Flash Frenzy Round 85

Posted: November 14, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Welcome, flash dogs, to Flash Frenzy Round 85. This weekend, AV Laidlaw is back in the judge’s seat.

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

  1. Richard Edenfield says:

    Not Catching Fish Like My Father

    On lazy afternoons in Alabama after the ice thaws and the leaves gather in a dark ring around the parameter of the lake that warms with July air that fills with fireworks like water bugs sliding across an evening surface with a colorful pride, on lazy afternoons like that, I would head down to the water and go fishing. I’d walk onto the pier that I helped make with my father, wearing a straw hat that I got at Piggly Wiggly. I dressed like my father. Walked like my father. Talked like my father. Was silent like my father. And even had a bunch of keys hanging from my belt like my father; I thought two things made an adult: having lots of keys, and wearing a watch… and of course, fishing. My father never caught anything, so I tried not to catch anything, either. I doubt that he tried not to catch anything on purpose, he just had bad fishing luck. I checked my wrist like my father did after hours of not catching anything, with a quick glance, like he always did when my mother was cooking. Quick. As if time was very proud and did not want to be checked up on. Shy ticking by a warm oven.

    I would sit and stare at the horizon. My legs dangling over the pier. A pier that was very much like a treehouse, except that you could look down to see the sky. And, at night, I felt suspended on my pier as if it was a spaceship sailing over the earth with my line anchoring me home. Some older kids would drink and make noise. They threw their beer cans into the water and these cans would float like satellites in the dark reaches of lake space. I ignored those kids and just concentrated on catching nothing.

    When I got home, dinner was coming out of the oven. It was fish. Some Salmon with butter and lemon. I would eat the fish like my father. He would eat fish like it was the greatest thing in the world. His keys would jingle at his side. So would mine.


    (360 words)

  2. Life as a Fish

    He’s here again. I can hear his feet on the wooden jetty. He’s looking for me, thinking he can catch me and take me back.
    I slip between the waving waterweeds as he baits his hook with promises.
    ‘Shirley? Can you hear me? From now on, no more staying out all night.’
    He can do as he pleases. He always did.
    ‘I’ll be a new man. Even put a wash on occasionally.’
    Big deal.
    ‘Instead of just watching cooking shows, I’ll actually make dinner. And I’ll remember to put out the bins, rather than wait to be reminded.’
    But what do I care of such things? These days I settle for hours on the pebbly lake-bed, letting the water ripple over me. Life as a fish is great. I twist my body to admire my new rainbow iridescent scales. My fins grow more vigorous each day. I’ve forgotten what breathing’s like.
    He’s sitting on the jetty saying work needs me back, he’s behind with the rent and where did I put those light bulbs.
    Here I wake when the light filters through the water, banishing the shadows I’ve rested in all night. I swim to the surface to feast on the small flies that gather there. And to think I used to plan meals, cut out recipes and go to the market every day.
    He’s letting down a line. There’s something on the end. It glints, caught in silver light-ripples, as it drifts into my eye-line.
    A diamond.
    ‘I know this is what you want, Shirley. Come on.’
    I gulp. The ring’s beautiful. Perhaps he’s right. It is what I wanted. I’d dropped enough hints.
    ‘I love you, Shirl. Please come back.’
    He loves me? He never said that before. My gills prickle. I glance up at his feet dangling in the water.
    ‘So are you going to stop sulking now? Come back where you belong?’
    Sulking? Is that what I’m doing?
    Back where I belong?
    No way. I belong in the water. I’m staying here.
    I flick my strong new tail and, leaving a trail of pearly bubbles in my wake, head for the deeper part of the lake.

    360 words

  3. stephellis2013 says:


    263 words

    The monster has lurked beneath the surface of these waters for many years, occasionally erupting to gorge itself on those who walk above before disappearing once more into the depths. In that time it has grown in size and spawned others in its own distorted image and they too now lie in wait, ready to bring darkness into the light.

    My brother was one of the last who fed the monster. His aimless life had led him into its path, an easy target for the false promises whispered by this leviathan of hate. Now he too lies beneath, ready to claim the hearts and minds of those who think society rotten and corrupt.

    My parents do not know I have come to seek him, they would only try and stop me, fearing more heartbreak. But I tread warily, carefully, knowing how easy it would be to slip through the cracks.

    And I am armed, not with the maggots that feed on festering wounds of hatred and fanaticism but words that will always rise above anything this monster can throw at us.

    I pause, steel myself for the challenge ahead. I have come to the end of my path and I know it will not be easy. But I will try and I will keep on trying. And if I fail I know there will be others who will come after me, carrying the same message.

    I stretch out my hand, reaching into the cold depths, reaching out for my brother.

    And I speak those words that will forever remain undefeated, Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

  4. Great topical use of the metaphorical lurking monster growing in size and ‘occasionally erupting to gorge itself’. Good stuff Steph!

  5. voimaoy says:

    Green Tea
    355 words

    It was summer and he was ten years old, wearing a blue-striped t-shirt. Bare feet on the warm wood of the dock. Sunlight on the water, he felt the wet of it. He shut his eyes. Red, the color of the light through closed eyelids.

    “Hey Ben, what are you doing?” It was Kim, smiling blue eyes and yellow braids. She was eight years old.

    “Nothing much.”

    “Can I do nothing too?”

    “Sure why not.” A breeze stirred the water weeds.

    “Ben, do you think there’s a whale in the lake?”

    “Huh? No.”

    “Doesn’t that cloud look like a whale to you?”

    “Yeah, a little.”

    They sat in silence for awhile. He felt the warm sun on his skin. The light on her hair made it golden.

    Red, the color of the sun behind closed eyelids.

    “So what do you think?” Reilly’s eager face. “Good stuff, am I right. The detail.”

    “Wow,” Ben Harris rubbed his eyes in the murky light. His fingers were still wet. He was back in the cluttered room of the cabin. Outside, the howling wind.

    “Told you it would be worth it. Where did you go?”

    “The past,” Ben shrugged. “I went home.”

    “Ha, ha. You old guys are all alike. You could have dancing girls if you wanted. But hey, who am I to be critical. I’m just doing my part to save humanity. Welcome to the wonderful world of hydroponic engineering. You in or not?”

    “Sure, why not.” Ben clicked the funding app, adding to Reilly’s growing totals. How can I say no to this. I won’t live to see green again, blue sky. But maybe you will, with your hydroponic engineering. Me, I work with the wind.

    “Thanks, man, I really appreciate that. You are my best and oldest friend.” He added with a wink.

    “Right, Reilly. Take care. See you next time around.”

    Bags of green tea were stacked against the wall. Ben Harris watched Reilly ride away, his horses and camels loaded with provisions. For a moment, Ben thought he saw a glimpse of blue, the color of the girl’s eyes, smiling in the dust.

  6. CR Smith says:

    The Old Photograph

    ‘Who’s this Grandpa?’
    ‘That’s me.’
    ‘But you’ve always said you hated the water.’
    ‘I do. A couple of weeks after that was taken my life changed forever.’
    ‘Why, what happened?’

    Grandpa fell silent and I thought he wasn’t going to continue. He studied the old photograph and then said quietly, ‘I had a brother once.’

    This was news to me!

    ‘He was twelve, I was seven. When he crept out of the house, I followed him down to the river. He kept telling me to go home, but eventually gave in and allowed me to fish with him. I felt so grown up when he let me have a puff of his cigarette.’

    Grandpa’s hands turned white from gripping the arms of his chair.

    ‘It was all my fault,’ he continued.
    ‘How can it have been your fault? You were a child.’
    ‘The wind blew my hat into the water. I tried to hook it out with my rod, but it wasn’t long enough. I leaned too far over and fell in. Got myself tangled in weeds.’

    Tears streaked Grandpa’s face. I tried to comfort him by placing my hands over his.

    ‘He jumped in to untangle me. I remember the look of concern, the way his hair floated around his face. I surfaced, he didn’t, My thrashing around had disturbed the mud, making it difficult to see into the water. I realised he must have got caught up and reached out blindly, managing to grab a handful of t-shirt.’

    Grandpa waved his hand through the air, throwing off mine.

    ‘Pa came running, must have heard my cries. Between us we untangled him and dragged him onto the decking. I remember his eyes… that stare… I watched helplessly as Pa give him mouth to mouth.’

    Grandpa gulped down a mouthful of air, reliving the past.

    ‘I willed him to wake up… watched Pa trying to breath the life back in… when he stopped and let out a howl, the likes of which I’d never heard before, or since, I knew my brother was dead.’

    I wiped away my own tears and gave Grandpa a hug.


    WC 356

  7. Remember The Days

    Remember the days when you could go to a concert. The whole spectacle of sound and light absorbed you completely. You were a speck in a sea of singing faces and waving hands, a celebration of your favorite artist and, ultimately, a celebration of yourself.

    Remember the days when you could have a drink on a terrace. You were tired after a week’s work, but so were your friends, so it all didn’t matter, and you drank and you talked and you made plans and you reminisced and you lived.

    Remember the days when you could go see a football match. You cheered for your team, your side, your colors. You chanted the club song, arm in arm with other supporters, waving your shawls, high in the air, proud.

    Remember the days when you could walk out of the door in the morning, carefree, safe in your own bubble. Just like when you went out fishing as kid. You didn’t know what was going to happen, but you knew it was going to be a fine day. It really didn’t matter if you came home with a bucket full of snapper or not. It was about doing what you want and just breathe. Be happy. Be innocent.

    Remember all those days. Because they are over.

    215 words (far from enough, but I needed to write this)

  8. necwrites says:

    Don’t I Know You?
    360 words

    “I thought I might find you here.”

    Wally nearly dropped his rod at the old-lady voice. The late afternoon silhouetted her, but no mistaking the puffy old-lady hair. At least it wasn’t Bobby. Wally frowned at the lazy bobber. His brother would slap him for baiting the hook wrong.

    “Goodday, ma’am.”

    The grannie hunkered down onto the dock and let her legs dangle over the edge. “Hello, Walter.”

    Pudgy dimpled knees. Tottering steps. Toddler’s weight in hardened hands.

    Family? Was she one of his great-aunts? He could never keep them straight.

    “I admit, I’m a little miffed,” she sighed, but her smile stayed sweet as raisin pie. “I’d hoped our honeymoon was heaven enough.”

    She pat his knee with so much familiarity that it didn’t occur to him to move away.

    Waves tumble turquoise. Pineapple tang. Sandy fingers interlaced.

    Ukulele music fuddled his hearing. “What?” Wally shook his head.

    Worry seamed the space between her eyebrows and she brushed his hair from his forehead. Something in his bones recoiled like a broken guitar string.

    Gangrenous clot. Banshee-shriek of bombers. Robert’s smeared dog tags…

    “Bobby!” he wailed. Why had he said that? A phantom agony squeezes his guts.

    She held out her hands. He was paralyzed between confusion and really, really needing that hug.

    Arms as gentle as dove wings enfolded him. “Oh, Walter, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean bring that back.”

    What was happening to him? The comfort of her arms was too much.

    “Hard sometimes, but you’ve always been my little slice of paradise.” Another sigh. “I can make this work.”

    Brittle white. Bleach stench over vomit. Interlaced fingers on puckered sheets.

    Wally’s lungs pinched. He pulled away. When he grabbed for his rod, a little girl hand snatched it from his grip.


    She was changing. The grandma creases smoothed out of her cheeks as he watched, and the wiry hair relaxed into corn silk. A girl his age. His pulse stumbled but not with fear.

    “First things first.” She hiked up her too-loose sleeves. Without hesitation, she dug a long wiggler from his soupcan. “I’m going to show you the right way to thread a worm.”

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