Microcosms 106

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to Microcosms 106. As KM is indisposed, you have me running the show again this week; but the good news is that the Whirl-o-matic slot machine of story elements has been refurbished, and is ready to serve you throughout 2018.

This week’s contest concerns people who have shuffled off this mortal coil on 12-JAN:

1960 – Nevil Shute, English author  – “No Highway” (1948)

1976 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist – creator of the amateur sleuth Miss Marple

2003 – Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentine general and politician who ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands (1982)   

2014 – Alexandra Bastedo, UK actress, star of 1960s UK TV sci-fi espionage series “The Champions”

2017 – William Peter Blatty, US writer and filmmaker – “The Exorcist” (1973)

2017 – Graham Taylor, UK footballer – manager of the England football team (1990-93)

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, location and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Holywood Actress, Location: South America, and genre: Drama.

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, location 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 (if you select [Your Choice], please specify exactly what your choice is) AND a title for your entry – not included in the word count.
*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS ***

  • Hollywood Actress
  • Amateur Detective
  • Dictator
  • Superhero
  • Exorcist
  • National Football/Soccer Manager
  • Passenger Plane
  • Rural Village
  • South America
  • Geneva
  • Washington DC
  • World Cup Qualifiers
  • Comedy
  • Horror
  • Drama
  • Thriller
  • Crime
  • Sci-Fi
Spin!

Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Kelly Griffiths, has kindly agreed to act as judge this time round.

 

Let me reiterate: all submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EST) to submit.

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

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 105
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58 comments for “Microcosms 106

  1. Alva Holland
    12 January 2018 at 1:10 am

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    298 words
    Hollywood Actress; Passenger Plane; Comedy

    Seeing Stars

    ‘It’s her! I know it. What’s she doing travelling Economy?’

    ‘It’s Economy Plus, darling. Who are you talking about?’

    ‘Her! Look! It’s the wan from the film.’

    ‘The film? What film?’

    ‘THE film – the one about the handsome rich guy and the who–. Ok better not say that in Economy Plus, the cheap-looking tart who dressed like a who–, god it’s hard being PC on a plane.’

    ‘Don’t stare! She’ll think we’re fans and go all super-nova.’

    ‘You mean super-diva.’

    ‘You know what I mean!’

    ‘I really don’t think it’s her, you know. It’s someone who looks like her.’

    ‘Nope, it’s definitely her – I’d recognise those teeth anywhere. I’m going over there.’

    ‘What? No! You’re not going over there. Sit down, for chrissakes, you’re shakin’ the plane.’

    ‘Ya don’t shake a plane that easily, honey. Relax, I just want to say hello.’

    ‘I’m sure she’s fed up of people like you just wanting to say hello.’

    ‘What do you mean? People like me? What are you calling me?’

    ‘I’m not calling you anything, darling. Can you please just sit down?’

    ‘Forget it – I’ll catch her as we disembark. Make sure to stand up and block the aisle.’

    ‘I’m not blocking the aisle.’

    ‘You always block the aisle. Why should this time be any different? Because I’ve asked you, is that it?’

    ‘Oh, I give up. Ok, I’ll block the aisle. Then what?’

    I’ll just nicely say hello and that I am a huge fan.’

    ‘I get the huge bit but…’

    ‘What? Did you just call me huge?’

    ‘No! You said you were a huge fan. I’m agreeing, but I thought you didn’t like that film.’

    ‘You know nothing, honey.’

    ‘Hey! Isn’t that A-Rod?’

    ‘Who?’

    ‘My god, it’s A-Rod – in Economy Plus! I’m going over there.’

    11+

    • 12 January 2018 at 11:45 am

      I love this – it made me chuckle

      0

      • Alva Holland
        13 January 2018 at 5:16 am

        Thanks, Jane.

        0

    • 15 January 2018 at 8:40 am

      Absolutely love the interplay between the characters.

      0

    • 15 January 2018 at 8:55 am

      What a hoot, Alva! Another great plane-based flash; are you building up a collection for a future anthology?

      0

  2. 12 January 2018 at 2:09 am

    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca
    300 words that might lead somewhere
    Amateur Detective; Passenger Plane; Comedy (sort of)

    A Flight Quite a Bit East

    “They like ta pack us in tighter than slippery sardines.”

    “Yum…” I booted into sharing mode, “me mom fed us sardines thrice a week. I loved the little goobers. Do ye think we’ll be gettin’ a servin’ on the flight?”

    My seat mate was a somewhat enhanced older woman seemingly desirous of keeping her furry winter long coat wrapped around her ample frame. It was a December flight and Toronto was expected to be colder then a teacher’s widget.

    “I doubt it,” she said. “You have business in T.O.?”

    I realized right away that women of her generation rarely talk fish. My mother was like that. Vegetables…she could ramble on til’ mornin’; but fish, no, no way.

    I did have business in Toronto. Private business, settling a debt to my employer.

    “I do,” I said. “A simple bit of business.”

    “Hmm,” she replied, “so much business these days is anything but simple. You’re lucky.”

    I was. My employer’s daughter had run away eastward, seeking enlightenment in the form of comedy club and comedians, funny trivial men, men who might bring laughter to her aching girlish heart.

    “Bring her back, Ernie,” he’d ordered me. “We are not a funny breed. And I will not permit her to make me a laughing stock. Fathers should not be the butt of a daughter’s revenge.”

    I thought his concern somewhat overblown, but could appreciate the point.

    “I am lucky,” I finally answered, “Although I do have a wee bit of a flying phobia.”

    “Shoot, young man. Plane travel is as safe as sleepin’ in your bed,” she laughed.

    “You’ve never been in my bed,” I said with some confidence.

    “I’m sure we can do something about that,” she winked.

    With opportunity knocking, I put my trepidations aside and slept until we were airborne.

    8+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:18 am

      Excellent, Bill. Love the line, ‘fathers should not be the butt of a daughter’s revenge.’

      1+

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:07 pm

      Loved this. “I realized right away that women of her generation rarely talk fish” is amazing!

      1+

    • 15 January 2018 at 9:09 am

      Another rip-roaring scamper through the fervent imagination of our most prolific North American correspondent.
      [ ‘…colder then a teacher’s widget’! Revd Spooner is alive and well, and living in politically-correct times. 😉 ]

      0

  3. 12 January 2018 at 2:16 am

    @CarinMarais
    http://www.maraiscarin.com
    297 words
    Exorcist, Rural Town, Sci-Fi

    The Exorcism of CJ

    The exorcist arrived two hours late.
    “You know how they are,” Josephine said, wiping her hands on her apron. “And they don’t care about what happens in the small towns.”
    Obadiah nodded and let out a deep sigh then got up from where he was reclining. He strode towards the exorcist, hat in hand, and greeted him.
    Dressed in a t-shirt, loose pants, and flip-flops, he got his kit out of the transporter and slung the bag over his shoulder before shaking Obadiah’s hand.
    “Where is she?” he asked.
    “Over here,” Obadiah said, leading the Exorcist to a room at the back of the delivery centre.
    “CJ usually does the mail packages,” Josephine explained, falling in beside them. “With the drought and people moving though, she started looking for a… hobby. She seemed to have stumbled on something while researching the town’s genealogy though.”
    “Ah, of course. The witch scare of 2136 that turned out to be demons.”
    “It seems she unlocked something she shouldn’t have. We only realised it once her programming was affected.”
    The exorcist turned the door handle and entered the makeshift cell.
    CJ was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the centre of the room. Her head swivelled back to the door as they entered.
    “Oooh, a new playmate,” she said in a deep, otherworldly voice, and stood in one swift movement.
    The exorcist sighed, scanning the body for signs of tampering.
    “You were right not to do a factory reset. They love that. Gives them all the power they want. More than a human can offer.”
    He opened his bag and she quailed when she saw the crucifix.
    “Cruz sacra sit mihi lux,” the exorcist said, and CJ’s body contorted, metal scraping and bending. Josephine looked away, tears in her eyes.

    8+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:20 am

      Dark and gritty stuff, Carin. Recoiling as I read. Well done!

      0

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:09 pm

      This is a brilliant mixture of genres. Great story!

      0

    • 15 January 2018 at 9:21 am

      Great to see you back here, Carin, with a very clever interpretation of your chosen elements.
      (I wish I had a factory-reset button sometimes…)

      0

  4. 12 January 2018 at 7:34 am

    Andrea Allison
    @sthrnwriter
    198 words
    Exorcist; Rural Village; Horror

    My First Exorcism

    I was too late. My first assignment from the Vatican and I was too late. A week’s worth of travel by plane, truck and my blistered feet from walking the final two miles led me to a village of nothing. Animals scurrying about, chasing one another without their human referees. I felt the urge bubble up inside me to call out, but blood cascading down wooden steps from a severed arm triggered another bodily function.

    Wiping dribbles of vomit from my chin, I wanted to see no more. I was prepared for the fight. Not when the battle was already lost. Silence told me the Devil had claimed the village for himself. I wrapped my rosary tightly around my hand, beads and cross digging into my flesh, as I slowly backed away with the word of God on my breath. I searched everywhere for the enemy, only to bump into him from behind.

    His warm breath on my neck stopped my heart. I didn’t need to turn around to know he was enjoying a victory smile.

    Multiple voices tumbled from his lips as he said, “Hello, Father Lance. You failed your final test. The Vatican send their regards.”

    9+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:22 am

      Horror indeed, Andrea! I was running away from this story the minute I started reading. And yet I continued to the end. Grisly.

      0

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Creepy! It builds up tension perfectly, until the bitter end.

      0

    • 15 January 2018 at 9:41 am

      Welcome to Microcosms, Allison.
      Sounds like the Vatican ought to consider regional headquarters!

      0

  5. 12 January 2018 at 8:08 am

    298 words
    Hollywood Actress; Rural Village; Crime

    The Hunted

    She cursed as she felt her nail crack. It didn’t slow her down as she crashed through the trees and bushes, holding her hands in front of her face as she blindly tumbled into the green of the forest. Her breath came in ragged gasps. “Running treadmill at home is nothing compared to this,” she thought randomly as she willed her legs to move faster. Sheer fear pumped adrenalin into her system, and all her senses were heightened.

    She saw a pinprick of light ahead. She just had to make it through that. As she burst through the clearing, the light blinded her for a second and then she saw it. A village! She would be safe. She ran to the first door and banged on it. The door opened a crack and bright eyes peered at her.

    “Help me!” she screamed her voice sounding guttural.

    The door closed quickly. Shocked, she banged on the door again. No answer.

    She could hear him coming. It wouldn’t be long now.

    She ran from door to door and watched in horror as people stared at her through their windows but wouldn’t open the door. ‘Didn’t they know who she was?’ she thought as tears of frustration began to cascade down her face. She ran past the village up a hill, just as the sun was setting. She stopped at the top and fell face down by a tree, sobbing. Beyond the hill was a scattering of bodies in various stages of decomposition. Abandoned cars lined the valley. She could hear him coming.

    “Well, it’s about time you got back! We’re starving. You suck at hunting.” They giggled at the play on words. “Ooh! You got us a celebrity! They’re so tasty!” one said. They bared their fangs and advanced.

    9+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:23 am

      Lots of lovely but grim detail here, Angelique. Love your stories.

      1+

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:23 pm

      I can feel her desperation in every word. Well done!

      1+

  6. Nikky Olivier
    12 January 2018 at 9:43 am

    235 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    Crash and Burn

    She awoke with a groan, lifting her hand to the sticky blood that had run down her temple.
    “What happened?” the muttered words barely out before she started registering her surroundings. In growing horror, she took in the broken shell of the small passenger plane, the limp, bloody body of the pilot, her childhood friend and the only reason she would ever consider flying in anything smaller than a 747.
    Looking around, she realised that they were in a forest, and felt chilled when she recalled the last conversation they had shared.
    “Look out the window.” She recalled the excitement in John’s voice as he got to show her the wonder that was the Amazon from the air. “the largest rainforest in the world…”
    AND NOW SHE WAS LOST IN IT!
    Visions of venomous snakes and spiders flew through her head as she recalled every bad thing she’d ever seen, read or heard about the rainforest.
    Cannibalistic tribes, poisonous frogs, nests of ants that could eat you alive…
    She curled into a tighter ball on the remains of her seat, whimpering and close to tears, her bruised, soot-stained face showing her shock…
    “CUT! That’s a wrap, people!” The director’s voice boomed through the set.
    Righting herself and quickly marching off the sound stage, our heroine can be heard muttering, “That’s the last time I sign up for this type of drama.”

    14+

    • Angelique Pacheco
      12 January 2018 at 10:51 am

      Love it! And welcome!

      1+

      • Nikky Olivier
        12 January 2018 at 11:09 am

        Thanks.
        Finally made the time

        0

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:24 am

      Super story, Nikky! Well done.

      0

    • 13 January 2018 at 6:16 am

      Welcome to Microcosms, Nikky.

      Can you post a comment here with the TITLE of your entry, please?

      0

      • Nikky Olivier
        13 January 2018 at 10:24 am

        Oops, yes, I see that didn’t make it….
        The title is ‘Crash and Burn’

        0

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Fantastic story. Perfectly paced, and capturing the three elements perfectly. Loved it!

      0

  7. Eloise
    12 January 2018 at 12:22 pm

    291 words
    Exorcist; Passenger Plane; Thriller

    Spirits for the Mind

    “Ladies and Gentleman. This is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts. We are about to hit turbulent weather.”
    Frank glanced out of the window. The sun shone brightly over the fluffy white clouds; there were no dark clouds in sight. What was going on? Frank got up from his seat, but as he made a move for the cockpit, an air hostess, who filled the aisle sufficiently, stood before him.
    “Please, sir, return to your seat.”
    “No! I need to get to the captain.”
    “I am afraid, sir, that is not possible.” Red flashed through her eyes.
    Frank hesitated. Who is this? He placed his hand on the air hostess and her eyes rolled behind her head. The spirit dashed out the lifeless body. This flight had just got a lot more interesting. Mouths fell open as Frank leaped over the lifeless body at his feet. Luckily, dumbfounded astonishment had taken over panic. Frank had limited time before this flight would become unmanageable.
    He crashed through the cockpit door. There he saw no captain. He slid into the seat and put the headset on to his head. He tried to radio the nearest airport, but it appeared there was no-one near.
    Frank had never flown a plane. What should he do? He started to press the dials. The plane began to nosedive. As he was about to twist another button, a hand grabbed his and squeezed. Frank crumbled under the pain.
    “What are you doing?”
    Frank looked up. “Trying to fly the plane.”
    “Well, sir, please return to your seat and I will take it from here.” He smiled with pointy teeth.
    Frank slinked back to his seat.
    The sumptuous air hostess arrived. “Another G’n’T?”
    Frank’s eyes glowed red.

    5+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:25 am

      Mysterious mid-air happenings, Eloise. Please continue!

      1+

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:25 pm

      This is a great piece of action, and I loved the touch of bitter humour in it.

      1+

  8. steve lodge
    12 January 2018 at 12:37 pm

    @steveweave71
    269 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Crime

    Armed In Cochabamba (The Remake)

    I was the one, you know? Oh yes. She only became a Hollywood actress, a star, ‘cos of me, probably.

    When I met her in The Throbbing Buttock Bar in Cobra Heights, LA, she was a barmaid, and a right crap one at that.

    Her name was Gladys Feel. She said she dreamed of being a Hollywood actress. I told her straight:
    “You won’t get a job as a cleaner in Hollywood with a name like that. Look at me. I’ve changed my name to Otis Cochise. I wanted to be less London, more transatlantic.”

    Anyway, later I’m down in Bolivia in a remake of Armed In London, called Armed In Cochabamba, and I hear tell old Gladys is doing alright for herself. Married some South American producer and the big time has beckoned with stars on its finger.

    Well, after the lunacy of Armed In Cochabamba, I’m back in London to see me dear old Mum, and one night, right, I’m at the cinema with Tracy, no Tanya, no, don’t matter, and we’re watching this chick flick, ‘cos I’m a sensitive geezer. Who’s on the screen and looking gorgeous? Well it’s only Gladys, innit? Except that she ain’t Gladys no more. I wait for the credits and she’s only Rosalita Santa Cruz Cochise now!!

    Dammit, dammit, dammit! I’d had a chance with her, but now she’s bleeding Rosalita and she’s stolen a bit of my name. I realise I’ve been making a tight fist of frustration with me left hand and I’ve gone and drawn blood. I look over at Tara.

    “I want a hot dog,” she says.

    4+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:27 am

      Hugely entertaining as always, Steve!

      0

  9. A.J. Walker
    12 January 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Relentless, or Not

    Margaret Bryson pushed back the pink satin sheets and yawned widely. It was to be a busy day. Breakfast with her Dylan, elevenses with Bob and and the tiresome Clary, lunch with Scilla and Dominic and somebody else from the Producers. She hoped she’d get to see the Rio beach in the afternoon, but after all that work she expected she’d need a lie down or maybe a couple of margaritas.

    Then there was the dinner and the party to celebrate some film or other. She sat up, all in a fluster. For the life of her, she couldn’t remember what film it was. That was the problem with the profession. You say a few words, someone films, puts it together, maybe puts another soundtrack – even another language on her – and then when the film came out, which could be weeks or months later, she was expected to go out and press the flesh and smile. She was bored with her smile, it never looked real these days. By the time the film came out and she was smiling and shaking hands and kissing all the people with such insincerity she’d already filmed her parts for another two films. It was relentless she thought. That was it! That’s the film! “Relentless.” She wondered what it was in Portuguese.

    She shouted for the maid. ‘Get me my morning robes. Call Dylan and tell him I’ll be twenty minutes late. And get me a coffee … no, get me two coffees.’

    She pushed back the curtains to look out across Rio, and was not totally surprised when she realised it was Buenos Aires. This Hollywood lifestyle really was hard to keep up with. She wondered what Relentless was in Spanish.

    Two days later, she realised it wasn’t her film they were there for.

    WC: 300
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    3+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:42 am

      Relentless wondering by your MC here, AJ. Love it!

      0

    • 14 January 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Excellent! The story reflects perfectly what the rushed life of such a star must be.

      0

  10. 12 January 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Twitter: paulnevin
    300 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    Research

    Kathryn sat in an oversized velvet armchair in her suite in the Rio Hilton, a cigarette dangling from her lips, the iPad with the script for Death the Redeemer lying on the huge glass coffee table in front of her, open at the last scene in the film.
    The script was on an iPad, rather than paper, so that it could be password-protected and watermarked with Kathryn’s name, so if it got leaked they’d know who to fire. This was the older version, where Kathryn’s character was just in the background, in an armchair like this one, watching the detective’s big reveal of who’d killed the ambassador.
    The doorbell chimed. Kathryn pushed herself up and out of the chair. She plucked the cigarette from her mouth and stubbed it out, fanning the air like a teenager who’s just heard keys in the front door.
    It was Derek, who played the detective. ‘They’ve changed the ending,’ he said, barging past her into the room. ‘They want you to have done it. A whole confession scene’s been added in.’ He held up his phone, where presumably he’d been reading his own watermarked copy of the updated script. ‘Did you know about this?’
    Kathryn closed the door, and pulled her dressing gown more tightly closed. ‘I just found out,’ she said, but this wasn’t true – she’d known from the start, had instigated the change, in fact, getting Steven the director to cut Derek’s lines and give her more screen time.
    ‘You did know,’ Derek said. He closed his eyes and shook his head – in disgust, Kathryn thought – as he stuffed the phone back in his pocket.
    Kathryn let the accusation hang in the air. This was good research for their scene, the revised one where he accuses her of the murder.

    4+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:41 am

      Intriguing, Paul! Well done.

      1+

  11. 12 January 2018 at 5:10 pm

    @el_Stevie
    291 words
    Hollywood Actress; Washington DC; Horror

    Complicit

    She chose the black dress she had worn to the previous night’s ball at the White House. It skimmed her figure, was slashed and plunged in all directions, exposed just the right amount of flesh. Ebony silk contrasted sharply with ivory skin, caused the group of devotees who had gathered to greet her to shiver involuntarily on her behalf. Lauren, however, was immune to such sensitivities; ice did not affect her but fire … oh, fire was such a different matter. She needed to burn. The script was in her purse and the director she had come to see was waiting.

    “Lauren! Lauren!” Insistent calls demanded she detour from her task, sign the autographs, pose for selfies. Lauren flaunted her virtue, and they lapped it up.

    Duty done, she headed indoors. The lift climbed slowly, red-lit numbers reflecting the colour of her eyes which sparked and crackled in her moving tomb. All was electricity. Eventually it stopped and she glided out.

    She knew what to expect. Soft lighting, music. It wouldn’t be the first time. Lauren felt the hunger, the thirst, rise. She needed to feed, ran her tongue along bladed teeth, wondered what would be on the menu tonight.

    The door was unlocked and she slipped inside as instructed. He was already there, waiting. A monster they called him … but they didn’t know the truth.

    Frightened eyes, grateful eyes turned towards her as their owner wriggled into the corner of the couch, away from Matthew, the script forgotten on the floor. “I didn’t believe what people were saying,” she whispered, “but now …”

    Lauren ignored her, looked at the director, waited.

    “Action,” he said and she stepped forward.

    Complicit, they fed on the girl and on camera wore black.

    3+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:36 am

      Brilliant! Just brilliant, Steph.

      0

    • 14 January 2018 at 5:26 pm

      What an amazing story. I didn’t expect that!

      0

  12. Gina Headden
    12 January 2018 at 6:12 pm

    298 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    The Secrets That We Keep

    Gloria del Rio was dead. Ninety-three years old, she’d been found propped up against sumptuous pillows in her bed in New York City, the hint of a smile on her lips and an almost full glass of champagne still clutched in her hand.

    ‘Hollywood till the end,’ murmured her housekeeper and companion, Maria, as she closed Gloria’s eyes and called the physician.

    Despite her name, Gloria had never been to Rio – or so she’d always maintained. But her will told a different story.

    Born in the favelas of Brazil, she’d been fostered into privilege, found herself in the right place at the right time and through hard work – and a few useful connections – she’d achieved stardom as an actress, becoming recognisable around the globe.

    But now she was dead, and the papers used her demise, just as they had her success, to fill column inches online and in print, unaware that the best was yet to come.

    Following a period of public mourning, a fairy-tale funeral and a cheerless cremation, Maria carried Gloria’s mortal remains back to Rio in a plain wooden casket just as Gloria had requested. The next morning, at dawn, Maria climbed Corcovado and stood beneath the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Uttering a simple prayer, she scattered Gloria’s ashes on the breeze, returning her beloved friend to her native soil.

    And then she wound her way back down the mountain to meet the press and local dignitaries, to inform them of Gloria’s significant – and unusual – bequest to her hometown.

    ‘Final episode of this particular drama, Ma’am,’ Maria said to the ether, as she steadied herself at the podium and unfolded Gloria’s last will and testament, knowing that the news she was about to deliver would send shockwaves throughout Rio and beyond.

    4+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:35 am

      Splendid story, Gina. Particularly loved ‘Born in the favelas of Brazil, she’d been fostered into privilege, found herself in the right place at the right time and through hard work – and a few useful connections – she’d achieved stardom as an actress, becoming recognisable around the globe.’

      1+

    • 14 January 2018 at 5:57 pm

      And? And? Argh! 🙂

      1+

      • Gina Headden
        14 January 2018 at 6:11 pm

        :-)!

        0

    • 15 January 2018 at 8:24 am

      Welcome to Microcosms, Gina.
      ‘Always leave them wanting more’ is a great rule of thumb for any writer. Good job!
      [ One small quibble… Merriam-Webster has ‘casket’ as ‘a usually fancy coffin’ or ‘a small chest or box (as for jewels)’; the Oxford English Dictionary shows ‘casket’ as ‘a coffin (North American)’ and – a surprise to me! – ‘a small wooden box for cremated ashes (British)’. As the mysterious Gloria was in NYC on her demise, perhaps ‘urn’ would have been a better choice, to avoid confusing an elderly citizen of the world like myself. 😉 ]

      0

      • Gina
        16 January 2018 at 2:20 pm

        Thanks, Geoff! That’s a good point. I’ve taken note.

        All the best
        Gina

        0

  13. 12 January 2018 at 6:53 pm

    @geofflepard
    Holywood Actress; South America; Drama
    288 words

    Life And Art Are Pale Imitations Of Reality

    Sage Wintergreen turned to the last page: the bedroom scene. She screwed her eyes shut. She should have demanded a no-nudity clause, no-touching even.
    ‘Ms Wintergreen?’ The stewardess – Mary said the badge – leant over.
    Sage settled her face into just the right balance of tired but tolerant. ‘Yes, Mary?’
    ‘The gentleman in row 6 wonders if you might sign his magazine. For his daughter, of course.’ Mary smiled.
    Sage signed and turned to the watching Claire, across the aisle, lifting the script. ‘Was it necessary for there to be a bedroom scene?’
    Claire’s expression didn’t change. ‘You said you wanted it all scripted and they’ll have to be a first night sometime.’
    ‘Sure, but don’t you think I could adlib?’
    ‘Since when does Sage Wintergreen adlib? You’ve been acting your whole life and everything’s been by the playbook. If you want, of course…’
    Sage turned to the window. They would be approaching Rio soon. Juan’s family would be waiting, wondering. She knew the headlines above them kissing (cheeks, no lips, hands above hips): Suave Playboy and his Famous Hollywood Bride-to-Be. ‘I don’t think I can do this, Claire.’
    ‘You always hate first nights. You know it’ll be fine.’
    ‘Let’s hope.’
    ‘Maybe this one will run and run.’ Claire smiled.
    ‘Saul says a minimum of two years, or the impact will be a twenty-three percent plus drop in my popularity.’
    ‘You must want longer?’
    ‘Simone’s was less than that.’
    By way of an answer, Claire curved her hand over her stomach. ‘Different script, darling. There are some things you can’t act.’
    Sage grimaced. ‘Do you think he wants a sequel?’
    ‘Maybe a series?’
    ‘Don’t. Though I’ll tell you one thing this has taught me.’
    ‘Yes?’
    ‘You can’t act happiness.’

    3+

    • Alva Holland
      13 January 2018 at 5:34 am

      MC’s name made the story! Sage Wintergreen. Love it, Geoff.

      0

  14. 12 January 2018 at 6:56 pm

    @VicenteLRuiz
    294 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    Time Does Not Heal Everything

    The lady took a last swig and laid her empty tumbler on the bar. She clinked a finely-manicured nail on it.

    “Pablo, please.”

    “Are you sure, señorita?”

    She motioned him closer. As he bent, Pablo stared at her hypnotic eyes.

    “I can hold my liquor better than you, Pablo,” she said.

    He nodded.

    “El cliente siempre tiene la razón,” he said.

    “That’s it. I’m always right.”

    Seconds later, she was sipping from her new drink.

    “Have I ever told you how I came here, Pablo?”

    “No, señorita.”

    “You’re going to close. Drink with me.”

    Pablo nodded and made a sign to the other barman, who nodded back and went to the gate. Then he took a glass and a bottle, and poured himself a shot.

    “I was an actress, in Hollywood,” she said.

    “Really?”

    “Yes. I even had two or three good movies in a row. But, you know… You know all the stories they tell about Hollywood?”

    “Yes.”

    “They’re true. All of them,” she said, and sipped again. “The good, and the bad, and the ones in the middle. All of it.”

    “Wow.”

    “Yes. Wow. Imagine being a young, reckless actress there.”

    “Oh dear.”

    “You wanna know who’re the worst?”

    “The… criminals? Mafia?”

    She laughed. A clean, crystalline laughter.

    “No, Pablo! The rich. The very rich. The ones who think they can buy everything. And everyone.”

    “Oh. Did someone…?”

    “I was found… in the company of a certain member of a certain family. In her bed. And they bought me out.”

    “I don’t understand…”

    “I was paid to disappear,” and she gulped her drink down. “And I took the money. Many years ago.”

    Pablo drank in silence, and filled her glass again.

    She drank.

    As a single tear streamed down her cheek.

    6+

  15. Cassandra Day
    12 January 2018 at 7:27 pm

    232 words
    Hollywood Actress; South America; Drama

    Stranded

    “Brian, whatever are we going to do?”

    “I don’t know, Angie, but we’ll make it somehow.” Brian straightened himself to his full height and placed his arm protectively around Angie, pulling her close. The frightened and bedraggled couple stood not far from a huge burning plane wreck. They stood looking small and forlorn under the spreading fingers of the Amazon rainforest. Brian turned and held Angie at arm’s length, studying her tear streaked face.

    “You stay here, babe, I’m goin’ in.”

    “No! Don’t leave me!”

    “I have to save the other passengers!” Brian shouted over his shoulder as he ran into the mass of flames.

    “Nooo!!” yelled Angie, as she crumpled into the dust, tears streaming down her face.

    “Cut!” hollered a voice off to the right. “Come on, you guys. We need more feeling, more emotion. Dawn,” Said the producer rubbing his temples. “The love of your life just ran off into a towering inferno, and all you had to say was no?! Blake, you are risking your life to save perfect strangers, and you may never see your beloved again. I want to see the struggle, the pain!”

    Muttering to himself, the director stomped off to his seat next to the camera and crew. Upon arriving, he threw himself dramatically into his chair before calling for the camera to roll, and watched the scene unfold under the Amazon’s dense foliage.

    2+

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