Microcosms 55

Welcome, everyone, to Microcosms 55. I hope you all got your birthday party invitation… No? Oh well, you’re here now.

The birthday isn’t today, but I imagine quite a lot of us would prefer a distraction from something else that begins in the USA in just a few hours…

I’m actually celebrating my birthday on Sunday. “How old?” I hear you cry. Well, if I say:

“Will you still need me – to post Microcosms contests,

Will you still feed me – fabulous pieces of creative writing,

When I’m sixty-four?”

you’ll realise I aint no spring chicken…

This week, we are making a slight break from our usual format to commemorate the release 50 years ago later this year of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – “the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded” (Prof. Kevin J. Dettmar – Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature).

Geoff

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact me.)

 

Our contest this week begins with just TWO things: song title and genre.

We spun, and our two elements are – song title: Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!, and genre: Horror.


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 TWO elements you’re using.


  • Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • With a Little Help from My Friends
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • Getting Better
  • Fixing a Hole
  • She’s Leaving Home
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!
  • Within You Without You
  • When I’m Sixty-Four
  • Lovely Rita
  • Good Morning Good Morning
  • A Day in the Life
  • Memoir
  • Thriller
  • Romance
  • Fairy Tale
  • Crime
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Parody
  • Horror
  • Comedy
  • Allegory
  • Poetry

Spin!


Judging this week is Microcosms 54 Judge’s Pick, Geoff Le Pard.

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 this image to inspire you – purely optional.

 

19th century circus poster which inspired "Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite!" [Public Domain]

19th century circus poster which inspired “Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite!” [Public Domain]

Microcosms 56
Microcosms 54
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73 comments for “Microcosms 55

  1. 20 January 2017 at 1:24 am

    Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!/ Horror
    298 Words

    A Visitor at Whitby

    ‘C’mon, you dozy nag,’ he says to me each night, ‘get a bleedin’ wriggle on. Earn your keep, Henry.’ He has been known, before we reach the sodium flares of the big top, to strike me, the brute. My plight, however, is minor in comparison with that of other poor souls. Agnes, the wretch who tends the other beasts’ stalls, is slack-jawed, an automaton, her only sign of vivacity the odd murmured phrase, echoing the Hendersons’ capering. I bear the blows, sustained, as ever, by my art and the memory of my dear, late master, Pablo Fanque. But inwardly, I seethe.

    Kite is a barbarian, you see, not, for all his preternatural powers, in possession of any of the élan of the gentleman who gifted them to him. But that, for the crowds of Bishopsgate, is nought tonight. They want a show. Whether they will notice the absence of one or two of their girls come the morrow will, of course, be moot. We have had the Peelers here last week, in Stepney, searching for some poor mite. But, as ever, they found her, see, tending to her duties, inarticulate but, with the night’s crowds gathering, at her toil.

    Kite would subdue me if he could. But he says he cannot bear the taste of equine flesh. He gained a taste for the human kind though, at the hands of that pale Romanian gentleman who joined us when dear Mr Fanque brought the circus to Whitby. A gentleman, he was, but etiolated, wan until he bit our Mr Kite. How Kite’s trapeze work progressed thereafter. Kite enslaved the Hendersons, of course. But, when Pablo Fanque would not yield to his fangs, Kite resorted to the cudgel. Now I waltz alone, craving hooves that could grip a stake.

    5+
    • 20 January 2017 at 4:06 am

      Sorry, Geoff. Eager beaver that I was to get this written at dark o’clock this morning, I’ve gone and mucked it up. Could I make a couple of tweaks? I need to cut the ‘sustaining’ in line 4 and learn how to type ‘etiolated in the third line of the final paragraph. I am very sorry. Happy birthday, by the way and many thanks for the present you give us each week by running this fine site.

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        20 January 2017 at 11:24 am

        Done, John. No problem – many’s the time I’ve felt ‘etoliated’ at dark o’clock in the morning myself for the sake of Microcosms… It’s all worthwhile when you guys respond with your top-notch entries. 🙂

        0
    • Alva Holland
      20 January 2017 at 9:37 am

      I usually run away from horror but you had me with your dozy nag and other beasts. I think you should have included your ‘dark o’clock’ in your story! Well done, John.

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:09 am

      What a wonderful story! The menace and resistance through the story were amazing.

      0
  2. 20 January 2017 at 1:51 am

    A mouthful of lemons and old socks and a civil tongue in my head

    It was one of those mornings. I brushed my teeth with soap rather than toothpaste. The coffee maker exploded. My pacemaker was acting up.

    I zipped down to the bank machine to pump up my pocket change. My old man was like that. Big fat wallet sticking out of his back pocket, thick, like a phone book. Cash always at the ready.

    He and I agreed on that. Not much else, but that.

    I pulled up to the curb, bounced out, flashed in, did my business and was back quicker than a damn country fox.

    And there she was, her little book of superiority clutched in her meaty meter maid hands.

    I tried to explain to her about the kind of day I was having but she was having none of it.

    “Sweetie,” I said right out of the gate, “go away. Torture some other motorist. I was gone for a blink of time. Less. A half a bloody blink. Have a heart.”

    But like I said, she was having none of it. She had these little dead fish eyes, like she had just swum upstream, spawned, took on semi-human form, and put on a uniform.

    She kept writing away, oblivious to the good will I was potentially oozing.

    I am usually good, you know, with the opposite sex. It helps if they are still alive. This one, there was no heat. It’s like the City Council hired a corpse.

    I decided to try a little soft soap.

    “Ma’am, I apologize for calling you sweetie.”

    Her dead fish eyes looked up into my caffeine-deprived baby blues. For a second I thought I might have gotten through to her.

    Not on your life. She ripped out the ticket, tucked it in my pants, smiled, turned, and left me flat and snockered.

    Lovely Rita/allegory
    300 agitated moments
    @billmelaterplea

    6+
    • Alva Holland
      20 January 2017 at 6:17 am

      Oh how I love this tale and the meaty meter maid hands! Fabulous, Bill.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Always enjoy reading yours, Bill. You have such a way with words … pity it didn’t help with the ‘meaty meter maid’.

      1+
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:11 am

      I can sympathise. Liked how you described the meter maid.

      1+
  3. C R Lacking
    20 January 2017 at 3:35 am

    Lucy in the sky of diamonds – Poetry

    Drifting through the river of the sky
    Lucy started to remember why
    Diamonds and rubies filled the river
    Cutting through her she began to quiver

    The world was beautiful and she didn’t want to forget
    Remembrance was rushing and filled with regret
    She felt a diamond drop against her cheek
    Her father’s tears made reality bleak

    His hand was warm yet filled with pain
    She knew right then she wouldn’t wake again.

    ______
    It’s nowhere close to 300 words, but it is complete.
    To add more context to the poem. A little girl, Lucy, is unconscious after being in a car accident.

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:32 pm

      ‘Remembrance was rushing and filled with regret’ – beautiful.

      0
  4. 20 January 2017 at 4:36 am

    Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/ Memoir
    Word Count: 170
    @ InquisiHedgehog

    Stranded

    Coming back from Vietnam, I pulled on my backpack on and strode towards the doors. Behind would be my love waiting, she had said in her last letter that she dreamt about the day I would be back. She had great adventures planned, most of them involved not leaving the house. Ask I neared the door, I heard the lilt of her voice as she sung. I opened the door. Her mouth made a beautiful “O” as she scrambled to the bedroom. I dropped my bag and scurried after her but came to a blinding halt when I saw him. He was sprawled against my pillow like a bear rug. I stormed out. She screamed. I ran out. That is the day I started Sgt Pepper’s lonely hearts Club. I had found other comrades who had also been left for shiny new diamonds. So we consoled ourselves with whiskeys and the sweet lilt of Betty Boop singers who were willing to shine the loneliness away for a few crisp ones.

    4+
  5. Alva Holland
    20 January 2017 at 5:21 am

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    She’s Leaving Home/Memoir
    298 words

    Please Don’t Go

    She’s leaving home. I’m bereft and feeling alone among eight people remaining in our small house. Nothing’s fair today. Her scent lingers but will soon disappear. The shelves and drawers in our shared room are empty of her things. Her socks will no longer conveniently be confused with mine. She will no longer have to forgive my pilfering (borrowing, I call it). The hooks on the back of the door hold my dressing-gown and coat. Hers are packed away. The stickers on her bedhead remain as a reminder of the stories I will miss at bedtime. Who will read my books with me now? She’s leaving home.
    She’s been measured for her new garb. What’s wrong with her? Why has she made this choice? I want her to stay. If I tell her I will miss her, will she change her mind? Too many questions. Not enough answers. Her departure is happening without much input from me. They’re all so busy organising her leaving, they don’t notice my despair, my sadness. Am I selfish? Don’t let me be selfish. I love her. If she wants to do this, I shouldn’t mind. But I do.
    The suitcases are in the hall. Da is looking a bit unhappy. Good. I am not the only one then. We’re lined up to say goodbye. ‘When will you be back? How old will I be then? Will we recognise you? Will you be happy? As happy as you were here with us?
    Ma’s given her new rosary beads. I guess she’ll need them more than ever now. She’s wearing a small cross around her neck in place of the plain chain I wanted to borrow.
    ‘Come back soon,’ I say with a vicious hug. ‘Don’t let becoming a nun change you too much.’

    11+
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      20 January 2017 at 12:29 pm

      This. I just love this.

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        20 January 2017 at 3:24 pm

        Thanks for your lovely comment, Angelique. Glad you enjoyed the story.

        0
    • Geoff Holme
      20 January 2017 at 3:24 pm

      There’s a lot of story packed into this brief episode, and you keep us guessing about the reason for this moving on until the last moment. Brilliant work, Alva.

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        20 January 2017 at 4:02 pm

        Many thanks, Geoff.

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Beautiful story, Alva.

      1+
      • Alva Holland
        21 January 2017 at 1:09 am

        Thanks, Steph. Glad you liked it.

        0
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:15 am

      You make feeling a story so easy…Ines exactly how they felt. Great story.

      1+
      • Sian Brighal
        21 January 2017 at 11:16 am

        I knew … not Ines

        0
      • Alva Holland
        21 January 2017 at 12:20 pm

        Many thanks, Sian.

        0
  6. Profile gravatar of Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    20 January 2017 at 6:43 am

    Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    @miladyronel
    140 words
    Good Morning Good Morning/ Fairy Tale
    Calling It

    Several maidens danced over the meadow, singing good morning to each other and everyone they passed. The birds joined in and it became the noisiest early morning the wolf had had in a very long time.

    His right eye ticked, the ear-plugs had stopped working by the time the fourth maiden had opened her mouth and all the bacon in the world couldn’t make him feel better.

    “Good morning!” kept drifting through the windows of his den on the edge of the forest.

    I knew I should’ve gone for a house without a view, he grumbled as he glared at the insane happiness on the meadow.

    A couple of the maidens giggled outside his den, singing about how they’ll find their true loves that day.

    Howling in frustration, their screams barely registering, he started packing.

    “That’s it! I’m calling it!”

    3+
  7. A V Laidlaw
    20 January 2017 at 6:46 am

    @AvLaidlaw
    299 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
    Elements: Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite! / Horror

    Good Morning

    In the cool hour before dawn Maxwell stands on the hilltop and watches the birds circle through the grey sky. Red kites. You know from the fork in their tail feathers and the pale underwing. There is a rightness in these creatures held by the grace of the air.

    “It’s good to have them back,” he says. “They were almost extinct.”

    The other man says nothing although his mouth hangs open. He sits with his back against the trunk of an oak tree and his legs spread out in front of him. He scratches at the leather strap around his neck until his throat bleeds.

    “Poisoned. They’re carrion feeders, see. All those insecticides spread through the ecosystem.”

    The man shudders. His arms fall limp by his side and he does not move again. Maxwell watches intently. Such a slight thing between moving and unmoving. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

    Maxwell jabs a penknife into the side of the man. The man does not flinch. Satisfied, Maxwell unbuttons the shirt of the man slowly as his leather gloves cannot easily grip the buttons, and pulls off the other clothes until the man is naked, soft and pale like some toadstool swollen from the twilight. He leaves the clothes in a heap for burning later. He hoists the man under his armpits and drags him into the open and across the dewy grass. Maxwell breathes hard with the effort. Dead weight. Nothing but earthbound clay.

    “A great sin.” Maxwell says. “Not easily forgiven.”

    He leaves the second man on the hilltop, lying on his back and arms stretched out either side of him. The palms and face are bloody from his struggle. Maxwell retreats into the darkness of the woods and waits for the red kites to descend.

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Man retaking his place in the food chain. Grim reaping of another kind.

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:20 am

      Giving the kites a good meal…well, I guess men did them harm, then fitting they help them recover.

      0
  8. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    20 January 2017 at 9:02 am

    When I’m Sixty-Four/Memoir
    Word count: 274

    Cost of Living

    November 1970

    When I am sixty-four I’ll be able to retire – finally! I’ll be able to do all the things I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s never going to be about filling up “dead time.” It will be about more than just existing – it will be about living life!

    I’ll travel the world with my wife. We’ll go to Paris and walk along the Seine, then travel south and drink red wine, as we nibble on some tangy cheese. We’ll take a caravan and travel “local” and discover interesting things in our own back yard. I’ll be able to renovate the house now that I’ll have time. I’ve always wanted a hobby room where I can just “do my thing.” I’ll get a gym membership and be able to go whenever I want to. I won’t have to wait in queues for equipment. I’ll spend more time outdoors, soaking up the African sun. Maybe I’ll buy a bird book and see what I can find. I’ll learn to ride a horse and maybe I’ll take up guitar lessons. We’ll have friends over more regularly. I almost never see them now.

    I’ll be more relaxed, I won’t sweat the small stuff. I won’t get angry as easily, I’ll be more patient with others. My life will be so much easier.

    There’s so much I want to do when I’m sixty-four and retired. I can’t wait for the drudgery of my working life to end.

    February 1989

    My husband died of cancer today. He had just turned sixty-four.

    Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

    4+
    • Geoff Holme
      20 January 2017 at 9:31 am

      Thanks, Angelique – that’s really put me in a party mood! 🙂
      Great memento mori / carpe diem mash-up.

      1+
      • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
        20 January 2017 at 12:24 pm

        My bad, Geoff! Happy Birthday 🙂 This story wasn’t meant to be a party pooper. When I saw the phrase “when I’m sixty-four”, I was reminded of my Grandfather who actually did die at sixty-four and had many plans to celebrate his retirement. However, that being said, please have a drinky (or many) on me 🙂 And eat more bacon! 😉

        0
    • Alva Holland
      20 January 2017 at 9:35 am

      Oh, how sad, Angelique. But very nicely done. Happens to too many people. Great story.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Highlights the importance of living rather than waiting for life to begin at some point in the future. Sad story – and a warning to us all.

      1+
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:22 am

      So sad, and sadly, happens too often. Great reminder to live now.

      1+
  9. Geoff Holme
    20 January 2017 at 9:16 am

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDog
    110 words
    A Day in the Life / Memoir
    (This piece first appeared in MicroBookends 1.13)

    I Read The News Today

    General election fever gripped the local constituency parties. Despite the incumbent MP having announced that he would not stand in 2015, Labour still held a sizeable majority.

    The Conservatives decided to mobilise their members to highlight a contentious issue for the Labour-run borough council. Armed with clipboards and lists of allocated streets, they wandered the town, making tallies as they went. Back at the Conservative Association office, the total figure was calculated and verified.

    The Mirror ran the story with the headline Tories Out For The Count: 4000 Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire”.

    The article concluded: Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall… in theory.

    1+
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:31 am

      Happy Birthday …

      0
  10. Alva Holland
    20 January 2017 at 10:30 am

    A general comment just to say that I’ve been singing along with each story title here. Showing my age and proud of it! Hope you have a lovely Birthday weekend Geoff. And yes that’s a capital B for Birthday. Each one should be celebrated.

    1+
  11. steve lodge
    20 January 2017 at 11:14 am

    Only The Screaming Is Heard
    By Steve Lodge
    @steveweave71
    Elements:- Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite/Horror
    299 words

    Firstly, Doris, I must apologise for saying that you looked like you were wearing something you’d found in the trash after the circus had left town. I meant it as a compliment but it came out all wrong. This whole incident has me jittery, upset and unable to practice my flugelhorn.

    I should never have trusted Henderson with purchasing the trampoline. I had no idea his dyslexia was that bad. So instead of a trampoline we get a guillotine. Yes, from that geezer in Silvertown. Lawrence collected it in the van and he didn’t think to query why a circus had ordered a guillotine. All he asked was if it came with a basket.

    Opening night on Dungeon Flats is the biggest mess of my career, spanning well over several months. The band arrived late, they played well-known songs no one had ever heard of. By then, you would have been in the tent counting the takings, so let me fill in the gaps. Oh, the horror. I scarce know where to begin.

    I can’t fault the clowns. I told them to go out and kill the audience. They took my words too literally, I realise now.

    Why Mr Kite chose that night to wear his beard of bees, I’ll never know, but one stung a pony who back-kicked Kite straight into the guillotine, lopping off his head, which rolled into the path of Henry The Horse, whose waltz suddenly became a lambada. His scared jump was world record standard. He landed on the rolling head ferociously and Kite’s tongue flew out of his mouth into Row 8, hitting my cousin, Ron and Joanetta, on their first date, right between the gropes.

    This fiasco leaves me close to tears and ruin.Still, never mind. We open tomorrow in Seamist Bay.

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      20 January 2017 at 11:28 am

      Not only the screaming is heard, Steve. You had to hear my giggling and chuckling through this! Super story.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:47 pm

      A real comedy of errors – great fun.

      1+
    • Sian Brighal
      21 January 2017 at 11:27 am

      That was fun! Thank you. I really enjoy how you keep it gathering momentum.

      0
  12. Sian Brighal
    20 January 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Sian Brighal
    @sian_ink
    300 words
    Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite! / Thriller

    Don’t Look a Gift Golem in the Mouth

    “So, what you’re saying is that this construct will do all those nasty, horrible little things that I can’t stand doing?”

    The thin man opposite smiled tightly and leant forwards, as though about to impart some secret. “Mr Kite, it will do whatever you ask of it. It won’t tire, or weaken or question or refuse. For a modest fee and a few skin cells, it will free you from all those tiresome, everyday minutiae that drain so much of your precious time.”

    Mr Kite licked his lips and glanced down at the leaflet and the smiling man, claiming that ‘TwoOfMe Logistics Company’ had freed him from a life of drudgery. But, in his mind, it opened up the hint of more…applicability. “But…let’s say that I wanted a construct…that was…” his voice trailed off and he felt his cheeks flush.

    “Oh, I understand. You want a being for the benefit of Mr Kite,” the salesman finished with a knowing chuckle. “Rest assured, that is not unheard of–so many reasons for not getting the companion of your dreams…even if you are married.”

    Mr Kite nodded silently.

    “It is slightly more expensive, and for obvious reasons requires some precautions on your part.”

    “And then?”

    “We part company and never meet again.”

    Months later, Mr Kite walks out of the courthouse for the last time. His arm is still in a sling and he’ll be limping for a few more weeks, but there’s a lightness to his step that wasn’t there before. Tragic and shocking that Mrs Kite turned out to be the serial killer they’d all been after…and trying to kill her husband when he found her trophies. Truly awful. But at least she’d admitted it, even if she kept quiet about the bodies’ locations. All in all, he’d a lucky escape.

    4+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Nasty woman – that Mrs. Kite! Fantastic, Sian.

      1+
      • Sian Brighal
        22 January 2017 at 11:50 am

        Thanks, Alva….wasn’t she just!

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      21 January 2017 at 3:34 pm

      EEEK! Love it! Good twist 🙂

      1+
      • Sian Brighal
        22 January 2017 at 11:51 am

        Thank you

        0
  13. Richard Edenfield
    20 January 2017 at 2:26 pm

    LSD Beach
    _________

    A purple air glaze with haze of golden light skinny dipping in a flow of rippling dancing water caress. Pink horizon like salt water taffy bending a sky to its nonchalant will. A shadow licks the sand reaching a road buried in early July evening. My girlfriend’s legs leave the car with sunburn wrapping itself around her hips like a candy apple kiss. This is LSD Beach off of Route 66 in Cali. As the myth goes in 1967 a hippie buried a small trunk of LSD for the future that no one has been able to find. My companions and I are determined to locate it and through the expansion of our consciousness after taking the buttons that will turn our hearts into sharply worn suits—we will change the world.

    We set up an old turntable with speakers and spun Sgt. Pepper like cotton candy torching the atmosphere with a spectrum of sweet candy notes. Then we started digging. Single cloud reflected in the sea like a bow on blue Christmas paper. This would be our political party—the soul’s election. And someone’s shovel hit something. We gathered round and took out a small chest, broke lock off, and inside something wrapped in a plastic bag:

    Dear future,
    My name is Strawberry Field Marshal, and I bequest to you my best acid. I come from a place of dreams and don’t let yours die by falling asleep. Take these and let nothing hold you back from love, peace and a flower imagination nation.

    Sincerely,
    Strawberry Field Marshal

    We took acid listening to the Beatles as we held hands fixing a hole where our chest of light went straight to the other side of the universe where a beautiful song waited behind a sun that undressed before our very eyes.
    ____________________________________________________

    (300 words)
    Fixing a Hole/Fantasy

    {Happy upcoming birthday, Geoff! Peace, love and happiness. The mantra of all Aquarians. I’m an Aquarius to!}

    6+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Found myself so completely immersed in the first paragraph I didn’t want to leave. Super story, Richard.

      0
      • 21 January 2017 at 1:28 pm

        Totally agree, Alva. As someone who is pretty sure he was at that beach in 1967, I found myself almost remembering.

        0
  14. A.J. Walker
    20 January 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Fine Young Cannibal Kite
    A.J. Walker

    For the benefit of Mr. Kite
    There will be theatre tonight with much vacillating

    The Hendersons will all be there
    He’ll be shaving off all their hair, obscene!

    Over table and chairs the bath and stairs
    Lastly through a burning kiln!
    In this way Mr. K. will challenge world cuisine!

    The celebrated Mr. K.
    Performs his burning feat on Saturday at his oven

    The Hendersons will dance and sing
    As Mr. Kite throws them on a heated ring, it wont be great!

    Mr. K assures the public
    His concoction will be second to none
    And of course you’ll be next to dance this waltz! Yum yum!

    The cooking begins at ten to six
    When Mr. K. performs his tricks with sword and halloumi

    And Mr. H will demonstrate
    Anatomy in his kebab-ed pieces in pitta

    Having been some days in preparation
    An horrendous time is guaranteed for all
    And tonight the Hendersons are topping the bill! Yum yum

    Next week it could be you.

    —–

    WC:165
    @zevonesque
    ‘For the Benefit of Mr Kite’ / Horror

    3+
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Love the parody. Put the original on and sang along (in my head though, I don’t believe in inflicting unnecessary suffering on others) with your words

      0
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:27 pm

      ‘Kebab-ed pieces in pitta’ – super description!

      0
  15. NC
    20 January 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Rita tsk!-ed as she slid the ticket under the wiper. “Marilyn, I gave you a whole extra hour,” she said to the azure Mazda. Oh, well, it was probably worth it. Rita winked up at the gridded glass of the condo towers. Marilyn was engaged with the bedroom-eyed Pierre up on the 32nd floor.

    That’s the tale Rita wove for the sporadic appearances of the Mazda on her route.

    Next. “Out-of-towner?” she asked the cherry BMW. She addressed the indignant parking meter, “Don’t worry, Clem. We’ll get him straightened out.” She bowed to the driver’s side window. “May I have your name, sir?” She frowned at her reflection: tinted windows.

    “‘Roderick,’ you say? Well, around here, we respect the locals.” She nodded to Clem.

    Searching for the VIN, she peered through the windshield. Charger cord coiled from the cigarette lighter. Sunglasses in a leather visor sheath. Gold lipstick tube in the passenger door pocket. A neon green straw dropped next to the stick shift. Ah, ha!

    Roderick, the drug trafficker, Rita decided, making a special delivery to an important client. Otherwise, they come to him. His gorgeous girlfriend… Yvonne only dates him for the expensive gifts. Yvonne’s a sweetheart under the hooker makeup and bleached hair, and her mother stays up late worrying, doesn’t trust Yvonne’s choice in men. For good reason. Roderick is not to be trusted.

    Rita presented the ticket with a flourish. “Well, Roderick, I’m keeping my eye on you.” A PE Officer is an invaluable witness.

    For good measure, she cupped her hands to get a look through the back window. That’s when she saw it, crammed behind the driver’s seat: a shock of blond hair—and the body attached to it. Lips as lurid as the color gathering around the knife hilt at her neck.

    300 words
    Lovely Rita/Crime
    @rowdy_phantom

    3+
    • NC
      20 January 2017 at 3:15 pm

      AND: Happy Birthday Weekend!

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
      20 January 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Poor woman, using fantasy to create escape only for elements to seep into her reality. Great story.

      1+
      • NC
        21 January 2017 at 12:12 pm

        Thanks, Stephanie!

        0
    • NC
      21 January 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Title for this puppy: “Inquire Discreetly”

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        22 January 2017 at 11:24 am

        Good choice… good story!

        0
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Love the creepy detail in this. Great story.

      0
    • Sian Brighal
      22 January 2017 at 11:55 am

      That was wonderful…I liked how she gave stories to each of the cars, and the ending seemed more brutal for the shift from fantasy daydreaming to reality.

      0
  16. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    20 January 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Devil Sticks

    Elements: Being for the benefit of Mr Kite!, horror
    299 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Glimmers of light flickered along the alley; bracelets of fire spun in the hands of Mr Kite whilst flaming tongues erupted from his mouth. Yet there was no audience to admire his performance and his cap remained empty at his feet.

    ‘A poor return for such effort,’ said a voice.

    ‘Perhaps,’ said Kite, straining to see who had spoken, ‘but on cold nights I like to see the fires dance, it warms my soul.’

    ‘A kindred spirit,’ said the man, his soft laugh escaping Kite’s notice. ‘Tell me, would you like to earn enough that you never have to entertain the cold again?’

    ‘Yes,’ said Kite without hesitation. Two objects were tossed at his feet. He recognised them. Devil sticks.

    ‘Impress me and I will promise you a lifetime of warmth,’ said the watcher. ‘But do not let them fall.’

    Confidently, Kite ignited the sticks, he had used such things before. Strangely though, these burned more fiercely than normal and he had to throw them high to give his hands some small relief. When he caught them however, they had grown even hotter so again he cast them into the night. And every time they came back, their brand burned deeper, melting his skin. He screamed.

    ‘Wonderful,’ said the watcher, clapping delightedly, enjoying Kite’s suffering. ‘Continue.’

    And Kite found he could not stop.

    Through tears of pain he saw his companion change shape, skin turning black, eyes red, expectant.

    ‘I promised you a lifetime of warmth,’ said the demon. ‘And I keep my promises. Look around you.’

    Kite stared. He was no longer in the alley but on the edge of a vast pit. An inferno burned below him, stray sparks kissing his skin in welcome, licking at his feet in hunger. His soul would never be cold again.

    6+
    • NC
      21 January 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Creepy! At first, I was catching elements of “Little Match Girl” (in addition to the links to the song), and then those elements shifted to “Red Shoes”. Poor Mr. Kite.

      1+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Compelling enough to keep me reading a horror piece. Quite the achievement, Steph!

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
      21 January 2017 at 3:38 pm

      I don’t normally enjoy horror, but this! Well done! I enjoyed it! 🙂

      1+
    • Sian Brighal
      22 January 2017 at 12:04 pm

      That was fantastic! Thank you. Every sentence was just wonderful…and I can almost hear the voice tempting Mr Kite

      0
  17. Laura Besley
    20 January 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Claim to Fame
    @laurabesley
    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/memoir
    264 words

    If you’re seventeen and you want to get laid, you need to be in a band. Ideally a good one and preferably the lead guitarist, but hey, anyone who’s in a band can get laid. If your parents didn’t have the foresight (or money in my case) to think about your future libido and send you to music lessons, your only hope was to work in a record shop. And I just happened to work in one every Friday and Saturday in 1967, the year Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out. There was opportunity aplenty.

    Bob’s Records (as it was colloquially known, the official name eroded by salty air and never replaced) was only small, tucked down an alley a hundred paces from the seafront. But everyone knew where it was.

    I saw her on a Saturday morning at ten past eleven. I know the exact time because I was dying for a fag and every second that Rodney was late was another that I had to wait for my break. But then she walked in: shoulder-length blonde hair, bubble-gum pink lips and a camera hanging around her neck. I can’t really pinpoint why she stuck out above the swarms of other girls that day, but she did.

    She bought the record, of course, and left with it tucked under her arm, almost bumping into Rodney on her way out.

    I never saw her again, not in person anyway. She was splashed over every newspaper and magazine for a time, her mustard yellow jacket sprinkled with confetti, standing next to Paul McCartney.

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Fabulous, Laura. Love the build up to Linda.

      1+
  18. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    20 January 2017 at 10:11 pm

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDog
    119 words
    When I’m Sixty-Four / Poetry

    Elizabethan Sonnet (Source Material for Paul McCartney)

    When hence the fleeting years expose my pate,
    Love tokens shall I yet receive from thee?
    If, in my cups, I stagger home when late,
    Wouldst bar the door, not grant ingress to me?

    My worth I’d prove when I to chandler hie,
    Lest thou, sans candle, shouldst go dark to bed.
    And thou might knit attire the fire by;
    On Sabbath, we a primrose path might tread.

    Sweet letters I would fain receive from thee
    That would make known the pining of thy heart;
    Make answers evident and clear to me,
    And with such words of love I ne’er would part.

    Wilt thou of me have need, and board allow,
    When four and sixty winters score my brow?

    5+
    • Alva Holland
      21 January 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Extraordinary, Geoff. Poetry in motion. Love this.

      0

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