Microcosms 3

Hey, everyone – welcome back to Microcosms! 😀

You may or may not know this, but the 15th of January is National Hat Day. As you also may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of hats! As such, I thought it would be fun to pick some characters and locations that we associate with hats.

As usual, our contest will begin with three things: character, setting, and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are character: magician, setting: the Old West, and genre: sci-fi. Whoa.

Feel free to write a story using those or spin a new set of your own (tons to choose from this week). Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.

  • religious figure
  • jester
  • magician
  • pirate
  • police officer
  • cowboy
  • mariachi singer
  • gangster
  • explorer
  • gentleman
  • chef
  • baseball player
  • matador
  • house of worship
  • castle
  • stage/li>
  • ship
  • crime scene
  • the Old West
  • Mexico
  • 1920s America
  • 1920s Africa
  • an opera house
  • kitchen
  • baseball field
  • Spain
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week are last week’s winners, dazmb, Jessica Franken, and Voima Oy. 🙂

All submissions should be 100 words in length, give or take 10 words (90 – 110 words). You have until midnight, New York time to submit.

Winners will receive a copy of the Kindle version of Flashdogs : Solstice : Dark: Volume II (currently available in the US, the UK, Australia, and other territories), or a similarly priced book of their choosing; alternatively, winners may elect to have the monetary equivalent donated to World Reader or another literacy-related charity.

If you like, you may incorporate the following photo prompt (not required).

cat wearing a hat and smoking a cigarillo
Jermyn Street by Linkson Jack

Microcosms 4
Microcosms 2

39 thoughts on “Microcosms 3

  1. Tombstoned

    “Wyatt, have ya heard?”

    “Yup, I have Virg. Billy Ravine’s back in town. Swears this time he’ll get proper building permits from Sheriff Johnny Behan and build his damn OKAY Choral.”

    “Billy’s full of tricks, Wyatt. He may be small but he is a bigtime sleight of hand artist.

    “Tell me about it. Ever since he learned to yodel from that conniving Swiss tabby hunter, Heidi Seek, he’s been hell bent to turn Tombstone into an entertainment destination.”

    “What ya gonna do? He’s messin’ terrible with western ways.”

    “Ike Clanton and I bin talkin’. We’re gonna have a shootout. Bullets! Blood! Bodies! That’ll make Billy sing a different tune.”

    110 bits of pseudo- American vernacular
    Magician/Old West/ Sci-fi-comedy

  2. @jujitsuelf
    100 words
    Magician(s)/Old West/Sci-fi.

    The Beginning


    My aunt was crazy. Her cat was sane and hated me. Why they’d invited me out to the backwoods of Wisconsin perplexed me, it was no place for magic. Folk lived by guns, not spells.

    The wand in my pocket was a comfort as Sir Agravaine watched me step into their little cabin. He was a spoiled cat, proud of his intelligence and disdainful of mine.

    “Michael!” my aunt cried in delight.

    Sir Agravaine drew on the cigar in his mouth. “Time to begin. How do you feel about starting a war?”

    The door slammed behind me. Oh dear.


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    108 words
    Magician / Old West / Sci-Fi

    * * *

    “No pistol, old man?” says Robo-Joe. “I have no problem shooting you unarmed.”

    Dexter The Magnificent just shows his empty hands.

    Robo-Joe chuckles. “Your funeral.”

    The crowd look on as man and machine face off in the centre of town, twenty paces apart, waiting for the clock to strike noon.






    Bang! Bang! Bang!

    Robo-Joe’s pistol is back in the holster, job done.

    Yet the old man still stands.

    Between them both are three silver butterflies.

    Robo-Joe draws again, but his pistol has become a banana.

    The old man now holds Robo-Joe’s clockwork heart.

    The crowd cheer.

    And that was the end of Robo-Joe.

  4. Shine On

    110 words

    The Old West

    Mephistopheles’ senses reeled as he nudged open the saloon doors. Smoke hung thick and greasy over the ribaldry. Honky-tonk blared from the stage; the pianist a real wild cat, cigar in teeth and bowler askew, pounding keys like a man possessed.

    “Alright Meph,” he whispered. “Time to shine.”

    Laughter turned to gasps as he threw back his cloak, releasing his true form. The “amateur” magician they mocked that evening was now truly a star, expanding molten heat setting nearby furniture aflame.

    “Tut-tut!” the pianist muttered. “Can’t have this.”

    With a wave of his hand Mephistopheles vanished. A terse nod, a satisfied smile, honky-tonk resumed over screams of panic and confusion.

  5. Heart of Darkness

    109 words

    Elements: gangster, 1920s Africa, horror


    A screech broke the silence.

    “Only an owl,” said Frank. The Congolese were a superstitious bunch. He started to sing. “Do do that voodoo …”

    “Marinette’s waiting,” said Henri, ignoring the American. “She waits to ride.”

    Frank smiled, his kind of woman.

    A rustle of leaves.


    And terror replaced expectation at the sight of bones that should not walk and light that shone from empty sockets.

    “I have brought my offering,” said Henri.

    Something splashed on Frank, he looked round at Henri in surprise, he could smell, taste gasoline.

    Henri struck a match.

    And Frank danced for Marinette; just one more Mafioso who’d lost their heart to darkness.

  6. Not from round these parts, are you?

    “Turn ’round, Gringo. Nice and slow. Keep your hands still.”

    Glikka licked its eyes in excitement. They mistook this form for human! How serendipitous! Pausing a moment to gain composure, there was a subliminal shimmer as some cilia responded early.

    It was enough to raise doubts. The Mexican who had given the order blew through his fingers just so as they traced a rune in the air. On top of his sombrero adorned with sigils picked out in sequins, his familiar materialised.

    Mr. Whiskers blinked. “Slap leather, boys!” he yowled around his cheroot and Glikka went down in a hail of lead.

    “Fukkin’ off-worlders!”

    104 words
    Magician/Old West/Sci-Fi

    Report user
  7. Whoops

    Marvin was late for tea.
    Since he could simply conjure a door and step into the parlor he required, he often waited until the last minute.
    Hands up and,
    Snap: blue door white trim.
    “What in tarnation?” asked a dusty mustache under a ten gallon hat.
    Snap: blue door yellow trim.
    A silent whooshing as the cosmos attempted to suck away all his oxygen.
    Snap: blue door lavender trim.
    “What took you so long, my goodman?” Leopold asked, whiskers twitching.
    “Couldn’t remember the exact color of your door. Lovely hat. Ah, fishcakes again?”

    95 words
    Magician / Old West / Sci-Fi

  8. That Floomin’ Cat

    Not real taxidermy. Just a slit up the back, stuffed with Mam’s old tights and sewn up with dental floss. Clever, eh? I added the hat and cigar.
    All right, I’ll come with you.
    That floomin’ cat used to give me such stares, like I’d crawled out of a sewer. And its owner Betty too. As if she’s Queen of the Castle when it’s only a house like ours. So I still like wearing my Stetson, chaps and cowboy hat. That’s not a crime.
    Fancy some hotpot? Made fresh from Mam’s recipe. No?
    I’ve just realised. You were asking about Betty, not the floomin’ cat. Oh … and Mam, too?

    110 words

    Report user
  9. The Bounty Hunter and the Chef
    100 words

    The ælectropede lurched toward the Mexican border, a slipping clutch valve hissed under the strain. Ms Chattula, (Bounty Hunter,) chewed her cigar and fought the steering.
    Ahead Pierre Cochon, the ‘Rogue Chef of Tucson’, hopped about in her sighting monocle. She’d pursued him across America, now she had him. The trigger clicked beneath her finger and the sprackle-gun spat a viscous stream at the cook. It hit his arm, spinning him round, ending his desperate flight.
    Ms Chattula got our of her vehicle, avoided a hissing pipe, and stood over her quarry. “I’m bringing home the bacon, Cochon,” she purred.

    Elements – Chef/Old West/Steampunk


  10. A V Laidlaw
    110 Words
    Magician / Old West / Science Fiction

    Tesla in the Desert

    I hope this letter finds you in fine health and good spirits. The desert air here out west agrees with me mightily. At night the stars are so beautiful and numerous, you feel you can touch them.

    My new employer, Mr Tesla, pays me 5 dollars a week for sundry assistance. He is a veritable wizard with electricity, putting on a show to shame those stage conjurers of New York. We are building a new kind of telegraph but he says the message has a long way to travel home and it may be some time before a reply.

    You can write me at Roswell Post Office, New Mexico Territory.

  11. ‘Hero on Holiday’
    105 Words
    Baseball player; Castle; Horror

    David ogled Bailey Mayhew from across the dungeon – fascinated that no one else standing around the dimly lit, horror show had noticed that the left-fielder from the Rockford Aviators was present. They were mainly locals, too busy having the ‘English castle experience’ – watching actors disembowel dummies.

    But David wasn’t local. Like his hero Mayhew, he was an American.

    “Excuse me!” he blurted, bounding forward with a grin.

    “Can I have your autograph?”

    “Look kid. I’m on holiday,” shrugged Mayhew, pulling the peak of his cap downwards.
    David felt like he’d been kicked in the stomach.

    That wasn’t how he’d dreamed it would be.

    Report user
  12. Always Hot
    108 words
    Elements: Magician, old west, sci-fi

    The Amazing Albert tapped theblood-filled top hat and pulled the demon up by the ten-gallon hat.

    “What in tarnation? You can’t keep calling on me, pardner. Your soul’s already startin’ to burn and boss ain’t even collected!”

    “Cowboy Demon, I command thee! Answer my questions two!”

    “Not three? One of ‘em must be a doozy.”

    “What are the specifications for a faster-than-light-speed spaceship?”

    “Hey, no problem, I’ll email them to you. What’s question two?”

    “Are you free for dinner?”

    Cowboy Demon blushed. It was a doozy.

    “Well, pardner, I know a great spot on the corner of Fire and Brimstone. The food ain’t fresh, but it’s always hot!”

    Report user
  13. Hat trick

    110 words
    Elements: magician, an opera house, fantasy

    Scene one. There are little puffs of smoke on stage. I’m on the edge of my red plush seat. The cat pulls the mouse out of the hat and swings him round like he’s Tom and the unfortunate mouse is Jerry. Chase, splat kerplunk and the curtain drops with a clank.

    Scene two. We (the audience) have been ejected from our seats and are all swinging into orbit above the stage. There’s a man pulling every kind of rodent out of the giant hat. Soprano and tenor rodents. The curtains drops but we’re behind it now.

    Notes from the Director: Tomorrow – no rodents. The cat does all the singing. Comprende?

  14. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110
    Chef / Kitchen / Comedy


    I’m a top-notch Michelin chef in a fancy Manchester restaurant – yeah, they do exist. On my day off, I like to tie one on.

    One time, I spent the evening in a bar, then went clubbing. When I staggered home, I couldn’t find my door key. I went round to the kitchen door and opened the catflap to see if I could reach the latch.

    Inside was my cat, wearing a bowler hat and smoking a cheroot. I blinked and thought “Woah! That’s weird… He normally only smokes coronas.”

    I said, “Tiddlesh, mate! Open the door and let us in!”

    He blew out a blue cloud, then said, “Me? ‘Ow?”

  15. Chicken Man
    102 words, Magician/the Old West/Sci Fi
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    The massive demon surveyed me balefully and snorted. When it stomped my direction, the ground shuddered from the impact of its steel shod hoof. The enormous flaming sword clove the apex star from my wizard’s hat and I fled, screaming, “Next!”

    A hail of bullets greeted me when I peeked over the bar top, including one that removed my ten-gallon hat. Whiskey bottles exploded over my head and the sudden alcoholic downpour drenched me. Shaken, I called out, “Settings!”

    The familiar Panopticon Goggles VR settings screen appeared. I don’t care what my gamer friends think; I’m switching difficulty from “Nightmare” to “Easy.”

  16. WC103
    Explorer/Kitchen/ Sci-Fi

    To Boldly Go…

    Catkin’s Log: Star Date: 615110. Since my last entry I have achieved my objective and infiltrated the human family unit. Training has begun. As intended, my aloofness has only served to draw them closer to me. Initially only permitted entry to the kitchen, I have now taken total command of the household. They feed me on demand and follow my orders, letting me out of the window in the middle of the night and cleaning up after me with little complaint. However the database will need some updating before you send the next expedition; cats here don’t wear hats nor do they smoke.

      1. Thank you. To be honest, I wrote this in the pub on Friday night, very quickly on my mobile, and then posted it to help make-up the numbers.
        I may have to make it a regular Friday thing.

    1. As soon as I read ‘Catkins log’ I carried on with a Shatner voice in my head.
      Great story. It’s almost purr-fect (sorry).

      1. Watching all those episodes of Star Trek had to come in handy eventually. Thanks for your comments.

  17. The Great Mercurio

    In tribute to the greatest entertainer that would ever live, he called himself The Great Mercurio. His reputation preceded him westward. He did a mean card trick, but everyone really wanted to see the miracle escape routine.

    His time machine had broken shortly after his arrival in 1845 – it only moved five minutes backward or forward. He would never go home. But he could transport a girl into his locked room five minutes earlier, empty the magazine of his Colt into the locked crate and make the confused-looking girl come out alive.

    Science, magic. Here, it was all the same.
    100 words
    Magician — Old West — SciFi

  18. — Try The Gorditas At Casa Juanita —

    Even the pre-show fish burrito tasted different. Hector stood, bemused, as he heard himself compliment Lenny the chef.

    “And Tina,” he turned towards the sound of the dropped tray, “you look beautiful tonight. Talk later, por favor?”

    She nodded, not understanding. The tannoy came alive:

    “Diving demonstration in five minutes, amigos.”

    Entering the bandstand, Frank offered Hector the traditional hip flask.

    “No thanks. I’m good.”

    A lone spotlight picked out Chico on his ascent. Hector felt a similar beam deep inside. With the crowd quietening, he raised his trumpet.

    Softly And Tenderly rang out. Simple, pleading, heartfelt.

    Right here, thought Hector, I will build my church.

    mariachi / house of worship / drama
    108 words

  19. Meow-gic

    “I’m telling you it’s too soon. We can’t go live with potential security gaps.”
    The CEO shook his head, “You’re mistaken, security is rock solid. We can’t afford any more delays. We have a million customers lined up at the virtual gates. Just make it happen.”

    The technician swallowed his concerns and flipped the switch. Within seconds the servers were flooded.
    The CEO’s eye’s lit up with glee, “How’s it looking?”

    The technician checked the screens and let out a sigh, “Security’s compromised. We already have a cat in a top hat doing magic tricks in the Wild West level. I hate to say I told you so…”

    110 words

  20. Stranger Observations
    (110 words)



    Rocks and dried manure pelted the Stranger as he swung casually from the noose. He hadn’t intended to crash land on this remote of a planet much less find himself so close to the native population. Their customs were strange. The Stranger had attempted to win them over with some basic teleportation of their flat-brimmed head coverings and they had quickly bound his hands and used the remainder of their rope to hoist him to the lone tree in town. He questioned if the primitives would let him down in time to greet the rescue party responding to his ship’s distress beacon.

    Magician, old west, sci fi

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