Microcosms 96

Hi everyone! Welcome to Microcosms 96. 🙂

UK entrants – PLEASE NOTE: In the UK, Daylight Saving (BST) ended last Sunday, and the clocks went back one hour Daylight saving in New York (EDT) will not end until Sunday 05-NOV. So the closing deadline for entries this week will be one hour earlier than usual (04:00am rather than 05:00am). Normal time difference we resume next week.

I couldn’t find any odd holidays or historical events that struck a chord with me for today, so I thought I’d go rogue and use something completely different.

One of my favorite movies of all time is You’ve Got Mail, a romantic comedy that, according to the director (on the commentary track), is as much a love letter to the city of New York as it is anything else. One of my favorite lines (among many) is when Tom Hanks’s character Joe Fox asks Meg Ryan’s Kathleen Kelly, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils, if I knew your name and address.”

I think that one line, more than anything, has romanticized New York for me – particularly New York in the fall. But I think there’s something to that for most major cities, so this week’s prompt is all about big city love, whether it’s New York in the fall or Paris in the springtime… or something completely unexpected. I’ve thrown a couple of curve balls in there, but you can bet that most of the choices will be inspired by something romantic that I’ve seen in a movie, once. (Despite my dark nature, I’m a sucker for romantic movies.) It’s almost sweater weather here in Phoenix, and the cooler fall air is making me nostalgic for a city I’ve never even been to.

I’ve also included the “Your Choice” option once again. If you do use/choose the “Your Choice” option, please specify what it is that you’ve chosen.

KM

 

(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: Bar Owner, setting: Tokyo, and genre: Crime.

Special Challenge: Include one of the seasons. (This may or many not help you win – I’m not judging.)

Remember, if you do use/choose the “Your Choice” option, please specify what it is that you’ve chosen.


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 ***


  • Cab Driver
  • Bar Owner
  • Writer
  • Bookseller
  • Businessperson
  • Photographer
  • Superhero
  • Wedding Planner
  • Teacher
  • Detective
  • Your Choice!
  • New York City
  • Tokyo
  • Paris
  • London
  • Berlin
  • Moscow
  • Seattle
  • Casablanca
  • Sydney
  • Your Choice!
  • Horror
  • Memoir
  • Sci-Fi
  • Crime
  • Steampunk
  • Comedy
  • Poetry
  • Western
  • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Historical
  • Drama
  • Alternate History
  • Fairy Tale
  • Choose Your Own Adventure
  • Your Choice!

Spin!


Judging this week is MC 95 Judge’s Pick, Matthieu Cartron.

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 97
Microcosms 95
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34 comments for “Microcosms 96

  1. Profile gravatar of Justin J.
    3 November 2017 at 1:37 am

    Heart and Soul

    By Justin J.

    Writer/My Choice (New York)/Horror

    Words: 150

    For New York romance novelist Travis Burns, writing was almost ritualistic. It was something he got into for reasons other than profits (though the profits were nice). It was something he could pour heart and soul into, something that made him feel younger every time he finished a story.

    Sitting at his laptop, the light from the screen illuminating his face in an otherwise dark room, he hummed as he typed. “Oh do stop,” he said to his muse. “I’m writing and you should be glad to help.”

    He smiled at the woman, her deep blue eyes wide with sheer terror as he raised the ancient dagger from its resting place and walked over to her, the smile never wavering. His voice was gentle, his touch soft, even as he placed the dagger against her throat.

    “I do try to put heart and soul into my writing, after all.”

    1+
  2. 3 November 2017 at 2:30 am

    Detective: Casablanca; Life is a Comedy
    300 gin joints
    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.xa

    A Winter in Casablanca

    He was a broken, mostly bald, little fellow who looked like all the love-twisted twerps who’d ever came knocking at my door. They have all pleaded with me to find her, almost to a man, or perhaps closer to a mouse, saying “I still love her,” moaning, “She’s just gone off her nut. I want her back.”

    So, you see, he was no different.

    “You’ve a picture?” I asked.

    “Yes, in DeeDee,” he says, like he’s got a penny whistle stuck in his throat. He hauls out a five by ten and hands it over.

    I take a gander. I wouldn’t kick her out of the henhouse just because the fox had entered.

    First thing I notice, she had big hair. Big-haired wives are intimidating. They’re always a foot taller.

    “Any idea where she’s gone?” I do my patented follow-up query.

    Usually these guys know where the lady has gone. Why they don’t go after them themselves is not a question I care to ask. I know the answer. In this case, she had big hair and he was mostly hairless. A massive mismatch.

    “Casablanca,” he says.

    “Really,” I say. And I’m impressed. She must be a true romantic.

    “Do you know why?” I ask.

    “That stupid movie. We’ve watched it a dozen times. She asked me to go with her. I said…they filmed the damn thing on a Hollywood backlot. And Arizona. She called me a liar.”

    I could see his problem. He wasn’t a liar. He was just too damn practical. Practical men kill romance every time.

    So, I said, “Catch a plane. You’re the only one who can find her. She’s waiting for you.”

    He left.

    I hope the schmuck took my advice.

    I hate to think I talked myself out of another free winter in Casablanca.

    4+
    • Alva Holland
      3 November 2017 at 5:00 pm

      ‘Big-haired wives are intimidating. They’re always a foot taller.’
      Love it, Bill.

      1+
  3. Eloise
    3 November 2017 at 4:34 am

    Stolen
    Detective/ Tokyo/ Crime
    Word count: 268

    Stretching his arms and breathing in deeply, Jayden started to gag.
    “Quickly, put this mask on; it will help you to breath,” said the air steward.
    Jayden had just arrived in Tokyo. As he took in another breath, his vision began to blur.
    “Don’t worry, sir. I have you,” grinned the air steward.
    Blackness.Jayden woke up to a sudden stop.
    “Get up,” he heard as a hard object was shoved into his back. He looked up, but saw just blackness. He looked down, and a sliver of light shone up through the blindfold. At least he knew it was day. He breathed again, but his throat constricted from the foul smell.
    “Where am I?” asked Jayden.
    “In hell.”
    Jayden put his hands out. The voice slapped them down.
    “Don’t stretch your hands out, there is nothing for you to feel. Unless you would like a little bit of me.” The voice shoved her body against Jayden’s. Jayden winced. This was not going as planned. The voice moved Jayden forward. He slowly shuffled in the direction he was being shoved.
    “Where are we going?”
    “To visit the master.”
    “Where is he?”
    “She is not far. So shut up and keep walking.”
    The door creaked. How long had he been asleep? He was shoved into a chair. The voice yanked his hands behind him and tied them with a scarf. The scent of jasmine hit his nostrils. His mind flipped through his memories. His best friend’s mom used to wear that scent. She was a beautiful woman. The voice ripped the blindfold off.
    “My master, here he is.”

    2+
  4. Profile gravatar of Mark Sadler
    3 November 2017 at 5:41 am

    A Fleeting Taste of Spring

    by Mark Sadler

    Twitter: @backwards7

    Elements: Bar Owner / Tokyo / Crime + Include one of the seasons

    Word Count: 291

    A street-level neon sign, that changed mid-letter from pink to bright green, read:

    ‘Spit in a place you like. This is not your father’s house’

    The tilted neon arrow next to it pointed to a descending cement staircase, painted burgundy, leading to a heavy wooden door, which had been left ajar.

    A passing police officer glanced disapprovingly in the direction of the basement entrance, but carried on walking.

    Inside, at the end of a short corridor, was a large room with a poorly-stocked spirit bar along one wall. The floor was unevenly cobbled with blobs of chewing gum, to a depth of roughly three inches.

    As Eiji, the bar owner, traversed from one side of the room to the other, he could sense the small changes in relief through the thin soles of his shoes. Whenever he crossed a fresh patch, his feet would reawaken the seasonal fragrances of Spring, artificially preserved within the drying gum.

    Kenta followed along behind with a circular saw.

    “I am getting a free foot massage,” he said, excitedly.

    “All types come here. Business people. Young people. Plenty of hot girls. New customers all the time,” continued Eiji. “You can clone them from their chewing gum?”

    “We think so. If we can’t we will still make money selling their DNA data. You are charging a lot per square foot.”

    “I am taking a risk. Also, you are changing the topography of my floor. It will take months to repair.”

    Eiji’s shoe was momentarily caught on a patch of gum. He lifted his foot, stretching a rubbery, pale-pink column between the grip of his sole and the floor. The air around the two men was filled with the faint smell of cherry blossom.

    3+
    • Eloise
      3 November 2017 at 11:05 am

      Loved the idea. Great story.

      0
    • 3 November 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Plenty of brilliance to chew on here. Thanks…

      0
    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:38 am

      Loving this cherry blossom gum tale. Well done, Mark.

      0
    • Profile gravatar of Mark Sadler
      4 November 2017 at 10:58 am

      Thanks everyone,

      I’m really into the written equivalent of tracking shots at the moment, where the narrative moves you through a building or across a landscape. I hope that felt natural and didn’t come across as over-stylised.

      0
  5. Profile gravatar of Angelique Pacheco
    3 November 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Bartender/ Tokyo/ Crime
    Word count: 218

    Whiskey Rituals

    I walked into a wall of hot darkness. It took a few seconds for my eyes to get accustomed to the dim interior. Sweat poured down my face. It was a typical summers evening in Tokyo. A balmy thirty degrees Celsius. The heat had broken earlier and it was a relief. Not that the tourists noticed. You could see them fanning themselves furiously with travel brochures as they made themselves hotter with the effort. That and the fact that they were the odd, few “Gaijin” travelling in Japan. It helps to be a homogenous society.

    I casually walked up to the bar. The patrons stopped talking to one another and stared at me. They knew me well. I was a policeman and that affords respect in my town. Mr. Hakko stood quietly behind the bar observing me. I asked for a whiskey, neat. He, in turn, told me the price. I stood up straight and said indignantly, “This is a crime! So much for a small drink!” Mr. Hakko looked around the room. A patron nodded. Mr. Hakko looked at me and replied, “The drink is complimentary.” I drank my shot and bowed to Mr. Hakko. I sauntered out. Tomorrow would be the same. A ritual that gets played out daily. You just don’t mess with Japanese tradition.

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      3 November 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Sweet! You paint a splendid picture, Angelique.

      1+
  6. Frank Key
    3 November 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Title: Nabbed
    character: Bar Owner,
    setting: Tokyo,
    genre: Crime.
    author: Frank Key
    Twitter: @frankdaad

    A city rat scurried past the open doorway leaving impressions of tiny paw prints on Lars’ beer stained wooden floor. Lars the Fat Swede – that’s what the other Tokyo small business owners called him – wondered if the rat was as much a witness to the kidnapping as he. Unlike the rat, Lars chose not to runaway but to chase down the perps.

    The pair made a slick team, alright. Oblivious American tourists still didn’t know their child was missing from its hooded baby carriage.

    Lars grabbed his weathered wooden baseball bat then made a mad dash out the rathskeller door.

    The man and woman were nonchalantly sauntering along the street towards the river, blending into the tourist throng as if they belonged there and not in a Tokyo jail. Lars fixated his stare on them as he quickly caught up to them. Brushing shoulders with the twenty something man, he muttered in heavily accented Japanese, “Please forgive. I apologise.”

    Two paces later, as he strategically positioned himself in front of the couple with bat held firmly across his chest, Lars abruptly stopped then turned. The man and woman both bumped into him while the infant let out a choked cry.

    At six foot three, from his towering height Lars glowered down at the startled pair. “That’s my sister’s baby you stole. Gently hand her to me now. Try to run and I promise this bat will hit a home run.”

    The couple understood the gist of the huge man’s Swenglish. Behind them a few yards stood two local cops who they presumed wouldn’t know the criminals from the innocents. Just as the woman was about to scream for help, one of the police waved.

    “Lars, how’s it going? Everything all right?”

    “Jah. It is now.”

    End

    2+
    • Alva Holland
      3 November 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Nice one, Frank, and great ending!

      0
  7. Profile gravatar of Liz Elliott
    3 November 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Prompts: Bookseller, Tokyo, Sci-Fi
    Words: 300
    Twitter: @lizzynim

    Electric Town

    He came into the bookstore again today; asked me what I was doing in my lunch break. I laughed and said, “You know I don’t get a lunch break.” He said, well what about after hours? I told him I had errands to run. What errands, he pressed. So I told him them all, in detail.

    He found me later, in the convenience store. “Come on,” he said, and I found myself following him through the packed neon-lit streets to Akihabara subway station. We waved our hands over the entry gate sensors and they beeped an acknowledgment, but my remaining credits did not display. They never did.

    We stood on the platform for the Hibiya line, listening to the sound of chirruping birds. Not real birdsong, of course, but a convincing facsimile. The train pulled up and we got on it. The carriage was quiet, rush hour long over. A few people glanced our way, frowning, but then turned back to their phones.

    This late, Ueno Park was almost deserted. We wandered across grass carpeted with fallen cherry blossoms to the fountains, where we sat on the low wall, not speaking.

    “I’m like you,” he finally said. I turned to him in surprise. He didn’t have the blue brand upon his cheek, like I did. “I had my brand removed. There are people… who are sympathisers…”

    I didn’t know what to say. Logical conflicts were threatening to trigger a system overload in my electronic brain.

    He took my hand. “Just think about it.”

    But I already had. In less than a nanosecond, I’d calculated and weighed the risks and consequences. My answer displeased him, and he left.

    A man emerged from the trees, where he’d been watching. “So?” he asked.

    “No,” I replied. “He wasn’t a renegade. He was human.”

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      3 November 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Great build-up here, Liz. Nicely done.

      0
  8. Alva Holland
    3 November 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    295 words
    Bookseller/London/Romance

    A Life Outside The Pages

    Pieces of me are scattered through the pages stored on these shelves, like the 888,246 poppies cascading from the Tower, filling the moat with sadness, remembrance and beauty.

    Beauty, power, history, all reflecting death.

    Our walk across Tower Bridge, past City Hall where we took selfies by the black egg, you pulling a goofy face, me wondering what I did to deserve you, riverside. Tourists milling, taking pictures across the flowing Thames that divides, separates, while joining the pieces of this great city in patchwork harmony. Like the barges, we floated along, me wishing this could last forever. Nothing does.

    Hay’s Galleria beckoned where we sat under bright red umbrellas, contemplating The Navigators, its sword catching the glinting sun through the concaved dome. Along South Bank, our quirkiness no match for its shameless abundance of gay abandon exploding inside and out of the National Theatre, whose red box temporariness quickly became an icon. Once there, now gone, like us.

    The roof garden was a surprise. Queen Elizabeth Hall gave no indication of the delights that lay above until we emerged onto the pathway where you ducked behind purple-painted olive tree planters and I couldn’t stop you snipping some jasmine to carry the garden with us as we left.

    We left. You left, and I’m left with my books. The day you walked into my world, for the first time, for that split-second, my books came second. I saw a life outside the pages.

    As I turn the sign on the door and pull down the blind, I think I see you standing outside. For a moment, a brief exhilarating moment, I hope. The night is clear, soft rain begins to fall. My feet take me to the Tower where the poppies glisten in the moonlight.

    3+
  9. Profile gravatar of Stephanie Ellis
    3 November 2017 at 6:08 pm

    A Load of Old Borscht

    293 words
    Elements: superhero, Moscow, alternative history

    @el_Stevie

    “Vladimir Vladimirovich, come back here and put your pants on … properly.”

    “But mama … this is how superheroes dress.”

    “Da, in republican America but not here. Here you must keep your shirt on and your pants UNDER your trousers.”

    Vlad glared at his mother. Maria Ivanovna was a remarkable woman. What she could do with a cabbage and two potatoes was indescribable.

    “Do you not want to put hairs on your chest?” she demanded. “Look at Rasputin. He is a man who knows his Borscht from his Golubtsky.”

    Rasputin. Or Rasputin Jr IV to be more precise. Luck favoured conmen, thought Putin. The man’s ancestor had been nothing more than a mad monk. Now his great-great-grandson held his position as the Great Coagulator by mere inheritance. It wasn’t fair.

    “And anyway, aren’t you too old to believe in superheroes?” continued his mother. “Now get to work before the Tsar packs us off to Siberia. Remember every cabbage counts.”

    Vlad sighed. He knew she was right. With great reluctance he dressed himself to conform to the more acceptable standards of the Imperialist Cabbage Pickers. He had no intention of telling her about his calendar opportunity. The Duma had decided a calendar showing the toil and sweat of peasant life would inspire the people to appreciate those who worked beyond the confines of Moscow. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin had bagged Mr October. He was to be photographed bare-chested and wrestling a Siberian tiger … well, the first part was true. And he certainly didn’t want hairs on his chest. He knew that Tsar Nikolai’s youngest, and still unmarried, daughter had a weakness for a hairless physique. And if he played his cards right, if a copy of the calendar found its way to her …

    3+
    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:17 am

      Hilarious! Steph. Loved it from beginning to end.

      1+
    • Profile gravatar of Mark Sadler
      4 November 2017 at 10:54 am

      I too enjoyed this unfettered charge into absurdity. I kind of wanted it to continue, just to see how long you could keep it going before it collapsed.

      0
    • Eloise
      6 November 2017 at 1:35 am

      I loved this story 🙂

      0
  10. Profile gravatar of Chapman White
    3 November 2017 at 6:29 pm

    298 words
    Prompts: Bar Owner, Tokyo, Crime

    Waiting

    It’s eleven PM on one of those days that can’t get it up enough to snow. I’ve been standing here since nine, waiting for the little bastards to show up with their spray paints and their beanies and stupid-looking skateboards, but haven’t seen anyone white enough yet. They must be white, they graffitti in english, and Dad’s the only black guy in Japan.

    My dad and I moved here in ‘03, about the same time of year, now that I think of it, he wanted to start using his Doctorate for something other than dust collection and I thought I wanted to find a place to go to college. Last I checked he’s still teaching high school, and I run a bar now, so maybe things aren’t going like we planned. I take a drag. I should give the old guy a call.

    But that’s the nice thing about Tokyo, I suppose, it’s cold and big and bright and impersonal, it doesn’t give a shit whether you live or die, so long as you pay your taxes and don’t look foreign. It’s an oasis for ambitionless people like me, guys who just want to sit and smoke and wait, half-asleep. In Paris or New York or London or Taipei you have artists and thinkers and writers and people who want desperately to do something, be someone, make a mark; but these sorts all get swallowed up by the great pulsing neon monument to wage-slavery that is Tokyo. Sure, you could be rich, but someone will be richer. You could be powerful, but someone out there’s got the penthouse. So why not hang out on street corners, waiting for the little shits to come and wreck your bar again.
    I hear skateboard trucks hit sidewalk pavement; back to work.

    1+
    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:19 am

      Super story! ‘ In Paris or New York or London or Taipei you have artists and thinkers and writers and people who want desperately to do something, be someone, make a mark; but these sorts all get swallowed up by the great pulsing neon monument to wage-slavery that is Tokyo.’
      Now there’s a line! My favourite.

      0
  11. 3 November 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Cab driver; New York; horror
    A Full Set
    @geofflepard 300 words
    Bhatal pulled his cab into the parking lot and sighed. Another shift, another bunch of New York’s crazies. He cricked his neck and swept up the debris of his day. Dumping all bar his flask in the trash he opened the back and began the odious task of cleaning out his passengers’ detritus. It took maybe a minute for him to find them, just under the front seat: a set of dentures, beautifully white. He tried to recall a passenger who might have needed them but drew a blank. If the office had been open, he’d have dropped them off; he’d do it first thing.
    Conrad searched his bag frantically; she’d be back in from the cloakroom momentarily and if he wasn’t prepared he didn’t know what he’d do. He couldn’t let her get away. The boss would never forgive him. She was a carefully selected mark, rich, not likely to be much missed and the perfect age. How the hell had he lost his teeth?
    Mimi stood next to Bhatal as he shovelled in his food; he was always starving after a shift. He worked so hard for her and the kids, it was the least she could do. ‘So how was the day? Any stories?’
    By way of an answer he pointed at his bag; she fished inside and soon found the dentures. Bhatal managed to say between mouthfuls, ‘Passenger left them.’
    Mini held them up; there was something unusual about the teeth, a glow. She had this overwhelming urge to slip them over her own.
    Bhatal wiped his mouth. “How does someone lose their teeth. I…’ He never finished as Mini buried her newly installed canines into the soft flesh of his neck feasting on his blood. The look of horror in her eyes mirrored his own.

    1+
    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:29 am

      Loved the twist, Geoff. Super story.

      0
  12. Matthieu Cartron
    3 November 2017 at 7:49 pm

    299 words
    Bar Owner; Tokyo; Crime
    Note: Although I am judging this round, I thought I still might contribute. 🙂

    The Tender

    “Sake. Now,” the man said, plopping his drenched body on a stool.
    The bartender looked up.
    “We call it Nihonshu here, and there are many kinds.”
    “Whatever,” the man slurred. “Just get me something.”
    The bartender put down the grimy rag in hand and went to the back.
    The rain sloshed and swelled in tightly woven yokochos outside, through mazes of serpentine streets and sinewy weaves of pavement. Rooftops clinked and wilted with black rain. A bustling city turned sour at night.
    The man’s empty eyes stared across the counter. A job and a family now gone. Belligerence and bitterness there to invade and puncture his heart and replace what he had lost.
    The bartender saw men like this often. Not always Japanese. Sometimes he felt sympathy in his heart, especially when young men would come staggering inside.
    “Here is your Nihonshu, sir.” The bartender stood the glass in front of the man. “You’ll like this one—I made it. A dry ginjo-shu.”
    The man grumbled and took the glass from the bartender. He eyed the drink and felt its weight, then emptied the glass down his throat with shaking hands. He shuddered and blinked a few times, the fiery liquid offering a temporary reprieve. Then nothing.
    “More,” the man said.
    But the bartender had gone to the back. Bent over, he worked fast, and as he did he remembered, just like every time he pulled one out. The distant memory of the life he had before the accident. Before they were taken from him. Before the miserable, grieving drunk had lost control of the wheel.
    The bartender heard a crash—the fall of a poisoned body. Then a single tear fell down the face of Hideo Tagaki, as he carried the body bag over to the bar.

    1+
    • Matthieu Cartron
      4 November 2017 at 4:56 am

      Through mazes*

      0
      • Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
        4 November 2017 at 11:40 am

        Typo corrected, Matthieu.

        This is a cracking story! Atmospheric and emotive, and full of Japanese detail. It’s a great pity that it doesn’t qualify for the judging process.

        0
  13. 3 November 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Wedding Planner/New York City/Crime
    297 words
    Title: Wrong and Right

    The wind scraped at her face and tangled her hair, but she stared into it with her eyes closed. It was loud enough up there that she didn’t hear Cameron joining her.

    He ran his fingers through Jane’s hair, smiling slightly.

    “Aren’t you cold?”

    She shrugged. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around her. Late August, and the nights were just starting to get frigid in New York. Jane didn’t feel it anymore.

    “I talked with the planner. They said that if we wait until winter we can get a venue out in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Imagine. The snow might be falling. It’ll match your dress.”

    “I don’t want to wait until winter,” Jane reminded him. “I can’t.”

    He shifted, his fingers more insistent in her hair. “Janie. Do you ever wonder…”

    “Cam. Don’t.”

    “I’m just saying. You could let this go. He doesn’t have to die, you know. Just rescind the invitation. We’ll get married. We can move on. Together.”

    Jane pulled away from Cameron. It was statements like this that gave her doubts about their entire relationship. How could they spend their lives together if he didn’t understand her need to kill her father? How could she trust him if he didn’t trust her with this, the most important decision she had ever made?

    “Janie. Please.”

    “What are you so afraid of, Cam?”

    “I’m not–”

    “They can’t trace it back to us. He’s never been healthy. Bad fish, that’s what the planner says she can get us. There’s no one left that cares if he lives or dies. We just wait until the wedding. And then we’re free.”

    A car honked from far below and Cameron smiled slightly and Jane knew that he was Mr. Right, but most importantly, he wouldn’t say no.

    4+
    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:30 am

      A chilling tale indeed! Well done, Maya.

      0
  14. Profile gravatar of
    Frank Trautman
    3 November 2017 at 8:34 pm

    The Noodler
    by Frank Trautman
    Twitter: @Graveyard_Frank
    Elements: Bar Owner / Tokyo / Crime + Include one of the seasons
    Word Count: 300

    Forced to his knees, David Friday’s life flashes before his eyes as the goon standing over him jabs a pair of steel chopsticks into his jugular. His remaining patrons scurry out into Tokyo’s cold winter streets, now covered in a rare snowfall.

    A man not troubled by geography, Friday originally came to Japan for the falafel. When the chick pea market crashed in summer of aught-nine, however, he’d purchased the saloon with hopes of being the next Rick Blaine (or Pluto Nash). But Kabukichō, didn’t need another nudie bar and things never quite took off. However, he’d soon turned the bar into a front for his more nefarious trade. You see, Friday had become a kingpin of the underground noodle market, run out of the back room of the wholesome, non-assuming Friday’s Family Eatery and Drinkery. Upfront he dealt in pitchers of American beer and skee-ball. In back, he sold low-priced, sticky noodles cut with farina. It was known on the street as Pastetini.

    Now, he repents; repents all of it. Legume-based Ponzi schemes. Subverting honest noodle trade, hooking countless Japanese teens on cheap cereals sold on street corners. Most of all he regrets moving in on the territory of Tomi Tatsuo, the Kasha King of Tokyo’s red light district.

    Blood leaks from Friday’s throat and dribbles on his shirt. He repents it all from falafel to farina. Tatsuo’s tough jams the sticks into his neck and rips them out again in a spray of gore. Friday sputters and collapses on the tile floor as the yakuza douse everything with gasoline, most of which is immediately soaked up by the noodles.

    Watching them helplessly trying to set his storeroom ablaze, a final thought passes through Friday’s mind as he expires: Poppy seeds, he burbles. Is there a market for those?

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    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:34 am

      Gory, but good. Super imagery here, even with my eyes closed!

      0
  15. Profile gravatar of Geoff Holme
    3 November 2017 at 11:47 pm

    @GeoffHolme
    299 words
    Writer; My Choice – Dublin; Comedy

    The Writer and The Reader

    “There’s an ‘O’ in it,” said the burly rain-soaked American, watching the hotel receptionist fill in the registration card.

    “Would you be saying that again, please, sir?”

    “There’s an ‘O’ in ‘Phoenix’, notwithstanding the United States’ predilection for the simplification of diphthongs.”

    The receptionist’s head rose slowly, his eyebrows slightly less so. “Your talk is surely the handiwork of wisdom because not one word of it do I understand.”

    “Wow! That’s a brilliant turn of phrase.”

    “Thank you, sir. It is, to be sure, one of the finest phrases a man could plagiarise from the works of Flann O’Brien. Will you be after staying long?”

    “That depends. I’m here to research my next book, but if this weather persists, I may get a hankering to return to Arizona.”

    “Would you be finding the summer in Dublin a little… moist, sir?”

    “And then some! Back home, I doubt we have this much rain in a year, and I ain’t been here more than…” – here the deeply-tanned traveller glanced at the ostentatious Breitling Chronomat 44 on his wrist – “five hours!”

    “So, where you’re coming from, it’s all ‘Precipitation probability approaches zero percent’, is it?”

    “Say what?”

    “Sure it’s just something I heard on the radio once, so it is. Some American weatherman was using a la-di-dah – I suppose you might even call it a high-falutin’ – way to say ‘we don’t expect rain’.”

    “Hee! Hee! Yeah, I guess Arizona weather guys do have a pretty dull time of it – not even no hurricanes nor typhoons to get all fired up about!”

    “On the other hand, wasn’t it yer man Mark Twain who wrote ‘The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco’?

    “Ha! I thought Dr Johnson said when two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather.”

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    • Alva Holland
      4 November 2017 at 1:36 am

      Ah, good old rainy Dublin. Not always so, I hasten to add. Whether you’re from there, across the pond, or the ocean, the weather makes for a grand conversation. Nice one, Geoff.

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