Flash Frenzy Round 41

Posted: October 25, 2014 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
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Welcome back, FlashDogs. Flash Frenzy Round 41 is upon us, and our presiding judge is Jaime Burchardt.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

Round 41

Photo Courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. Black and White Brendan

    The day Brendan was born his mother knew something was amiss when she saw the look on the midwife’s face.

    “What’s wrong with him?” the exhausted woman asked.

    “Nothing’s wrong exactly – he’s got the right number of the essentials – he’s just…colourless.”

    The tiny bundle was placed in her arms, and as she wiped the vernix from his porcelain skin, and stared into his wood-ash eyes, her whole world was saturated with love.

    The other mothers tried not to show their dismay when they looked at Brendan.

    “Oh, what a beautiful baby,” they’d stammer before retreating to their cluster of normality, each checking their own baby was still the perfect shade of pink or brown or yellow, that Brendan’s salt and pepper semblance was not catching.

    He’s all the colours of the rainbow inside. Brandan’s mother wanted to shout.

    She dressed him in amethyst, amber, and aquamarine, but somehow the vibrant colours highlighted his oyster hue, so she settled on battleship, timberwolf, and slate.

    He was an animated child prone to melancholia, but he never failed to imbue his mother’s life with colour. Inevitably the day came when Brendan asked why he was not like the other children. His mother’s reply was tinged with sadness.

    “Children come in all colours and you are no different. You are like them.”

    Soon Brendan pushed himself over the precipice of a steep slope to ruin. He alienated the few friends he had, and became disruptive at school. As a teenager he fell in with a bad crowd. They would put Brendan on a milk crate like a circus freak and wait for passers-by to throw coins into his hat.

    Things carried on like this into early adulthood, until one day Brendan’s mother sat him down and told him things had to change. If he wanted any more help from her, if he even wanted to see her again, there was something he must do.

    Later that day Brendan dyed.

    327 words

  2. streetej says:

    In The World But Not Of It
    357 words

    “Your turn,” Mike says in a bored voice, walking up Royal Street. “One superpower wish.”

    “Invisibility.” Gavin likes the notion of seeing without being seen. Voyeuristic power. In reality Gavin is all too visible. The port wine stain on his right cheek draws stares that rapidly dart away in transparent pity.

    “Whaddaya say we meet back here in an hour?” Mike suggests, distracted by a pretty woman on the corner.

    Gavin agrees. He knows Mike wants to get rid of him. He ducks into Mr. Beast’s Curios, a store his preacher father would lambaste as “sinner’s work.”

    Gavin admires an ancient oil lamp that fits easily into his palm.

    A figure materializes from the store’s shadows. The gaunt man—Mr. Beast?—says, “Ah, my lamp. Bronze, from the Seljuk Empire. Too expensive for you, kid.” He observes Gavin’s birthmark without expression. “Put it down now.”

    Gavin delays, rubbing the vessel’s smooth belly compulsively.

    Mr. Beast snatches the lamp, scowling. He appears put upon. “Get lost, kid. And stop your skulking.”

    Gavin steps outside. Mike is nowhere to be seen, but the pretty girl ogles Gavin’s birthmark.

    “If only I were in the world but not of the world,” Gavin mutters. The phrase comes from a sermon of his father’s. The scripture is about Jesus’s sacrifices, but Gavin has always thought it nicely described the thrill of invisibility, too.

    An eager crowd gathers around some street musicians on the corner, right in Gavin’s path.

    Gavin’s hands go suddenly numb and turn a weird silvery color. The shimmer moves up his arms, coating him in a liquid progression, saturating his clothing. He pushes through the crowd. People protest, but they look right through him, complaining instead to those farther back.

    The musicians continue to play, oblivious. Gavin waves wildly at the crowd. No reaction. He leaps onto a pedestal beside the buskers, but no one even blinks in his direction. He stands, arms outstretched like a superhero, grinning, delirious with his newfound freedom.

    A push knocks him from the pedestal. Mr. Beast holds out an expectant hand. “This djinni doesn’t work for free, kid. I accept payment in gold or soul.”

  3. Holly Geely says:

    Sweet Silver Statue
    357 Words

    “Dude, what’s he doing?”

    Chris had known when he started that his new calling might be difficult, but he hadn’t expected it to be so frustratingly boring. He hoped he wasn’t allergic to the silver paint. After all, wasn’t that what happened to the Tin Man?

    “This is stupid.” The girl was staring at her phone and hadn’t looked up once. She couldn’t possibly have any idea if it was stupid or not because she hadn’t seen it.

    Why were all the spectators teenagers? Chris hated teenagers. He’d turned twenty last week. He was an adult.

    “It’s living art,” said one of the older kids. Chris was glad that at least one of them understood the concept.

    Being a sweet statue was uncomfortable, but Chris could not ignore his calling. He had been put on this Earth to be a silver spectacle. Who else could pull off such magical shininess? Who else would subject their perfect haircut, immaculate chin scruff, and heavenly wardrobe to the Cause?

    “That still sounds stupid,” said the girl with the phone.

    Chris dreamed of a day when everyone would paint themselves silver and line up beside him. On that day, he would stand straight and tall (provided his bones hadn’t reformed to a crouching position) and he would laugh in their faces.

    “He smells drunk,” said the girl with the sweet hair. There was an aroma of pizza drifting from her purse and Chris realized he was starving.

    “Yeah, he’s totally trashed,” said the guy next to her, who definitely didn’t smell like pizza.

    Wait – were they saying he was drunk? Chris wasn’t drunk. He’d only had those seven beers with Josh, and then –

    And then Josh had bought that bottle of silver spray paint…

    “Adulthood is super hard,” Chris said.

    “Word,” said the guy with the ear buds.

    A mixture of sadness and relief warred within Chris while he tried to stand. Getting through the teenagers to go home was going to be embarrassing. He could feel their judging eyes on him, making assumptions.

    On the other hand, at least his destiny wasn’t to be a silver dude on the sidewalk.

  4. necwrites says:

    Out of Phase

    The porch is awash in the periwinkle glow of a lopsided moon. We kids hug the wall, wishing Auntie would keep company inside, away from the pewter wisps that haunt the basalt plains like hectic ghosts.

    Auntie shifts her angular shoulders beneath her pearly shawl. My sisters and I hold our breaths.

    “But I did birth one child,” she insists as if someone would gainsay it. “My silver-quick boy.” She settles into the chaise the way she does when she’s about to start yarnin’—and we can breathe again. Auntie’s tales make the long traverse to the spooky Mare habitat worth it.


    It ain’t no tall tale, either. My Talar came along afore yer papa shed his nappies. Slept nary a wink along the pregnancy, the way he run laps in there. Came out of the womb sprinting so fast he took my uterus with him. Don’t you roll eyeballs at me, pepper-pants. That’s what happened.

    Even crawled faster than a rut-racer. Spent most his time naked as a moonbeam, heck if I could catch him.

    Why you jumping all over my story, you hoppy jalapeños? Never said he died. Lessee, Talar must’ve been coming round eight, getting faster each do-se-do around ol’ Sol. Could barely stay him within the horizons. Anyway, eight and he zips to a stop right there. And, as like to fry my brain as a solar flare, he asks after his pops.

    Y’see, my dearest Herres got summoned back to ground-state back in my second trimester. Told Talar so.

    Yes, chili-cheeks, I tried explaining how it got degenerated, but stubborn as Jupiter’s gees, he decides he’d find a way. Worked hisself up so fast he sped into the next dimension. Sure hope he hit the right one.

    Oh, you’re thinking it’s just that easy to run on back? Would be, if he didn’t have to race ace-backwards.


    Auntie’s gaze tracks across the pocked landscape. “Used to see him trying, but these peepers ain’t what they were.”

    Now our breath is gone.

    “Auntie,” I rasp, “is Talar grey?”

    “You seen him?” Her face goes honey-warm. “Must still be trying’, then.”

    157 words

  5. voimaoy says:

    Silver Is The New Gray
    359 words

    “This beer tastes like an old boyfriend, ” Sharon said.

    “How’s that?” Emma didn’t usually drink beer, but tonight she was out with Sharon for the beer tasting at this new pub–the Pissing Bull. What kind of a name was that, anyway, but the band was good.

    “I mean,” Sharon said,” A little more bitter than I expected. Nice body, though. Not all that bad.”

    Emma laughed. “That’s a good one. I like that. Which boyfriend was that, then?”

    Sharon studied the beer glass. “Oh, this was in college. He was in my English Lit class. His name was Michael. Boy, was he intense. And what a body, like Michelangelo’s David. Let me tell you, we didn’t just talk about art, if you know what I mean.” she smiled, so naughty.

    “Oh, I do,” Emma agreed. In truth, it had been a while since she had felt that free. Was she too careful, now? Maybe a little bitter. Well, married and divorced, that changes things. Once she had been young and wild, too. She couldn’t wait for heartbreak, then, the partings in the gray light before dawn.

    Sharon was talking about this new guy, Bill, how she met him at work, by the copy machine. She was always meeting someone, somewhere. These stories were so entertaining, like romantic comedies. Dropping papers, fumbling in elevators, bumping into a stranger on the train.

    Emma had just met someone on the train, a man about her age, a biology professor. The trains were delayed, and they started talking about the poster on the platform. It was for a special exhibit at the natural history museum—“Bioluminescence,” it was called. Creatures that glowed in the dark.

    She said she would like to go see it. He said he wanted to see it, too. Maybe they could go on Sunday? His kids would love it, he said. He was divorced. It was complicated.

    “Earth to Emma,” Sharon said. ” Would you like another beer?”

    ” Oh sorry. Sure, why not. What’s this one called?”

    “Silver is the New Gray,” Sharon laughed. “What do you think?”

    “I like it,” Emma said. “Complicated. Charming. Not bad, not bad at all.”


    Brian S Creek
    347 words

    If I ever see my dad again I’m gonna owe him a big ass apology.
    Like pretty much everyone in our family, hell, everyone in our town, I’d accepted that any words that escaped his mouth were nothing more than the ramblings of a mad man.
    “Dead men walking,” he’d yell. “No one is safe.”
    And that’s why he got himself locked up.
    But now, standing on this busy street and waiting for the bus to take me home, I’m doing my best to remember those crazy words he used to spout because I think they might just save my life.

    I keep my eyes on my i-pod; I don’t want the creature to know that I can see it. I stay still and try to blend in with the group of people beside me. They can’t see it, only through it. There’s a boy and a girl at the end of the alleyway. They’re drunk and making out, enjoying the attention the crowd is giving them.
    The creature sits perched on the wall like one of those living statues. Its head turns left and right, nostrils’ flaring as it surveys the crowd. My dad was right; they look just like us. Only difference is it doesn’t have a dot of colour on it. He used to call them the Monotone Men.
    The drunk kids will be an easy target for it. I want to warn them, to get them away from it but I know they will just look at me the same way I looked at my dad.
    The Monotone Man steps down from the wall and begins to mingle with the crowd. It passes right by me and all I can do is hold my breath. As it moves further to the left I step slowly away from the bus stop. Dying was not on my to-do list today so I’m going to just walk the six miles home.
    I say walk but the second I’m round the corner I leg it.
    I don’t get far enough to miss out on hearing the scream.

  7. Marie McKay says:

    (183 words)
    In silver threads, he calls out apocalyptic incantations from shop fronts. He’s the guy in town stories have grown up around: wino, psycho, soldier, spy.
    On weekends, he wants us all to die. He says he gets messages via satellite.
    I haven’t told anyone that I think he might be right.
    I hear them through my radio: static hisses of electric spite.
    After the shoppers go home, I take my chance to speak to him.
    I tell him about my radio. He walks straight faced, straight backed not acknowledging I’m there.

    I do the same the next week, and the next one after that. And this one time, he speaks, he says he knows their landing spot.
    He takes me there, and we sit looking up at infinity.
    I pull my radio from my coat pocket and say, ‘Do you think now there’s two of us, we could try to save the world?’
    He reflected, in the moonlight, before giving me his hand and solemn nod.
    Then, he drew me to my feet, and we danced along the promenade, underneath a giant pearl.

  8. @stellakateT
    328 words

    Living Art

    This is ridiculous I’m squatting here wearing these cool sunglasses and everyone is looking behind me. Even the dude directly in front of me is fiddling with his phone. Wonder what he’s listening to? I won’t get paid if I move. I’ve been practising this for weeks every since Theo asked me. He said I’d be a living art instillation and promised me a monkey. I’ll be able to buy Teresa a posh dinner and a night in that boutique hotel in Paris that she’s always going on about. She keeps showing me the pictures on the internet and sighing. Think she’s resigned herself that I’ll never be taking her. She seems to have lost hope in me but she’ll change her mind when I show her the online booking. The girls to my right are laughing and taking photos. Why isn’t anyone taking pics of me? Theo promised this would probably make the local news and I’d be famous, might lead to an offer of appearing on one of those reality TV shows.

    Pete filmed it all so I’ll be able to submit it for my thesis. Best idea I ever had, Joe is brilliant as ‘The Loser’ Teresa was right. I’m definitely going to get a first then the world’s my oyster look at Tracey Emin, her unmade bed was a brilliant concept. The way those girls are laughing at the cue cards Emma’s holding up is better than I could ever have imagined. This hotel is so quaint. Tomorrow we will walk to the Champs elysees and buy croissants and walk along the Seine. I’ll text Joe and tell him where I’ve left the monkey hope he don’t mind it’s turned into a pony. Couldn’t afford five hundred pound he’ll find twenty-five quid in his drawer in the flat we share. He’ll understand, not sure though how he’ll take the idea that Teresa and I are now an item. Suffering for art comes to mind.

  9. voimaoy says:

    This is great! I love this character’s voice and point of view….

  10. Bart says:

    Here’s To The Independent

    ‘Winter time? I hate it. And I’ll tell you why. I am a modern man. I decide what I do, when I do it, who I do it with, how long, where and why. Nobody is changing my time, the time I live in. Nobody tells me I have to sleep an hour less and definitely nobody tells me I have to sleep an hour longer.

    Of course, I’m not stupid. I realize I can’t change things like these on my own. Because, you know, a revolutionary man in a non-revolutionary world is just an idiot.

    But that doesn’t mean I have to go along with everything they’re serving on my plate. That’s why I am going to do the following – just because I can: I am going to sit still and not participate in our fun little world for one hour.

    I am going to paint my shoes, my clothes, my hands and my head completely silver and I’m going to pretend I’m one of those street artists, those living statues. And then I’ll just wait. I’ll ignore time for one hour, I’ll let everyone and everything pass me by and with a bit of luck I’ll even get paid for it. Maybe not a lot. But then again, one penny is better no penny, isn’t it?

    So here’s to the independent. The obnoxious bastards who don’t just go with the flow because it
    happens to go in a particular direction. The raised middlefingers to the powers that be and the sheep that blindly and quietly follow, unaware, God forbid, that they have a choice. In fact, they feel all warm and cozy in their train compartment they call life, looking outside the window, enjoying the view and actually believing they chose the destination they’re heading towards. Thinking can be so exhausting. Let alone draw conclusions and form opinions.

    Now, where are my bloody sunglasses? This Indian summer seems to go on forever.’

    324 words

  11. C Connolly says:

    With You

    We are there, though you do not see us. Beside you and amongst you, as you hasten from one task to the next. Those moments when you pause? The shiver down your spine, before you press on regardless? That marks our calling card. We were there, with you, in the moment – then gone.

    Your world is not ours, with its heat and bright lights. The fury of emotion and its myriad connotations. Your uncertainty is, at times, puzzling. We are sure at all. It is our nature; cool in our collection. We know what is best and do what is best for you. You can be certain of that at least – or would be, if our world were not beyond your knowing. You are too quick in your infant impatience to see clearly. You feel only the fingertip’s touch, as we guide your moment onwards – the nudge to the next step.

    Once we were like you. Now, we liaise beyond you; behind you – from you and of you – yet more than. Called to our purpose; doubt leeched from our veins in the instant.

    Our number is constant, though the manner of choosing is not. In that lies a difference. None know how another is called to our ranks, though some have whispered, at times. That, though, is for the lesser. There is nothing beyond the cause once called to answer. That we know for certain. It is; that is all.

    We catch you in your haste; as tears threaten to overwhelm. The moment where resolve supercedes and you rise to your feet? We do that for you. Vibrant; you glow in emotion – your flame a brief flicker and out, compared to our chill. So open to whim and whimsy, you catch suggestion where we set it. A task easy in the completion. We watch you play it out, unknowing. We are there; we see. We are your audience; unseen. You play for us, caught on our strings. Your limbs move as we make them, though you know it not. It is for the best. We know it. Your choice is ours. You are our choice. We are there with you.

    (360 words)


  12. Karl A Russell says:

    Martin’s Best Ever Day

    Martin was the worst living statue you ever saw; twitches, anger management issues, the lot. The kids loved winding him up. One lad took the gherkins out of his burger and stuck them to Martin’s forehead once, just to make him move. ‘Course, he regretted it when Martin nearly broke his arm, but he got what he wanted.

    Then comes the day with the Americans. Martin’s been trying some Zen razzmatazz, the doc’s sorted his blood pressure, and he’s the calmest I’ve ever seen. He even posed for photos. Things looked ropey around lunchtime when this brat let her dog piss on his podium, and I swear I saw the paint melting on his forehead, but he must have bitten his tongue and held his temper. She dropped fifty pee in his bucket and wandered on. And so it went, all afternoon. They teased and poked him, but he didn’t move and the bucket filled up.

    Then the Americans arrive. Soccer mom breaking in her new tits, dad cooing over every little thing and snapping away with his iPhone, kids wired to their tablets and oblivious to everything. They stop in front of Martin and try to work out what he’s supposed to be. Finally, Mom twigs and gets to work, distracting him. Maybe she was ticked off with her old fella, or maybe they just had a very open relationship, but he didn’t even object when she lifted her top and stuck her fakes right in Martin’s face. Martin didn’t move either, and that’s when I knew something was up. But before I could get over to them, his sunglasses got caught in her frillies and when she tried to shake him loose he fell off the podium, right on top of her.

    Turns out he’d been dead for three hours…

    His widow got the cash, although Soccer Mom tried to sue her for emotional damage so I don’t know what she wound up with. I got his pitch, and it’s working out nicely.

    And of course, just about every tourist on the South Bank that afternoon got a smiling selfie with a dead man, and they’ll never know.

    360 words

  13. joshbertetta says:

    Josh Bertetta
    “I am Inside You”
    352 Words

    If you’ve seen pictures of me (and if you’re on social media—like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, chances are you probably have) you might’ve wondered what the hell kind of a life would lead someone to doing something like that. You—especially you bloggers out there–might even try to make a story of it, of me. Sorry if I seem a bit peeved. I’m not, really.

    It’s just…It’s just…There’s a point to what I do.

    Problem is, most of those pictures I see of myself only get half the story (and that’s being generous).

    First off, a picture is always taken from an angle, a perspective that is. And no one perspective gets the whole picture. So when you see a picture of me, you’re only getting one angle. Of course there are 360 degrees in a circle and each degree is merely a vantage point, a point from which an angle may proceed. Shit, maybe you want to stand on a ladder, or take a picture from the top of a building across the street.

    It’s all relative, really.

    Infinite possibilities, really.

    Thing is, most photos don’t capture the title, or caption as it were, I give to my work. Always I title my work on a piece of cardboard I rest on the ground.

    I really blew-up on social media with a piece I called “I am Inside You.” You’ve probably seen it: I’m there, painted stone, crouching. Still, absolutely still. Kids are there laughing, pointing. I’m hunched over and their waiting. I hope maybe one day at least one of them will get it—that they’ll understand the metaphor.

    But they probably won’t.

    Yes, “I am Inside You.” You see I’m stone because after a while you won’t even notice me and I’m hunched over because I’m waiting, waiting to pounce, and I know they’re expecting it and what keeps the suspense is that they don’t know when.

    So what is the “I” of “I am Inside You” you ask?

    Desire, of course.

    And I’m waiting for my prey and when I pounce, I will rip you apart.

  14. […] here’s this past weekend’s prompt from The Angry Hourglass and what I wrote (for which I received Special […]

  15. […] 25-Oct-14 Flash Frenzy Round 41 […]

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