Microcosms 45

Welcome, my friends, to Microcosms 45. Yours truly hosting again this week:

Today, like the US President Elect, we are full of admiration for a great Russian, as we celebrate the anniversary of the birth in 1821 of the author Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky.

Geoff

 

(If you have an idea for a future contest – even if it is just a rough outline – please, please get in touch with me.)

 

As usual, our contest will begin with three things. This week: Dostoyevsky novel/novella (excluding ‘The’) , Dostoyevsky short story (excluding ‘A’) and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are novel/novella: Landlady, short story: Weak Heart, and genre: Romance.

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 – you can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspire you. Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.


  • Double
  • Landlady
  • House of the Dead
  • Gambler
  • Idiot
  • Adolescent
  • Jealous Husband
  • Weak Heart
  • Honest Thief
  • Little Hero
  • Nasty Story
  • Gentle Creature
  • Fairy Tale
  • Comedy
  • Crime
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Drama

Spin!


Judging this week is Microcosms 44 Judge’s Pick, Christina Dalcher.

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 image to inspire you – purely optional.

 

Dostoyevsky postage stamp - from a portrait by Vasily Perov (1872)

Dostoyevsky postage stamp – from a portrait by Vasily Perov (1872)

 

Microcosms 46
Microcosms 44
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52 comments for “Microcosms 45

  1. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    11 November 2016 at 12:30 am

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDog
    300 Words
    Idiot / Gentle Creature / Drama

    Accident of Birth

    Friday, June 14th, 1946

    First day in my job as a midwifery assistant in NYC!

    When I arrived, the midwife was in a private room, attending to an expectant mother.

    I glanced at her notes: Jamaica Estates – fancy Queens neighbourhood. She seemed agitated, so I stroked her forehead.

    “How you feeling, Mary Anne?”

    The midwife scowled at me. I still hadn’t gotten used to calling well-to-do expectant mothers by their surname.

    The labour didn’t go well: I could see the midwife was getting concerned. The baby’s head finally appeared, the umbilicus wrapped around its neck…

    I was a child again, in my village near Tijuana. My grandmother took me with her when she helped expectant mothers too poor to afford hospital care. Whenever she found the cord distressing the baby, she said it was a soul that God wasn’t ready to let go of…

    “CONSUELA!”

    The midwife’s yell brought me back. She cut the cord and handed me the silent, unmoving scrap of humanity. I took it to the table in the corner of the room, while the midwife tended to the exhausted mother.

    As I spread the blanket with one hand, the baby slipped from the other; his head hit the table. The violent jolt must have open his airways; he let out an almighty scream.

    “Baby sure has a strong pair of lungs,” the midwife said to the mother.

    ¡Gracias a Dios!” I whispered, relieved the baby was breathing, but fearing what damage the blow might have caused. I wiped him, and wrapped him in the blanket. I was shaking as I handed him to his mother.

    “I-it’s a boy.” I stammered. “Wh-what will you call him?”

    She beamed at her son, and replied,“Donald John.”

    I gave her the regulation response: “That’s a lovely name, Mrs Trump.”

    7+
    • Firdaus
      11 November 2016 at 12:54 am

      Oh this is absolutely brilliant!! Haha!!

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        11 November 2016 at 5:57 am

        Thank you so much, Firdaus. Will you be joining us this week? 🙂

        1+
        • Firdaus
          14 November 2016 at 8:53 am

          Sorry. I’ve been unwell for the better part of this month. I will soon. I hate to miss writing here.

          0
    • 11 November 2016 at 1:01 am

      Great Story 🙂 I love the vivid description 🙂

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        11 November 2016 at 6:08 am

        Thanks for the kind words, Nicola. I wrote a longer version of this last Tuesday morning – it’s a pity the US Presidential vote didn’t turn out so well. :'(

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      11 November 2016 at 11:47 am

      I laughed so hard now! For shame, Geoff 😀 😀 😀

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        11 November 2016 at 1:30 pm

        Thanks, Angelique. It’s hard to pay due honour to a US President in waiting, when that person has even less gravitas than Dubya…

        2+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      11 November 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Good one, Geoff. It had to be done!

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        12 November 2016 at 9:58 am

        I thought so too. Thanks!

        0
        • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
          12 November 2016 at 10:52 am

          Also sent you a post idea via twitter DM 🙂

          0
          • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
            12 November 2016 at 12:04 pm

            Thnx, Steph – just responded.

            0
    • NC
      11 November 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Ha ha! That is a truly inspired piece right there.

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        12 November 2016 at 10:02 am

        Gawsh! ‘Tweren’t nuthin’!

        0
  2. Alva Holland
    11 November 2016 at 2:29 am

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    299 words
    Landlady/Weak Heart/Romance

    Len’s Gamble

    ‘My pacemaker’s giving trouble,’ Len sniffled into his blue cotton handkerchief as he handed $150 in grubby 10s to Maggie Sanderson who stood at the door of his flat as if she owned the place. Shit, yea, she owned the place.

    ‘Oh for Christ’s sake, Len, pull yourself together. If it’s not your heart, it’s your cat or your ex-wife or estranged children. For once, can’t you pay your rent on time and in full? I’m not running a charity here.’ Maggie pocketed the squashed notes and wagged a skinny finger topped with pink polish in Len’s face. ‘I’ll be back tomorrow for the rest, Len. Don’t make me throw you out.’

    Len watched as she turned on her leather pump heels and with a swish of her ample skirts, flounced down the narrow staircase to the front door. As soon as he heard the door slam, he gathered himself, climbed the two flights to Maggie’s attic apartment and let himself in with his copied key. Heading straight for ‘The Gambler’ on the second shelf of the bookcase, he reached inside the mock book and grabbed a bundle of notes. He was back downstairs before Alexei, his long-suffering cat had time to mewl for breakfast.

    Maggie’s long strides took her to the coffee shop where Ed was sitting waiting, cappuccino in hand.
    ‘Hello, darling, sorry I’m late, I had to deal with Len again. He says his heart is playing up. Thanks so much for your flowers yesterday. They’re gorgeous’

    Ed said nothing. He hadn’t sent flowers. Shoving his glasses onto the bridge of his nose, he listened to Maggie.

    Len left the house and went straight to ‘Petals’ on the corner.

    ‘Two days in a row – she must be special,’ the young girl winked.

    ‘She is,’ Len sighed.

    6+
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      11 November 2016 at 11:51 am

      Maggie pocketed the squashed notes and wagged a skinny finger topped with pink polish in Len’s face. ~ I absolutely LOVE your descriptions! 😀

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        11 November 2016 at 11:58 am

        Thanks, Angelique. Lovely of you to say.
        I’m off to read the others now.

        0
  3. 11 November 2016 at 8:13 am

    @ InquisiHedgehog
    Double/Jealous husband/fairytale
    Word Count: 299

    A twin tale

    Once upon a time there lived a beautiful brunette, Clara, and her loving husband in a quaint house. They had two children. Their lives were picture perfect expect for the one lie that Clara had never told her husband. She was a twin. This lie was not a big lie in the greater scheme of things but it would soon cause untold misery for Clara.

    She was busy sweeping the porch when she felt a wind swoosh past her. She looked up and standing before her was her sister. “Good morning, sweet sis. How do you do?” hissed Cas. “I am well. What do you want?” snapped Clara. “Oh, what do you think?” cooed Cas as she inched closer to Clara. Clara held the broom up and pointed it towards Cas. Her eyes glowing red. “One more step and I will not be able to control what happens to you?” Cas hissed back, “it’s ok two can play at this game”. And she disappeared as quickly as she arrived. Clara sank into the porch. What was she doing her? I thought she was securely locked away. I need to warn Jake. As Clara rounded the corner she heard her husband. “Hey honey, what you doing here?” “Oh, I thought I would surprise you. Let’s go to your office” Cas cooed as she caressed his arm. “STOP” shouted Clara. As she stepped into the corridor Jake’s eyes exploded into saucers. “Wh-what is going on?” he spluttered. “Who are you?” he questioned as his eyes bounced between them. “I am your wife” they shouted. Jack was confused. But they looked liked his gorgeous wife. How could he tell them apart? A kiss would let him know. “No, this is my wife.” Cas winked at Clara as Jack held her hand.

    2+
  4. 11 November 2016 at 8:16 am

    @ InquisiHedgehog
    Double/Jealous husband/fairytale
    Word Count: 294

    A domestic affair

    “SARAH” screamed her husband as he stormed through the front door. “Yes, my gorgeous husband” she cooed as she stretched her lithe body out of the chair.
    “Why are you so upset?” she asked.
    “Why. Am.I.so.upset?” growled her husband. “Where were you this afternoon?”
    “I was here. Making you a gorgeous meal to celebrate our anniversary”
    “Oh really” He stormed past her and slammed his briefcase on to the table. The crockery, cutlery and flowers bounced. He grabbed his phone. Swiping through the pictures he stopped. “And what is this then?” There on the screen was image of a his gorgeous “wife” and some strange in an intense lip lock. “Oh no, she didn’t” mumbled his wife. “Who didn’t?”
    “My sister” she whispered.
    “Your sister? But you told me you were an only child. That you didn’t have a sibling and that your parents died in a horrible fire”
    “Yes, my parents did die in a fire, but my sister was the cause of it.”
    “WHAT? You are telling me she was the one who burnt down your house?”
    “Yes, but thankfully I managed to escape and had hoped she would never find me, but alas she has” Sarah began to weep.
    “Oh no, my dear. I am so sorry. I never realized that was the truth behind your past” He gently put his arm around her as she continued to weep. “It is ok, my angel. I know you would never do that to me. I am so sorry I second guessed you”.
    “It’s ok, let’s have some dinner”. As Sarah walked into the kitchen, a grin slowly moved across her face; “next time we will need to be more careful” she thought as she took the roast chicken out the oven

    2+
    • 11 November 2016 at 8:17 am

      The prompt inspired me to write two stories with a similar take 🙂 I hope it is ok.

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      11 November 2016 at 11:57 am

      Sheesh Nix! You’re getting dark like me! I lurve it! LOL!

      0
  5. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    11 November 2016 at 8:33 am

    Landlady/Weak heart/Romance
    Word count: 300

    Love and Death

    A woman can sometimes lose all hope of discovering love. So it was with Ingrid, a previously attractive woman who turned heads wherever she went. Until Markov. Markov destroyed what Ingrid was, taking her and smashing her to pieces until there was nothing left to put back together. And then he left. Luckily not far. Behind the door of 22A was a woman bedraggled in her shapeless house dress, stains covering the front. Her hair went unbrushed, until the knots were so bad she had to use a kitchen knife to cut them out. The stench of death perfumed the air. She didn’t even notice anymore. She flicked her cigarette and ash drifted to the grimy floor.
    The doorbell rang. She sighed. No doubt one of the tenants needed to complain about something again. She shuffled to the door and opened it. A flutter in her chest awakened her weak heart. The man before her wasn’t someone she knew. She saw a look of discomfort cross his features as it slowly morphed into disgust. Shame burned her senses as the scales fell from her eyes and she saw what he saw. He mumbled something about wanting to see someone and as she directed him she slammed the door shut. The flutter became a wild beating like a bird trying to escape and she knew she had to act quickly.
    She sprang into the shower. She worked fast trying to fix the neglect of years before, her hands remembering the routine. She pulled Markov’s remains from under the bed and doused everything with gasoline. She threw a lit match as she left. She was outside when the alarm went off. Her man was one of the first to leave the building. He saw her and smiled. She would have love again.

    3+
    • 11 November 2016 at 8:57 am

      I love it. My fav line is when you said “the flutter became a wild beating like a bird trying to escape”.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      11 November 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Like the idea of Markov’s remains being in the suitcase! Nicely dark.

      1+
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        12 November 2016 at 10:23 am

        I can’t see mention of a suitcase, Steph. That must be a Freudian slip. Anything you want to confess? 🙂

        1+
        • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
          12 November 2016 at 11:28 am

          I just assumed the body would be in a suitcase – I like to keep my murders tidy!

          1+
          • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
            12 November 2016 at 12:23 pm

            LOL! It would appear that I’m not as neat and tidy as Steph. I like to throw my murders about 🙂

            0
  6. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    11 November 2016 at 11:35 am

    Idiot/Honest thief/Fairy Tale
    Word Count: 281

    Beauty and the idiot.

    Alexei was the village idiot. He pranced around with a gimpy leg and a wide eyed stare, while he grinned silly at everything around him. So childlike was he that adults did not mind their tongues when he was bouncing about chasing chickens and rolling in mud. “Tsk, tsk,” they would say as he careened past them, tongue hanging out, “His poor mother!”
    Alexei didn’t mind. He was, in fact, the most intelligent of the lot and had made himself into a career criminal by burglarizing the Inn of the village. Not the poor villagers, just the arrogant merchants who would come to the village with delusions of grandeur. He would then “gift” the money he made to the struggling families in the village. They did not suspect him at all. Theories of a robin-hood-type had circulated for years and he was okay with that. One day he was caught staring at the most beautiful girl in the village. Her father had sent her away to boarding school many years before and she had blossomed into a delicate flower. He walked off, his heart hammering in his chest. He was done for now. The only person who knew his secret other than his mother was here in the village. His childhood sweetheart was back. He rounded a corner and smacked straight into someone. “Well, well,” she said. “Look who we have here.” He looked up slowly, afraid to see the look of contempt she would surely have on her face. She smiled down at him. Then she kissed him. “I always knew you would amount to nothing, you idiot!” And they lived happily ever after, the idiot and his beauty fair.

    1+
  7. steve lodge
    11 November 2016 at 11:38 am

    Steve Lodge
    299 words
    @steveweave71
    Landlady/weak heart/romance

    Are You Being Swerved?

    Two friends are seated at a corner table talking quietly about their complex lives while admiring the barmaid, Anya, the chief attraction in The Russian Horses bar, but she keeps avoiding them as they try to get more drinks.

    “I am at my wits end, Vladimir Nikolai Ponomarenko.”

    “I’m afraid my news will not cheer you, Oleg Aleksandrevruizikhin Oblonsky Pasarenko.”

    “You know my heart is weak, my friend. It could shatter into several thousand pizzas. But do not let me stop you, old friend. I must know where I stand.”

    “I will say it quickly, Oleg. Then we will talk it through. Your girlfriend, Elena Felena Domitrachovich has been seen around and about in Moscow in the company of Dr. Lumbago.”

    Oleg is horrified. “Dr. Lumbago, you say? Julie H Christie!”

    “Well it gets worse, my friend. Brace yourself. Your reserve girlfriend, Foritza Lovelyday seems to be on the same party circuit with that dreadful 2nd Secretary from the American Embassy.”

    “Not Warren Peace? Oh woe. If we are sent with our regiment to Siberia, it will be warmer than my heart. I have experienced terrible luck with the women since I fell on my cossacks.”

    “But, wait, my friend, I heard from Dimitri Alexayevich Popovski that he saw you out dancing with that beautiful landlady of yours. So it is not all gloomski and doomski.”

    “Ssshh, not so loud, Vladimir Nikolai. Walls have ice creams. But your informant is right. I have been seeing rather a lot of Oksana. She is the loveliest landlady in the whole Republic, including the Baltics. She has been teaching me to dance. Last night she taught me this exciting new dance called The Dostoevsky Stamp. My mind was a whirl.”

    “I’m happy for you, Oleg. Has she taught you all the steppes?”

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      11 November 2016 at 12:00 pm

      I love it! The weak heart and all and I can almost imagine him fanning himself! 😀

      1+
      • steve lodge
        11 November 2016 at 10:34 pm

        Haha, thank you, Angelique. You are exactly right. I can see him doing some fanning.

        1+
    • Alva Holland
      11 November 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Steve, if I ever get around to writing a book, I’m coming to you for all my character names!

      1+
      • steve lodge
        11 November 2016 at 10:38 pm

        OK, thank you, Alva, it would be my pleasure. Happy to help.

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      11 November 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Terrific puns!

      1+
      • steve lodge
        11 November 2016 at 10:40 pm

        Thank you, Steph.

        0
  8. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    11 November 2016 at 2:55 pm

    A Few Days in the Life of Ivan Ivanovitch

    292 words
    Elements: House of the Dead, honest thief, fairytale

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Once upon a time, a house sat silent on a hill overlooking the town of Skeptitsizm and every day Ivan Ivanovitch would gaze towards that dark gloomy place.

    “Who lives in that house, Mama?” he asked.

    “It is the home of the Mayor,” she replied.

    “Yet we never see him here,” said Ivan.

    “No, but we know he is watching, always watching.”

    Ivan Ivanovitch thought for a moment. “It is the election soon. Will he come down to the Ratusha for the debate?”

    His mother merely shrugged.

    On the day of the debate, Ivan looked for the mysterious Mayor but he was not to be found.

    “Who will you vote for?” he asked the townspeople.

    “For Mayor Bezumiye,” they replied.

    “How can you when he did not speak!”

    “Because what he said was worth listening to.”

    The election arrived and Ivan watched his compatriots vote for the absent man. He was furious that they were wasting their vote. Indeed he was so angry that, when the town hall closed, he crept in and stole the ballot boxes. Then he made his way up the hill to confront the Mayor.

    The house seemed deserted until he came to the drawing room overlooking the town. Seated by the window was a skeleton, wearing the Mayoral chain. Bezumiye.

    Ivan sprinted back home, told his mother what he had found, what he had done.

    “Of course he is dead,” she said. “Do you think we would allow a politician to tell us what to do?”

    Ivan had to admit the town’s reasoning made sense. He told her about the ballot boxes.

    “Return them,” she said, “no one will say anything.”

    He did so and Bezumiye won by a landslide and continued to govern wisely and well.

    3+
  9. A V Laidlaw
    11 November 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @AvLaidlaw
    Elements – Double / Jealous Husband / Fairy Tale
    296 Words

    The Mirror

    During those times, a rich merchant lived in St Petersburg. Although he started by trading furs on the street, he soon accumulated enough money to buy a palace and decorate it with the most beautiful tapestries and artworks. He was famous throughout the Empire for his exquisite eye and refined taste.

    When the merchant decided to marry, he sent agents to find the most beautiful woman in the world. Over the months and years, they returned with a procession of women. One had eyes blue but not as blue as the evening sky. Another had hair black but not as black as a moonless night. The merchant sighed and rejected them all. He had turned sixty-seven and almost given up all hope when his most faithful agent returned with Isabelle who, everyone agreed, was the most beautiful woman in the world.

    They married in the Cathedral and on their wedding night, the merchant tip-toed into her chamber. He was mesmerised by her beauty as she sat at her dresser and brushed her golden hair. He reached out his hand towards her shoulder, bare and as pale as ivory. Then he saw her reflection in the mirror and stopped.

    How could Isabelle be the most beautiful woman in the world when there, in the looking glass, was a woman as equally beautiful?

    In a rage, the merchant smashed the mirror with his fist. But now instead of two Isabelles there were a dozen reflected in the shards and all as equally beautiful. The blood dripped from his hand and feet as he ground the pieces under his slippers only for him to see hundreds of Isabelles all as equally as beautiful. His heart burst with despair and he died on the floor of his new bride’s chamber.

    4+
    • Geoff Holme
      12 November 2016 at 7:03 am

      Aw… Nicely composed fairy tale. Reminds me of the Trump anthem – “You can’t always get what you want…”

      0
  10. 11 November 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Top Floor Tryst
    Landlady, weak heart, romance
    296 words
    @geofflepard
    Madame Poulet guards her rooms with the beady eye of a tricoteuse and the ferocity of a tigress. She has rules, both verbal and written, involving matters as diverse as the proper way to fold a counterpane and the hours when the communal toilet can be flushed. No one who rents from La Poulet makes the mistake of challenging her laws and their application. Most guests accept breakfast in a sepulchral silence and spends their spare time in their rooms. Other than Arnold Whettaker.
    Arnold rents the attic rooms, climbing and descending the seven flights of stairs twice a day, always chipper and always in trouble. His crimes are many and petty, usually involving lights left on and cups. And then there are the deliveries.
    Every day, 37 minutes after he departs for his office, a delivery arrives. Madame Poulet takes it in and sighs. She hates cluttering her hall so begins the slow climb to the top floor. On his return, she greets Arnold with a withering critique of his thoughtlessness: ‘You know my heart isn’t up to it’. He apologises and offers to show her what it was he has bought.
    One day, the parcel is damaged. The contents catch Mme Poulet’s eye and, that night, she confronts Arnold. Once again he invites a viewing and this evening she accepts. Over tea and custard creams, she is shown Arnold’s comprehensive collection of restraints and corrective aides. Shyly, Arnold asks Mme Poulet to strap him to the sofa and administer chastisement. Mme Poulet considers the request and consents.
    Now, every afternoon at 5.17, Mme Poulet finishes her beverage and biscuit and takes Arnold to task. After, they lie in bed, holding hands until it is time for Mme Poulet to serve dinner. Neither now mentions her heart.

    2+
  11. 11 November 2016 at 8:49 pm

    The Laborious Landlady

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    Like an obsequiously drunken chipmunk, she ratatatats.

    And then, that appallingly deceptive silence as the fist hesitates, unsure, momentarily thoughtful.

    But need wins out. And her need never abates.

    “Mr. Quatcum, are you in there…”

    The voice is not unpleasant. A saving grace, throaty, as if the smoke that she swallows with some expertise, smoke that often rises in well-shaped smoke rings to be proud of, as if that smoke is her finest womanly art.

    Stir, you reprobate. There’s a pounding at the door. And in your head. It’s that bloody woman. Stir.

    “Yes, Mrs. Stokowski, I am here,” I say, for she has ears like the Prince Consort, large flapping appendages that need restraint in large breezes.

    And then, under my fouled breath, I mutter, ‘A tired working man who has stoked the flames of the mill’s furnaces all of the live long night.’

    And then, to the persistent woman on the opposite side of the door, one who, though an irritant, has a certain raw facility in the kitchen, I am compelled to ask, “What can I do for you?”

    “Beatrice, please, Mr. Quatcum. We have broken bread, remember! And I do so regret disturbing you but Leonard is having one of his spells and the house is ever so cold. Could you find it in your heart to bring in some wood and build a fire in the hearth?”

    ‘Leonard. The unflustered Leonard. He can wilt faster than a dandelion. I have seen unctuous Leonard at the Pig’s Breath Tavern, chewing on pickled cow’s heart and stroking the ample buttocks of Milly Gravelle, reputedly French, but likely Canadian.’

    ‘Ah, Leonard,’ I think. ‘You have me by the kumquats.’

    “Of course, Beatrice. I was feeling a bit of chill myself. I’ll be right there.”

    300 reasons to move but the price is so affordable
    Landlady; weak heart; comedy
    @billmelaterplea

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      12 November 2016 at 8:09 am

      Well played, Bill! A Dostoyevsque-esk…er… Dostoyevsky-esque… Dostoyevskian tale!

      Wonderful comic phrases in here, like ‘…large flapping appendages that need restraint in large breezes’ and ‘You have me by the kumquats’.

      [ But ‘obsequiously drunken chipmunk’? Seems an odd choice of adverb; did you mean ‘assiduously’ perhaps? ]

      1+
      • 12 November 2016 at 11:21 am

        Hi Geoff, I’ll stick with “obsequiously” as I believe I was trying to capture a particular fawning quality that I imagine a drunken chipmunk might demonstrate if it didn’t get its way. All hypothetical of course. Our Canadian chipmunks are as sober as Trump.
        Regards from the rain forest…

        0
        • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
          12 November 2016 at 11:52 am

          As you wish, Bill. The author is always right. (Oh, how it pains me to write those words… 🙁 )

          1+
  12. 11 November 2016 at 10:18 pm

    The Emerald Lofts
    The Landlady/Weak Heart/Fairy Tale
    298 words

    Once there was a green, high-rise apartment building. It had a spotless laundry room in the basement. The top floor held a gym with state-of-the-art elliptical machines and a bank of widescreen TVs. Everyone said it was the most beautiful rental property in town.

    Three tenants sat in the laundry’s plush recliners and read trashy celebrity gossip rags. A man with a shaved bald head patted his pockets. “Aww crap. I’ve locked myself out. If I don’t take medication for my weak heart, I’ll die. Can you guys help me out?”

    “No problem, Tim,” said a man with stringy flaxen hair. He pulled out an iPhone. “I’ll give it a quick google. Aww crap, my battery’s dead. And I’ve lost the charger. Maybe it’s turned up in lost and found. Howard, you gotta help us find the landlady.”

    “That’s C. Howard, if you don’t mind,” said a mountain man beard. “I’ve been meaning to ask the landlady for my Dale Carnegie tapes back, but I always chicken out at the last minute.”

    A woman with shoulder-length pigtails walked into the laundry. “I hope someone here can help me. I have an appointment to see the two bedroom apartment for rent. But I can’t find the building manager anywhere.”

    “You don’t want the building manager. You want to see the landlady. And the only way to do that is to throw those red Chuck Taylors into a dryer.” Howard fished the ratty sneakers from under the seats, and set them to tumble dry low. The thumpa-thumpa from the dryer drum harmonized with pounding footsteps from the hallway.

    A woman in a kelly green pantsuit kicked open the door. “If you people ruin my dryer, I’m taking all your security deposits.”

    “Landlady, landlady,” everyone cried. “You’ve got to help us.”

    2+
    • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
      12 November 2016 at 8:49 am

      Superb, Caleb. A thoroughly modern fairy tale – making America grate again. 😉

      0
  13. 11 November 2016 at 11:24 pm

    End of an Era

    @meg_mediocre

    Landlady; Weak Heart; Romance

    296 Words

    Mariana inhaled as she raised her hand to the doorbell, her heart fluttering in anticipation.

    “Oh be quiet, you silly old fool,” she muttered toward her chest as footsteps approached.

    The door opened, and there he was. Her tenant, Daniel, towered over her, blond and gorgeous. He’d clearly been exerting himself – no doubt last-minute cleaning for the inspection – and his muscular young body glistened beneath loose-fitting singlet and shorts. Blue eyes twinkled as he smiled at the old Greek woman.

    “Mariana! Right on time as usual.” He leaned in to kiss her cheek and she swooned to his natural musk.

    “Daniel,” she responded, forcing her voice not to waver, “always a pleasure!”

    He invited her in and began the tour, pointing out where the tired paint was still fading and the tired walls still cracking. The unit was well-loved, despite its old, sun-bleached state. Mariana’s children kept insisting she should do the place up and double the rent, but she loved its old-fashioned charm – and she loved its current tenant, who could not afford a rise that high.

    They got to the bathroom and she noticed some feminine touches: an extra toothbrush and pink razor resting on the vanity. Her heart skipped a beat.

    “Daniel, you’re not sub-letting behind my back now, are you?” she admonished with a chuckle.

    Daniel blushed. “My girlfriend stays here on the weekends,” he admitted sheepishly. “That’s not a problem, is it?”

    She swallowed disappointment as her fantasy shattered. “Foolish woman!” she thought.

    “Of course not, Daniel dear. I’m only teasing.”

    The inspection finished and they exchanged their farewell pleasantries, although Daniel noted that Mariana seemed a little flatter than usual. As she got into her car she let out a wistful sigh.

    Maybe her children had a point after all…

    2+
  14. 11 November 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Honorable Ink

    Repeatedly Jesus extended all of his fingers then gripped back into a claw trying to get the tremor out of his hand. He’d been tattooing for three hours at this point and his hand ached, but he knew that his canvas was in even more pain. She’d asked for a large chestpiece. Something big enough to cover the large zipper of a scar running the length of her sternum. The chest was thin skin, but she was tougher than he expected an 80 year old woman to be.

    “You done with your break, Jesus?” she asked. Ernestine had been fidgeting the whole time. Not from the pain of the tattoo gun, but because she’d been on the phone the whole time arguing with an electrician she was convinced was overcharging her.

    “You know we can break this into multiple sessions.”

    “No time for that. C’mon get back at it.”

    Jesus clicked the gun back on and dipped the needle back into the watery ink. He picked up the shading of the thorny band across the sacred heart.

    “Watch your outlining,” she warned.

    He sighed and kept at her tattoo. At first he thought this would be a good trade-off for Ernestine turning a blind eye to the tattoo parlor he ran out of his apartment kitchen.

    “Wait, this looks off.” She tapped her fingernail on the reference photo she’d brought with her. After close inspection he did see the difference on the thorn he was greying in with that in the photo of the same tattoo on her heart donor’s chest.

    “How can I commemorate this man if it’s not identical?”

    “Anything you say, Ernestine.” He deepened the shading until it was as dark as the photo of the man she was hoping to honor for making the ultimate donation.

    @BradyTheWriter
    300 Words
    Landlady, Romance, Weak Heart

    4+
  15. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    12 November 2016 at 9:41 am

    Wonderful take on the prompt, Brady.
    I like Jesus. He’s not committing crimes or violating women; and, if he’s working from his kitchen, he’s probably not paying taxes – so he’s smart! That’s the way to Make America Great Again!
    [ However, if Ernestine had to point out to him the difference on the thorn he was greying in with that in the photo, he obviously has weak art. 😉 ]

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