Microcosms 183

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 183!

Before we get into the prompt, we have some changes for you this year! Here’s a brief rundown (details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly contest runs Sunday – Saturday.
  • Community pick winner(s).
  • We also have a default spinner you can use now if you don’t like the prompt(s) offered. Enter as many times as you like!
  • We’re now using the Pacific Time


  1. You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  2. All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info)
  3. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  4. Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
  5. If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.

Please use the following format when submitting your entries (feel free to copy/paste and edit or save a copy of the Google Doc linked below):

My Amazing Story Title
XXX words
Element / Element / Element
My Preferred Name
Optional: website or social media link 1 (please include full URL)
Optional: website or social media link 2 (please include full URL)
Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. /// OR /// No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you.


My amazing story content goes here.

You can use HTML to add a link. Example:
<a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment on this post. (It’s totally fine to be creative with the “words” part, like “253 ripe bananas”, as we’ve seen some people do in the past.) Not using this format with NOT disqualify you. But it will help us out if you do use it.

We have prepared a free and easy-to-use, pre-formatted document in Google Docs to help simplify things. Just save your own copy and then replace the content with your own. (Sometimes, adding links will get your comment flagged by the spam filter. If you think that happened, please contact us for assistance.)

There wasn’t much voting this past week for MC 182, so I decided to give it another week before announcing the winner(s).

Please go vote for your faves!

And don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. MC 182 Community Pick(s) will be announced next week.

Happy writing!


(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/setting, and genre/style.

We spun, and our three elements are:

Courtesan / Ship / Poem

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. (Don’t like any of these? Try our default spinner.)

  • Fairy/Fae
  • Cryptid
  • Train Conductor
  • Courtesan
  • Sailor
  • Street Vendor
  • Watchmaker
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Forest
  • Bridge
  • Train
  • Brothel
  • Ship
  • Market
  • Shop
  • Tattoo Parlor
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy

We are always and forever in need of assistance. If you have any spare time to help, we will happily accept. Even something as little as 5-10 minutes a week would be amazing. (You have no idea.) To find out how you can help, please visit our volunteers page.

Microcosms 184
Microcosms 182

6 thoughts on “Microcosms 183

    299 Words
    Steve Lodge
    Twitter; @steveweave71
    Instagram; steveweave_cheese

    Such a beauty was she,
    As she walked the cobbled streets,
    Behind the admin centre,
    To the shore at Treasure Bay,
    She went searching for her captain,
    To take her on his ship,
    Away from the rough old harbour town,
    To the islands of her dreams,
    While she clung on to her beauty,
    A lady has to eat,
    So a captain without a ship,
    Would satisfy her needs,
    A courtesan’s life for her,
    Until her captain would come to town,
    And she lived above a gin joint
    Near the docks at Whitelegge Point.
    (Oh me boys, she lived above a gin joint,
    Near the docks at Whitelegge Point).

    And so it was in autumn,
    That the pirate ship did land,
    From the rocky shores of Drummond Hatch,
    Bound for the Tropical Sound.
    They took on board all their supplies,
    And women who took their fancy,
    And Captain Perez had his buckle swashed,
    When he saw the courtesan so fair,
    Coming out of the gin joint,
    Near the docks at Whitelegge Point.

    Stretched out beneath the smiling stars,
    Petunia laughed out loud,
    Her captain lay he by her side,
    Exhausted from their daily love,
    While he could barely walk ten steps,
    The pirates did what pirates do,
    But Prideaux Isle was saved its due,
    For settlers there were few,
    And she was far indeed from the gin joint,
    Near the docks at Whitelegge Point.

    Perez was blinded by her love,
    He adored her scent of biscuits,
    This could be one with ending sweet,
    For his buccaneers grew weary,
    And longed to settle down,
    So they kept the ship across the bay,
    And lived in peace with their spoils and loot,
    And the women they had brought,
    Just they kept a careful watch,
    Across the sea for fear of Drummond Hatch.

  2. A Watchmaker’s Affection
    297 words
    Watchmaker / Brothel / Drama
    Rebecca B.
    Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.


    The room was dingy, lit only by a smattering of candles. The light seemed to dance in time with the ticking. Tick, tick, tick. Somehow the sound of the pocket-watch seemed to drown out the creaking and moaning filtering through the ceiling from the bedrooms upstairs. She stared down at the watch laying open on the table, glinting in the darkness. The ticking mocked her. Each second elapsing a stab through the heart marked with the deafening tick of the watch hand. He wasn’t coming. He would never come. It was foolish to have hoped he would return for her, whore that she was.
    She traced her fingers against the inscription. “I am yours always. -A.F.” A tear rolled down her cheek, and hot anger flashed through her. Anger at herself or at the man who made such empty promises, she could not say. Her fingers curled around a candlestick, which she brought down on the watch. The ticking halted with a sharp crack. But she could still hear it. Echoing through her head. As if the watchmaker had cursed her with his broken promises.
    The door swung open, and she hoped against her own good sense the figure outlined against the night might be him. But alas, just a drunken man who tossed his coin next to the broken watch and demanded her attentions. She went through the motions. A whore’s job could hardly stop for a broken heart. But the ticking never ceased. Fool, fool, fool.
    Time went on. Her belly grew large and round with the watchmaker’s child. She raised their child alone, the son of a whore and the man she never forgave.
    For how could she have known his time ran out on the night he tried to return to her.

  3. Interplanetary Shuttle Relief Bus Service
    300 words
    Train Conductor/Train/Sci-Fi
    Mark A Morris

    “Keep moving along. There’re enough seats for everyone.”

    The conductor was officious as a sergeant-major, the braid on his uniform an addition he’d obviously added. He had an electric prod lance swinging from his belt and looked like he’d use it, given the slightest excuse.

    He had a side arm strapped to his hip as well; the large-framed weapon painted a luminous ‘fuck-off’ yellow to make it even more obvious he was carrying.

    Orson shuffled along in the line, the other passengers filtering to either side ahead of him, usually dropping into the first vacant seat they found. “Do you want to sit together?” he asked, hesitating at one where the space nearer the window had already been filled.

    “I dunno,” I said, thinking of the tooled-up martinet. “Maybe we can swap about when we reach the next station. There’ll be another chance for us to move then.”

    I dropped into the seat he’d indicated, watching him continue to move along. He found himself a space three rows ahead to the left, sitting on one of the singles that dropped down from the wall, his back against the information panel showing the train’s route. He had a woman beside him with a child as his neighbour, its skin the lurid green suggesting it was a Venusian on a tourist exchange.

    “Your friend – is he single? Or are the two of you a thing?”

    My temporary travelling companion winked, giving my knee a squeeze. He eased the back of his chair backwards, dropping it back to almost horizontal, converting it into a bed. “Don’t you worry about me though,” he continued. “It’s your friend that’s my type.” He closed his eyes and began to snore, the tendrils against his mouth blue with drool.

    The next stop couldn’t come soon enough.

  4. Misplaced Affection
    168 words
    Courtesan / Ship / Poem
    A.J. Walker
    Website: https://awalker.org
    Twitter/Spoutible: @zevonesque


    Sarah sang songs on the sea,
    Tunes she’d hold more than you and me,
    She was called a Chanteuse on every poster,
    A cruise ship, a galleon, a rowboat, a coaster,
    Every gig she’d fully give it,
    Sarah would bleed it, sing it, live it.

    Now she was older, she’d use her experience,
    Twas written in stone that we would surely dance,
    Old men and young would swoon at her feet,
    Which if truth be told were not that sweet.
    She’d work a room just like she owned it.
    If truth be told, she truly hated it.

    And as I slowly began to sway,
    I fell in love in every way,
    Once more with the ocean,
    The ships, and the motion.
    And Sarah: the chanteuse;
    Dare say, could be the booze.

    Then in her gargantuan First Class room,
    Sarah the Courtesan would begin to loom,
    Over her lastest victim, for kicks,
    He’d buy her love, through jewels, and bricks,
    Shower her with misplaced affections
    Inflated dollar signs spent on deception.

  5. The Gale
    14 words
    Courtesan / Ship / Poem
    Boyd Miles
    The Courtesan stood
    Wind blowing her long wet hair
    The ship sailed til dawn

  6. Too Good at Her Job
    187 words
    Courtesan / Ship / Poem
    Deanna Salser
    Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information.


    The address did seem strange at first
    Nevertheless, she went
    Every bit of cash she had
    In savings had been spent

    She didn’t like to sail
    And she hated all the floating
    But all the other girls were flush
    And wouldn’t stop their gloating

    So off she went to sell her wares
    Her resolution fading
    Down to the dock and down the stairs
    A Captain would be waiting

    The darkness in the tiny room
    The way the floor was swaying
    The smell of sweat and stale perfume
    How much the man was weighing

    She couldn’t hold her breath that long
    and breathing through her mouth
    made it hard to pay attention
    to the happenings down south

    She picked up her pace
    using trick after trick
    squeezing and flexing
    and making it stick

    The captain decided
    Right then and there
    The girl had too many talents
    To share

    so he just kept thrusting
    while holding her down
    and the ship sailed away
    from her tiny hometown

    Now they sail from sea to sea
    Never making berth
    And she only serves the captain
    On the oceans of the earth

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