Flash Frenzy Round 79

Posted: September 19, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Who’s ready for Round 79? Brett Milam is ready. He’s ready and waiting to judge your entries and crown a new flash master.

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. stevenstucko says:

    MODERN COMMUNICATIONS (360 words)

    Sue and Deb had left the house hours ago – the fighting was more than they could bare.

    “I’ve never seen them like this before,” Sue said as she led her sister to a park bench. “This is, like, the worst it’s ever gotten.”

    “Totally, Suze. I don’t know what’s worse, their epic silent treatments or when they yell.”

    “Do you think this could be it? I mean, do you think this is the, um, final straw?” Sue’s cell phone beeped and she shot it a quick glance. “It’s Kathy, I’ll text her back later.”

    Deb’s phone jingled and she took it from her pocket. “It’s John. Whatever…” She placed it on the bench next to her. “God, I hope they can get through this one. Did you hear Mom on the phone yesterday with aunt Carol? She told her all the stuff that Dad’s been doing…staying late after work everyday, avoiding her on weekends and stuff. Deb’s phone jingled again. “That’s Bonnie, I’ll text her later.”

    Sue turned to her sister. “Deb, you know what this means? If they get divorced and Dad moves out, Mom will have to sell the house and we will have to go live in some crummy apartment. That would be, like, totally unacceptable.”

    Deb put her hand on her sister’s. “Hey, Suzy-Q. They’re not getting a divorce. They will make up like they always do. Hopefully this time they will learn something about why they’ve been so bummed with each other. That’s the only way the fighting will stop. They have to totally listen to each other for once.” Deb’s phone jingled. “It’s Monica. I’ll text her later.”

    “You’re right. They need to talk. I think they forgot how to communicate. They need to remember why they love each other.” Sue’s phone beeped. “It’s Eric. Whatever…”

    The sisters sat in gloamy silence. Deb’s phone jingled. “It’s Dad! He said come home, all is well!”

    Sue’s phone beeped. “It’s Mom! Smiley face and four red hearts!”

  2. Moonlight Surfing

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    At evening time the Jim Morrison mural was surrounded with Venice Beach dusk shadows burning the sand with long charred bandages. The subtle distinct hum of small bars. Someone breaking a rack. The long-legged woman pushing the sidewalk aside with the furtive glance of a stride. Palm readers closing up shop. Title waves extra editions bought up. The sand slowly cools leaving the heat of the day. The public restroom doors continual rhythm of slamming. A sleepy haze of weights balanced like gorillas lurking in the work out area. Beer basking in the flirting innuendo of lust.

    He liked to surf at night catching a moonlight glimpse off his Pete Peterson 1949 California Point Break Board. The silent feel of darkness laying across the blue creating a large swell of meditative freedom. Stars held waves together with tight pin-pricks of light. He thought of himself as an artist.

    She would wait for him on the beach with her BFF. He would text her while out in the Pacific even while riding a wave. He was a writer, and he felt the best writing was done in situations where all the senses were perfectly aligned in a panic of physical acuity and distress. He even wrote a poem once about seagulls when bungee jumping. The spirit moved with a physical alertness.

    He liked writers that wrote about the sea and considered them great surfers. Each book an ocean and every sentence a wave that built up into a larger swell of paragraphs. Thoreau was a great surfer. So was Jules Verne. But the best was Herman Melville. One of his eccentric goals was to read all of Moby Dick while balanced on the back of midnight.

    She was concerned and frightened about his surfing at night. Shark attacks had increased and if anything happened the night would obscure rescue. So he kept texting her love poems and other things to keep her calm.

    And she loved his sweetness and his humor always made her laugh and she particularly cherished the way that right before he would wipe out he would send her a beautiful poem, a poem about falling in love.

    (360 words)
    grxhauntedengine04@gmail.com

  3. Holly Geely says:

    Nudes
    @hollygeely
    265 words
    (also, I apologize, I have no idea what’s going on in my head tonight)

    “Look, Nathalie! Jacques sent me a nude!”

    Nathalie was (as of recently) an adult member of New France and therefore too mature to look. She had sworn before the committee to work hard and benefit the community. She had chosen the sophisticated position of engineer; she was all set to make a pile and rise in the ranks.

    “You’ve got that look on your face again, Nathalie. Don’t be boring,” Anton said.

    Nathalie sniffed. “You’ve been an adult a year already. Don’t be so immature.”

    “Immature? This is one of the perks of adulthood, ma belle.”

    Oh, what the heck. She hadn’t sworn not to look at nudes.

    “Should it be all twisted like that?” Nathalie asked.

    “New France does that to the anatomy,” Anton explained.

    Nathalie had giggled over her fair share of illegal nudes, but she’d never seen one fully grown. Was New France really that bad for the body? What would it do to the soul?

    Had she made a mistake?

    “Don’t worry, Cherie. It only happens to the cats. If it happened to humans we’d be just as hairless, and they’d be calling us nudes instead and trading pictures on their phones.”

    “Cats don’t use cell phones,” Nathalie said. Everyone knew that cats were behind technologically and they were still on pagers.

    “Let’s go find a nude cat and send Jacques one back,” Nathalie said.

    “I’ve got a better idea,” Anton said.

    “Oh?”

    “Oui. I’m going to send him a picture of my junk instead.”

    And lo, New France devolved into the very debauchery that ruined the original Earthian society.

    FIN

  4. Queen of the Cyber Wars
    Word Count: 6
    @RealMommaRamble

    Her little lie spread like wildfire.

  5. stephellis2013 says:

    Roads Taken

    321 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDogs

    Masquerade faces glowed in the dark, hypnotised by images floating across cell screens whilst around the two girls the world still spun; a rotation of which they were no longer aware, caught up as they were in a different web. And they in turn became the focus of another audience, a solitary figure slumped silently in the shadows.

    He could feel the heft of the knife in his hand, the sharpness of the blade against his flesh. Its familiarity gave him a strange comfort, strengthened him for what was to come. All he wanted was to touch life again, feel its warmth even as it ebbed away. But the cold darkness was claiming him and he knew he didn’t have much time. He would have to make his move soon.

    The girls were laughing now and he tried to join in but no sound passed from his lips. He was too late. He tried again, tried to call but still he remained voiceless. The smile however remained stretched across his face even as the life fled from his eyes.

    “Christ, it’s cold,” said one of the girls, shivering suddenly. “Reckon someone’s just walked over my grave.”

    She looked across the park, noticed the shadowy trees, wondered idly who or what might be lurking there, checked her watch and saw how late it was. Best get home before they got another lecture about staying safe.

    The girls rose from the bench, walked back towards light and life. Behind them, a solitary figure slumped silently, its hand clasping a knife plunged into its chest.

  6. davidshakes says:

    Living life through a virtual prism
    Makes real life connections seem
    too bright
    Full of pregnant pauses
    and stuttered explanation
    Whilst online
    every meal is an event
    every mundane task
    loaded with meaning
    the vacuous given gravity
    and we smile at the screen
    and empty ourselves into binary code
    only realising (too late)
    than we’ve forgotten
    a
    full
    stop
    .

    David Shakes
    @theshakes72

  7. Eternal Flame

    ~~~~~~~~~

    Empires fall upon a broken lake of fire. Worlds end. Hearts are broken with nothing but an unsaid word. Dreams are crushed under the plummeting debris of hope. Black holes collide reinventing space. Childhood disappears as quietly as a last breath. My favorite bike stolen at the mall. My 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger exploded slanting its 6 toward heaven. Beauty fading into a stalemate of indecision. Entire families disappear for lost hidden obscure reasons. A whole forest burns because someone needed to feel a spark of significance. Greatness is shot with a soulless enterprise bankrupt with chaos. An entire ocean dies a slow death so we can feel comfortable and enjoy a bag of potato chips. A beauty of a lion killed so someone can experience spiritual Viagra.

    But one thing, when it is established, is never lost or destroyed.

    The eternal flame that hovers fluttering on its torch passed to a new generation that we hold cupped in our hands like a splendid electric butterfly and the entire play and its only hope for survival pivots on its one simple premise of…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Friendship.

  8. It’s Time

    “And this is where he stood up at the poetry slam. I didn’t think he would really do it. He was so shy. He stood up right there at our table and started up, no mic. The crowd got really quiet, and as he gained confidence, he got louder, and started to walk up to the microphone. He grabbed it and got very excited, with so much eloquence. I never heard anything like it.

    “The next day we talked about the future. Something happened between ‘hello’ and ‘see you soon’ and it was like I knew him. Like he was already a part of my life. There was no question about seeing him again.”

    “Yes but this ultimatum…”

    “It was more like a proposal.” Her voice had an edge to it.

    “He said if you were there in 2 months when he returned, he would marry you. If you didn’t make it, it wasn’t meant to be. What if you couldn’t get the time off work?”

    “Screw work. Screw everything I knew before.”

    She put her phone back into the pocket of her jacket.

    “It’s almost time.”

    “Are you sure we have the right bench?”

    She smiled and reached across her friend to the arm of the bench on the other side. She ran her fingers over deep embedded letters, hard to see in the near-darkness. In the moonlight, she could almost make them out.

    “It’s time.”

    They sat very quietly now, no sound but the waves licking at the shore. They shifted on the bench, one playing with her hair, the other, the one waiting, crossing her legs. She tried not to tremble as she waited.

    Another sound joined the gentle waves, a squeak of metal that could use some oil, of wheels turning, of slats of the boardwalk being tasked. She rose and turned to watch who was coming. In moments, a wheel chair being propelled by hand became visible in the moonlight, gaining speed as the driver saw his destination.

    She saw his face and started to run.

  9. Stella T says:

    @stellakateT
    211 words

    Amazing

    Stella and Kate giggled at the screen. The photos were amazing!
    He asked me out I wanted to say.
    I said yes the shoes are amazing. I said yes to him too.
    The bikini shots look amazing, no sign of that roll of fat around your midriff I wanted to say. When he puts his hands on my waist he’ll feel pure muscle. I’ve worked out at the gym for months whilst you’ve partied.
    Pictures of cocktails, fun around the pool. Amazing! Mr Blackburn, the English teacher would be turning in his grave. He’d cross all the ‘amazings’ out in thick red biro and mark me down. You always got better grades.
    I laugh when you show me shots of him. He’ll be mine soon and your ex-fiancé. You tell me about the amazing bridesmaid dress you’ve seen for me to wear. I’ve always love purple, it sounds really amazing!
    When everyone knows he’s mine I’ll finish with him. He’ll be devastated. You’ll be thankful that I’ve shown you what a loser he is. I’ll comfort you my dearest twin, we’re like chalk and cheese. I’m the evil one, yang will lose ying. You won’t be known as the twin with the posh wealthy perfect boyfriend. I’ll be the amazing one!

  10. WALK WITH ME

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    353 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    * * *

    With no moon, the beach is a blanket of darkness. But the bright screens of their mobile phones light up their beautiful faces. Like a beacon.
    They’re nervous at first, but the bottle in my hand brings them out of their shells. I ask why they aren’t wrapped up safe at home. They laugh; bed time is for little girls.
    I mention a party. Their rebellious side gets them excited. I pretend like I’m leaving, that maybe I’ll see them around. That’s the key, see; don’t ask them to follow, make them want to tag along.
    So we walk and we talk. I find out all about them; their names, the classes they study, what member of 1D they fancy. They’re so talkative and so care free that they don’t notice the route I’ve taken.
    I punch the brunette unconscious; I’ll come back for here later. The blonde is the one I really want. She screams and she begs; they always do. It takes all my strength, and then, just like last time, and the time before that, it’s over too quick. Disappointed.
    I won’t even bother having a go with her friend now. I’m not in the mood.
    Guess that just leaves me with the clean-up. I strip of the rest of their clothes, and bury them six feet under with the rest at-

    “-the old Mixon Foundry off the Renton turnpike.”

    “Are you sure?” says the detective.

    I nod, trying to keep my dinner down, the mind dredge still raw. The officer signals to his colleague and they head out the door faster than two fat kids on free pizza day.

    I look across the table at the man chained opposite me; Raymond Fisher, thirty seven, single, supermarket manager.

    Serial rapist.

    Thanks to my gift, the police will now find the bodies of the five young girls he raped and murdered.

    Maybe their parents will finally have closure.

    I wish I could have done more. I wish I could have saved them.

    As I stand to leave the room, I look over at him one more time.

    The bastard just smiles.

  11. Friends

    Miles apart but as one. So much so folk thought we were the same person until they finally met us. This will sound daft but it was almost as if we were sitting side by side on the same park bench.

    @SalnPage
    41 Words
    #FlashDog

  12. Pattyann McCarthy says:

    @PattyannMc
    http://www.pattyannmccarthy.com
    WC: 359

    Curfew

    “No, I wanna text him!”

    “No, please me! He’s so hot. I’ve wanted to go out with him since the beginning of school! Come on, Amber. You said you didn’t like him.”

    “Whatev. I’m just messing with ya. You can text him, but I want you to take a selfie of us so you can send it to him. Tell him we’re thinking about him and see what he says! Hurry, I’ve gotta be home by ten.”

    Shana took the picture and texted Ryan:

    ‘Hey Ryan, Amber and me r thinkin bout you tonite. Wanna go out sumtime?’

    Within minutes Ryan texted back.

    “Wow! 2 hot grls! Which 1 of u?”

    “Oh my God, Amber, he’s asking which of us wants to go out! What if he thinks it’s you?”

    “Just tell him, you’re the one that wants to go and see what he says.”

    “What does it matter what he says. You told me you’re not interested in him, didn’t you?”

    “Well . . . yeah, but if he chooses me, I’d probably go out with him.”

    “Fuck you, Amber! How could you do that to me? You’re a bitch.”

    “So I’ve been told. Look, I’m sure he’s gonna choose you, don’t worry. I see the way he looks at you in Chemistry class.”

    “You think?”

    Shana pushed ‘send’ with apprehension. They sat and waited for a response.

    “Come on, come on, hurry up Ryan and text back. I’m late getting home and I’m gonna be grounded!”

    “I don’t get why your parents want you home by ten? Mine are so cool about letting me stay out til eleven!”

    Amber was about to respond when Shana’s phone chimed. They squeezed together on the park bench, excited to see what he replied.

    Shana opened the text and began reading aloud, but then Amber’s phone chimed. It was Ryan texting her!

    “Oh God, Shana, Ryan texted me! He says he wants ME to go out with him. Holy shit!”

    “You bitch. You promised you wouldn’t!”

    “I changed my mind; he’s kinda hot!”

    Shana stormed off. Amber never did make it home in time for her curfew, or the next days . . .

  13. mariemck1 says:

    Modern

    Long limbs and latticed teeth;
    prom night and cigarettes.
    Skin goosebumped like chicken legs.
    ‘You-will-if-you-love-me,’ said too loudly.

    You stare out beyond me at guys slurping coffee,
    eating off keyboards,
    while they type words you’d never associated with yourself or anyone else.

    One dimensional. Folded. Awkward. I posted you
    to cyberspace.
    You said you weren’t mine;
    so I made you everyone else’s.

    67 words
    @elaine173marie

  14. voimaoy says:

    The Firefly Princesses
    @voimaoy
    195 words

    Somewhere, in another place and time, fireflies were flashing in the grass. In the summer garden, there are two pretty young girls. They are waiting for someone, someone who had secretly passed a note through the blinds one hot and humid afternoon. “You are so beautiful, my firefly princess,” the note read. Their faces are almost identical, glowing with the beauty of youth. Long glossy hair frames their bright eyes as they fan each other with the mulberry paper, jumping at a sound in the bamboo.

    “It must be for you,” says one.

    “No, you are the pretty one,” says the other.

    “I wonder…if it could be…no, he doesn’t even notice me….”

    That light, that night, under the summer moon…

    But that was long ago. Tonight could be that same hot summer night, and the fireflies are flashing in the park. Here, too, are two young girls with long, glossy hair, their faces glowing in the light of their phones. They are exchanging text messages with boys.

    ‘She speaks yet she says nothing–Romeo’

    ‘To sleep, perchance to dream–Hamlet’

    “Whatever could that mean?” says one.

    “Who’s Romeo?” says the other.

    The Universe laughs out loud.

  15. Foy S. Iver says:

    @fs_iver
    WC: 200
    Epicurean

    No one ever believes me when I tell them what the human heart tastes like: salty with a hint of regret. Of course it depends on the person, the sort of life they’ve lived. Your social media-obsessed sorority girl is gonna be different from your war vet. Grandfather. One’s all fat – no substance, the other’s tough, chewy.

    The way they die matters, as well. With a moment-of-fear death there’s that infusion of cortisol and epinephrine which almost spoils the final dish. Much better to take your time, and harvest them while they’re calm.

    Where was I? Oh, yeah, the reaction. My fellow Gastronomists joke that it probably tastes like chicken. Truth is they’re scared shitless to try it. Residual Essence is something you have to be willing to accept.

    We all carry regret, sharp, metallic, persistent, and there’s no truly effective way to purge it from the system. Curry and cardamom, I’ve found, are the most effective masking spices but you’re still taking it in. Add that to your own regret. Most Gastronomists would rather eat crow than human heart. Me? I say there’s nothing like an 8oz. slab of bleeding humanity to keep things in perspective.

  16. Sonya says:

    (I apologise for the extremely unpleasant narrator… his views, not mine!)

    Urgent

    I wish the blonde would move her phone closer to her face. I want to get a better look at her features. She’s got a bit of a nose on her, but the brunette’s chubby. I will take a fatso only if the urge becomes too strong and I can’t get my hands on a thin girl. I find the acting with fat girls more taxing, too. Wouldn’t be the first time I missed out on adding another notch to the post because I drove a fatso away by a careless, dismissive remark. Funny that pretty girls are much easier to flatter; they never question my compliments as if they’ve heard them so many times, they know they’re true. Thin is easier on all fronts.

    Yes, I think the blonde will scratch the itch. I wish she’d put her phone away now.

    I need to be patient. Wouldn’t be the first time I approached a pretty thin girl and her fatso sidekick in the heat of the moment; I’d have to do it twice and there’s no good way to do it. If I start with the thin girl, I won’t want to touch fatso afterwards. If I do the fatso first, it takes the edge of the urge and I won’t enjoy skinning the pretty girl. I have to keep myself in check until I get a chance to charm the pretty one away unseen.

    Will they keep looking at their bloody phones all night long?

    (247 words)
    @_supersonya

  17. The Electronic Dog Device
    on a Sky Leash Licking
    my Broken Heart

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Long summer nights she would comfort me in bed retrieving the long hot day and returning it to me with a smile. Her long black hair encased like an avalanche of purple flowers tweaked with dusk.

    In winter she kept me warm and we would run on lake ice together in front of our home. She sat with me by a fire with warm flickers of light dancing around her sleep. Her language was intuitive, and we always finished each others sentences making sure we hit spell check when done.

    Her love was unconditional.

    When the sound of tires came it started a flow in my heart that covered me with panic. I raced to the road and found her on the side with her body broken and bleeding. The driver was texting and driving and hadn’t noticed the small creature crossing her path. When she was done she pushed “Send,” not knowing what had been lost. Her light slowly faded releasing me from the slavery of our mutual love.

    (170 words)

  18. Rebekah Postupak says:

    Dreammaker

    “Coffee?” A wordless nod; I poured. The coffee was cold and the mug had pink fuzz growing in one corner, but she wouldn’t notice. “Sunny out?”

    Another nod.

    “It’ll be autumn soon.”

    She shrugged. “So?”

    “Pumpkin season!”

    Now she laughed. “You think that still matters?”

    “It used to.”

    “If it still mattered, the earth would be overrun with pumpkins by now. And even then, they would be sought after like diamonds. Like gold.”

    “There’s always lattes.”

    “Pshhh. Artificially flavored.”

    “Cynic! And I suppose you think everyone today should be a cobbler.”

    “No; but it would be nice if shoes were made by humans rather than faceless machines. Shoes today have no soul.”

    “No sole? Now look who’s funny.”

    “I mean it. People care more about the label than the fit. It’s not what shoe they’re wearing; it’s what shoe everyone else is wearing. They don’t even care where they’re going.”

    “You think glass was any better?”

    For the first time I caught a tiny flash. “Some thought so. Once.”

    “Tastes change.”

    “No. I mean, yes, they do, but—“

    “People change.”

    “They didn’t used to.”

    “Forgive me; I’m having a little trouble untangling your complaint. You’re clearly upset, but I’m no trickster. You got everything you asked for, down to the tiniest clause. Isn’t that right?”

    “Yes.”

    “It never failed you.”

    “No.”

    “Your subjects won their princes, exchanged ash heaps and cottages for palaces and happy ever afters. They conquered dragons, led armies, changed the course of history.”

    “Yes. Yes, all of that. Every time.”

    “And after that, they multiplied, just as you hoped.”

    “Yes, they did.”

    “I’ve read the reports: you’ve a hundred million Snow Whites. Five hundred thousand Auroras. At last count, three hundred million Cinderellas, and—correct me if I’m wrong—three billion Princes Charming.”

    “Yes. Those numbers are right.”

    “Again, please forgive me, but I just don’t follow. What is the nature of your complaint?”

    The godmother’s eyes stared back at me, hollow. “I don’t know,” she said, the whisper in her voice echoing the swish of the wand as it fell.

    346 words
    @postupak

  19. Geoff Holme says:

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 250

    Public Information Message

    We live in troubled times: the threat of international terrorism is a clear and present danger. National security dictates that we take measures to keep track of potential terrorist activity.

    In the 1970s, the first mobile phones were the size and weight of a house brick, and affordable only by yuppies. Development of this technology led to a reduction, both in size and price. In 2011, more UK calls were made using mobile phones than landlines. Widespread social media increased the use of mobile phones exponentially. By the middle of the 21st century, everyone alive had been brought up using mobiles.

    Artificial Intelligence systems were developed to use evolutionary algorithms. They drag in historical and real-time data (harnessing the power of thousands of idle servers around the globe that are there simply to cope with surges in internet traffic) then breed new algorithms that, after millions of iterations, produce the most effective and efficient generation of the algorithm.

    Today, If you send a text message, it can be intercepted, interpreted and analyzed before its intended recipient has a chance to read it.

    Every mobile phone in use today has built-in GPS tracking, so it’s whereabouts can be determined any time, switched on or not. Any attempt to disable the tracking will result in the device being rendered inoperative.

    But maybe that sounds a little too much like “Big Brother”. If so, our apologies. We give our solemn undertaking not to spy on you again until the end of this message.

  20. […] something, since my participation in flash contests has been lacking as of late. So I stopped by The angry Hour Glass, only for a moment, and submitted a quick little story. Well, I guess sometimes less is more […]

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