Microcosms 162

Hello again, flashionistas, and welcome to Microcosms 162.
 

REMEMBER!

(1) You have just 24 hours until midnight, today (Friday) New York time (EST) to write and submit your masterpiece.
(2) All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title)
(3) NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS
(4) Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
(5) Do NOT give details of your entry on social media, your blog, etc. until the Results post is live
(6) If you are new to Microcosms, PLEASE check out the full submission guidelines 

 

15-FEB is the last day of Go Green Week, highlighting climate change and promoting greener alternatives.

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:

Eco Warrior; Rainforest; Romance

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, 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.

 

  • Vegan
  • Snow Plough Driver
  • Climate Change Denier
  • Solar Panel Installer
  • Eco Warrior
  • Firefighter
  • Allotment
  • Plastic Alternatives Laboratory
  • Rainforest
  • Recycling Centre
  • Wind Farm
  • Climate Change Conference
  • Romance
  • Comedy
  • Poetry
  • Adventure
  • Crime
  • Sci-Fi

 

Spin!

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

 
All being well, results will be posted next Monday.

Microcosms 163
Microcosms 161

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13 comments for “Microcosms 162

  1. 15 February 2019 at 5:56 am

    Having doubled checked the name of this week’s judge, I hope you all enjoy my entry this week

    @The_Red_Fleece
    http://www.TheRedFleece.co.uk
    284 words
    Vegan; Recycling Centre; Comedy

    Never Date a Nigel

    New dating rule. Never date anyone called Nigel. I realise it is wrong to judge a whole group of men purely based on their first name but a pattern is emerging.
    The first Nigel I dated posted on his ‘V. Dating’ profile moments after our date had finished, ‘wined, dined, sixty-nined’. Creep!
    The second Nigel was far worse; he thought he was funny.
    “I didn’t know you were vegan,” he kept saying over and over and over again as if it were a great secret. I met him on a vegetarian dating app. What did he think the ‘V’ stood for? I was even wearing my ‘Animals are amazing, not an Aperitif’ t-shirt at the time. He still ordered a steak. The poor thing was mooing when it arrived.
    The second date was worse. His attempt at vegan curry included chicken because ‘it needed some flavour’. Chicken has no flavour. It is the least flavoursome meat. Chicken is to meat what white paper is to art.
    Thankfully his cooking is as bad as his taste buds. I did him with a still frozen carrot he’d been trying to cook. So hard was the orange pointy object I could have cut up his body with it but decided using a steak knife was more ironic. Job completed, disposal was the next question. To reach almost Alanis Morissette levels of irony I should have fed him to a cow. However, I didn’t know where I would find one in the centre of London, so off to the local recycling centre we went, in his car of course. He made a pleasant thud as each part of him fell through the unwanted bits of other people’s gardens.

    3+
    • Eloise
      15 February 2019 at 9:24 am

      I enjoyed the twist at the end of the article.

      1+
  2. Eloise
    15 February 2019 at 10:07 am

    289 words
    Eco Warrior; Rainforest; Crime

    Run Free, Little Pangolins

    Clodevo García’s love for pangolins started in a restaurant. No, he wasn’t one of those ghastly people who indulged in the flesh of pangolin. Instead he was working towards their freedom. He had been employed for about a week ago at the wildlife restaurant. The only way Garcia was able to not eat the eclectic mix of food was to say that he was vegan. He walked out of the kitchen to his table. A thickset man sitting there. Gracia walked passed the table and out the door. The owner of the restaurant rushed behind him.
    “Hey. Where are you going? The man at your table is a VIP” said Mr Jin.
    “Sorry, sir. I just need some fresh air”
    “Fine! Five minutes” Mr Jin stalked back into the restaurant.
    Garcia put his hands behind his head and screamed silently. What was Agent Green doing?
    Garcia went back in. A slimy hand grabbed his wrist. He stopped.
    “I know what your doing” hissed Agent Green
    “Let go! I have not time for this. I need to wait my tables.” Jin walked past. “What would you like to drink, sir?” asked Garcia politely to Agent Green.
    “Green tea and bring me a pangolin” Green’s gold tooth glinted as he smiled.
    Garcia marched to the back. Tonight would have be it.

    Now he stood in the rainforest with three little pangolins sitting at his feet. He quickly sliced the bags open. They remained curled up. He edged away from them. Slowly their snouts started to sniff the air. A flash light scanned the night sky. These little ones needed to move fast else they would be back in the restaurant tonight and Garcia would be served up on the menu too.

    1+
  3. 15 February 2019 at 12:30 pm

    http://www.engleson.ca
    @billmelaterplea
    299 words
    Vegan; Allotment; Comedy

    Excerpts from the Delirious Diary of Delbert Dilettante

    October, 1967

    Its frightening to think about. Never in my wildest adolescent dreams did I imagine one might live a full life without bologna. Or chicken livers. Or… my very favorite food, pan-fried wieners. Here, in this commune, the air rife with the scent of incense, cinnamon, which captured my nostrils from the get-go, probably because of the slabs of cinnamon toast mother regularly made me as a child, Rainbow Mary took me to her bosom last night, suckled me with worldly wisdom, posed the question I’ve never dared asked: “do we really need to eat meat?”.

    July, 1974

    I live with this nagging quagmire every day. Yet, I continue to surrender to the savour, the flavour of flesh, steaks, of course, and burgers smothered in mushrooms, layered with wheels of cheese, the question, Rainbow Mary’s plaintive query, continues to flutter my moral compass, “meat, or not to meat?” Suzette, a committed carnivore, and I have been together for three years. We have one child, Gordon, who, at two, is the meat-eating pride of his mother. Every so often, I raise the question, “do we really need to eat meat?”
    Suzette will have none of it.

    Can our love survive?

    December, 1982

    Why do I keep scribbling in this stupid diary? I have been a restless single man for so long now. My diet, fractured though it is, dictates my relationships. I’ve fully freed myself from organ meat. While vegetarian noodle casseroles are my primary sustenance, supplemented by wedges of deep-fried tofu, I still seek out the skin of crispy chicken.

    The guilt is enormous.

    May, 2002

    I have found my calling. Here, surrounded by high-rises bursting with meat-eaters galore, an historical oasis of urban vegetable growing.

    Raw delights!

    Carrots!

    Kale!

    Even the unholy turnip.

    I am finally home.

    3+
  4. 15 February 2019 at 3:22 pm

    @ellengwriter
    300 words
    Vegan; Wind farm; Sci-fi

    This Is Not A Customer Service Announcement

    Linda’s computer beeped. A new message appeared in the chat window: green text on a black background.

    GOOD MORNING LINDA HOW ARE YOU

    Linda rolled her shoulders. Typed out a reply.

    I am well, thank you. How are you?

    WE ARE VERY WELL THANK YOU FOR ASKING

    How goes your report?

    WE HAVE MADE A DISTURBING DISCOVERY

    Linda bit her lip. That was never good news.

    What is this discovery?

    WE HAVE DISCOVERED THAT YOU HUMANS ARE HYPOCRITES

    I am sorry you feel that way. May I ask the reason for your concerns?

    Linda had the longest streak of resolving disputes in a company’s favour than anyone else on the planet. Hence when the aliens first requested – or, rather, demanded – a spokesperson speak on behalf of the human race (or, as the aliens put it, the dominant intelligent life form of Earth), Linda had been selected. She was put up in a cabin on top of a cliff (a tactical advantage, the military said) overlooking the sea (yet another tactical advantage). She was given a computer with a direct link to the spaceship in orbit, powered by the turbines out to the sea before her. All her needs were cared for. She just needed to listen to the aliens and respond appropriately.

    She just needed to listen the report they were compiling about her home planet. She just needed to pass on their demands.

    YOU HAVE FORGONE CONSUMING THE FLESH OF YOUR LESS INTELLIGENT BRETHREN

    Linda still remembered steak. She was one of the unlucky ones, in that sense.

    Yes.

    YOU HAVE FORGONE PRODUCTS OBTAINED THROUGH BRETHREN EXPLOITATION

    Yes.

    Linda tried not to think about cheese.

    AND YET YOU CONTINUE TO FARM YOUR WIND

    Linda gulped.

    Yes.

    FARMING WILL NOT BE TOLERATED YOUR CHANCES ARE UP WE WILL DESCEND TOMORROW

    1+
  5. Angelique Pacheco
    15 February 2019 at 3:29 pm

    299 words
    Eco Warrior; Rainforest; Romance

    Leaves of Love

    He stared at her lovingly like he always did. She was a beauty. Her long dark hair cascaded over her shoulders like a waterfall and her skin was as pale as ice. She walked into the water, naked. She always bathed here but he was sure she would never spot him. Hiding in plain sight was what he was good at.

    She washed her hair with a piece of soaproot. Her home was a mere fifteen steps from the river. So far removed from her life just a year ago. Back then, she was an advertising executive living in the ‘Big Apple’. Her main concern revolved around whether the local coffee bar could supply her ever growing addiction to caffeine. One day she lost a huge account, one for a ‘green’ company. She wasn’t surprised really. What did she know about the environment? But the loss was huge, and her company fired her. She walked out of the office, drew all her cash out of her account and taxied to the airport. When all was said and done and she landed, she found herself in Manaus and there she bought supplies. That was a year ago. She lived on her own in the rainforest, she fed herself and clothed herself (although really, some days she didn’t even bother). It was a simple life but now she knew she could never go back. She was determined to save nature. The wind rustled though the trees and she looked at the magnificent oak on the bank.

    She seemed to be looking right at him. He stood as tall as he could and even danced a little, shaking his leaves. She got out of the water and walked past him caressing his trunk. She would save them all. How he loved her!

    2+
  6. 15 February 2019 at 4:22 pm

    @geofflepard
    Vegan, allotment, comedy
    299words
    Finding A Way
    Delphine Tombola knew from Primary school that the faith she would embrace would need to provide her with a complete and comprehensive way of living. She dabbled with the four major religions and dropped them once they revealed their inherent internal contradictions. Others came and went in clouds of controversy and complications. She explored the thoughts of Yogi and shaman without success. Jediism seemed the answer but when her mentor, a plumber offered to draw her away from the Dark Side through the inappropriate application of his light saber, she moved on.
    That’s when she stumbled on the tenets of Veganism, a faith so simplistic yet so all-encompassing that a natural evangelist like Delphine knew she’d found her calling.
    She created a new persona, including heraldic shield (turnips sinister entwined around a courgette rampant) and a hairdo best described as ‘distressed kale’.
    Her pride was her allotment and her determination to ensure the purity of her vegetables. The compost was free of all animal waste, the power to her shed was vegan-certified and nothing leather was allowed on her little piece of heaven.
    It came as something of a shock, therefore when she found out from her neighbour, something of a local historian, that prior to being allotments the site had been an overspill graveyard and while the neighbour assured her all the bodies had been removed she couldn’t shake the idea that some molecule from a decayed deceased might have found its way into one of her beloved potatoes.
    It was all too much. She needed something certain, something simple, something that would give her a clear purpose in life. That is why, finally, she gave herself, body and soul to the Leave campaign. After all, she mused over her cocoa, what could be simpler than organizing Brexit?

    2+
    • 15 February 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Okay. Definitely didn’t see that ending coming. You got a literal LOL over here. (Also: Loved the heraldry.)

      0
  7. Deanna Salser
    15 February 2019 at 4:48 pm

    @beadanna7
    300 words
    Eco Warrior; Rain Forest; Romance

    With Liberty and Justice for All (The Trees)

    Zack dodged around the side of the giant tractor a moment before it ground across the spot where he had just been standing. He brushed his hair out of his eyes as he watched the immense earth mover trundling by inches in front of him, barely clearing his toes. The ground trembled, shaking loose a shower of droplets to rain down on him from the thick canopy above. He dashed the water from his eyes in time to catch a glimpse of the shadowy figure inside, as she leaned close to the window, illuminating her features. Hey, that was Cara! What was she doing playing devil’s advocate, tearing these ancient trees from their resting place? He leapt onto the vehicle and began to climb.

    Cara jammed her foot down on the brake pedal and shifted quickly into park. That fool had almost gotten himself killed! She had seen him for only a second, leaping out of her path and disappearing into her blind spot. The heavy equipment ground to a halt as she pushed open the door and swung onto the ladder leading up to the top of the vehicle, meaning to give him a piece of her mind.

    Zack reached the roof at the same time as Cara, both of their faces showing their ire as they faced off. Moss green eyes met hers of crystal blue, and they stuttered to a stop as their chemistry became a tangible, undeniable force between them, disabling their outrage. Their hands reached blindly toward one another, entwining together as if magnetized. A shared thought passed between them, and they grinned at one another, their individual purposes now linked.

    The project engineer scratched his head in puzzlement. What the hell had gotten into her? His best driver had just bulldozed their entire camp.

    1+
  8. Matilda Rice
    15 February 2019 at 6:57 pm

    @Matilda40119810
    299 words
    Eco Warrior; Climate Change Conference; Crime

    We Are Killers

    I always loved the ocean. Standing knee-deep in its liquid blue, I felt loved and protected; safe in a way that I never felt on land. Its cold embrace encompassed every inch of my skin, slowly leeching the heat away from my flesh, leaving me soothingly numb. It was perfect and whole: a flawless haven in a world that was falling apart at the seams. Until everything changed.

    The shift was gradual, at least at first. Small bottles began to appear along the beach, buried beneath the golden sand like hidden treasures. They had seemed so special then; tiny gifts from the waves. I used to fill them with sand and throw them back, watching as they sank into the sapphire depths. I wish I hadn’t now.

    I remember the day the ocean changed. By then almost everything was different; each aspect of the world already broken and mutated. But the ocean was different. It was powerful and strong; an eternal force in a world of weakness. It resisted, fought back.

    Until one day it didn’t.

    The day it gave in was the day I lost hope. Looking at its faded cobalt surface being smothered beneath the synthetic white and grey objects that already covered the earth, I knew that the fight was over. There was nothing left to save.

    I felt alone and lost, desperate for salvation. I went to every conference, listened to every speech, searching blindly for a solution, but deep down I knew there was none. I watched as ‘experts’ paraded across the stage, spreading lies of hope to the world whilst turning a blind eye to the truth: our planet was dead. We destroyed it slowly and watched as it died, doing nothing to save it. We are killers.

    And now we must pay.

    4+
  9. 15 February 2019 at 7:19 pm

    @alysia_ascovani
    185 Words
    Vegan; Rainforest; Poetry

    Forsaken Rapture

    Gentle, upon slick stones she stood
    Her breath bathed by the fragrant wood
    Lost in bliss, she lowered her hood
    Things were not good, things were not good

    Her skirts flowed atop the water
    Nature the world wished to slaughter
    A fate she resolved to alter
    For her daughter, for her daughter

    Before her a vast waterfall
    Shimmering mists answer the call
    Her barren soul do they enthrall
    It must not fall, it must not fall

    A wild melody filled her ears
    Brought her down to her knees in tears
    Naught at all could allay her fears
    Sweet were the cheers, sweet were the cheers

    How were their views so far askew
    After all, animals live too
    Evil had seized them, this is true
    What could she do, what could she do

    Around her, nature was so rich
    Everything so alive to twitch
    Her spirit, vibrant life did bewitch
    So joined on pitch, so joined on pitch

    Her eyes sparkled a brilliant gleam
    Ecstasy on her face to beam
    Along with nature did she scream
    So she fell to dream, so she fell to dream

    1+
  10. Kirsty Peto
    15 February 2019 at 7:22 pm

    @KirstyPeto
    298 words
    Firefighter; Rainforest; Poetry

    Planet Saving Poems

    “Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Stop cutting down the rainforest I beg of you.

    Don’t burn it down,
    I will fight that fire…”

    “Please stop now, your poetry is dire.”

    “You can mock if you like but when my poems help fight global warming you will be telling everyone ‘I was there when Hayley Hawkins wrote that poem, if only I had realised I was in the presence of a literary genius.’ You wait.”

    “So you’re a firefighter and a poet now? Is there anything you can’t do?”

    “Sing?”

    “Doesn’t stop you though does it?”

    “Nope! Anyway, you said my singing was cute.”

    “Not for three hours straight when I’m jet lagged and in the middle of nowhere. I knew I should have packed ear plugs.”

    “But then you wouldn’t get to hear my poetry or my singing.”

    “I came to the rainforest to hear the sound of nature and do research for my article, not have you singing in my ear.”

    “Oh come on Dan, lighten up. Besides, I was trying to help you with your writing so you should be thanking me.”

    “When you started singing all the birds flew away and I could definitely hear the sounds of scurrying insects when you started with the poetry.”

    “Well at least there will be no bugs in the hut tonight. You’re welcome.”

    “I think you should stick to fighting fires and I’ll focus on the poetry. Besides, my articles don’t feature poems.”

    “Well maybe they should. How about:

    Me and my girlfriend are in the rainforest,
    And she’s wowing me with her poetry powers,
    When we get home I will go to the florist,
    And get her a giant bunch of flowers.”

    “I’ll put it down as a maybe if you stop.”

    “Hayley: 1, Dan: 0.”

    1+
  11. 15 February 2019 at 8:11 pm

    @graythebruce
    291 words
    Eco Warrior; Climate Change Conference; Sci-Fi

    Age of Project

    —————————————————
    Room: Congo
    Age of Project: 5 years
    —————————————————
    They entered together, but they’re shaking different hands, looking different directions, in mutual orbit yet remote in ways apparent to a careful observer. They choose appetizers from plates while the walls around them play before footage of the Congo basin, deforestation, mining runoff, Western lowland gorillas. As footage advances to the present, so milling donors can see the effects of largesse, she says to her date, “Do you think we’re better off than we were five years ago?” It takes him a moment to realize she means us, the couple, not us the planet, for the larger us so often dominates their talk.

    —————————————————
    Room: Greenland Ice Cap
    Age of Project: 8 years
    —————————————————
    “No,” he says. “Have you?”
    She shakes her head, but why else bring it up?
    On screen, geoengineers work to save glaciers with reflective aerosols, screens, diffusing lenses parked in geosynchronous orbits. Trying to hold things together after years of neglect.
    The after picture isn’t great. A voiceover says more funds are needed.

    —————————————————
    Room: New American Dust Bowl
    Age of Project: 2 years
    —————————————————
    “You thinking of seeing the Gobi desert room next?” she asks.
    He shrugs.
    “You should.”
    “You going with?”
    She shakes her head. “Was thinking about the kelp forest room.”
    “I see.”
    He does.

    —————————————————
    Room: Central Hub
    —————————————————
    She’s heading alone across the hub, toward the wavering, submarine dark of the kelp room, when a man approaches. Face familiar, name beyond recall. He says something funny, and she laughs, head tilted back. As the man falls in step beside her, she’s fiddling with her hair. Her former companion sees this, too.

    —————————————————
    Room: Hell
    Age of Project: Who gives a damn
    —————————————————
    For an immersive experience, they keep the Gobi room sizzling hot.

    ###

    1+

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