Microcosms 111

Greetings, my flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 111.

In cricket, a score of 111 is sometimes known as “a Nelson” after Admiral Nelson who is erroneously said to have had “one eye, one arm, one leg” – he was never, however, careless enough to lose a leg!

In binary notation, 111 represents the decimal number 7; and ‘007’ is, of course, the code number of Ian Fleming’s fictional MI6 intelligence officer, James Bond – the star of a long-running movie franchise.

This week’s theme is based on ‘Bond Girls’.

  • Pussy Galore:            “Goldfinger” (1964)
  • Tracy di Vicenzo       “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969)
  • Tiffany Case:             “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971)
  • Solitaire:                     “Live and Let Die”(1973)
  • Holly Goodhead:       “Moonraker”(1979)
  • Natalya Simonova:   “Goldeneye”(1995)

 

Geoff

 

(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a 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: Socialite, Location: Train, 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, 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 AND a title for your entry – not included in the word count.
*** NO FAN-FICTION, PLEASE, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS **

 

  • Private Pilot
  • Socialite
  • Diamond Smuggler
  • Tarot Reader
  • Astronaut
  • Computer Programmer
  • Stud Farm
  • Beach
  • Las Vegas
  • Restaurant
  • Space Station
  • Train
  • Steam Punk
  • Crime
  • Poetry
  • Memoir
  • Sci-Fi
  • Mystery
Spin!

Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Marsha Adams, has kindly agreed to act as the judge this time around.

 

REMEMBER: all submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length (excluding the title).

You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EST) to write and submit your masterpiece.

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

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 112
Microcosms 110
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

59 comments for “Microcosms 111

  1. 23 February 2018 at 1:23 am

    Socialite; train; crime
    @billmelaterplea
    299 Flemish Throat Lozenges
    http://www.engleson.ca

    To Vancouver With Love

    It was a handy lark, I thought, when Sheelah suggested we take a train across the country.

    “Darling,” I said, “I don’t do trains.”

    But she purred, “Oh, Pru, do. We’ll share a cabin.”

    “It sounds so…primitive,” I said.

    She then countered with, “Pru, we’ll have a concierge, a darling of a blast. And really, winter in Toronto…not fun. It’ll be on me.”

    So, there I was, quite tired of T.O. and sloppy old him, Harry, a silly man who wouldn’t stop pestering me with his tedious proposals. I’d met his kind before, anxious men with plastic hair, tense skin from one too many nips of the blade, each somehow convinced that I was so worn down by time that they were the perfect antidote for what ailed me.

    Of course, he’d been generous, as only the punctilious can be.

    I must confess his gifts had been sustaining me for the past few months. But the price of toadying to his every whim had become unbearable.

    “Book us, Sheelah,” I’d finally said. “I accept your generous offer.”

    And, to tell the truth, for I like to brandish veracity on occasion, it was a relief.

    Silly Harry might never suspect that I might be travelling on a train westward.

    Still, he was a cloying creature, so I had to seek a more permanent farewell.

    He slipped into a deep sleep.

    I kissed his pale brow with a most sincere kiss.

    Sheelah and I left on the 10:00 pm train on the Tuesday. The accommodations were snug and oozing of Canadian creature comforts. A shower. A shared Murphy Bed.

    Sheelah asked about Harry. “He wouldn’t see you off?”

    “Poor dear,” I said, “He was feeling poorly. I hope I don’t give you his bug.”

    As we left Union Station, I wondered…would I?

    10+

  2. 23 February 2018 at 3:22 am

    Socialite/Train/Memoir
    Words:300

    Runaway Train

    As the sun begins to set, she sits, waiting with expectation for her new life to begin. The train hums as it makes a clacking sound over the tracks, taking her away from her past and into her future. She didn’t have a bad life, just a dissatisfying one. It was a life where she was expected to be everything to everyone else, until she had no more to give. She didn’t realize how she was being chipped away, until there was almost nothing left to salvage.

    She was a good wife who always made sure that her husband’s needs came first. He always had a hot meal waiting for him when he got home from work. His laundry was always clean and ironed. On weekends they entertained in a spotless home. She was a socialite without the trappings of help like so many of her “friends”.

    When the children came, she had to break off more bits of herself to cater to their every need. She loved her children and she wanted them to have everything of the best in life. This simply meant she had less time. She stopped reading. She stopped drawing. Instead, she became a nurse, a counselor, a cook, a teacher, a taxi, a fashion advisor and a mediator between siblings. All these things kept chipping away at her and eventually the days started to bleed into one another, like watercolors in the rain.

    So this morning when she went downstairs for her usual cup of coffee, she saw that the milk was finished. She didn’t get upset, instead, she picked up her hand bag and left. She boarded the first train she saw. She isn’t selfish. She loves her husband and her kids. She will be back once she finds all her missing pieces.

    7+

    • Eloise
      23 February 2018 at 10:05 am

      Great story. I liked this description of the days “the days started to bleed into one another, like watercolors in the rain.”

      0

    • 23 February 2018 at 10:34 am

      Timeless. Who can’t relate on some days?

      0

    • 23 February 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Most definitely not a socialite but I can so relate to that ‘chipping away’ of self, it’s a horrible feeling but thankfully you can turn it around. I hope she does.

      0

  3. steve lodge
    23 February 2018 at 5:22 am

    @steveweave71
    300 words
    Diamond smuggler; Train; Memoir

    Hippo Sketches

    I was never happier than those days of adventure in Africa. As I re-read my memoirs, this chapter is a stand-out. By my side the stunning socialite, Lady Jenny Talia, the stewed broccoli heiress who gave it all up to help me run Hippo Sketches Adventure Holidays.

    At this point, we are in the beautiful Mawapingo Hills, camped close to the Kushtee River. I’m sipping a G&T and admiring this breathtaking land. Periodically, I reach into my trouser pocket to ensure the diamonds are still nestling there, next to my own treasures. I must deliver the diamonds to my business partner, Jobby Dobbs across the border at Fort Augustine.

    Our wagon train has troubled us all week. Early camp today gives Shanghai and his team more time to patch them up and we’ll soon be heading across the plains again in search of hippo, rhino and lion.

    Everyone stays close to camp tonight. Lions have been seen in the area. Our expedition wants to draw and photograph them, not be eaten by them.

    This group is a close-knit unit, discord aimed only at the cook, Paulo, whose meals are shocking. A nil-star chef. Not one wild dog follows our train, seeking scraps of his food.

    Just before dawn, Shanghai disturbs me and Jenny Talia. I remember this bit. That howling was me, not a night-wolf. He starts with bad news, too. Paulo is preparing breakfast, Judge Gittings has stomach cramps – both ends burning – and Mrs Latitude is about to give birth. Jenny rushes to her tent.

    Shanghai’s scouts have seen hippo and rhino drinking down the river toward Hoopla Crossing. We are still many miles from Fort Augustine. I slap Shanghai across the back, then with a huge intake of breath, I shout, “I love this life. Let’s get moving.”

    5+

    • 23 February 2018 at 10:36 am

      Both ends burning – great line! Sounds like a great start to a book.

      1+

    • 23 February 2018 at 11:27 am

      Lovely tale, Steve, with your customary puns – Jenny Talia, Kushtee River – but why not Fort Knightley? 😉
      [ I’ve broken out the didactic square brackets early this week… I’m sure Sir David Attenborough would be turning in his grave – if he hadn’t failed to pop his clogs yet – at the notion of finding wild tigers in Africa. Would you like to substitute ‘lions’? ]

      1+

      • steve lodge
        23 February 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Thank you Geoff. Sorry late reply, just woken up. A tiger? In Africa? Ah The Meaning Of Life. Yes, please, replace with the lion. Many thanks, Geoff. Happy weekend.

        0

      • 24 February 2018 at 10:09 am

        Done.
        This reminds me of that antique joke:
        “Why are you wearing an aluminum-foil hat?”
        “To keep the tigers away.”
        “There are no tigers in Africa.”
        “See, it works!”

        0

    • 23 February 2018 at 12:29 pm

      a fine, hilarious jewel of an adventure with a slightly tarnished, undoubtedly flawed but ballsy narrator.

      1+

    • 23 February 2018 at 3:55 pm

      Your choice of names, as usual, are outstanding – especially Jenny Talia. Wonderful fun as always.

      1+

  4. 23 February 2018 at 6:54 am

    270 words
    Socialite; Train; Memoir

    Returning Hero

    Semi-retired but still gigging; smaller venues now and older punters. My only real wealth is experience, my only trophies are my memories.
    As the train nears Brentford, West London, that day gets clearer in my mind, and a proper old man’s chuckle begins in my belly, negotiates the ribs and oscillates the epiglottis, before dusting off that forgotten but not gone section of my brain.
    Boy, was I flash in 1959 when I steamed into this ‘hick’ part of London. It was where I went to school, learned enough chords to get away with rockabilly songs, became a Teddy-boy, formed a group called ‘Dyslexia’ and took off to become a ‘Star’.
    We got into the charts, did a bit of television. We gained quite a following, even made the musical press, and were accepted in the social scene.
    I was asked to play and speak at my old school, Brentford secondary modern, either as a role model or as a warning of what might happen if you neglected your studies … I never found out which.
    As the train pulled in, the platform was crowded with excited people, kids – even the Mayor! I was glad I’d made the effort and worn my electric-blue Ted-suit, yellow shirt, bootlace tie, luminous socks and beetle-crusher shoes, and fluffed up my James Dean hairstyle.
    “Here I am, fans,” I leered.
    Alma Cogan stepped from the next carriage to cheers, whistles and wild applause as realisation poured its icy mist over my ego.
    Today, I’m playing at the British Legion. Same station … where’s the Mayor?

    5+

    • 23 February 2018 at 12:25 pm

      So that’s how you spell ‘Alma Cogan’! I always thought Al McHogan had a high-pitched voice… 😉
      That’s a great story, Ted – a proper old memoir. Semi-autobiographical?
      Mind you, I’m not convinced that dyslexia had been invented in 1959 – back then you would have simply been ‘thick’!

      0

    • 23 February 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for the tweaks Geoff …. appreciated

      0

      • 23 February 2018 at 12:44 pm

        All true man you read me like a Kindle

        0

    • 23 February 2018 at 3:59 pm

      Such a dent to the old ego. Great story.

      0

  5. 23 February 2018 at 7:53 am

    211 words
    Socialite; Train; Memoir

    Hopes and Dreams

    “A socialite is supposed to show decorum at all times,” my mother drilled into my head repeatedly. “Just because you don’t ‘work’ in the conventional sense, that doesn’t give you licence to let yourself go. You are a reflection of your family, and we need you to be on your best behaviour at all times. One never knows when a camera may be lurking around the corner.” This last was usually said with a flourish as she swept from whatever room we were in at the time.
    My life up to now had been one celebrity event after another. Shopping, spas, parties – always with the same plastic people, always with the same plastic smiles. How shallow it all seemed now.
    If I could change, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d want to think more, read more and worry less about what the rest of the world was seeing. I’d like to take time to study, maybe abroad, and learn to be a useful member of society.

    If only I hadn’t sent my driver away this morning…
    If only I had taken note of my surroundings…
    If only I hadn’t stepped off the tube platform while taking that last selfie…
    If only the train was able to stop…
    If only…
    If…

    6+

    • 23 February 2018 at 12:36 pm

      another excellent example of why the modern socialite should not be permitted to wander out unescorted…

      0

    • 23 February 2018 at 4:01 pm

      An unexpectedly tragic and poignant ending.

      0

    • 24 February 2018 at 9:59 am

      Good stuff, Nikky. It certail exposed the ‘lite’ in ‘socialite’.

      0

  6. Eloise
    23 February 2018 at 10:01 am

    207 words
    Socialite; Train; Memoir

    Death on the Train

    The year was 1920. I was on my way from Paris to Venice to take part in Carnival. My heart, James, was waiting for me there. He had been sent on assignment. I was staying in the last cabin of the train. The other patrons were also carnival goers. The clinking of glasses and rambunctious laughter had begun early in the afternoon. I tried to remain in my cabin but curiosity got the better of me. I walked to the dining cart. There in the corner near the bar sat a man with dark features and fedora. I sat next to him.
    “Katt? Sacred Katt?”
    “Who is asking?”
    “Inspector Maus.”
    “What can I do for you, sir?”
    “I need you to find James.”
    “That will be easy but why?”
    “We believe he has been kidnapped by Kristoff Vulkic.”
    “Kidnapped?”
    My mind reeled with the thought of James in trouble. I rushed back to my cabin and slammed the door. There standing in my cabin was a Russian. He had icy blue eyes and his mouth was a grimace. I moved back and he collapsed. Behind him stood James. I gasped.
    He put a finger to my lips and whispered, “Don’t tell Maus, he works for Vulkic.”

    3+

    • Eloise
      23 February 2018 at 10:12 am

      Geoff: I just realised I made a mistake at the end of my paragraph. It says “Do tell Maus” but it is meant to say “Don’t tell Maus”

      0

      • 24 February 2018 at 9:40 am

        Intriguing story, Eloise, with lots of dramatic tension. I’d love to hear more.
        (Amendment to last line made (that makes more sense!), plus I added full stops / periods to a few lines of direct speech.)

        1+

      • Eloise
        26 February 2018 at 2:47 am

        Thank you. Punctuation is my weakness. I need to work on it 🙂

        0

    • 23 February 2018 at 10:38 am

      Great piece. I love your voice. 🙂

      1+

      • Eloise
        26 February 2018 at 2:47 am

        Thank you

        0

  7. 23 February 2018 at 10:06 am

    @ArthurUnkTweets / http://arthurunk.com
    C/L/G: Socalite / Train / Memoir
    Word Count: 254
    Title: The Nobel Hero

    The private dinning car on the train hummed with the sound of conversation. Patrick Montague III casually sipped on a 20-year-old scotch. I must admit that he didn’t look all that impressive, but once he opened his mouth the whole room paid attention. He had bucked every upper class trend not by joining the Army as an officer, but serving instead as an enlisted soldier. He had received the Silver Star with “V” device in recognition of his actions in combat. The only award higher was the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    A large scar that ran down the left side of his face and an expensive prosthetic leg were his rewards for going above and beyond the call of duty. He spent most of his time pulling money from the rich elite supporting various veteran charities and medical research. Unknown sources whispered in hushed whispers that he would run in the next presidential election. He had the money and the connections to pull it off, but he stayed mum on the subject for now.

    He had a way of speaking that was both heart-felt and truthful. Patrick was a special person that had walked the walk before he talked the talk. Earlier in the night he had said, “History has a bad reputation of being written only by the victors. It is our responsibility as men and women in positions of power to give the common man a voice and the power to choose his own destiny.” I could not agree more.

    2+

    • 23 February 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Love those last lines. If only governments actually did that.

      You also get a thumbs up from me for using the phrase ‘he stayed mum’. One of my favourites and not used often enough.

      1+

  8. 23 February 2018 at 11:09 am

    @VicenteLRuiz
    Socialite, Train, Memoir.
    300 words

    Train of Fate

    It was a hot day in June. The train that took me from Barcelona to Valencia took forever, but I was enjoying myself: I had left rainy Britain behind, and here I was, my sleeves rolled up, watching the Mediterranean Sea from my window. And yes, it was all thanks to the money I had inherited from Father. In my defense, I have to say that I was young.

    I watched this girl, three or four seats from me. She kept stealing glances. I had been told that I was quite the sight: a tall, blonde man was really uncommon in Spain those days. And as I said, I was young, so I smiled to her and almost laughed seeing her blush. She used the braking of the train to try and hide her face from me.

    Two men got in at the station, and they immediately focused on the girl. To this day, I don’t know what happened to me. Until then, I had led a happy life, recluded from any kind of trouble, as befitted a young man of my position in Britain. I would have never dreamt to meddle in any kind of hairy situation. Yet then I stood, almost banging my head on the ceiling, and in three strides I was by her side. Ignoring the two men, I sat down, smiled, and introduced myself to the girl, my feeble Spanish betraying me. But the men said something rude, no translation needed, and walked on to the next car.

    When Beatriz stopped blushing and managed to talk, we spent a delicious time together.

    How could I know that one year later, I would be sitting on the same train, a member of the XV International Brigade, mere weeks away from entering combat against the fascist rebels?

    3+

  9. 23 February 2018 at 11:58 am

    Twitter: @nancymbeach
    297 words
    Socialite; Train; Memoir

    Second Chances

    The train pulled away. It was the last time I would see him, but he didn’t know that. Moments before his blue eyes pleaded with me.

    “Stay, darling. You and me, we’re a good thing. You’d be safe. I’d promise you that.”

    “I wish I could. I wish I were that girl.”

    The conductor blew his whistle. I turned and made my way to a seat away from the door. My assistant, Todd slid across from me, a table separating us. I didn’t look back.

    “Take out a paper and write this down.” Todd did.

    Davin,
    We will always have the night the stars shone like diamonds by the Seine. I know you would have lassoed one for me. No man would have loved me more than you. You deserve someone to complete you, to fill you, to spend eternity with you. I am the fool who throws that all away. Find that blond or brunette. Love and laugh until the night breaks into dawn. A wild horse—meant to run wild and free. I am the wind. I cannot be contained.

    Twirling my necklace, I remembered Davin selecting the locket and placing the tiniest bit of diamond inside before he clasped it around my neck that night by the river. The chain crumbled into my hand, the clasp broken. A sign. The close of an era.

    I walked to the back of the train. The cold air reminded me of my freedom. A hand grabbed my hair and pulled my head close to his ear. I could smell Todd’s aftershave.

    “You fool,” he growled in a low whisper. “You gave up perfection. Now you pay the price.”

    Somewhere between the edge of the train and the ground I remembered the necklace still in my hand.

    3+

    • 23 February 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Hence the saying keep your old lover away and your mad assistants even further…nice touches, Nancy.

      1+

    • 23 February 2018 at 4:09 pm

      But the girl still had her diamond!

      1+

      • 23 February 2018 at 4:36 pm

        “…the tiniest bit of diamond…”. You cheapskate, Davin!

        0

      • 26 February 2018 at 10:18 am

        When a diamond isn’t just a diamond, the tiniest bit is all you need. 😉

        0

      • 26 February 2018 at 10:15 am

        Exactly!!

        0

    • 23 February 2018 at 5:00 pm

      An intriguing tale, Nancy, filled with beautiful details but leaving you wanting to know more.

      I italicised the letter; I hope that’s OK with you, Nancy.

      It’s odd, though, that the MC should delegate a placatory “Dear John” letter to her assistant to write by hand. Maybe Todd had, at some point, received such a letter himself, and he saw red…?

      0

      • 26 February 2018 at 10:20 am

        Italicized is perfect! Thank you.

        0

  10. Tim Hayes
    23 February 2018 at 12:19 pm

    299 words
    Socialite; Train; Memoir

    My Ex-Press Train Journey

    It seems so long ago now, but the thought of it still makes my heart skip a beat. Still, for my memoir to be anywhere near complete, I need to recount this tale of embarrassment.
    The magazine that I was working for at the time assigned me to escort the famous socialite, Karmen Ghedit, from London to Birmingham by train to attend an event of some importance.
    They’d chosen the wrong man for the job. I had driven or flown everywhere for the past twenty years but not been on a train since I was a child. I had no idea how they worked and couldn’t even read a timetable.
    To say it all went wrong was an understatement. In my uncertainty, I’d been double-checking that we were about to get on the right train and, whilst my back was turned, my charge boarded the waiting train moments before it departed. I was left on the platform, panicking; she was on the train with no idea where she was going and no English currency.
    I ran from the station and quickly hailed a taxi shouting, ‘Follow that train!’ I explained my predicament to the cabbie and fortunately, given the stop-start nature of the railway in the suburbs, he was able to assure me that we’d catch up with the train within a couple of stops and be ahead by three.
    I paid the fare in advance, including a huge tip, and readied myself to jump out of the cab as soon as we pulled up at the station.
    I made it. I was waiting on the platform as the train arrived. I got on and comforted Karmen who was by then sobbing hysterically.
    I’d got Karmen Ghedit back but, needless to say, I never worked in journalism again.

    3+

    • 23 February 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Says a lot for the speed of our trains! Nice pun on her name as well.

      0

      • Tim Hayes
        24 February 2018 at 2:41 pm

        Loosely based on a real life incident.

        0

  11. 23 February 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Twitter: @geofflepard
    293 words
    Socialite; Stud Farm; Crime

    When Good Breeding Is The Basic Requirement For Murder

    ‘Hopkins, is that a…?’
    ‘Hunk, sir…’ DC Hopkins added. ‘Specifically a Henry. Good for perfect pecs, bespoke self-tatting and…’
    ‘Thanks. Are they all the Henrys in there? Whatever “there” is?’
    ‘A garage and sump, sir. The Henrys’ preferred environment. Anywhere with oil, really…’
    ‘Hence the glistening?’
    ‘The gene pool of your basic Hunk naturally extrudes a sheen…’
    DI Parmesan felt nauseous. ‘The corpse wasn’t a Hunk?’
    ‘No, sir. A Poseur, specifically a Tarquin. Apparently, Tarquins are predisposed to be noisy and brash so congregate in hawing groups by bars and restaurants.’
    ‘Do they extrude?’
    ‘No, sir.’
    ‘Thank heavens for that.’
    As they crossed to the bar, Hopkins added, ‘Tarquins preen excessively, especially working to maintain their spectacular hair.’
    ‘Good research, Constable.’
    ‘My daughter, sir. She watches The Socialite of the Year show. Hunks and Beefcakes are her favourites.’
    The older man stooped by the bare torso. ‘Who’d want to be perfect?’
    ‘Makes good TV, sir. And if a Stud is voted to marry, then they’re made.’
    Parmesan lifted the sheet, a beautifully manicured severed hand sat next to its recently waxed arm. ‘And if they’re not chosen?’
    ‘Well, depends where they come in the public vote. Top ten and it’s this place; a permanent stud-bunny.’
    Parmesan looked up, grimacing. ‘Just sex and cocktails?’
    ‘Not a bad life, I suppose.’
    ‘I think crime and a Horlicks will do me. Suspect?’
    ‘A Brittle. She’s over there. Her sequins are all over the stiff.’
    ‘He’ll never be a stiff again.’
    ‘Ha ha, very droll. It seems he preferred a half-Brazen.’
    ‘We’d better interview them.’
    ‘I’ve prepared this. Thought it might help.’
    ‘What is it?’
    ‘Some conversational opening gambits and chat-up-line deflectors. It’ll help you avoid any social gaffes.’
    ‘I’m getting too old for this, Hopkins.’

    4+

    • 23 February 2018 at 3:30 pm

      You seem to know an awful lot about socialites, Geoff. Big ‘Made In Chelsea’ fan, are you? Very clever use of the elements.

      0

    • 23 February 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Very, very good 🙂

      0

  12. 23 February 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Quits

    299 words
    Elements: computer programmer, restaurant, mystery

    @el_Stevie

    Colin barely noticed his food, mechanically shoveling it in as he pondered the scrap of code in front of him. The timestamp and ID indicated it had been added by their last apprentice, Matthew. The lad had been good, very good, but there was never a chance of giving him a job at the end of his time; cheaper to let him go and take on a new one – as they always did. It didn’t matter he’d made them thousands with an app tracking stocks and shares, becoming a bestseller in a very short time. The rights belonged to the company, to Colin.

    Matthew had received nothing.

    The waiter came over, removed his empty plate, replaced it with dessert, refilled his wine glass. Colin didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead he fired up his laptop, growled at the screaming kid attempting to dab food-crusted fingers on his screen, told the outraged parents exactly where little Johnny could go and express himself, and returned to the problem in hand. The trouble was, he wasn’t exactly sure if it was a problem. He ran the code again and a little black window appeared, cursor blinking expectantly. Colin finished his dessert and clicked his fingers for the bill, eyes all the time fixed on the cursor.

    The waiter polished his name badge and presented the card machine to Colin.

    As soon as Colin entered his PIN number, a series of digits began to scroll across a computer screen in another part of town, whilst on the little black window a message finally appeared: ‘Quits’. Colin stared, even more puzzled than ever. He needed another drink but the waiter had disappeared, leaving his name badge and order pad on a nearby table. He noticed the name then … Matthew. Remembered ‘Quits’. Cold light dawned.

    8+

    • 23 February 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Nice ending!

      1+

      • 24 February 2018 at 3:41 am

        Brilliant Stephanie , I really miss the days of pen & bifocals

        1+

    • 24 February 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Nicely done, Steph. A bit hard on little Johnny, I thought…

      1+

    • 25 February 2018 at 11:40 am

      I trust the dessert course was ice cream because, as we all know, ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’. 😀
      Great hustle story, Steph.
      [ ‘…their last apprentice…’: When I was an analyst/programmer — back in the days of steam-powered comptometers — I used to get quite snippy (yes, hard to believe, I know!) whenever a program specification said something like ‘If the date on the current record is the same as the date on the last record…’ when it obviously should have said ‘…same as the date on the previous record…’; so, I’m assuming that you really meant to say ‘…their most recent apprentice…’!
      You’re welcome! 😉 ]

      1+

      • 25 February 2018 at 11:55 am

        I hang my head in shame, Geoff 🙂

        0

  13. Cassandra
    23 February 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Socialite/ Train/ Memoir

    Train to London
    233 words

    Smoke billowed around the locomotive coating the vicinity. I removed my bowler hat and pulled out a crisp white handkerchief. Wearily, I mopped my brow and brushed aside a lock of hair. Through the foggy window strange whisky silhouettes slipped and leapt as the train loaded passengers. One tall, slender, plumed shape strolled past the window. The door opened as a graceful lady entered the car. Her fair face was decorated with tasteful makeup, her long bronze hair was piled in curls, a fashionable Gainsborough was perched on top, overflowing with feathers and tulle. I caught my breath as she swished through the aisle and heads turned. Suddenly, in the overcrowded car all aisle seats were vacant. The young lady, seemingly indifferent to the subtle attention, sat gingerly in the seat beside mine. I, in turn, tried to look terriblely interested in the window. In my eyes, the lady beside me glimmered as an angel in the midst of ash. What she thought of me, I couldn’t guess. I don’t remember what happened next, but somehow a conversation was sparked. All the way to London we talked, total strangers, and when we parted she gave me her name and address. The rest, as they say, is history.

    “That, Darcy is how I met you Grandmother.”

    “Wow,” Darcy sighed dreamily

    Grandfather sighed as he gazed at gravestone that stood over his one true love.

    3+

  14. Caleb Echterling
    23 February 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Twitter: @CalebEchterling
    300 words
    Diamond Smuggler; Train; Crime

    Inspector Bunglebutt Travels Coincidence Class on the Occident Express

    Haze in the Occident Express smoking car hung thick enough to cut with a knife, which the monocled man did, using a penknife that sparkled with the splendor of a thousand gem faces.

    “Your call for trumps, sir,” said Inspector Bunglebutt. His search for the renowned diamond smuggler had turned up nothing so far.

    “Diamonds,” the monocled man said. A red queen snapped onto the table.

    Inspector Bunglebutt fanned his cards. “I don’t believe I caught your name, Mister …” Even when criminals traveled under an assumed name, their fabricated identity could offer a clue.

    “Diamante. Señor Diamante.” Two rings set with clear, glinting stones clicked the table as he swept the trick. “Would you kindly pass those irresistible Blue Diamond wasabi roasted almonds? The opulence of the Occident Express is second to none, wouldn’t you agree, Inspector?”

    “Quite. Do you always travel first class?”

    “On every one of my sixty voyages. It’s my Occident Express diamond anniversary.”

    ******

    Inspector Bunglebutt and the conductor huddled outside Señor Diamante’s cabin. Strains of “I’m a Believer” floated through the panelled oak door. “What more proof do you need that he’s the infamous diamond smuggler?”

    The conductor backed away. “What you’ve got isn’t proof of diamond smuggling as much as it is a string of coincidences involving the word ‘diamond’.” Inspector Bumblebutt jammed a short-nosed revolver into the conductor’s ribs. The conductor stiffened like well-whipped meringue. “Very well.”

    Inspector Bunglebutt turned the knob. Señor Diamante was sprawled over a chaise lounge, smoking a cigarette. A bulging suitcase sat on the bed. “In there,” Inspector Bumblebutt pointed, “you’ll find his contraband.”

    The conductor released the clasps. Micky Dolenz tumbled to the floor. Señor Diamante tapped ash onto the inspector’s shoe. “Thank you for the social call, gentlemen, but I’m afraid you won’t find any diamonds.”

    2+

    • 24 February 2018 at 9:00 am

      Great work, Caleb: a real low-budget Poirot vibe going on here. I’m wondering if Davy Jones was hiding in the locker – geddit?! Michael Nesmith would probably be flying to Rio… er… that’s used up all my knowledge of The Monkees, I’m pleased to say.
      [ I shot the Inspector Bumblebutt who appeared outside Diamante’s cabin in the prepenultimate paragraph, and bundled him off the train. Obviously an imposter… or maybe you got the name wrong by Occident? 😉 ]

      1+

      • Caleb Echterling
        24 February 2018 at 9:58 am

        Thanks for the correction, Geoff. That was 100% by Occident.

        1+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar