Flash Frenzy Round 53

Posted: January 31, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello again, Flash Dogs. It’s time for another weekend of Flash Frenzy! Round 53 will be judged by the talented Bart Van Goethem.

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.

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. milambc says:

    Blowing Out (360 words)
    @brett_milam

    Evan sat cross-legged on the curb as his pointer finger to trailed behind a determined ant. The ant had a leaf by the stem and was carrying it to some unknown destination.

    To the ant, Evan was just another embodiment of a cloudy day. To Evan, the ant was the carefree creature he wished for himself. The ant was also a simple distraction.

    The happiness Evan felt when he blew out the nine candles for his birthday — they reignited — and he blew again, only to this time get icing on grandpa, seemed a distant memory. Despite only having happened this morning.

    Now grandpa also sat cross-legged under the basketball hoop they had been dribbling around only moments before. Grandpa was confused.

    “Where’s Loraine, Kevin?” grandpa muttered to his hands, still holding the basketball whose purpose he’d forgotten.

    When grandpa was like this, he called him Kevin. Close enough. Loraine was a name he didn’t know.

    Last week, grandpa had put Evan’s new iPad in the microwave and tried to plug his cold coffee into the wall outlet.

    Evan couldn’t put his finger on what grandpa had, but he knew how it made his stomach lurch and his eyes droop. Deep within him, like finding a penny in a ball pit, was a seed of shame.

    He was embarrassed by grandpa and embarrassed that he was embarrassed. But he couldn’t help it; what if Richie saw him? Or god forbid, Margaret? Saw grandpa sitting there, muttering and saw Evan pretending his finger was the rocket ship to the ant, as it sure moved fast.

    Then the ant got too far for Evan to reach and scurried under a pile of stones near the sewer.

    Over the hill, he heard a familiar noise which sent his cheeks into a blistering shade of burgundy: Margaret was peddling her new bike, the 7-speed one with a sharp, intimidating red. She was the rocket. Inside the wheel, as a throwback, which Evan gushed over, was her Bo Jackson baseball card.

    The vroom caused Evan to jump to his feet and race inside, passed muttering Grandpa, with the screen door slamming in his haste.

  2. howdylauren says:

    The Epitaph (184 words)
    @howdylauren

    Smack, smack, whirr, swish.

    Three points.

    What’s this, one more game? Happy to oblige, I’m not one to hold a grudge. Only a few short years have passed since he was inseparable from the cracked court. He never seemed to mind, and neither did I. Routine never bored me.

    One can learn a lot from unintentional eavesdropping on court-side conversations. His story was nothing new. Troubled youth, troubled court. We were the timeless pair. But time has no concern for what is timeless.

    Smack, smack, whirr, swish.

    Six points now, but is he keeping score? His expression is resigned. The eager, determined glare of childhood has faded. Something troubling has replaced it – a quiet sorrow. Has he matured so soon?

    Smack, smack, whirr, swish.

    Nine points. A rumbling approaches, another calls.

    “C’mon PJ, boss is waiting. You want in or not?”

    He climbs up my spine–an unusal feeling. Creak, crank, under his weight. I imagine much heavier than before.

    Swish, swish, click, pop. Cool, sticky, suffocating smell. I don’t understand, but I don’t mind.

    He slides down. One last shot?

    Smack, smack, whirr, miss.

  3. Geoff Holme says:

    Nice evocative piece, Brett.
    [If Margaret’s bike is new, I’m pretty sure she would be pedalling / pedaling it, rather than peddling it (offering it for sale from place to place). 😉 ]

  4. Holly Geely says:

    Basketball Prince
    @hollygeely
    359 words

    “You’re too short for basketball,” Jack said.

    The ball tucked under his arm was bigger than the newcomer. Jack had met people below average height but this guy couldn’t be more than a couple inches high at best.

    Jack had never seen a man with sparkly wings before, but he figured it would be rude to mention that. Come to think of it, telling him he was short was rude, too – what would his mother think?

    “I’m not here for basketball,” the little guy said.

    “Why else would you be here?”

    “My name is Flaoria. I’m here to remove your curse.”

    “Your name’s Florida? Really?”

    The little guy put his tiny face into his itty bitty hands and groaned.

    “Hey, I’m sorry – I shouldn’t have interrupted. What kind of curse are we talking about?”

    “When you were a baby, the evil fairy Malcontent laid a curse upon your cradle. She said ‘the Prince of Fairies shall live amongst mortal men, and on the eve of his twentieth birthday, he shall be one of them forever.”

    “It’s my twentieth birthday today!”

    “Your royal mother and father have found a spell that will lift your curse. They have entrusted me to cast it. Be silent and wait for my magic.”

    Jack figured it was best to humor his guest, even though he was obviously crazy. Fairies weren’t real. Fairies were little people with sparkly wings that did magic and stuff. This was just a little guy with sparkly wings that –

    Oh.

    “I’m gonna be a prince!”

    “Not if you don’t shut up!”

    Flaoria put one hand on Jack’s forehead and tossed some glitter with the other. Tingles crawled through Jack’s body and he was at once too hot and too cold.

    “I’m still really tall,” Jack said.

    “I’m too late. You’re a mortal forever,” Flaoria said. He wept into a miniature handkerchief.

    “Don’t worry. You did your best,” Jack said.

    Flaoria made a disgusted noise and disappeared in a cloud of sparkle.

    Jack took a running start, dribbled the ball, and executed a perfect slam dunk. He might not be a prince, but at least he was still good at basketball.

  5. Carlos says:

    That’s What Friends are For

    He used to sit under the basket, hoping the other kids would pick him to be on a team, but they never did. So he’d sit under the hoop in the heat of the July sun, unsticking his t-shirt from his pudgy, sweaty body. He never went under the shade of the oak tree for fear of being too far away to substitute in case of an injury. But even when an injury did occur, the other team just played with fewer players.

    All that changed when he met me. We’d shoot baskets on the lopsided rim. No one ever played on it, so we were left alone. We played every day and, toward the end of July, became best friends. He would bring an extra water bottle for me, and we’d sit under the shade of the big oak, talking about the previous night’s NBA game. The other kids made fun of him for hanging out with me, but he didn’t mind. I hated how mean they were to him, so I did something about it.

    Of course those babies told on us, that I expected. What I didn’t expect was that they’d blame him. He tried to explain that I was the one that pushed them onto the cracked asphalt, drove a knife through there ball, and strangled their pets, but they didn’t believe him.

    His parents stopped letting him come to the park. He wasn’t even allowed to come get his basketball, but I tried to keep it safe for him. The other day, Nate tried to take the ball. Nate was always the meanest to him, so I held his head under the water in the fountain. I’ll admit, I probably held it under for too long, but he deserved it. The police found his body and the ball.

    Now, all the kids say he will never be able to come and play. That he was sent to a psychiatric ward. They also say they knew he was crazy because he would talk to himself. But he didn’t talk to himself. He talked to me. I’ll teach them a lesson for calling him crazy.

    358
    @goldzco21
    #flashdog

  6. “Tag”
    @jaimeburchardt
    360 words

    As he walked onto his old grounds, the soon-to-be first pick of the draft couldn’t help but be proud of himself.

    He had come a long way since he was a kid, back when he escaped all of his real-world problems with the help of an orange ball. Even at night, even back then, these courts were peaceful. He practiced every day till the day he moved off to the college that agreed to give him a full ride based on his record-breaking time in high school.

    He kept thinking he was proud as he dribbled his new basketball. When he walked closer, he saw the tag that started it all. The day before he picked up the sport, he was nothing more than a troublemaker, tagging every and anything he could. If you asked him why, he couldn’t tell you why he decided to go out of his way to grab a ladder and spray down the backboard that fateful night. All he remembered was looking at that hoop, and that net, and thinking that maybe here was more to this.

    The tag was still there, although his focus was paid more to the new, healthy-looking net. Maybe someone else is taking care of it now.

    This one, he thought, will be my first. My backboard. I’m gonna break in this net.

    He dribbled and moved fast, pretending he was defended like in the old days. He charged to the hoop, and gave himself a lift off.

    This dunk is for my neighborhood, he thought mid air. This is for my—-

    Wait. That’s not my tag, he thought while still in the air.

    What the hell is that? Who wrote that! Oh shit, wait am I in the wrong neighborho—

    The thought was cut short as he forgot about how gravity worked. Instead of an awesome dunk, he crashed into the pole with his head making an awesome sound against the metal.

    Hours later, the superstar awoke. He held in head in pain. When he picked himself up, he saw something on the floor that looked weird and unfamiliar. It was some sort of a ball. An orange ball.

  7. voimaoy says:

    The New Game on Maple street
    @voimaoy
    360 words

    It’s a perfect summer day for a block party, in spite of the chance of rain. They’re setting out the grills and folding tables, the garage sale items, the obstacle course for the bikes. It hasn’t changed much from 50 years ago, my grandpa says. The sky turned gray that day, too.

    We don’t want to talk about what happened that night, but everybody knows about the mysterious power outage, how everyone panicked and a neighbor got shot. It was an accident, they said. Most everyone moved away.

    “It could happen today,” my grandpa says. “You heard the news. Another kid shot, yesterday.”

    “That’s different,” Mrs. Griffin says. “They thought it was aliens. It’s not an alien invasion.”

    “No, it’s zombies now,” my grandpa says. He looks at Mrs. Griffin. “What do you suppose that means?”

    “Fred, I have no idea,” she says. “You’re the history teacher.”

    We’re kids. We know about alien invasions. We watch the Twilight Zone marathons, and movies. Bring on the zombies and giant robots.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Chavorty has set up a basketball net in the alley. “Try it, ” he says, smiling white teeth. The basket towers overhead, shaded by the maple tree by their garage.

    Dr. Odunye takes the ball, and he and Mr.Chavorty pass it back and forth. Mr. Matthews joins in and shoots for the basket. It bounces off the rim. The dads–a doctor, a radiologist, and a lawyer, laugh and drink more beer.

    They are grownups. They are the aliens to us kids. How can they be so blasé about a game?

    Chuck and Phil from down the street have brought a pasta salad. Now there’s five grownups tossing a stupid ball. “I have an idea,” Mr. Matthews says, ” Let’s have boys against girls.”

    All the moms join in. Even Mrs. Griffin, and Karen the cat lady are persuaded to try and make a basket. Whenever someone misses, they all take a drink.

    “Come on, kids, “Mrs. Griffin says. “Everybody gets a turn. Kim, you first.”

    She’s looking at me, holding out the ball that’s almost as big as I am. I wish it would rain. I wish there were a zombie apocalypse.

  8. drmagoo says:

    “Gervin played here, back in the day. Iceman, Pearl, even Magic – though he was in disguise. I’d come out here every Saturday night around ten, ten-thirty and watch the best ball you’ve ever seen.”

    “You saw The Condor, too, Grandpa? Momma said you took her once.”

    “That I did, Tevin. The best of all of them. Could shoot from anywhere. One handed dunks you wouldn’t believe. He woulda set all the records – distance, defense, rebounding. All of em.”

    “If it wasn’t for the Ants?”

    “Yeah. If it wasn’t for them. Mind your mouth, though, boy – your momma would skin me alive if she knew I let you talk bad about them.”

    “I’d never tell! Cross my heart, hope to spawn!”

    “I know you wouldn’t. You’re a good kid. You’d make something of yourself – a doctor, lawyer, teacher – something like that, if you still could. But they have ways, and you’re still a kid. Don’t let them know.”

    “Billy says he’s gonna sign up with the rebellion. As soon as he’s thirteen – he can pass for fifteen now, but they check papers.”

    “He says that, does he? That kid’s got a big damned mouth.”

    “He’s serious! And I’m gonna –“

    “Don’t tell me what you’re gonna do, boy! I told you, they have ways. Keep your mouth shut about that.”

    “I ain’t no coward!”

    “Ain’t about coward or brave, Tevin. About smart. About fighting the battle that needs fighting, not the one you want to fight. Look – kid like you, smart, strong, good heart – you get these hormones running in you, telling you it’s time to be a man, and all that smarts and heart goes out the window. You’ll have your day – if you let it be. Get it?”

    “I get it. I think.”

    “Ah, hell, Tevin. I wish sure as hell we could be at the game now, ‘stead of sitting here looking at cracked blacktop and broken backboards. C’mon. I brought you down here for a reason. Look in that bag.”

    “A ball? Where’d you find it?”

    “Never you mind. Let’s go down there, and I’ll show you some moves even the Condor didn’t have.”

    357 words
    @drmagoo

  9. Grandmother’s Strings

    Bidziil wants to tell Spider Grandmother before it is too late. The strings bound in – out – across his lips prevent him, as he quails. They are taut on his numb lips. He imagines they bleed, though there is a gap where the truth should be. The missing minutes – hours? – gape black in his memory when he seeks them. With them they have taken the daylight, leaving only pitch in place.

    “What you say?” Grandmother demands, waving gossamer attached at her fingertips before him.

    Bidziil gazes at the wizened woman, helpless. The threads – criss cross –– across his lips prevent his answer.

    “No matter,” she says, as his tears fall. “Talking God told. His winds whispered well. You wind into my weaving or I boil your bones, yes?” She pauses, considering. “Your choice. You speak?” she asks, sharply.

    Bidziil watches, wide-eyed – webbing straining across his mouth; hands tied to the tree forms splayed right and left behind him.

    “Bad child!” Grandmother says, frowning. Creases form deeply on her brow. “I teach you to heed before your bleaching! Then you join my collection, no? Your bones shine on Spider Rock.” Thin fingers clutch Bidziil’s own, though he cannot feel it as the bindings are snipped from his hands by claw-like nails. He stumbles to his knees.

    “Up!” Grandmother demands. “You work or you boil. Yes?”

    Bidziil nods fervently; his mouth remaining bound.

    “Perhaps I cut other strings if you behave,” the woman says, eyes hard. “You prove not a bad boy first. You see?”

    Bidziil nods again.

    “We weave with shadow,” Grandmother says. “Quick now! ‘Til fingers bleed!” She holds her hand towards him – thread floating with the movement. Bidziil grasps it clumsily.

    “We wind together – yes?” Grandmother says. “I show. You watch. Close now!” The woman laces web with dew from the tree’s branches, where it glistens in the moonlight. Throwing it high, it catches – pinpricks forming amidst the black. Bidziil watches, eyes raised. “See? Stars, yes? We make our Glittering World, nightly. You try now,” she bids.

    Bidziil casts his thread skyward – seeing patterns created; concentrating. He only glimpses the long bones by his feet from the corner of his eye.

    (360 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

  10. necwrites says:

    Replay
    360 words
    @rowdy_phantom

    In that other place, you never have to slam through puddles and potholes to get your game on. The backboard is whiter than hospital sheets, not a trace of spray paint. I can jump like that delivery guy with the wings on his shoes—only not naked. Every shot goes right in and I score the winning three-pointer in the last second and the phone videos of those shots all go viral so if Gerty snubs me it doesn’t even matter because my subscribers blow past a million. Only, in that other place, she comes to all my games, sits in the front row, jumps to her feet whenever I go up for a shot.

    In that other place, Mom sits right next to her. She’s not too tired. The revenue from the viral vids mean she can quit one of her—no, both of her jobs. She says, “That’s my baby,” to the cameras and her voice breaks around her pride. The camera catches the tears sparkling like glitter on her face. Not like the tears that wring her eyelids out and carve ugly grooves out of her cheeks. There’s no reason for tears like that.

    In that other place, I give Mitchell a challenge. Our sibling rivalry on the court becomes a thing the way it contrasts with our being best bros after the game. Recruiters come sniffing around us all the time. We convince Mitchell to stay in school so he can pick and choose a scholarship route to a college team. We spend evenings showing off our offers like trading cards, Mom beaming over both of us.

    In that other place, there aren’t multiple hungers gnawing away at your happiness and false friends to help you feed them. I’m cool enough to talk you away from Wendell and CJ, not some four-eyed twerp who can’t hit a trampoline with a tennis ball from across the den. And police aren’t so afraid of us that they only think to start conversations with firearms, especially at 3AM–but it wouldn’t matter, because we’d already be in bed so we’ll be fresh for the game.

    Not like this place.

  11. zevonesque says:

    Hoops
    A.J. Walker

    Short arse Jeremy let himself in with his key, the lock had been handily positioned at just two foot from the ground. Jeremy’s mother stood only an inch taller than him and had never liked stretching.

    He ran into his room and collected his note book for his Science and Philosophy paper “The Dynamics of Crime Boundaries”. He flicked through it checking he’d put everything into it that he had thought through. He was pleasantly surprised and thought to himself that it was probably quite advanced for a thirteen year old.

    Stretching up to the third shelf of his bookcase he grabbed his homemade device. It looked functional and ugly but it would do a job. He’d spent the weekend modifying the long armed window cleaning device by paring it with a litter picker. After pulling apart the fingers and stretching them he’d got it to fit the can of spray paint. It had been a weekend of satisfying engineering.

    That evening Jeremy walked through the areas of the Crocky Crew and the Porter Street Gang. The advantage of being so small was that no-one saw him; as a challenge or a potential gang member.

    The next day the CC woke to find “Leviathan” scrawled in red paint high across the wall of their meeting place at the back of the baseball ground. While the PSG were horrified to see “Rambo” had been scrawled on the back plate above their hoops at the basketball court.

    Each gang was sure the opposing gang had perpetrated these brazen atrocities and that it must have been some gargantuan; Rambo or Leviathan.

    The resultant turf war was fascinating to watch and Jeremy wrote his A** paper on gang warfare boundaries, which remains a must read in college.

    His love of gangs, which he was never invited to join, faded. He decided shed loads of money would do. So after a bit more bashing around of his spray stick device he came up with the Selfie Stick. And now the short arsed recluse has had the last laugh; it’s a bit high pitched like, but he’s richer than most countries in the world.

    (359 words)
    @zevoneque

    #FlashDogs

  12. Geoff Holme says:

    Clever take on the prompt, A.J.
    [Looks like ‘…by paring it…’ should be ‘…by pairing it…’] 😦

  13. […] Prompt: https://theangryhourglass.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/flash-frenzy-round-53/ […]

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