Microcosms 115

Hello again, flashionistas; welcome to Microcosms 115.

PLEASE NOTE: As mentioned last week, New York has moved over to daylight-saving time (EDT) – clocks have gone forward one hour. This means that, here in the UK, the contest is due to open at 04:00 am today (FRIDAY), rather than the usual 05:00 am, and, consequently, closes an hour earlier at 04:00 am SATURDAY. British Summer Time (BST) comes into play this Sunday (25-MAR), so the customary differential will resume only with Microcosms 116 (30-MAY). [ Other time zones are available. 😉 ]

This week’s contest is based on anniversaries celebrated on this day – 23-MAR.

EVENTS

1857 – Elisha Otis‘ first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City

 

BIRTHS

1931 Roger Bannister, English runner, neurologist and academic

1952 – Rex Tillerson, American businessman, engineer, US Secretary of State

 

DEATHS

1842 – Stendhal, French novelist – ‘The Charterhouse of Parma’ (1839)

1964 – Peter Lorre, American actor – ‘M’ (1931)

1990 – John Dexter, English director – ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ (1969)

Geoff

 

(PLEASE READ THIS TOO: If YOU have a theme for a future contest and you can come up with a preamble — a BRIEF introduction to what it’s all about — and a list of related elements (six characters and six locations*), please contact us.)

[ * You may also specify the six genres too, if you wish – or leave it to the Microcosms management team to supply these. ]

 

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

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Sprinter, Location: Berlin, and genre: Comedy.

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 **

 

  • Secretary
  • Sprinter
  • Diplomat
  • Italian Nobleman
  • Serial Killer
  • Conscript
  • Elevator
  • Stadium
  • Washington DC
  • Battle of Waterloo
  • Berlin
  • Singapore
  • Romance
  • Drama
  • Farce
  • History
  • Thriller
  • Comedy
Spin!

Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Thom Connors, 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 (EDT) 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 116
Microcosms 114

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26 comments for “Microcosms 115

  1. 23 March 2018 at 1:29 am

    @billmelaterplea
    http://www.engleson.ca
    299 words
    Serial Killer; Elevator; Farce

    The Ups and Downs of a Removal Contractor

    It was about as simple a plan as I’d ever attempted to execute. And it had come my way sideways. Normally, Gerry, my broker — we’ve been together, doing business one way or another since elementary school, starting with paper routes and the odd hunk of thievery — well, he manages all my contracts. But he’s just a number. A middleman. They never meet him. They certainly never meet me.

    I am always one step removed. Minimum. I like that. It’s a cushion of comfort.

    This time, I don’t know, I started talking to Rose. My hygienist. I’ve always taken care of my teeth. The family genes weren’t all that operational. I come from poor prairie stock. Both of my parents had a limited education and a gnarly set of choppers.

    They took me to my first dentist when I was seven.

    I thought about becoming a dentist. But I’m too fidgety. And I’ve always had fat fingers. No way they’d fit in some squib’s mouth.

    Anyways, Rose is a sweetie. Been scraping my plaque for three years.

    One day, she let flow that her latest male friend, Albert, was less than friendly. In a big way. In a violent way. Why she told me is anybody’s guess. But I took it as a sign. Time for a charitable donation.

    Albert worked as some sort of low-rent money manager in a small office building downtown. I decided to punch his ticket Friday night. He was only four floors up, but Albert wasn’t much of a walker. So, I’m in the elevator when he steps in. He doesn’t even see the needle with potassium chloride coming. I say, “Rose sends her love.” And he croaks.

    And then the power fails.

    I’m in the dark with a dead Albert.

    I could kick myself.

    1+

  2. 23 March 2018 at 6:57 am

    @geofflepard
    300 words
    Sprinter; Berlin; History

    Superman versus the Wall

    ‘You have to push harder, Superman.’
    It was his coach’s refrain. He was trying. Only…
    ‘Do you want to be a credit to the Party?’
    That was the issue, wasn’t it? How can you run for a concept? For yourself, for your country… but for an ideal?
    Joachim shuffled his dusty shoes. ‘I had that toad Schiffer here. Said they expect a win this weekend, or…’
    ‘Or what?’
    Joachim shrugged. ‘Boy like you. Those muscles. They’ll find a use.’
    Hans smiled. ‘Something for Superman?’
    ‘Don’t hold your breath.’
    *
    ‘Building work?’
    ‘Nothing challenging. Carrying stuff.’
    ‘What are we building?’
    ‘A wall.’
    ‘What for?’
    ‘To keep them out.’
    Hans nodded. Of course. He looked at the lights sparkling from the Western sector. They were rushing over.
    ‘You’re meant to be fast. Well, let’s see some action.’
    *
    Hans watched the wall grow. He listened to the others, heard about camps and controls, things he had been hidden from when training. The time to escape was shortening.
    An idea formed and drove him back to the track. He trained hard, ferociously. His times came down. Whispers began. Maybe he should be allowed back onto the programme. When Joachim approached Hans he smiled.
    The day they finished the crossing to the West was a Tuesday. Dignitaries were there, a lot of pomp, to inspect the workers and glory the fatherland.
    Hans twitched, waiting the moment when the barrier went up.
    He ran, like he’d never run before. Curving towards the startled guards on the western side. He’d show them glory.
    The finishing line was in sight when a crack like a hamstring snapping jolted him to a halt. As Hans fell, Joachim’s words, when he first saw him run, came back. ‘Like Superman.’
    Not true, as Hans knew. No one was faster than a bullet.

    2+

  3. Holly Kilmister
    23 March 2018 at 8:44 am

    298 words
    Serial Killer; Elevator; Romance

    Love At First Note

    A restless itch had permeated; time to start the hunt for a new prey. A shopping centre was a great place to get a feel for people: nerdy gamers, chavvy teens, high-flying snobs, parents, vile children, single attractive ladies or men, and so many others.

    An elevator brought me into close contact with an assortment of people. Should I stalk the nervous man who didn’t like the crowd of people, or the woman with the long neck that would look exquisite with a necklace of bruises decorating it, or the spotty teen whose head I could burst like a pimple? There was always so much choice. I scanned my playing field through the glass of the elevator as it rose. Where should I strike and whom? While contemplating my options, a flicker of red hair caught my attention. The teasingly curvy body hidden under baggy clothes, she was the one. Now I knew my victim, I had to determine my method and location.

    Confusion halted my hunt as I realised that my chosen victim appeared to be stalking her own prey. She was following the gentleman who walked like a board, stiff and precise. He went into a café to lunch; she went to the nearest ladies’ toilet and came out dressed in a waitress uniform. Our eyes met as she winked then leant over her prey’s meal, giving him an eyeful to distract him from the small amount of liquid that she poured into his cup.

    As she exited the café, she smiled and passed me a slip of paper, on which a name and number had been written with a brief note: ‘Call me to plan our next kill’. That was the moment the man in the café died, and I realised I was in love.

    1+

    • Holly Kilmister
      23 March 2018 at 11:23 am

      Please can you edit excited in the last paragraph to exited?

      0

      • Geoff Holme
        23 March 2018 at 2:27 pm

        Welcome back for a second bite of the cherry, Holly… (‘Cherry’? ‘Holly’? That requires a little editing, I reckon.)
        Amendment applied. Looks like you got a little too ‘exited’ about reaching the end of your entry. 😉
        There’s a ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ vibe going on here – I’m sure it can’t end well in the long run… Good stuff!
        [ Have you heard of ‘nominative determinism’? You’ve certainly got a great surname to be writing a tale about serial killers. 😀 ]

        1+

      • Holly Kilmister
        23 March 2018 at 3:42 pm

        Thanks and yes my surname is amazing, I am having serious thoughts about double barrelling it, what do you think??!

        1+

      • Geoff Holme
        26 March 2018 at 8:16 am

        “Double barrelling”! Damn! Wish I’d thought of that pun. 🙁

        0

    • Eloise
      23 March 2018 at 12:18 pm

      I loved your description of potential prey. Well done.

      1+

  4. Nikky Olivier
    23 March 2018 at 9:01 am

    293 Words
    Secretary; Elevator; Romance

    Love in an Elevator

    “Dammit!” Melanie exclaimed in disgust.
    This was the third time this week that the elevator had stuck.
    “One day this whole building is just going to collapse,” she muttered as she pushed the intercom button for the maintenance office.
    “Hello?” the familiar voice replied over the intercom.
    “Lift’s stuck… Again…”
    “Mel?” He couldn’t hold in the laughter in his voice as he asked, “How is it that you always end up stuck on my shifts?”
    “Oh, I don’t know… Bad luck?” she replied pertly.
    “Just hold on and I’ll get you out in a while. You know the drill by now. Want me to send a message to the dragon-lady while I’m at it?”
    “Please. Just tell her that I’m stuck, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
    Melanie was definitely not looking forward to her supervisor’s reaction when she eventually got free from the tin death-trap. Mrs Walinowski – aka Dragon-lady – would just have to deal. It wasn’t exactly like she did this on purpose.
    With a sigh, she sat down, rather ungracefully, in the corner closest to the intercom and waited for William, her maintenance hero, to keep her company as he had on all the other occasions she had gotten stuck.
    True to form, within minutes the speaker crackled to life. “Repairmen are on their way, and Walinowski was breathing fire when I left. All ok in there?”
    Mel stood with a smile. She knew he wouldn’t let her down.
    They passed the time with their usual banter and jokes until the repairmen arrived to prise the doors open.
    As she stepped out into the hallway she found her hero and pulled him into her arms.
    “Let’s go home, love. The kids are probably wondering why we’re late again.”

    6+

  5. Eloise
    23 March 2018 at 12:14 pm

    261 words
    Conscript; Berlin; History

    Unlikely Conscript

    “Left, right, left, right. Attention!”
    The gravel crunched below my boots as I marched. I had signed up for duty a week before. Whose war we were fighting, I was not sure. All I knew was that, if I were not here, I would be dead and so would many more like me. Why? Well, I was one of those they were killing.
    They had marched through our home. The doctors had labeled us as incurable. We were to be put to death in the silence chamber. They took us there when we were too loud. It sure did silence you; you never breathed again after entering that room.
    I was due to go there this week, but I escaped. I took my leg, threw it over the wall and scurried after it. When I landed on the other side, I slipped on my leg and walked down the road. I looked normal. As I was walking, an army van passed me and then stopped. My heart pounded. Had they seen me escape? I continued to walk.
    “Halt!” screamed the soldier.
    I stopped. My heart jumping like a rabbit sprinting from a fox.
    “Come here!”
    I walked towards the soldier.
    “How old are you?”
    “18 years old, sir.”
    “Why are you not in the army?”
    “I was on my way to sign up. I just turned 18 yesterday.”
    “Fine! Come with us.”
    And that is how I found myself marching to the sound of death. But I knew this would be the only way to save those who were branded incurable.

    1+

  6. 23 March 2018 at 1:07 pm

    https://teemaitch.wordpress.com/
    294 words
    Sprinter; Berlin; Comedy

    The Snatcher in Awry

    Back in the old days, there was a lot of camouflage to be seen on the streets. When I say ‘the old days’, I’m referring to a time shortly after the Berlin wall was dismantled. Nobody could tell whether it was Ossis or Wessis, or if it was just a sign of the times, but there was a lot of crime on the street. Youths, dressed in army surplus camouflage clothing, would appear out of nowhere. They’d sprint up on their unsuspecting victim, grab their bag, and then sprint off again, their clothing helping them to merge into the dull urban landscape.
    On one occasion, I was witness to one of these hit-and-run attacks. I’d been walking down the street, just one among many, holding my bag tight to my chest and keeping my eyes open for any signs of camouflage-clad youths. A tall blonde woman was walking ahead of me, bag nonchalantly slung over one shoulder. A sudden movement caught the corner of my eye, a sprinter running towards us. He hesitated for a moment, as though choosing between me or the woman, before homing in on the woman in front.
    She must have heard his footsteps as he approached because she whirled to face her would-be bag-snatcher just as he reached her. He grabbed at the bag. She defended herself, holding onto the bag with both hands, and started kicking at his shins. He pushed her to the ground just as her foot connected with his knee, and they both went down.
    The youth managed to separate the women from her bag but, as he rose and started to hobble painfully away, it was plain that he was badly injured. The woman shouted after him, ‘You can hide, but you can’t run!’

    1+

  7. Geoff Holme
    23 March 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Twitter: @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs

    [ A “Just 4 Fun” entry – this is a NEW! IMPROVED! version of my submission to MC28 ]

    299 words
    Secretary; Elevator; Comedy

    Mr Otis Regrets…

    “OMG! The elevator car has stopped!”
    “No shit, Sherlock.”
    “We’re trapped! What do we do? WHAT DO WE DO?!”
    “Try pressing the emergency call button.”
    “I have been! All I get is ‘Your call is important to us… please hold…’. I used my cell phone to post on Facebook that I’m stuck in an elevator. Twenty-three friends have ‘liked’ my status… Hey! We can climb through the hatch in the roof of the elevator car!”
    “You’re an actor, aren’t you?”
    “Office temping pays the bills just now, but yes, I am. Now’s really not the best time to ask for an autograph, though…”
    “Get over yourself, will ya? I didn’t recognise you.”
    “Then how–”
    “First of all, you’re being a real drama queen…”
    “Well, in the circum–”
    “Second of all, hatches in elevator cars are only in movies. If they existed in real life, they’d be for an engineer to come in; they’d be locked on the outside to stop Nervous Nellies like you putting themselves in more danger. Safest place for us to be is right where we are until help arrives.”
    “But… I’m having… a p-p-panic attack!”
    “OK, we need something to distract you, take your mind off things. How’s about we play ‘Two Truths and a Lie’?”
    “What’s that?”
    “We take turns to say three things about ourselves – two that are true and one that ain’t. Then the other person guesses which one’s the lie… Aw, shoot! That ain’t no good. You’re an actor: everything you say about yourself is gonna be a fib! Why don’t you tell me where you were headed?”
    “I was going to see my therapist… about my p-p-panic attacks!”
    “Ah…”
    “Wh-where were you going?”
    “I was headed for the 34th floor… to deal with an emergency. I’m… I’m an elevator engineer.”

    4+

  8. Ted Young
    23 March 2018 at 3:17 pm

    254 words
    Sprinter; Berlin; Comedy

    The Loneliness of the Short-Distance Runner

    Philip Rannister was no academic. He always found easy ways to accomplish life’s requirements, earning himself the nickname ‘Bodger’.
    He did have two finely-tuned skills though; sprinting (gaining him a winning reputation and certificates), and ‘flimflam’ (wittily talking himself in and out of situations).
    As few people earn a living by running a hundred yards, Bodger was forced to find an alternative, preferably effortless, means of survival which the emergence of ‘comedy clubs’ provided.
    Bodger was a natural. Research consisted merely of looking around for things to get upset about, and perfecting his ‘tutting’ and tight-lipped frowns.
    He had one single philosophy: ‘contentment is a placebo for losers’.

    The English-speaking comedy club venues are plentiful and thrive over most of Europe. France, Italy, Spain, even Holland seemed discontent enough to take Bodger’s ridicule, but Germany — and Berlin in particular — was another story.
    Swipes at their architecture, the insinuation that the men were ‘prettier’ than their women, was just about tolerated, but then came Bodger’s signature gag, adapted to the location:
    “You like your beer, ja?”
    “Ja,” they cried.
    “So you should. It’s naturally filtered.”
    “Ja,” they acquiesced.
    “The barrels are connected to urinals in British pubs, where proper beer is served.”

    Deride their buildings? maybe… their women folk? perhaps… but their beer? That was one step too far… followed by quicker ones into the street.
    The first hundred metres was a doddle, the second was quite comfortable.
    But when Bodger reached two hundred and fifty, he wished he’d trained for longer distances.

    1+

  9. Angelique Pacheco
    23 March 2018 at 4:53 pm

    180 words
    Italian Nobleman; Berlin; History

    Fancy Pants P.O.W.

    “I don’t eat that, Herr Janssen.”

    Herr Janssen looks at him with derision in his eyes. If he were higher up in the SS, this Italian pig would be lying at the bottom of yesterday’s mass grave. They were all “fancy pants” until the smell of roasting meat lulled them into thinking that life here wouldn’t be so bad. The gas chambers didn’t let off as good a smell. That was the moment of truth for most of them.

    Signor Barugia smiled stupidly at Herr Janssen. He had no idea what this war would take from him. Herr Janssen shook his head. He hadn’t always been such a cynic. He had believed the Fuhrer when he promised them better factory hours. He said that he himself had worked the factory lines. Now Herr Janssen was forced to work the kitchen line in the P.O.W. camp in Berlin.

    But there is no line here. The tormentors and tormented live together waiting for release by allies or release by death. One less worker in the camp. That’s the sweetest revenge.

    3+

    • Angelique Pacheco
      23 March 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Sorry for no word count. No power. Typing on phone.

      0

  10. 23 March 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Twitter: @nancymbeach
    285 words
    Secretary; Elevator; Romance

    What Is or What Could Be

    She saw his shiny black right shoe first, followed by the rest of his body as the elevator doors stopped and reversed. Her eyes darted to the steno pad in her hands and down to her sensible black shoes as his six-foot frame filled the small space.

    “Afternoon, Miss. A fine day for a stroll.” He hit the 32nd-floor button. The smell of Clive Christian No. 1 filled the square box.

    “Good afternoon.” Beep. Floor 6.

    “Do you work for Mr. Conaway on the 27th floor?”

    “Yes, sir. I do.”

    “Call me Clark. What time do you get off work?”

    “5 pm, Sir…I mean, Clark.”

    “As luck would have it, my meeting should finish right around that time. Why don’t I stop by Mr. Conaway’s office and pick you up? I know a great place around the corner with great ribs.” Beep. Floor 20.

    Elenore pushed her horn-rimmed glasses on her nose and glanced up at him. He looked like he’d stepped out of a magazine with a wave in his black hair. “I…I can’t. I have plans tonight.”

    “Tomorrow night then?” Beep. Floor 27.

    “This is my floor.” She smiled and stepped out of the elevator.

    As the doors closed, he glanced at a piece of steno paper on the ground, barely noticing it. His mind was on the odd girl from Floor 27. She intrigued him. He wondered if prudish women did indeed make the most passionate lovers. He’d love to find out. Beep. Floor 32.

    He stepped out of the elevator. The door closed, leaving nothing in the elevator but the lingering smell of his cologne and a yellow paper with ‘330-234-8881’ scrawled on it.

    1+

  11. Marsha Adams
    23 March 2018 at 6:04 pm

    @marshawritesit
    300 words
    Serial Killer; Elevator; Romance

    Killing Time

    The elevator juddered to a halt between floors. It was eleven: there needed to be one more victim before midnight or the pattern would become chaos. Sam needed order and balance.
    The voluptuous redhead beside the buttons shrugged, offering Sam a wry grin and a quiet apology. “Sorry. It happens sometimes. I was here for an hour once, before maintenance let me out.”
    She was Sam’s type: petite, passive, submissive. A perfect target. And now they were trapped in an elevator together.
    You can’t maintain a killing pattern for long without learning something about trust and communication: Sam automatically adopted a slight smile and an open posture before replying. “It’s a wonderful building though. I adore Art Deco: pale, streamlined curves; the elegance of the undervalued. Beautiful, sensual and classy. Is that why you chose it?”
    Successful serial killers – those still active – are observant. Sam spotted the hint of a blush and moved into listening mode as the redhead – Molly, she said – talked about why she loved where she lived.
    They chatted – mostly about Molly – for forty minutes until the lift finally moved. The doors opening on Molly’s floor.
    Molly turned as she left. “Thanks for… keeping me company, Sam. I… I enjoyed talking to you,” she stammered. Her blush stopped hinting, becoming far more direct. “I… Would you like to come in? For… coffee?”
    Sam shook her head, her expression aiming for regret. “I’d love to, but there’s something I absolutely must do. Can I take a rain check?”
    Molly’s smile somehow managed to be brighter than her face as they exchanged numbers.
    Sam continued to twenty. Finding love, however potential or temporary, was always a good omen. Her prey was waiting; this would be a successful kill.

    1+

  12. 23 March 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Twitter: @StellakateT
    297 words
    Serial Killer; Elevator; Thriller

    Saint or Sinner

    It had been months since his last killing. Had he lost the hunger, the thrill, the ecstasy as his victims took their last breath? The way their eyes silently begged for mercy made him feel like God.

    The press had dubbed him ‘The Otis Monster’. He’d even persuaded his wife to name their children Otis and Elisha, after his hero who’d invented a safety device that prevented elevators from falling if the hoisting cable failed. His grandmother had persuaded him to read all about elevators after his father, trying to cure his son’s phobia, pushed him into a lift with an old lady. When the fire department finally released them, the old lady was dead from a heart attack.

    He became obsessed by the death process. He could have become a doctor, a funeral director; but no, he chose to become a serial killer, and he was good at it. Too good!
    #
    He’d followed the girl from her workplace to home for several days now. She lived in a tower block, on the top floor. The ride in the lift would give him ample time to end her life and get safely away. He smiled at her as she entered the lift to descend. The doors started to close. She darted back; the errand could wait.
    #
    The building inspector told the inquiry that the safety device had failed to work. It was an old building and the lift had been maintained yearly as required. His wife had no explanation why he should be there. The girl didn’t want to tell her that he’d followed her home from St Agnes. She was training to be a nun. God had put temptation in her way but she’d passed the test. She’d been saved, and he had gone to hell.

    1+

  13. Harrietbelle
    23 March 2018 at 8:00 pm

    Harrietbelle
    294 words
    Secretary; Elevator; Romance

    Fly Me to the Moon

    The boy felt dejected as he flipped down his designated seat and flopped himself onto it. He pulled the handle and sang his own parody of a Monkees song — “Just another bally Monday” — as the lift left Ground and rose toward the 5th Floor.

    He had dreamed about his future since he was a small boy, but none of his imaginings had envisaged this. His longing to be an astronaut was well established by the time he was nine; with a bedroom like a spaceship, and spacesuits being the inspiration for every Auntie’s birthday gift, he was well on the way to the moon before he hit puberty.

    So, was this some cruel joke that had landed him in the elevator of Jackson’s department store, pulling a handle and reaching the dizzy heights of level 5?

    He pushed the door button and said to the empty space, “Fifth Floor: Restaurant, Rest Rooms and Offices.”

    And from the outer space stepped a young secretary and asked, “Can I ride your elevator please?”

    She smiled a smile that lit up her face, stepped across the threshold and asked him his name.

    Nobody had ever done that; in three years of working there, nobody had ever even spoken to him, let alone asked his name!

    Suddenly he desperately needed to impress.

    “Aldrin,” he said, “but my friends call me ‘Buzz’.”

    “Nice to meet you, Buzz,” she said, holding a slender hand out toward him. “And I’m Julia… but you may call me Juliet.”

    “Where d’you want to go, Juliet?” asked ‘Buzz’ as the door closed, encapsulating them.

    “Wherever you fancy, ‘Buzz’,” said Juliet. “How about the stars?!”

    Then all the dreams that Aldrin had ever dreamed came true, as he launched the craft and they soared toward the moon.

    1+

  14. Stephen Shirres
    23 March 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Twitter:@The_Red_Fleece
    http://www.theredfleece.co.uk
    270 words
    Diplomat; Elevator; Drama

    Numbers

    “Enjoy the roof garden.” My host steps out of the lift. 
    “Thank you. I’ll enjoy it more than your rock hard beds.”
    “They make us a strong nation.” The closing doors cut off his laughter. Above them, small numbers light as we rise up the hotel.
    “Mr Diplomat, sir.” The bellhop grabs my arm.
    “Oh a tip, ah, of course.” I root around in my pockets for some money. “Quite sorry.”
    “No, no, no, no.” Her hands, now free of my arm, shake away my confusion. “It is… The rumours… We are… You have heard…” She trails off, her face a mixture of thoughts and guilt. The number keep lighting up.
    “They are true. The rumours. What they do here. All true.” Her words fill the surrounding air, weigh it down. Yet I know the result of what she asks. Gravestones, three million, four hundred and sixty-three thousand, two hundred and seventy-four white marble tablets in fields of green. The figure tops every piece of paper I take into a negotiation. A reminder of the cost if he gets it wrong. 
    The numbers stop on forty-five, the top floor.
    “Please.” A plea which is barely a whisper, like the story of her people. She won’t get tombstones of expensive stone. Their graves won’t even be marked in case they are found. A new, unknowable number which should top his papers.
    There is nothing I can say to her. No promise I can keep. Instead I hug her briefly and leave into my colleagues. Each a reminder of home in a foreign country. The people who can help change the world.

    1+

  15. Caleb Echterling
    23 March 2018 at 10:30 pm

    @CalebEchterling
    http://www.calebechterling.com
    300 words
    Secretary; Battle of Waterloo; Comedy

    We Expect the French Attack Will Come from That Crusty Bit of Toothpaste Dried to the Floor

    Wellington stomped about a walk-in shower. His red coat had more braids than a girls’ tennis camp. “Jennings, take a letter for those bean counters at the War Department.”

    “You got it, Artie.”

    “Dammit, Jennings, call me Duke of Wellington. Or Field Marshall. Or Your Excellency of the Order of the Garter.”

    Jennings scribbled in a notebook, its pages warped from the steamy haze that enveloped the British Army headquarters. “Have the War Department order you more garters. Got it.”

    Wellington boxed Jennings’ ears. “After you finish this letter, I’m transferring you to the Mule Waste Collection Brigade. Write exactly what I say. The Anglo-Allied army under my command is positioned along the entrance to the walk-in shower. The Prussian army is behind fortified breastworks next to the washbasin. The French are advancing on both positions simultaneously from a bivouac near the commode. We expect the Battle of the Toilet will be the decisive engagement of Napoleon’s invasion of the Netherlands.”

    Lieutenant Colonel Carmichael-Smythe sucked on his pipe. His walrus moustache quivered. “Begging your pardon, Field Marshall, but ‘toilet’ is such a common word. Might I suggest Battle of the Water Closet?”

    “Oooh, aren’t we a posh Eton lad?” Captain Harris poked Carmichael-Smythe in his flabby midsection. “Toilet’s not good enough for you? How about Battle of the Loo?”

    Carmichael-Smythe ashed his pipe on the captain’s head. “I don’t take orders from someone who’s not a member of the landed gentry.” He stood and swiveled his head. “Will one of you peasants check the British Army Field Manual? I do believe that counts as a sick burn.”

    Wellington slapped everyone within reach. “You ninnies. We’ll call it the Battle of Waterloo. Happy now? We have more pressing matters, like how I can get a column instead of that layabout Nelson.”

    3+

  16. steve lodge
    23 March 2018 at 11:01 pm

    @steveweave71
    223 words
    Serial Killer; Elevator; Drama

    Dancing The Tango in an Elevator

    Since that night, your appearances in my head have been many. You make my day with your first message. You are the bottle of sunshine I daily ordered. I love it that you call me “rockstar” or “playboy” and that you fart just as often as I do. I now know how to order your favourite coffee and I’m not embarrassed to ask for extra “yum”. You have such an infectious laugh and a wonderful smile, despite the missing tooth.

    Now, as you hum “Sway” in this goods elevator in one of my favourite industrial buildings in our region, I can smell the sausages that were once made in one of the food units here. They will be made here again. I feel sure.

    My tango is above average. Yours is breathtaking. You are like some Argentinian goddess.

    I try to keep the tune of Vergettenoberloudenboomer by Nunschweiler out of my head. That music is always my trigger. The introduction of my dark side. Oh, you look so pretty. I will concentrate on your looks. On the tune you are humming. Your dancing. Yet before I know what is happening, you are slumped at my feet. A moment of silence, then I lurch to the controls to start the old elevator up. 6th Floor. Home of the cookers of Georg Koncilia Sausages GmbH.

    1+

  17. Sharon McKenney
    25 March 2018 at 10:44 pm

    265 words
    Secretary, Elevator, Romance

    The Elevator of Bulba Corp.

    The most dreaded day of the week has rolled around again, Monday. Brenda gets to the elevator at 6:50am. As she gets in the elevator her boyfriend calls for her to hold the doors. She smiles and holds the door for him. “You and I both can’t be late people will talk,” Brenda says as Thomas hits the floor 8 button.

    “Well maybe you should get here on time then,” Thomas says playfully shoving her shoulder.

    “Me? Why not you?” Brenda asks as the elevator starts to go up. As she rides the elevator she tries to think of everything she must do that day, the big challenge will be to prep the board room for the meeting her boss is holding. Lost in her own thoughts she almost falls over as the elevator creeks and stops in between floors. “Ah!” Brenda yells as the lights flick off. After catching her breath, she opens her eyes again and looks for Thomas in the small lighting that the emergency lights provide. “Why won’t they fix this…” she stops as she sees Thomas kneeling in front of her with a ring box in his hands.

    “Brenda, will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?” Thomas asks smiling at her.

    “You set up an elevator malfunction to propose?” Brenda asks.

    “It’s how we first met. The elevator broke and we were stuck for hours,” Thomas smiled. “So, will you marry me?”

    Brenda laughs and bends down to his level. “Of course I will,” she says before she leans in and kisses his lips.

    0

    • Geoff Holme
      26 March 2018 at 9:01 am

      Thanks for your entry, Sharon.
      Unfortunately, it was too late for the judge’s consideration: Microcosms is a 24-hour only contest every Friday.
      As you will see from the preamble to each and every Contest post, “You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EDT) to write and submit your masterpiece.”
      Perhaps you were “misled” by the count-down clock. When a contest is LIVE, this shows the amount of time left to submit; but when the contest deadline is reached, it changes to the amount of time left until the NEXT Microcosms contest STARTS.
      As you are new to Microcosms, you are also encouraged in the preamble to check out the full submission guidelines – always a good move! 😉
      I hope this setback will not deter you from entering future Microcosms contests.

      0

      • Sharon
        5 April 2018 at 12:05 am

        Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. It was the counter that threw me off. I read the guidelines but then saw the counter and wasn’t sure which was right. I hope to enter this next Friday for the competition.

        0

  18. 8 April 2018 at 11:31 am

    I’m a bit stumped here. I was looking for a Sprinter Manual?!?

    0

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