Microcosms 129

Hello, all, and welcome to Microcosms 129.


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** Workaround **

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I am still trying to resolve the issue, so far without success. :/

Keeping with prior contests, I’ve decided to be inspired by this day in history. However, I thought I’d be a bit more specific with some things. Let’s see what you come up with.



(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, setting, and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Composer, Setting: 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, and genre: Action.

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.


  • Refugee
  • Playwright
  • Composer
  • Interracial Couple
  • Composer
  • Actor
  • 1960’s Civil Rights Movement
  • Vietnam War
  • Apartheid
  • Shakespeare Play
  • Fire
  • Cuba
  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • Memoir
  • Romance
  • Action
  • Mystery



Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Maya Levine (M Levi), 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 130
Microcosms 128

13 thoughts on “Microcosms 129

  1. 300 words
    Interracial Couple; Apartheid; Mystery

    Weep for Him

    I hadn’t heard from him in 3 days. This was extremely unusual, we didn’t go more than 6 hours without speaking on the phone. I missed hearing his smooth accented English, telling me he loved me and that I was worth all the danger. Seeing him in person was even better. Staring into his dark chocolate eyes, watching the play of emotions across his caramel skin. It didn’t matter that our love was illegal. That we could get into some serious trouble if even a whiff of our romance came to light. South Africa in the 1970’s was not the right time for a cossetted white girl to be involved with a coloured man. Even if he was a well-known and well thought of barrister. “His kind” did not mingle with mine. How I hated hearing the way my peers spoke about the other races as if they were sub-human. As if, they were beneath us simply due to the colour of their skin.
    However, I digress; I was worried about him. When last we spoke, he had mentioned a life-changing case that he was involved in, but he was vague on the details. He had been snooping around in places that were bound to get him incarcerated, if not worse. All in the name of freedom and equality. I was proud of him, even when it scared me.
    I stood outside my father’s study door, hand poised to knock, when I heard whispering voices.
    “Is jy seker? Is hy dood?” (Are you sure? Is he dead?) that was my father’s voice.
    “Ja, hy sal nie weer probleme maak!” (Yes, he won’t cause problems again) – my brother.
    It was then that I knew. My love was gone. I had caused his death, not his activism. Me! Loving him! I wept.

  2. @steveweave71
    300 words
    Composer; Shakespeare Play: Mystery

    The Coastal Walk

    It rained earlier today for the first time since last night. Shallow water lapped in whispers onto the silent sand. My footsteps sound as I climb the wooden steps from beach to cliff top.

    So tranquil, so Quiet Town, so relaxing. Unwind, let sea breezes clear the dense fog from my head. Here, pipe-smoking bohemians speak of owls in undercrofts, flowers with luxuriant scents, of lonely wanderers buying an egg from a farmer. I feel a beautiful calm.

    It is 3 months since I began composing “Cuba Scurvy.” Henry had asked me to write something haunting for the soundtrack for his new film “Pirates Of The Cameroon.” Then Jedidiah had approached me for some music for his upcoming Shakespearean play being staged at the Old Vic in Frintongar. They were reviving “Tybalt And Lettuce” a lesser known Shakespearean farce. It was set in Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe in Marchcummerbund, and involved Tybalt creating a ham omelette and marketing it as a “Hamlet.” I saw how I could adapt “Cuba Scurvy” for “Tybalt and Lettuce.” That would mean working on something completely new for “Pirates Of The Cameroon.” Around then, I’d had my nervous breakdown.

    When they released me from Lowercase Hospital, I discovered my apartment had been ransacked, my unfinished scores taken and my favourite painting “Solitary Goat In Silvertown” by Cliff Hanger, spitefully slashed.

    I look out at Blackwatch Lighthouse on its small, craggy outpost of rude rock. A rowing boat is tied to a post at the foot of steps leading to the lighthouse. Idyllic now but this lighthouse has seen awful storms, I shouldn’t wonder, the bravery of lifeboat men, the rescues, the losses. My body gives an involuntary shudder. Time to continue my walk toward my slow recovery then my hunt for revenge.

    To Be Continued.

    1. I await the continuation with Bvon anticipation, Steve…although as a vegetarian, I would probably opt for an omelette filled with julienned vegetables…a Juliet, you might say…

  3. 299 words
    Composer ; 1960s civil rights movement ; action

    That Song
    The old pub singer had seen it all; done it… the T shirt was a duster. He was grateful to still be gigging, and had no reason or desire to make it big.
    A vacationing Tennessee music promoter wandered into the pub and was immediately taken with the gentle style and humour of ‘Chiswick Smitty’ and the way he interacted with the drinkers.

    “How about a trip to the States,” drawled the scout, as the singer packed his gear away.
    “Yeah?… Nashville really needs another guitar picker don’t it” sarked Smitty.

    It took a while for mistrust, cynicism and lethargy to dissipate, but a month later ‘Mister Dunitall’ was going through customs in Atlanta Georgia at the start of a tour, that earned no megabucks, but was worth the experience.

    Billed as ‘London folk/blues’, but more like ‘The Kinks meets Chas & Dave’ Smitty did well, and ended the tour with two gigs in Alabama.

    He visited Montgomery especially to see the Hank Williams museum, it was more like a morsaleum, majoring on his tragic life, rather than his groundbreaking music. But he found the ‘Rosa Parks’ museum. Now that is something else.

    He learned how Rosa refused to give up her seat on the bus at the start of the civil rights movement, he heard the, Billy Taylor, blues anthem that invaded his soul and followed him home to become every gig’s finale.

    At the pub where his adventure began, he took his applause. He went to the Gents,followed by two racist heavies, intent on slamming his fingers in a door.

    Three black brothers burst in.
    “Beat it Smitty” one growled.

    He left to the sound of knuckle against flesh; to the rhythm of that song;
    ‘I wish… I knew how… it would feel… to be free’.

  4. @geofflepard https://geofflepard.com
    Refugee, civil right’s movement, memoir
    300 words
    The Day That Albert Singh Died And Lived To Vote
    Albert Singh held the yellowing picture in his shaky hands: his great grandpa in his whitest turban, about to board the Collette. He laid the image down, shaking his head and picked up the next: his grandmother Moira, from north-east England and her little boy, Stanley. Stanley had been a cabbie in New Jersey before he’d moved to Queens, his pale skin allowing him to get a job as Stan Singer. Albert smiled. How his dad laughed as he remembered the caller thought him Jewish, letting him go on winter evenings to be home before the Sabbath began. These days Albert was proud to be a Singh, proud how his old man had taken part in protests back in the day. Given a lift to one of King’s men the day after the Dream speech. ‘That guy,’ Stanley’d said, ‘was a bigot, boy. Told him I had Hindu folks and he told me we were the worst Uncle Tom’s. Changed me, he did.’
    Not much, thought Albert. Still opened his door to waifs and strays, like Rico from Costa Rica – an illegal, real trouble but a good kid at heart, said Stan. His mother Joyce had fed them, gone to the cops and talked them out of jail. Made a home for them all.
    And here was Albert, the scion of Singh Electronics. Fabulous house, two kids in college and one at MIT and yet… He fidgeted and looked at the piece of paper sitting in the middle of his desk: details of where he had to go to vote. He knew it well enough but this was going to be as hard a trip as he’d made. The Singhs had voted Democrat, always but this time Albert was a Trump man. It was the price of stability, of success.

  5. @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Playwright; Shakespeare Play; memoir


    As others have done before in times of pending cataclysm, I have taken pen in hand and sought a literate way to illustrate the buffoon-driven end of the civilized world. In truth, I am doing it more for me than for humankind. I make no pretence that my writings will save us.

    Why it has fallen on me to capture in cold, simple words the ferocity of the fiery flame of the apocalypse is no great mystery. At one time, I thought, as many others must have thought, surely reason and logic and love will prevail over the moronic madness.

    I now set those foolish predilections to the side.

    From my flank of the border, in sight of the sanctuary that Canada represents, I draw a line I trust I will not cross. I burrow into a small cabin, short miles from asylum, and begin the play that will bear witness to the erosion of the human spirit in my America.

    At first, I was mostly amused by his reptilian presence in the White House. Sycophants surrounded him, grinning and slobbering their pastiche of petty fealty.

    With every overture to dethrone him, he lashed back with his viper-whipped tongue, his fear of witches, his vapid screams of ‘fake news is foul and foul fake.’

    And all along, he preened and gloried in his own beauty. And all along the voices squawked, ‘double down, double down, twitter and trouble found.’

    We should have seen him coming. Did he not say,” By the tweeting of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes?”

    We should have seen him coming. How often do we say this? And is there a way back? Have we seen the full extent of his bleak and shallow desires?

    Here, lost in these thoughts, I weep and I write.

  6. Playwright; Shakespeare Play; Drama
    290 words

    No Rhyme No Reason

    The famous playwright disagreed with the composer who was writing the score for his new play. Although he was reworking a Shakespeare play, setting it in a sixties setting, he objected to the composer’s fixation on iambic pentameter.

    ‘I really feel,’ he said, ‘that setting the music to a rhythm dictated by, “da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM,” is a very obvious ploy. Given that the cast includes a refugee and an interracial couple I think something with an ethnic beat might be more appropriate.’

    His star actor agreed with this sentiment and suggested a second composer who he thought could do a better job. A play focusing on the big issues of the sixties: the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, Cuba, and apartheid, deserved something better than an in joke referring to sixteenth century poetic form. All the subjects discussed in the play touched on ethnicity to some extent or other so a soundtrack based on world music would be far more fitting.

    The new production was to be a play in the form of a memoir about putting on a mystery play, much like in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, encompassing drama, comedy, and romance. The playwright concurred with his star and took the immediate action of firing the first composer and hiring the second one.

    Later, when the newly hired composer spoke to the star to thank him for his recommendation, he expressed his astonishment about how rapidly things were moving.
    ‘I understand that time is of the essence but I was most surprised in view of his dislike of iambic pentameter to receive this note from the writer, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”’

  7. Composer ; 1960s civil rights movement ; action
    300 words
    Separate but Equal

    I stood back across the street, gazing at the beautiful building. I could barely hear the music over the sound of the crowd filling the sidewalk, and overflowing into the street, as the forbidden concert played inside. My fingers unconsciously moved in time with the notes of the piano, as the unseen musician played the familiar “Requiem”. I longed to play my own songs before a captive audience in such a venue, but though we had “separate but equal”, this protest called attention to the fact that we were still not the same. This was Ezra Laderman! And I couldn’t even get close enough to hear, because of the angry group surrounding the door. Not that I blamed them. It was a particular insult today, on the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the 14th amendment.
    I clutched the folded sheets in my sweaty hand as I looked for an opening. If I could get close enough to hand him my music as he dashed from the door to his car, waiting at the curb… I stepped into the gutter the moment the theater door opened, emitting thunderous applause, as a dark haired white man ran from the building. He was instantly surrounded by the crowd as he fought his way to his car. Heart pounding, I made it to the vehicle just as he did. I stretched across the roof, my hand trembling. Surprising warmth as his hand engulfed mine and he took my offering with a blaze of teeth, as he ducked into the back seat. The crowd surrounded me in a swirl of shouts, and fists pounded on the Rolls Royce as it drove slowly away. I stood oblivious, wrapped in a cozy blanket of acceptance. Politics forgotten, I floated home, my feet never touching the ground.

  8. Composer; 1960’s Civil Rights Movement; Action
    89 words

    Violence Song

    The composer writes the song and forwards the cause. He orchestrates the movement of civil rights. He determines if the protests will be peaceful or violent. He watches the marches from the side, as his white privilege seeps out of him and an idea begins to form. He writes a chant of wickedness, a spell that will rise to a crescendo until the first shot is fired. Red mist will dance a funeral dirge until there are no winners; just survivors.

  9. 184 words
    Refugee; fire; Action


    Across different terrains.

    Wounds along my bare skin.

    The heat-
    Of the day became frigid by night.

    I pressed forward.

    My brain-
    Fed only by hope.

    Felt nowhere and nothing like this.

    My dream would be reality, or so I wished as I stepped in line.

    The journey-
    Was long but my life wouldn’t have been if I had stayed.

    Were what stained my face when the news came.

    Could stay.

    So here-
    I am, sitting in my little apartment, studying.

    A knock-
    Startles my peaceful thoughts.

    Tentatively opening-
    The door.

    To find-
    Men with uniforms. Armor. Guns.

    Stepped forward but I screamed and closed the door, locking it.

    I wouldn’t-
    Let ICE take me away.

    On the door echoed through the room.

    My heart-
    Pounding as fast as my footsteps were running to the kitchen.

    Was in the air and it was too late.

    A grease fire-
    Had started, and I didn’t know.

    Burned to ashes-
    My apartment, my books, my shot at another life.

    The world-
    Is for all.

    That chance.

  10. 242 Words
    Composer; 1960’s Civil Rights Movement; Action

    Dangerous Time to Make Music

    “Hey! Stop!”

    The shout came from behind me seconds before the shots rang out.

    I ducked under the table, my papers spilling onto the floor.

    “I’ll never get this piece finished now…” I thought dejectedly, as I saw one of the chorus pages being trampled out the door.

    Bang, Bang, Bang…. Bang Bang… the sounds were moving off a bit down the road and it appeared that the worst was past, so I cautiously lifted my head above the table, a few of the more curious patrons of the local café doing the same.

    “What happened?” came the inevitable question.

    “No clue. I just heard the shot and hit the deck. It seemed like the wisest thing to do.”

    “Looks like there was a bit of trouble by the bank.” a third voice chimed in.

    “Again? That’s the third time this month! Every time someone arranges a peaceful protest, these idiots decide to loot and rob.”

    I left them to their conversations and suppositions and slowly started to gather my pages into a semblance of order. Hopefully, I could re-write the few that were destroyed in time.

    I could hear the rhythmic chanting of the civil rights protestors and, combined with the feeling that I had just escaped the café with my life had me whistling my new tune as I walked, in fact, I could almost hear the lyrics…

    “…the times, they are a changin’…” I sang quietly as I walked.

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