Microcosms 142

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends — we hope! It’s time for Microcosms 142.

This week, our old — and I use the word advisedly! — pal, Ted Young, has kindly agreed to take time out of his busy recuperation schedule to host this round.

Over to you, mate:

Greetings!

During this time of enforced leisure, I mentally revisited some of the songs I’ve written over a long career as a pub & club musician, and got to wondering what you ‘Fictioneers’ would do with them.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled the world as a merchant seaman and industrial fisherman and done many jobs to inspire songs, poetry and stories. Here’s hoping that some ‘float your boat’.

 

  • I Wish I Was a Rock
  • Don’t Let Me Forget
  • Weekend Superstars
  • Song of the Wild Grass
  • Romany
  • Hell Bent

Ted

 

(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 elements (Character, Location and Genre).

We spun, and the three elements are:

Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

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 **

 

  • Hermit
  • Reformed Character
  • Roadie
  • Shepherd
  • Father
  • Lifestyle Guru
  • Hillside
  • Pub
  • Transit Van
  • Pastureland
  • Greasy Spoon Cafe
  • Prison
  • Soliloquy
  • Letter to Young Self
  • Drama
  • Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Crime

 

Spin!

 
Last week’s Judge’s Pick, Arianna Hammond, 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, 28-SEP) New York time (EST) to write and submit your masterpiece.
*** If you are new to Microcosms, check out thefull submission guidelines.

All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 143
Microcosms 141

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34 comments for “Microcosms 142

  1. 28 September 2018 at 1:25 am

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    300 words
    Reformed Character; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    Did You Ever Have One of Those Lives?

    I needed to get out of the city. You know the feeling. One minute you’re high on concrete and asphalt, glass and traffic, and the next, you’re choking on the toxic fumes of one too many humans gathered in a nuclear strike zone.

    I headed upstate for some R and bloody R. No place in mind. Just hitting as many backroads as my suspension could handle.

    One day I crossed a rickety bridge, landed in a burg called Turnerville.

    I pulled into Budget Brent’s Gasworks and Greasy Eats.

    I stepped out of my Buick, slipped on a cinematic oil slick. Doncha know, I’m having an actual Out of The Past moment. You familiar with that? Mitchum hiding out in Boogerville and an old gang member spots him right away.

    So, who do I see pumping gas but Digger Donovan, who used to be muscle — a hood-of-all-trades so to speak — for Ginch Cadillac, the big deal toxic fume I’d been desperate to escape the city and avoid.

    Immediately, I think it might be a good idea to skedaddle lickety-split but Digger spots me, slaps a huge grin on his puss and says, “Bungee Baker. Holy Ham Sandwich! What brings you to the sticks?”

    I see I’m snookered. No way to avoid some palaver. I give Digger — who now goes by the moniker of Brent — some cock-and-bull tweed about being on vacation and he chimes back, “Yeah, I know about that. Been on a little vacation for a year myself. Say, you hungry? I do a mean BLT…Bacon AND grilled liver topped with cheddar cheese. Sounds good, eh!”

    I could not lie. Anything with liver I’m your man.

    Digger, aka Brent, has it made.

    I tell him, “Your secret life’s safe with me, old buddy.”

    That is, until it ain’t.

    2+
    • Geoff Holme
      28 September 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Good stuff, Bill. I thought the BLT was going to be another Out of The Past moment: Beans (fava), Liver and a Touch of chianti… 😉
      However, I’m not sure if a story told from the first-person point of view constitutes a soliloquy. But, hey! What do I know?; Mr Young came up with that genre.

      [ Should ‘Dixie’ at the end of the story be ‘Digger’? ]

      0
      • 28 September 2018 at 8:53 pm

        Ah, caught me. I originally went with Dixie but I sensed I was cribbing it from somewhere. I wasn’t but yes, could change the last Dixie to Digger?
        As for whether it is a soliloquy, its the best low rent gangsters can do, I’m afraid…

        Imagine Bungee Baker standing on the left side of a stage, recalling this moment, a powerful lead-in to a tragic gangster drama, Shakespearean…or Caponeian…

        0
  2. Stephanie Cornelius
    28 September 2018 at 2:18 am

    @Ravenangel888
    297 words
    Reformed Character; Pastureland; Letter to Younger Self

    For the Good of All

    Dear Me, the younger,

    If you are reading this, it means I am dead. Just kidding, although, if you ARE reading this it means time travel is a thing and how awesome would that be! I wonder where the first time traveler went? How was I chosen as a time traveler? Why? When?

    Anyway… Tangent much? We really need to work on that (as if that’s ever going to happen).

    However, I digress. The purpose of this letter is to let you, I mean me, know that there is light at the end of the really dark and scary tunnel that you/I/we are currently inhabiting.

    On the 25th of April 1999, you are going to be blooded into the Gang. It is a conscious choice that we made and we have been regretting it ever since. The person you are being sent to kill has never done a mean thing in his life. He was a good man. An honest man. Which is probably why he was chosen. Goodness like his tends to freak nasty people out.

    I know I said we regret it, but this letter is NOT to tell you not to go through with it. In fact just the opposite. We NEED you to do it! That crap start to our adult life is what has allowed us to become the person we are today, and I’m quite fond of me.

    You MUST kill him. You’re going to end up in maximum security, but that is the best thing that ever happened to us. We found peace in this prison that we inmates have called “The Pastureland”. Moreover, we are helping others in this hellhole find peace. One life sacrificed for the good of the many.

    Forever blessed,

    Pastor Me, the Elder

    1+
    • Stephanie Cornelius
      28 September 2018 at 2:20 am

      Forgot to add my Twitter handle @Ravenangel888

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        28 September 2018 at 5:27 pm

        Added.

        1+
  3. 28 September 2018 at 7:59 am

    295 words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    I’m With the Band

    Here we are again. Stopping for more tea in the middle of the night at yet another run-down café. Tea and toilet every two hours as we wend our way down the length of the country in a Transit that won’t go above fifty. If you ask me, not that anyone ever does, we’d make a damn sight better time if we didn’t continuously fuel our need for toilet breaks with all that tea.

    Join a band, they said, for a life of glamour and excitement. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing or play an instrument, you can always be a roadie. You even get your own uniform, jeans, tour shirt, and denim jacket. It sounded a great idea at the time, and I soon joined the company of an up-and-coming new band. This was a band that was going places. That was true, unfortunately the places that they were going tended to be in the north of England, which meant a life continually commuting the length of the A1.

    Timing, in music and in life, is everything. I quit to look after another band at just the wrong time. The week after I’d left, Melody Maker announced that my former band had signed to a major record label and were going to make it big.

    I’m pretty senior now, but I’m stuck in the groove of shepherding new, small-time bands, all dreaming of getting a record deal. They’re all the same these days: rehashing the riffs from decades past, rarely coming up with something new. Music fashions may come and go but Metal seems to be always on the road.

    Still, I reckon there’re a few years left in this old roadie. Not sure I can say the same for the Transit though.

    2+
  4. Ted Young
    28 September 2018 at 8:23 am

    251 Words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    Cool Breeze

    We always stop at Ronnie’s All-Night Café when we’re on this road home. It’s half past two in the morning, with a couple of hours still to drive. The ‘Lads’ tumble out of the van and head straight for the slot machines while I get four plates of cholesterol and set them down on a table. I head off to my favourite corner underneath the faded yellowing photo of ‘Alvin Stardust’ to doze a bit, and get alone with my thoughts and a mug of coffee.

    ~~~

    ‘I love you guys. To me, you’re the best band ever.’

    Look at them… a bunch of kids even though all of ’em are pushing sixty… I guess they love me too.
    ‘You certainly trust and rely on me enough; you may take me for granted but I don’t care… I love you guys.’
    Twenty-five quid each a week they give me out of their own pockets; a hundred pound a week, gigs or no gigs, just to be their ‘Nanny’.

    Tomorrow night, I’ll do the same again… I’ll pick them up in a nice clean van, I’ll load their amps and cables, get them to the venue on time; get the P.A. working through the sound desk… Oh yeah, and work the desk; I’m good at that… Then I’ll get them home safe and sound…
    ‘I love you guys’… I love you, Cool Breeze.’

    “I’m a Roadie for a small town band.
    Four geezers and the gear in a Transit van.”

    4+
  5. 28 September 2018 at 8:31 am

    @geofflepard https://geofflepard.com
    295 words
    Roadie; Pub; Soliloquy

    What’s In A Name? Let’s Be Frank

    Frank felt rather than heard the foot stamps throbbing through the floor. The bar takings would be good for once. Good of them to come. Guilt mostly. And curiosity. He was their freak. Eardrums like teabags, more powder in his knees than Keith’s bathroom, his back sounding like Kurt sucking barbed wire.
    ‘Best roadie ever.’ His reward? A dying pub in Wolverhampton.
    He looked in the mirror, coughed, straightening with a drumstick’s click. A few words for his sponsors.
    ‘Friends, showmen and the rest of you cun…’ Perhaps not, keep it family.
    ‘Raise up your beers…’ Not that they had the livers for the booze.
    Keep it light. ‘Is that old Jagger I see before me?’ If Mick came he’d not look the oldest.
    Frank felt a pressure on his hip as his bag filled. ‘To pee or not to pee.’ Like I have the choice.
    Our milky eye stared back at Frank, legacy of that punk concert. Stupid prat nearly caused a riot by not going on. ‘But I’m hoarse, I’m hoarse, I can’t sing when I’m hoarse.’
    He should’ve stopped then, but it was a drug. The thumping got louder; even Frank could make out they were chanting his name.
    Nah, there wasn’t going to be any tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow for Frank. Looping the tie around the shower head he eased his way onto the edge of the bath. He took a deep breath, threw a bundle of tablets down his throat and let his feet slip off the side of the enamel.
    As darkness swallowed him, like all those times backstage, just before that first explosion of noise, he grinned. Yeah, they’d all remember Frank, going out as he came in, popping pills and doing one last line.

    2+
    • 29 September 2018 at 11:33 am

      Whoa! Dark, baby. I was hanging on every word, squirming in my seat like the idiot son of the Right Honourable Lord Hemorrhoid of Flare-up Abbey. Love this…And I’m certainly being Frank.

      0
    • Geoff Holme
      30 September 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Nice tour de force of plays on words using Shakespearean quotes, Geoff. ( I was tempted to write ‘Get thee to a punnery!’ but it would appear that you’ve already got! 😉 )

      0
  6. Harrietbelle
    28 September 2018 at 8:34 am

    296 Words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    A Different Tune

    It’s three a.m. and the ‘Original Greasy Spoon’ café is steaming with life.

    Huddling in a corner with my cappuccino, I watch the brown crystals sink beneath the foam and think about the futility of it all and wondering, not for the first time, how much longer I can drag myself around the British Isles as my brother’s ‘Roadie’.

    It has always been thus, even when we were kids. I was his ‘roadie’, carrying his satchel and blazer from first year to the day he graduated, when I was so laden down with his stuff I had to get a taxi home!

    So, why am I still doing it? I ask the crack in the formica table… And more to the point, why am I still allowing him to do this to me? OK, he’s older than me, and I looked up to him, even encouraged him to get into the music scene. But it wasn’t meant to be like this!
    I was the other part of the act!…I sing too and together we made a good sound.

    It happened gradually. Changes in the programme meant I was singing less. Then presumptions I would carry the gear and pack up after gigs whilst my brother did his ‘networking’.

    Now it’s accepted that I am his Roadie. I book the gigs, check the venues, carry his gear, set up the stage, sort out the lighting… and always make sure that the spotlight is on my brother!

    So… why am I sitting on my own, complaining to my coffee cup, when the best solo artist agent has just walked in and sat down at the table next to me?

    I get up, and stretching out my hand to him I say,‘Hi, I’m Romany… I understand you are promoting female solo artists at the moment?’

    3+
    • Geoff Holme
      30 September 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Sisters are doin’ it for themselves, eh? Good stuff!

      0
      • Harrietbelle
        1 October 2018 at 8:56 am

        Yeah! the Sisterhood is alive and well! Thanks for understanding my story!!
        H.

        0
  7. 28 September 2018 at 12:21 pm

    @VicenteLRuiz
    298 words
    Roadie; Pub; Adventure

    Just Another Gig

    “I hunt demons,” Rochelle says. She gulps her shot of tequila and pours herself another. She scratches a tattoo on her left forearm.

    “I don’t believe you,” the girl giggles.

    Rochelle fixes her gaze in her cleavage. For a second. Or two, perhaps. Then she taps her arm.

    “This tattoo. See it? It’s new. Today’s. It binds the demon I hunted earlier.” One more glass.

    “So you say!” God, she’s really pretty. And Rochelle hasn’t done it with a girl in quite some time. If only…

    Outside, the band strikes their favourite song, a cover of Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop. Rochelle signs vaguely towards them.

    “The band… I drive the van, help with the equipment. Mike works the electronics, they don’t need me when they play. And when they rehearse… I hunt.”

    The girl leans closer. Rochelle smells her perfume. It’s driving her mad.

    “I… can sense them.”

    “The demons? How?”

    “It depends. They hide as humans. I… sense them. Sometimes I even see them.” Rochelle shrugs and drinks again. “The guy this morning even wore a tie. Said he was a banker when I went after him. But today, I could see him.”

    “What do you do to them?”

    “Bind them. In a tattoo. There’s… a Spell. They cannot escape it.”

    “This is exciting,” the girl says. She licks her lips. Her oh so nice red lips. “And… what if you make a mistake? If you bind a human?”

    “The Spell doesn’t work on humans.”

    “Wow,” the girl says. Rochelle drinks again as she stands. “Gonna powder my face,” she says. “Care to help me?”

    Rochelle just growls and walks after her, towards the pub’s restrooms.

    Minutes later, Rochelle steps out, alone. She scratches a new tattoo on her right arm.

    “Succubi,” she mumbles. “They never learn.”

    5+
    • 29 September 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thank the devil Succubi never learn, eh! Really excellent.

      1+
    • Geoff Holme
      30 September 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Spooky tale, Vicente. (A bit more ‘horror’ than ‘adventure’, I would have thought — but that genre wasn’t available this time.)

      1+
  8. 28 September 2018 at 12:52 pm

    @maehschaf
    223 words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    My Only Friend

    In a dark corner of the Greasy Spoon Café, Ted raised his glass.

    “A toast!” he exclaimed, addressing the worn-out face on the other side of the table.

    “To you, my friend.” Glass clinked against glass.

    “My only friend.” Ted gulped down half of his beer and set the glass forcefully down on the table. The man across from him followed suit.

    “Twenny years of being a roadie,” Ted mumbled, slurring his words. “Twenny years. An’ what gotta show for it? Nuffing. No wife, no house, no money inna bank. Nuffing. Maybe, it’d be better to…” he let the sentence trail off.

    Looking up, he met the eyes from the other side of the table. I hear what you are saying, their gaze said. And I know what you are thinking.

    “Shit, you really are my only friend,” Ted muttered with tears in his eyes. He raised his glass again. “Skål!”

    “Anything else, I can bring you?” A waitress appeared at the end of the table. Ted shook his head. His only friend did the same. The waitress shrugged and walked away.

    Behind the counter, the cook threw her a questioning look.

    “What’s that guy doing?” he asked, nodding in Ted’s direction. “Practicing a soliloquy or something?”

    “Nah,” the waitress replied disinterestedly. “Just some drunk guy, talking to his reflection in a mirror.”

    3+
  9. Lesley Turrell
    28 September 2018 at 1:11 pm

    298 words
    Reformed Character; Pub; Thriller

    Lights Out

    Jerrick, the barman, sees the guy holding his head. ‘What is the problem, this time?’
    ‘Too much sex, drugs and rock and roll. It’s messed with my head. I keep hearing banging. Regular, rhythmic banging.’ Catweazle had been a child of the sixties. He still is. His beard and hair are longer and greyer, only his tales remain the same. Tonight he is setting up to record the gig, a real challenge to video in the undercroft by candle light.
    ‘There’s no drums tonight, just a lute player and flautist. You know they love the acoustic resonance from the three foot thick stone walls.’
    ‘I swear there was a knocking noise. Unlike back in the day, my thoughts are clear and free from mind-altering chemicals.’
    ‘Get real.’ Jerrick is losing patience. ‘ I know it’s a medieval space, but honestly there’s no ghosts here.
    ‘If there were ghosts, who could they be?’
    ‘The monks used to use that wooden door, over where the musicians set up, to visit Norwich Cathedral, or possibly ladies of the night.
    ‘Have you checked it lately?’
    Jerrick was having none of it. ‘My hands are freezing. There’s no heating on down here. I’m getting a coffee. Do you want one, or have you been indulging in other things to keep you warm?’ Spirits, perhaps?’
    ‘Just check for me, or I won’t settle?’
    Jerrick grabs the key with the Louis Marchise logo on it from behind the bar. They insert it in the lock of the misshapen door. The frame hugs the uneven sides of the stone walls. They can now hear a weak tapping from the other side.
    Catweazle is unsure whether to run.
    ‘At last, I thought I’d be stuck in here all night.’ Bob, the manager was so relieved to be free.

    2+
  10. Angelique Pacheco
    28 September 2018 at 1:20 pm

    299 words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    Muso Musings

    I sip slowly on my strong coffee, careful not to touch anything but the handle. Enamel mugs will burn you out of spite. The gig is over, and I can relax for a bit before the work begins.

    I watch the others. Sam is flexing his giant man boobs at a table of underage groupies. He’ll probably see some action tonight. That one is all brawn but no brains, except for the one in his pants. He is tall, handsome and the lead singer of the band. He is also my brother.

    Megan is sitting at another table staring at Sam in the love-struck manner we’ve come to know. If only she knew that I was the one who loved her. But she will never look at a roadie even if that roadie is responsible for the entire band’s success.

    Jim and Jerry are twins and the guitarists in the band. They are in constant competition with each other and are currently trying to see how many burgers they can stuff themselves with before they vomit.

    I don’t know why I’ve stayed this long. Is it for Megan, the one true love of my life? Is it because society dictates that you are loyal to your family, no matter what? Is it the fun and games you have while travelling the world and seeing new and wonderful places? Is it worth it if you can’t share it with someone special?

    Sam stands up and moves towards the door. Two groupies are hanging from each muscle bulging arm. He winks at me. I know what that means. He’ll come past my trailer tonight for the new songs I’ve written, and he’ll show them to the others as his own tomorrow. I sigh and stand up. There’s work to be done.

    3+
  11. 28 September 2018 at 2:02 pm

    @alysia_ascovani
    300 words
    Reformed Character; Pub; Soliloquy

    Darkfall

    The small, crowded space echoed its raucous occupants. Beer, whiskey, and spirits were constantly being tossed back in celebration. Every person in the room held a glass or a bottle.

    All but one.

    One of the few females in the pub, she sat alone at a table in the corner, watching how carefree everyone else had become. Her brows furrowed as she drummed her fingers lightly against the stained wooden tabletop. Strands of her cropped black hair fell across the tops of her eyes; a hand brushing them did nothing to move them aside.

    Her eyes turned forlornly to the empty chair beside her, cast in shadow as it should be. “You should be here, Semira. We won, you know. I remember you said that we would, and I was a fool not to trust in you.”

    The wild clamor dulled to a more soft murmur as she continued to speak.

    “You saved me, Semira, pulled me back from the darkness I had chosen for myself.” Her voice shook as her vision blurred. “I would not be here today if not for you. You gave me the world.”

    A raw, aching wail pierced the now silent pub. “But, why did you give yours for me? I wasn’t worth it, sister, not then, and certainly not now. I know what I promised you all those years ago, but I cannot keep that promise any longer.”

    Her chair scraped the ground as she stood. “I changed myself for you, and without you, Semira, kindness is no longer worth the effort.”

    Her eyes darkened, fitting for the gaunt cast of her features. “The darkness is all that is left for me now. I’m so sorry, sister.”

    A single tear fell. “I can only hope you will forgive me if we ever meet again.”

    4+
    • 28 September 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Should be an end quote after ‘sister’ in the second to last line.

      0
      • Geoff Holme
        29 September 2018 at 5:34 am

        Added. (Surprised I missed that one!)

        0
  12. Deanna Salser
    28 September 2018 at 2:34 pm

    @beadanna7
    299 words
    Father; Hillside; Drama

    A Grassy Grave

    Justin was on his way to mend the south fence when he found Kyle, nearly tripped over him in the tall grass, barely managing to catch himself after stepping on one of his arms. He was lying with them stretched out, as if he were holding onto the hill, fingers dug deep into the roots beneath him. Justin was so stunned he sat down hard on his butt beside him, unable to take his eyes away from his son.

    He’d been missing almost a week, Justin refusing to search, though his wife insisted something was wrong. She could feel it, she said, but Kyle had confided to his father that he was sweet on the girl from the neighboring farm. Justin thought he’d gone courtin’, but had to admit he’d been worried as well.

    He sat beside his son, tears streaming down his cheeks, and thought about the boy he had been. He wondered what had happened to him, why he had died out here, alone on the hill. He looked so peaceful, like he was sleeping, but when Justin climbed to his feet, and tried to pick up his son, to take him home, he found he couldn’t lift him up. Prying one hand from the soil, he tried to lift the arm, meaning to put it around his shoulder for leverage, when he noticed that the grass was growing out of the skin, all along Kyle’s arm. Horrified, he peeked beneath it, his mouth dropping open in shock as he saw the long, skinny roots trailing from under his son’s arm, and going into the ground beneath him. Then Kyle’s eyelids opened, and his eyeballs rose up on stalks of grass, growing from his sockets. Justin fainted, and the grass whispered as it grew steadily toward him.

    2+
  13. Alva Holland
    28 September 2018 at 3:51 pm

    @Alva1206
    284 words
    Hermit; Hillside; Soliloquy

    General Sherman’s Brain

    You can’t see the giant sequoia in my head. It spreads its filtering shadows, enabling predatory evil.

    In the near forest the canopy allows the stalker to hunt and the victim to hide. It’s a double-sided beast, just like in my head. Every day, the cast of characters play the same game, with varying results, usually gruesome. The sun participates in a sneaky way.

    You never saw the sun as sneaky? You should see the way it flicks and darts, creating illusions, faking light, exposing shadows, exterminating them. The shadow exterminator is indiscriminate, like the flickering glare in my head, constantly jerking, twitching, unnerving me.

    Here they come now, to trample through the near forest. Educational, they say. Exercise, they protest. Saving the planet in their own disturbed way. Don’t they know the planet would be entirely safe without their interference?

    As they look skywards to the trees, can they see inside my head? I feel invaded, seized, perfused with their good intentions. My life is as good as theirs. I don’t try to change them.

    Only, I will kill them if they persist.

    Yes, you, white-bearded outdoor type with your wax jacket and your camouflage pants, your laced-up hiking boots and your wool hat, your trekking pole and backpack. You’re not welcome here on my mountain.

    Yes, you call it a hill.

    Get off my mountain.

    The far forest is a different place where sunlight is unable to play its tricks, for it knows it’s not welcome here. The kapok rises above the ceiba, thick and impenetrable.

    No-one will ever discover the evil here. No-one will ever learn my truths.

    Not unless they fell the giant sequoia in my head.

    3+
    • Geoff Holme
      28 September 2018 at 6:45 pm

      Disturbing and chilling, Alva. This is much more like a soliloquy to me.

      [ No need to add your name at the top of your entry – it’s right there next to your cheeky avatar! 😉 ]

      2+
      • Alva Holland
        29 September 2018 at 1:48 am

        Thanks, Geoff.
        Let’s see if my frazzled brain remembers that next time.

        1+
  14. Belladonna Grave
    28 September 2018 at 4:33 pm

    293 words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Crime

    True Happiness

    “Why did she leave?!?” he cried out in heartbroken torment, between mouthfuls of mealy slop.
    The other diners at The Greasy Spoon Café, a middle-o’-nowhere food-hole, remained stubbornly intent on their sub-standard fare.
    “It’s your own fault, buddy. You made her leave. Besides, she wouldn’t shut up. She needed to go.”, said the dark gentleman across the table.
    #
    They’d met on the road.
    Her, a small-time jazz singer of little renown, and him, a love-struck fan tagging along to ‘help’, in hopes of getting closer to the object of his desire.
    The affair had been short-lived. Half dream, half nightmare, like a spring storm, brief and devastating.
    #
    “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” he shouted out in sudden anger, but still unable to bring himself to rise. “I didn’t want this!! All I wanted was to make her happy!!” The food in his mouth spluttered all over the table, dribbled down his chin.
    The familiar dark figure rose from his seat, stepped smoothly out the booth, and as he passed the man to leave, whispered coldly, “You did. Now she’ll be happy forever…”
    #
    He wiped Mr. Simmons’ chin one last time with the cloth.
    Every day the same routine, every day the same words.
    The orderly stood, packed up the food-tray and, taking one last look at the writhing form bound to the bed, left.

    Mr. Simmons lifted his head from the food-stained pillow just in time to see an all too familiar figure follow the orderly out, a shadow of a memory of his former self, and hear its icy whisper echo in his threadbare consciousness, “They’ll never find where I left her sleeping. Happy forever…”
    Mr. Simmons’ voice followed the orderly down the eerily silent corridor, “Happy forever…”

    1+
  15. 28 September 2018 at 4:36 pm

    @stellakateT
    235 words
    Shepherd; Greasy Spoon Café; Crime

    Hell Bent

    He pushed open the café door, his feet sticking to the floor. Ella had warned him to change his boots before going out, but when Tom told him about the thefts, he thought a bit of sheep shit wouldn’t harm this lot.

    No one looked up from their builder’s tea or the greasy food that was leading these overweight customers straight to a stroke, heart attack or worse. Too busy wondering what to back in the 3.30 at Chepstow, seeing all the copies of the Racing Post being read.

    He approached the counter. The woman stirring the huge pot of baked beans smiled. She was quite pretty; not in Ella’s league, but too good for this place.

    “Bacon sandwich, please, and a lamb kebab.”

    Sitting at a Formica table, he examined the sandwich: sniffing it, trying to decide if it was Tom’s gourmet special bacon. He thought about his sheep — the love, devotion and long hours he put in to gain medals, awards and recognition.

    The lamb kebab was delicious; far too good for this place.

    When the police came for him, tracked by the deposits left from his boots, he pleaded guilty. He’d burnt down that greasy spoon. When he heard the owner in court saying he’d bought the lamb and bacon from Lidl, he’d laughed out loud. No one produced such good tasting meat and sold it for so little. That was criminal!

    1+
    • Geoff Holme
      30 September 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Nice one, Stella!
      [ Glad you could finally make it back to Microcosms after all this time. Here’s hoping we’ll ‘meat’ again! ]

      0
  16. 28 September 2018 at 5:31 pm

    @el_stevie
    275 words
    Roadie; Hillside; Soliloquy

    Faeries Wear Boots

    Bloody stupid idea. If we were going to eat them, fair enough. But bones? Don’t get paid enough for that. String a guitar, shout ‘1 2 1 2’ to a crowd of drunks, pull the singer out of a mosh pit, wall of death, yeah that’s what I signed up for. Not sitting in the sodding middle of nowheresville, whilst they play Little Bo Peep. Jez’s bright idea. Skulls and stuff to tart up the stage, give the right ‘doom’ vibes.

    Christ, the sound they’re making is enough to wake the dead, well the farmer anyway, and they’re pretty corpse-like in these parts. Bones. It’s all about bones these days. Used to be flesh, all that young flesh … But no. Now The Grinning Skulls want skeletons on stage and tea at rehearsals. Tea! At least it’s not warm milk … yet. Sad but true. Everything dies … in the end, even metal.

    Leave them to it. Let them run around the hillside in this light, let them break their necks. All they do is prat around on stage anyway. It’s the likes of me that makes them appear good. And I can play the riffs better than old Billy Boy on lead. But I don’t look the part. Since the ‘90’s it’s all been falling away from me. Jez says I’m paranoid. Possibly.

    What the …? Sounds like someone’s been hurt. What did they expect this time of day, to trip the light fantastic? Trip. ‘shrooms. Might be some round here. A way of passing the time anyway.

    What you looking at? Think I’m Mary, do you, sheep?

    Yeah … and faeries wear boots.

    1+
  17. 28 September 2018 at 11:46 pm

    @AnElephantNever
    297 words
    Roadie; Greasy Spoon Café; Soliloquy

    Elephants Never Reflect

    Rick eases onto a stool as the counter server sets down his mug. On the makeshift stage in the corner, Powell starts a new song.
    “Yeah, big guy, that’s the one!” Rick yells, mug halfway to his lips. Then more softly, “Mmm, good coffee. Zoning board must require proof of coffee quality if you call it a ‘diner’. Oh, and we’ve got dancers! Man, people love this song. Can’t blame ’em – electric cello whipping around, Powell’s trunk writhing on the strings, and the bow flies fast and furious. That’s right: Thirty shows down and I’m still a fanboy.”
    Rick takes a long sip.
    “Ah, but ‘Song of the Wild Grass’ does that,” he continues. “It invokes your Bohemian urges and summons the Nat Geo in your soul. You picture Powell walking with his herd across the grasslands of Kenya. Then you see him here, playing to townies in a greasy, Morristown diner. And that makes the song deep, wistful, like a meditation on lost origins.”
    Rick chuckles.
    “All that goes over Powell’s head, though. You know the saying: elephants never reflect. Whether on the savanna or in civilization’s shadow, they keep moving. Powell carries no baggage, just plows ahead. I suppose when you’re that size, inertia gets tough to fight.
    “Hell, I’m one to talk. I’ve fished albacore near Iwaco, slung drinks in Park City, and now I’m a roadie in Jersey. Even that has an expiration date. Powell will lose steam, move on to another art form. Maybe he’ll spray paint from his trunk and become the pachyderm Pollack. Still, hell of ride till now.
    “As for me, maybe I’ll join another herd. Powell said his cousin fishes bluefin off Gloucester. No thanks, dear, no refill. Set’s wrapping up, I have to get back to work.”

    1+

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