Microcosms 81

It’s Friday, flash fictioneers; welcome to Microcosms 81. Let’s get right to it.

 “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” is the famously extreme example of flash fiction. It has been apocryphally attributed to the novelist and short story  writer Ernest Hemingway.

As today, 21-JUL, is the anniversary of Hemingway’s birth in 1899, this week’s contest is based on events from his colourful life.

Geoff

 

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

 

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Foreign Correspondent, setting: Battlefield, and genre: Memoir.


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 – character, setting and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry ***

*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS ***


  • Ambulance Driver
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Bull Runner
  • Big Game Hunter
  • Fisherman
  • Depressive
  • Battlefield
  • Paris
  • Pamplona
  • Africa
  • Caribbean
  • Clinic
  • Crime
  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Memoir
  • Thriller
  • Comedy

Spin!


Judging this week is Microcosms 80 Judge’s Pick, Nancy M. Beach.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time (EDT) to submit.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Microcosms 82
Microcosms 80
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41 comments for “Microcosms 81

  1. 21 July 2017 at 1:36 am

    Foreign Correspondent; Battle Field; Memoir
    300 moments I expect to live any day now
    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca

    The Greatest Invasion Ever: The 2017 America Trumps Canada Bigtime Affair

    “I’ve been in a few firefights. Not armed. Not a participant. An observer. But not defenceless. My words are my weapons. But sometimes, they got so scared, the vowels pissed themselves, the sentences shriveled up and screamed…don’t write me. I can’t say what you want me to.”

    “But you told the story. You’ve told quite a few. Right?”

    “Yeah. I was embedded with an infantry squad in Afghanistan. Every step, one step closer to oblivion. But I understood it. I mean, why we were there. But this… this is crazy.”

    “It’s just another military operation against a hostile foreign target. Just like Afghanistan.”

    “But they’re our allies. My god, their people and our people are the same bloody people.”

    “No. They’re not. And this operation is long overdue. We’ve pussyfooted around it for decades. Longest undefended border, my aunt Minnie’s knickers. At 0100 hours tonight, the combined forces of the American military, under Presidential order, will capture ten key Canadian Provincial Capitals and the Federal Capital. We will give no quarter. Did you know that the plans for our invasion were drawn up in October 1970?”

    “Their October Crisis?”

    “Yup. Canada was on the brink of rebellion. If old Trudeau hadn’t invoked their War Measures Act, Nixon was prepared to invade.”

    “So why now?”

    “The whole damn country’s a boiling pot of socialists. Drugged-out anarchists. Their two most western provinces are the worst. Bottom line, we need the oil. Oh, we produce oil, but we want more. They are so absorbed with Trade Deal negotiations, and their lint-filled socialized medicine navel that they’ll hardly notice they’ve been conquered.”

    “Of course, they’ll know.”

    “Maybe. That’s your job. Entertain them. Keep them occupied with stories of the President’s goofiness. They eat that stuff up.”

    “Okay, but it’s weird.”

    “War’s weird, eh.”

    3+
  2. Profile gravatar of Meadow337
    21 July 2017 at 2:10 am

    Depressive, Caribbean, Comedy.
    248 Words
    @meadow337

    READING HEMINGWAY

    So, mon, what you readin’?

    I’s readin’ dat great mon Hemingway. You know his books?

    Dat mon wrote ’bout da mon wit de fish?

    Yeah, mon, dat de one.

    Dat mon don’t know nuttin’ ’bout fishin’, mon.

    No, mon, iz a metaphor how we be all strugglin’ troo life.

    He still don’t know nuttin’ ’bout fishin’. When I go fishin’, I bring home de fish. If I don’t, den de wife, she be beatin’ my head. Dat mon stay out all night with that fish. He catch de fish, but he don’ bring it home or nuttin’. He gonna be in big trouble wit’ de wife. Da’s all I know. She never gon’ believe dat mon was fishin’ all the night away in Big Bay and never catch no fish, mon. She gon’ believe he was fishin’ down the tavern with Jack’s ladies. Den he gon’ be losin’ everyt’ing.

    Dat mon gave de fish his life, said da fish fought so good dat he win him life back.

    That so? I tole you dat mon Hemingway don’t know nuttin’ ’bout fishin’ or women. If I come wit’ dat story, my wife she no be beatin’ my head, she be falling on the floor laughin’.

    You gone spoiled da book now, mon. Da people, dey say Hemingway one of the greatest writers, mon, writin’ all ’bout da struggles wit’ life and all dat kind of t’ings, but now I be thinkin’ dat mon don’t know nuttin’ ’bout fishin’.

    Or women…

    6+
    • Eloise
      21 July 2017 at 9:47 am

      I love the characters in your story. Excellent dialogue.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of JK
      JK
      21 July 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Love it, funny, and always creative!

      1+
  3. A.J. Walker
    21 July 2017 at 3:16 am

    Tic-Tac-Toe
    A.J. Walker

    God, I love Davies. I don’t know how he did it, but he got me a bottle of bourbon last night, and a promise of more to come. I could kiss him. I think I did.

    The head this morning is suffering. I’m getting older by the hour in this damn stupid war. A bottle of spirits to me used to be like a bottle of ginger beer would be to these young pups. Death is around us every day, and it is boring into me. With my head like it is right now, I would welcome death. I must ask Davies if he knows who makes it – and what with. Still, it did a job. I’d recommend a periodic numbing to everyone. An off-button for the head.

    We started shelling at dawn this morning, and they shelled back. Or maybe it was the other way round. For now, it has abated. It is a game with no sign of a winner. Tic-tac-toe with explosives and bullets. The winner will be the one who doesn’t make the most stupid mistake. Hopefully it will be ‘our side’ or, better still, those idiots in Paris, talking and talking, may actually do something humane and call this thing off. I’ve not met a single soldier who can tell me sensibly what they are fighting for. It’s like cheese rolling down an English hill. It’s a stupid thing to start, and not something that’s going to be stopped until it gets to the bottom with a crash.

    Anyway, enough of this writing lark. I need to throw up. Then I must find Davies, and get some more of this head-rot.

    _____
    WC:279
    @zevonesque
    Battlefield/Foreign Correspondent/Memoir

    3+
  4. Profile gravatar of Zoe Perrenoud
    21 July 2017 at 4:01 am

    Ambulance Driver / Battlefield / Crime
    283 words
    Twitter: @zoper

    Out in the Field

    It took Margie three tries to start the van. The real ambulance they’d had at the start of the war was in France now, along with Stuart and the rest of the men. When the engine finally puthered to life, she pulled out of the warehouse and headed towards the cathedral.

    Columns of smoke streaked the dawn sky above Sheffield. Last night had been a full moon. ‘All the better to see us by,’ Alice had joked inside the makeshift hospital’s shelter. Then the city’s bones had started to shake. Polly’s sobs had turned to keening shrieks, despite Margie’s efforts to calm her. Exhaustion threatened to claim her now, but there was work to do.

    Margie brought the van as far into the wreckage as she dared, and followed Alice to the gaping maw of a building. Other dust-covered shapes had gathered to pick apart the stones.

    ‘Isn’t that where Mrs Johnson lived?’

    A quick nod. Mrs Johnson was Stuart’s old piano teacher. He used to visit her sometimes. Brought her cakes, stayed for a duet or two. Margie had thought it sweet.

    The women climbed over debris, shielding their mouths with their sleeves. As she was about to enter the collapsed building, something brushed against Margie’s ankle. She glanced at the hand protruding from under a large slab of stone. A shout crawled up her throat.

    Then she saw the wedding band. The woven Welsh gold they had chosen together on holiday in Llandudno three years ago, before Polly was born and the world had collapsed.

    She remembered his last message home: LEAVE POSTPONED INDEFINITELY.

    Polly’s cries still ringing in her ears, Margie leaned on the stone until the hand stopped twitching.

    9+
  5. 21 July 2017 at 5:15 am

    Words: 299
    Used: foreign correspondent, battlefield, memoir
    @CarinMarais
    http://www.maraiscarin.wordpress.com

    Last Words

    “We could barely speak each other’s languages, you know. Barely understand them.” James’ hand shook as he drank his tea, his eyes focused on a far-off memory of one of the battles of XP-269 – the colony before it even had a proper name.
    “I was the journalist sent to report from the battlefield.” He cleared his throat. Years of smoking had not been kind to his lungs. “I was the newbie, so I was sent to go and take the photos once the enemy had fled. Retreated. Whatever.”
    He glanced over to where his grandson was reading his social media feed, gulping down an energy drink.
    “They had killed so many.” His voice lowered, softened, saddened. He took a rasping breath. “Both sides did.” He shrugged, shoulders shaking. “I don’t know what I’d expected the aftermath to be like.”
    His grandson sniggered, but whether it was at his grandfather’s innocence at eighteen or something on the screen, James could not tell.
    “One of them was still alive. He grabbed my hand, blurred the photo I was taking.” James shuddered, blood draining from his face.
    “Part of his face was missing. An arm and leg as well. He should have been long dead. I don’t know why he was still breathing.” Another cough. “I couldn’t understand the language too well, but you pick stuff up, you know. Slang, curse words, a few words here and there.” James shrugged again.
    “He asked me not to leave him. And I didn’t. Then he begged me to shoot him.” He rubbed across his eyes. “And I did.”

    James’ grandson glanced at his grandfather sitting pale and shrunken in the chair. The smell of disinfectant hung in the air. Other visitors were sitting with elderly parents and grandparents. He looked back at the screen.

    6+
  6. 21 July 2017 at 5:27 am

    @Nthito
    300 words
    Foreign Correspondent/Battlefield/Memoir

    Too Many to Count

    The Republic of ###### is a sprawling wasteland of jagged plateaus, sprawling sand dunes and spats of low bushes. Hot wind peppers granules of sand against my scarf-covered face. The heat drains what little energy I have. Sadly, we had to abandon the Jeep to draw less attention to ourselves.
    “Foreign Correspondent Calaso, we have arrived.” The boy who leads me is the son of a tribal leader. He is far too young to be wearing the olive military uniform. The dark boots look too big on his feet yet he walks with the confidence of a veteran soldier.
    “Thank you, Geesi Kadér.”
    We stand before a village. No. We stand before what was once a village. The centre is a perfect crater, black as tar. Vomited beyond it are the brick and mud and straw of homes that once belonged to people. People I had known. People I hadn’t known. People I called my own, while I lived in luxury as a citizen of a first world country.
    “How many more villages have been attacked?” I ask Geesi. He doesn’t turn towards me. His left foot flips a piece of brick over to reveal a tiny hair comb scorched black.
    “Too many to count.”
    “And what of the war?”
    “War? To us, it is not war but life. The only life we know. You wouldn’t know, sister.”
    The fact that his voice hasn’t broken adds a twinge of guilt that tugs right at my core. As though the ancestors I abandoned have taken root in gut and are twisting.
    “Did… did you know anyone in this village?”
    The boy bends to lift the comb, brushing ash off the plastic. He hands it to me.
    “Everyone.”
    On the comb, engraved into the plastic, is a single name: Aamiina Kadér.

    5+
    • Profile gravatar of JK
      JK
      21 July 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Nicely written and definitely makes you think more about the effects of war.

      0
  7. 21 July 2017 at 8:46 am

    @GriffithsKL
    Foreign Correspondent; Battlefield; Memoir
    237 words

    The Shot

    Like all the outliers I’ve covered, this planet was named for some dead Earthian. Back then, you could have a star named after yourself for less than the cost of a decent dinner. This man had a hundred stars named after him.

    Trump XV looked no different than all the others. When the infrastructure goes, it’s all dust and rubble, looters and legionnaires. The wise stay underground in the shelters.

    I came upon a fluffy white Havanese. The little guy reclined on his owner’s grimed and tattered form, nuzzling her neck.

    A flimsy, leaf-like hand made feeble efforts to brush away the wee beast. She shook her head from side to side. Her iron-rich neck and shoulder muscle was, in fact, the dog’s meal.

    I took the shot.

    Took it from several angles. All the while she moaned and uttered the same word over and over. I didn’t speak Svoodian, but I could guess what the word was.

    “Just a minute,” I told her as I stepped over her splayed legs to get a better angle. I crouched down for the close-up. The dog wasn’t budging. From its tiny mouth came a wet sound, like a child’s hands in mud.

    Probably the woman didn’t understand me, either, so I held up one finger.

    I sent the shot to my editor with this caption: Dogs wearing collars become dinner or diners, depending on who kills who first.

    2+
    • 21 July 2017 at 5:15 pm

      I should have proofed better! Could I trouble you to take the “the” out of the 7th graph and change the “himself” to “him” on the first? Sorry!

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        22 July 2017 at 6:33 am

        Done, Kelly. (I also took advantage of your low word count to amend ‘child-hands’ – not a noun to be found in any dictionary, surely? – to ‘a child’s hands’. I hope you don’t mind! 😉 )

        Given the appalling tragedies playing out in battlefields all over the globe daily, it seemed a wise choice to locate this light-hearted take on your chosen elements on a distant planet. Good job!

        0
        • 22 July 2017 at 8:08 am

          I’m touched that you would take the time, Geoff. Thanks. At the end of the day, the goal is to get it the best it can possibly be. I’m happy to receive assistance to get it there. You’re the bomb. 🙂

          1+
  8. 21 July 2017 at 9:22 am

    Jeff Messick
    178 Words
    Foreign Correspondent/Battlefield/Memoir

    Conflict’s End

    It was the Knight that ended it, lancing through defenses and utterly disrupting the army’s cohesion. I was in awe, simply put. The attack plan had been flawless, even with the occasional hiccup of the enemy’s moves that threatened vital territory.

    The general’s plan was, without question, successful in design, implementation and grace. No move was wasted, no position undefended. No one could remember for years after how well an army worked in unison.

    War is art, and the general’s brushstrokes rivaled that of the masters. Even in the thick of the fighting, his visage was calm, and collected. Thousands of doubts and worries must have been coursing through his mind, but the general pushed through it and directed his side to absolute victory.

    He had been like Washington, commanding an army reeling from several defeats, but managed to mold his forces into a united force that swept the rest of the battlefields in quick succession.

    The general looked at his opponent and smiled, though a tinge of sadness could be seen. The leader of the opposing army reached out and toppled his king.

    A new chess champion was crowned.

    4+
    • Profile gravatar of JK
      JK
      21 July 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Good story. Loved this sentence – War is art and the general’s brush strokes rivaled that of the masters.

      0
      • 24 July 2017 at 12:37 pm

        Thank you

        0
    • Profile gravatar of Michael Emerson
      22 July 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Loved the light twist in the end. Also very true to chess, it is a game of war and a sport!

      0
      • 24 July 2017 at 12:38 pm

        I love me some chess. 🙂

        1+
  9. Eloise
    21 July 2017 at 9:44 am

    Fisherman/Pamplona/Crime
    Word Count: 289

    The Death Run

    “I am Alejandro and I was a witness.”
    “You saw the crime?”
    “Yes.. It was pretty gruesome but I guess the bulls had had quite enough of being stabbed to death. The victim was running before the bulls and he had quite a health distance between him and the horns of the first bull. Then as he turned the corner near the bull ring a a gray hoof poked out of the crowd. Not too far but enough for the victim to trip. He stumbled and then fell. Before he was on he haunches, the bull had tossed him in the air. The next bull caught him and tossed him back. It actually looked like they were playing tennis and the victim was the ball.”
    The sergeant started to heave.
    “Ok, maybe that was a bit too much detail”.
    The sergeant put his hand over his mouth and moved away.
    “And, sir, what are you doing Pamplona?” asked his partner.
    “Oh, I just came to trade my catch with a local farmer.”
    “What did you trade your catch for?”
    “A cow.”
    “Where is the cow now, sir?”
    “At my cart.”
    “Can you take me there?”
    We walked towards the cart. There standing by my cart was a magnificent grey cow. Her coat shimmered in the sunlight.
    “Sir, do you think the hoof could have belonged to your cow?”
    “Never. She has been at the cart the whole time. See.” As he lifted the rope it gave way from the cart. Alejandro dropped it.
    “Sir, please come with me.”
    Alejandro jumped on the cow and whipped her. “Catch me if you can” he screamed as he hurtled towards the bull ring.

    5+
  10. 21 July 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Depressive; clinic; crime
    300 Russian investment opportunities
    @billmelaterplea

    Wanted: Baby Booties, Used Okay

    The coffee was cold by the time I rolled out of bed. The Bally Hoo Inn on You Can’t Get Much Bleeker Street in Baltimore didn’t have a wake-up service, and the coffee machine element was on the fritz.

    I was surprized that the newspaper shoved under the door was today’s issue.

    I found a spot between the fleas, sipped the bitter java, and pawed through the want ads.

    My spiral down to nada had been slow and easy, so easy I’d hardly noticed. Is there a point in the drowning process when the drownee stops flailing and lets the water seep into every orifice?

    Can a man drown in a last-rate hotel in Baltimore?

    Jobs!

    Salvation!

    And there, down in the tiny script of the want ads: ‘Janitor wanted for clinic. Apply in person’.

    And a request: ‘Wanted: baby booties, used okay’.

    I still had a blade in my razor, so I scraped the face and cold damp-clothed my weary old bod. I hadn’t been this refreshed since just before the Challenger went tits up.

    November in Baltimore is dismal. There was a river of rain squelching beneath my feet. My left knee was shooting pains like a safety pin had been jammed in by a very short assassin.

    The clinic was down a side street.

    ‘Free Family Clinic’ the sign said.

    The lies it told.

    There was a lineup of women, babies and kids, dogs and one rat, or maybe it was a dog. The economy in this section of Baltimore had never been anything but dead. The whole street smelled of hard-luck stories.

    Now that kids were a commodity, there was a buzz of excitement in the fetid air.

    Buy!

    Sell!

    It didn’t matter to me.

    I needed this job.

    One day soon, I’d be great again.

    2+
    • Profile gravatar of JK
      JK
      21 July 2017 at 4:34 pm

      Loved this! love how you write, creativity, and entertaining.

      1+
  11. 21 July 2017 at 12:33 pm

    @geofflepard
    297 words
    Fisherman/Battlefield/Memoir

    Life, Death and Fishing

    ‘Where do you think Grandpa is now?’ Jessie studied the old man.
    ‘Fishing, I’d guess. He goes a lot these days. See how he grips? Big beast he has there.’
    ‘Did he take you fishing, dad?’
    Colin watched his father’s gnarled hands, the sharp light from the window emphasising the liver-spotted skin. He shook his head. ‘No, he never fished after he got home, not that I saw him.’
    ‘But…”
    Colin moved to the armchair and took the almost translucent fingers in his own. ‘I’ve got it, Jim. You can rest now.’
    Two rheumy eyes sought out Colin’s face, refusing to focus. Eventually Jim relaxed and sank back into the cushions. Almost immediately he began to snore.
    Colin hugged his daughter. ‘He goes back there a lot. Burma. Ever since that programme, a few months ago, about the railway and the POWs. It must have triggered something. If they didn’t get caught, it was one way they avoided starvation. They just their bare hands. He said it was like tickling trout. Made it sound like a bit of poaching.’
    ‘I wished I’d had the chance to talk to him about the war. It must have been awful.’
    Colin straightened up, his knees creaking. ‘Yes, truly. He’d never say much, buried it, apart from the pranks and the laughs. Butlin’s on Kwai, he made it sound.’ He looked at his daughter. ‘He lost his best mate fishing. Tommy Parfitt. Japanese shot him in the throat as they climbed the bank. Grandpa never said much, but I got the impression he put him out of his misery, rather than have him suffer.’
    Colin looked at the hands, twitching and squeezing, and wondered again at that deep buried memory which still bubbled to the surface across the fog of years.

    1+
  12. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    21 July 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Ambulance driver/ Battlefield/Memoir
    Word count: 300

    A War on Love

    “Scrape that muck off your shoes before you come in!” she yelled. Seriously? My mother was always on my case about something. What an overbearing nag! What on earth had my father ever seen in her? I know you’re supposed to respect your parents, but he’s weak and she’s a pain. There was no excitement in their lives and they were thrust together to have a boring existence where floors must be kept pristine.

    1944 – France

    “Bring that soldier over here!” she yelled over her shoulder as she hit the brakes and exited the vehicle simultaneously. Her face was slick with sweat. She wiped a strand of hair that was plastered against her face, and grabbed the soldier’s legs as she heaved him up onto the table in the medical tent. His injuries were severe, but it was the fear in his eyes that captivated her.

    “You’ll be okay,” she said, trying to force calm into her voice. This was a sentence she had repeated hundreds of times during this war. Sometimes it was true. More often times not. This soldier seemed different though. He knew she was lying.

    He grabbed her hand and whispered, “Thank you.”

    She had been on her feet and driving for forty-six hours already, but in that moment, she decided she would stay until there was an outcome, one way or another, for this man. He was in delirium most of the night from the fever raging though his body, but she got to know a little of his life from before the war. Strange first date that.

    Six weeks later he was sent home. Two years after that they were married. They wanted to forget the war and live content, peaceful lives raising their children. They were simply grateful for the opportunity to do so.

    4+
  13. Profile gravatar of Kaylee Schuler
    21 July 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Foreign Correspondent, Battlefield, Memoir
    300 words

    A Bela Luta

    We are fighting for something incredible, he wrote. The beautiful struggle.
    I received many letters from him. None, however, compared to the last.
    The way he wrote was disjointed, but to me, it was almost eloquent. He wrote in a messy blend of Portuguese and English, and I thought that wonderful.
    Afonso and I had been friends since childhood. He was always alone at lunch, and when I finally sat across from him, the way his eyes lit up with joy will remain with me for the rest of my days.
    Afonso was lonely then, but his loneliness slipped away as we aged. Years passed, and we became like brothers. He was the closest friend I ever had.
    He joined the armed forces at 23, and I hadn’t seen him so enthusiastic in years. He was part of something larger—part of a bela luta—the beautiful struggle. He knew he was fighting for something important, and that brought purpose to his life.
    My fellow soldiers and I are doing something great, and I know we will win the war.
    In my foolish youth, I believed him.
    I miss you, Afonso wrote. I missed him as well—it had been months since I had seen him. Naïve as I was, it had never occurred to me that I may never see him again.
    Vou ver você novamente em breve. I will see you again soon.
    That concluded his final letter. Weeks passed, and then months. I somehow clung to lingering threads of hope until his superior officers informed me of his death.
    He gave his life for an honorable cause, they told me. That did not matter to me. Afonso was strong and kind and so full of life.
    Eu estou tão triste, querido amigo.
    I’m so sorry, dear friend.

    1+
  14. Profile gravatar of Michael Emerson
    21 July 2017 at 3:09 pm

    240 words
    Foreign Correspondent/Clinic/Fantasy

    The Duty of The Correspondent

    Ben awoke in a clinic still clutching his copy of ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Blurry memories of fire and teeth and those baleful eyes flashed across his mind, causing him a smidgeon of surprise at the wholeness of himself and his book. Sounds of exploding buildings and the hiss of water could still be distantly heard.

    Ben sat up to find that he had been left in a hall, nurses rushing here and there dealing with the aftermath of the Balask outbreak and he had been there, at the forefront of it all! Quickly, Ben searched his pockets for a pen and his ever-ready notepad.

    Excitedly, Ben flipped to a new and only slightly singed page, pen poised to put down words of wonder. But then he remembered. The duty of any good correspondent, foreign or otherwise, was to bring the worst and most horrid news to the readers of whichever paper you belonged to.

    To better himself in this little-appreciated art form, Ben had taken up studying the masters of depression. Hemingway was tops, with almost every line bringing the reader closer to the end of hope. With a sigh, Ben put down his pen and opened his book, letting the sad and hopeless words fill his mind so that he might channel the tone of Hemingway into his work. This, he felt as he turned a page, was going to be his worst story yet.

    3+
  15. Profile gravatar of JK
    JK
    21 July 2017 at 3:43 pm

    300 words
    Foreign Correspondent, Battlefield, Memoir

    La Vita Noiosa

    Sometimes, life brings you lots of surprises. Overall, I would say, mine is not too shabby, your average status quo with a few surprises sprinkled in. I love writing about just about anything and thought, why not write about myself. I live in Beersheba Springs, Tennessee, and have my whole life. It has a whopping population of 568 people, plus me. I am 42 years old, have no children, and not married. My parents live nearby, so I will visit them occasionally.
    Although I live in this small town, don’t get me wrong; I do get around, just not in the way you would think. I’ll explain more as I go. I probably sound like a total agoraphobe. How can I live in such a small area with not much around, small family, and not really any friends? Don’t worry; I do get out of the house, travel, and get visitors. I have kind of lived a vicarious life as well.
    I know just about everyone in my town and surrounding towns. Even when I go to big cities in and out of the country, people know me. People love me and adore me, well so far at least.
    My career has been quite interesting and has brought me all over the world, even extremely small towns like Beersheba.
    I guess I should tell you my name. Most people call me Phillip or Phil. Others call me Theodore or Theo. You are probably thinking why in the world people call you so many different names! Well, Theo is my brother and we get mistaken for one another a lot! We both have made a life for ourselves and, you could say, for one another as well. I am the author and he is the foreign correspondent on the battlefield.

    1+
  16. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    21 July 2017 at 4:05 pm

    @el_Stevie
    299 words
    Bull Runner, Paris, Horror

    Sacrificial Bull

    Ivory glimmers in the darkness, the bone gallery stretching its skeletal finger along tunnels, pointing the way through the maze of dead Parisians. The silence of the catacombs is a stark contrast to the roar of the crowds and stampeding hooves on the streets of my Languedoc. I am alone. My guide did not notice me slipping away.

    I start my warm-up, listen for the storm of noise, the thunder of hooves. The townspeople are relying on me. Every year I must run, leading the sacrificial offering through the labyrinth until we reach the pit in Mithra’s old temple where the bull will fall and the god will be satisfied. Well, that’s what they tell me. I don’t believe any of it, but I humour their superstitions, their belief that Mithra will grant them prosperity. So here I am, my third run in the catacombs. But …

    Something is different. I hear the drumbeat of the creature’s arrival and the ground shakes. It sounds heavier than usual and, I assume, slower. I start to run, unconcerned at first. Until I feel hot breath on the nape of my neck, feel the presence of something monstrous behind me, and I run faster, leading him down to the pit. He follows close behind, cheered on by the bone crowds dancing in their stone grave, and I cannot stretch my lead. The pit is near, my heart is pounding, energy and sense of direction gone. The blackness is growing. Nearer now. A void is opening up and I can do nothing but keep running.

    Closer. So close.

    The edge …

    Mithra watches as I fall into the darkness, snorting with satisfaction at the birth of my belief. Languedoc will get its good harvest. But I will not be there to see it.

    2+
  17. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    22 July 2017 at 4:11 am

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDog
    6 words
    Fisherman; Caribbean; Memoir
    [Late / “Just 4 Fun” entry]

    Papa’s Preference

    “F**k’s sake, JB!! Booze… NEVER warm!”

    1+

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