngsters went so far as to swim in the smelly current.
    The Quest was unsuccessful, but Saturday phantom barge hunting became a fixed meeting. If interest decreased, the press reported a new sighting and people got back to the endless hunting. Hunters set up groups and association named by famous weed smokers of the past. Each group had a leader, a hymn, a flag.
    And every Saturday evening Mr. Janssen, managing editor of “Amsterdam Today”, savored happily the silence of his flat in Central Amsterdam, a little nest in a medieval alley crowded with coffee shops. No more yelling, no more stoners’ noise. No more frantic strolling of excited people along the cobblestone street.
    All the smokers had gone away, searching for the barge.
    His little article full of question marks and drop hints about a mysterious barge had proved useful, and he could eventually savor domestic pleasures in peace. “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.

    6+
  12. 14 September 2019 at 7:44 pm

    @the_red_fleece
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    stoner/ghost ship/comedy
    Word Count – 260

    Clang! Clang! Clang!
    The sound reminded Midshipman Smythe of the death march if it was played badly by a toddler on kitchen pans. What was scarier was the lack of bodily panic symptoms. His heart hadn’t tried to explode. His stomach hadn’t emptied like a freshly flushed toilet. Nothing was doing nothing in fact. Peter, the welcome guy, had warned him about this but it took some getting use to.
    “Is that her Midshipman?” His Captain pointed at the blue haired girl hitting the ships pipes.
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Madam.” The captain pulled herself to the full height of her tall frame. “How did you get on board?”
    “I don’t know man.” She didn’t look at the captain. Instead she gazed off to the left, as if following an excitable fly.
    “Madam, I am very much not a man.”
    She blinked three times, each time she forced her eyes as wide as she could. “You are so pale…wo-man. Did I get that right? Wo-man.”
    She giggled to herself.
    The Captain did not see the funny side. “Madam! How did you get on board this ship?”
    “Space cakes.” Her hand becomes a rocket which follows the same trajectory as her imagined fly. She takes the same level of interest.
    The Captain groans. “Midshipman?”
    “Yes Captain.” He clips his heels together, disappointed at the lack of noise. Another thing he has to get use to.
    “Go find the Chaplin. Tell him to prepare for a bio-exorcism. I won’t have a breather on my ghost ship.”

    3+
  13. 14 September 2019 at 10:09 pm

    @EdenSolera
    150 Words
    Unmasked Villain; Spooky Location; Drama

    Inferno

    Flames flickered in the oppressive darkness, solitary among thousands. A tall woman strode around them, her high-necked red dress flowing dangerously close to the light. Watching her, bathed in the shadows, were hundreds of people, their breathing heavy in the air of anticipation.

    She spun to face them, her eyes flashing as they reflected the flames. Her voice thundered through the deadened space. Disdain blanketed the group, suffocating even the bravest of her followers.

    Weakness was unacceptable, this they knew, but they had still managed to disappoint her. All fell to their knees, bowing their heads to the shame brought on by her piercing glare.

    She reached down to grab one of the candles, holding it in such a way that her face was cast in a ghostly light. Swiftly, her fingers were enveloped in the burning wax. Everyone else hissed, shocked, yet impressed by her stoicism.

    Flames smoldered still.

    2+
  14. Lindsey P
    16 September 2019 at 9:48 am

    I guess mine didn’t get saved…oh well.

    1+
    • Lindsey Pittenger
      16 September 2019 at 9:51 am

      298 Words

      Bookworm; Mine; Mystery

      The Case of the Canned Canaries

      As they ventured further down the dimly lit tunnel, Miranda pulled her book closer to her face, squinting to make out the words, comparing them to her surroundings. Everything seemed to be just as she’d expected. The construction of the mine shaft seemed stable and matched the text, which eased her growing sense of claustrophobia, but there was something that still just didn’t seem right. She hadn’t noticed that she’d slowed to a stop until the man behind her nearly knocked her over.

      “Oomf—sorry about that. Need to watch where I’m going a bit more,” he said with a sheepish grin.

      “I’m fine,” she said, clutching the book to herself and waving him away. Ignoring the dismissal, he pointed at her treasured cargo.

      “So what are you reading down here that’s so important to gum up the traffic?” he asked jovially, lowering his pickaxe from his shoulder.

      “Oh, this?” She held up the book. “It’s just an old book about mines. I figured I’d bring it along for some good-natured analysis. This mine seems similar to the one in the book, but the thing that’s been concerning me the most is the canaries.”

      “Canaries?” he asked, confused, briefly glancing around the shaft as though he’d missed something.

      “There aren’t any,” she said matter-of-factly, reopening her book, “Here, they use canaries as a warning system for noxious gases to keep people from dying, but this whole time we’ve been here, I haven’t seen a single one.” The look on her face fell as he burst into laughter.

      “I’m sorry,” he said, pointing to a box on the wall. “I think this sensor is that canary you’re looking for. Don’t worry, we are monitoring the safety of the air down here. At any rate, hope you’re enjoying your tour!”

      0

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