Flash Frenzy Round 98

Posted: March 12, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Greetings, writers. Welcome to the weekend and another exciting round of Flash Frenzy. This week’s judge is Fae Fielding.

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

  1. The Writing’s on the Wall

    I should’ve written it bigger. Or longer. But it’s short and gets straight to the point.
    I see her every day. Over there, putting hotdogs into buns. He’s just her boss. Surely. She shouldn’t have to do that job. I can’t believe I even think such a clichéd phrase, but I want to ‘take her away from all this’. Queues of people. Heavy cases of coke and lemonade. Grease and steam and stink of endless frying onions.
    I chalked my poem on the wall early, before their van pulled up. Three colours: blue, green and pink. I’d just finished when I got my first glimpse. My writing will be in her eye-line all day. I’m sure she looks across occasionally, at me sitting in front of my pictures of Shrek, The Little Mermaid and a happy dolphin.
    But that stupid saxophone player has stood in front of my poem. He’s blind isn’t he? He wouldn’t have seen my words on the wall, the outpouring of my emotions, the flowery phrases she’ll just know are meant for her. I don’t know how she’ll know but she will. I picture her walking over in her red and white striped apron and tight jeans. Pony tail swinging and a smile just for me. Oh God, I can’t look at her for too long.
    Please don’t lean back Mr Sax. The idiot’s wearing a fleecy jumper. He’ll brush my words off. They’ll be smudged away to nonsense. He has to move. She has to see it.
    She’s on her break now, drinking a can of coke. She’s looking over. Would I dare ask him to move? Just a little bit. I could point at the poem and smile and nod and she’d know.
    Her boss steps out of the van with a black sack. He slaps her on the bottom with his greasy sausage fingers. I get a surge of urge to hit him, though he’s twice my size. She just grins, and downs her coke. He dumps the rubbish in a wheelie bin, kisses her and climbs back into the van.
    That bastard sax player. I wish he’d just shut the fuck up.

    360 words

  2. A V Laidlaw says:

    359 Words

    Rush Hour

    The Bakerloo line was running late again – probably another suicide – these people just didn’t think about others. John Heskitt elbowed through the carriage and out onto the platform. He had places to go. A punk kid with earphones in stood on the left side of the escalator, blocking the way. Heskitt nudged the kid in the back with the corner of his briefcase. The kid scowled as Heskitt squeezed past him. He bounded two steps at a time. His toes pinched. He shouldn’t run, not in shoes from Church’s, same as the boss wore.

    The squawk of a saxophone echoed off the tiles in the passageway. Christ, who let these people in, blocking half the tunnel as the tourists stopped to gawp like sheep? The busker lent against the wall as he played, eyes hidden behind sunglasses and dressed in clothes from a charity shop. You didn’t make money from music, not playing it. Heskitt could’ve told the busker about all the times Dad came home broke because some promoter screwed him over, all the times he blew his meagre fee on booze or worse, all the times he wailed away at practise instead of getting a real job so they could afford a school uniform that wasn’t hand-me-down and two sizes too big.

    Heskitt shoved past the crowd, into the gap between them and the busker. He tripped over the saxophone case left open to collect money. Coins scattered, glinting under the fluorescent lights, chinking as they rolled across the floor. Heskitt stood and tried to brush the dirt from his trousers. His shoes were scuffed. The busker stopped playing. The tourists stared at Heskitt in the silence. He looked at the coins on the ground. Pound coins, fifty pence pieces. It was nothing to him. He pulled a fifty pound note from his wallet and threw it at the busker.

    “That’s cool,” the busker said.

    Heskitt ran for his connection, limping from the pain in his feet and knees. The carriage doors were closing as he reached them, but he wedged himself in somehow. The train jolted and began to move off, into the darkness.

  3. stephellis2013 says:


    347 words


    The cap on the ground was practically overflowing.

    “How does he do it?” Ryan asked Ben. They had given up at their own pitch, a handful of coppers all they had to show for their hours of busking. Nobody had really stopped to listen to them, preferring to toss in a coin as they hurried past without making eye contact.

    Yet those very same passers-by had paused further down, gathered around the silent saxophonist … and listened … to something. Then they had emptied their wallets and strolled on.

    The two men were determined to find out his secret and now gathered with the saxophonist’s latest crowd. Ryan leaned forward as the musician’s fingers started to move, strained to hear any semblance of sound but all he could hear was … nothing, only silence, pure unadulterated silence. He concentrated harder, noticing how his companions were all doing the same. As he did so, the distractions of the world around him faded, no traffic, no hubbub of discordant voices, no brain-washing muzak from the nearby shops. And then it went deeper. The more he concentrated, the less he heard until even his own inner voice, his worries and fears were also drowned out.

    Life was on pause.

    When the saxophonist played them back into the present and returned them to the world, the applause was absolute. He had given them a pitch-perfect moment of respite, something whose value was beyond money. Without thinking, Ryan emptied his own meagre takings into the busker’s hat.

    The musician nodded at him. “There’s no secret,” he said to Ryan’s unspoken question. “Life is a composition of discord and harmony, of melody and distortion, a never-ending music that wears a person down because there is no respite. Where the noise is too great, that is where I go. And I give them that which they have forgotten … I play them an intermission.”

    The performance over, Ryan and Ben moved away. Each a little quieter, a little calmer, a little more at peace with the world.

    And behind them the saxophonist played on.

    • Nice take, Steph. I’m reminded of my flash in Jawbreakers where the main character fills a bottle with silence to be used when the neighbours come back & start making noise again. I love silence or, as you put it so well ‘a pitch-perfect moment of respite, something whose value was beyond money.’ … ahhhh! 😉

  4. @jeffnuggets
    353 words

    Expressing myself

    I am poring over my history textbooks, hoping for inspiration to come. I have been studying this for what seems like an age now but it never seems to get any easier to eloquently espouse my opinions. These essays certainly do not flow from my pen. I labour over my opening sentence, writing, crossing out, rewriting.

    I rest my head in hands, desperate, hoping for inspiration or some kind of divine intervention, I hear the strains of a horn of some kind carry up to my apartment through the window I have kept open to stop the air getting too stagnant. The passers-by that walk through the city centre never bother me, just background noise, I can still concentrate with them but this is different. I am unable to even think about any studying now, the notes and hints of a tune dominate my senses. Melodic enough but the last thing I need right now.

    I make my way downstairs to the street outside, bracing myself for confrontation. I reach the pavement and see that there is an old muso guy on the saxophone, busking. He is so lost in his music that something stops me interrupting him. I watch for a while, waiting for a break but he seems to have a tremendous set of lungs never stopping for more than the briefest of pauses. I shake my head in frustration and make my way back upstairs.

    I get back and look for something suitable, I rummage round my study, my lounge, bedroom, bathroom and finally the kitchen where I find a couple of spoons and a big metal saucepan. I rush back downstairs with my new haul. I go back to the pavement, he notices me this time, gives me a wary look but I settle at his side and start to add a percussive beat, he looks at me quizzically for a few seconds then nods and turns away and we both lose ourselves in the music, barely registering when people chuck coins into his collection box. For now, this is exactly where I want to be. History can wait.

  5. Richard Edenfield says:

    Like Breathing Into a Saxophone

    Falling in love was like music. Dueling banjos outside a cafe in a summer evening in an alley. A matches fighting breath as it is moved closer to a candle. A still flame bending shadows like a weightlifter pressing feathers. Her smile at another table.

    Falling in love was like Rock-N-Roll. A Fender Stratocaster playing the national anthem in a way that let us know what the fuck we were doing. A conversation stopper. Pitchers of beer. Her lipstick a radio that turned static into Buddy Holly hiccup dance trance. Her eyes tuned my heart with a slight turn of thier green dial.

    Falling in love was like Jazz. A glorious ensemble of hints with no answers but some ass kicking show stopping questions. A light pointed at her hair. Her laughter paused. Cigarette smoke climbed the air like an elderly person up stairs. Traffic stretched the evening. A lone assassin played a saxophone in the night as if he was calling God for forgiveness.
    On the way home she dropped change into his instruments case. He kept playing as if he hadn’t even noticed her. But a smile crept into a note that swam through the air and ended at her doorstep. She bent down and held the envelope in her hand. She did not open it. She placed it in her purse made of bright blue feathers and then turned a key. The lock adjusted with departure and arrival presented a perfect melody. She was used to secret admirers. She let her clothes drop to the floor. Waited for the turn of the doorknob. Boots on the floor. The rustling of sheets. But there was nothing but silence. Like the moment after being injured. That split second pause, where the heart takes one more – breath. Then screams.


    (302 words)

  6. Mark A. King says:

    The Pied Piper of the Cloud


    195 words

    She exists in the etherscope of automatic downloads. She skims the appworlds of approval.

    She once lived in the cities. Your co-worker. Your neighbour. Your friend. Relative.

    She used to be a troll, but the coinage for trolls was meagre.

    Now she has no need for work. Money is no object.

    She’s nestled in the three hundredth scroll down of the T’s and C’s.

    Back your settings up to the cloud. Messages? Photos? Social media?

    Click the latest security update and you’ll see it all there, in clear writing… maybe.

    Naughty snaps of you and some woman, some man or some other thing?

    Oh, you didn’t mean to post it to the cloud? Take it up with Mr Apple, or Mr Android, my not-so-good friend.

    Money or reputation? The decision is easy for most.

    Once the pied piper rid the Hamelin streets of rodents.

    Now she plays the sax while her code finds the rats.

    A website for cheaters? A sugar-daddy mutual arrangement?

    Your privacy is important to us.

    You’re having a laugh.

    Think they’ll catch her?

    She had more IP addresses than Donald Trump has hair stylists.

    She lives in the Cloud and like vapour she’s gone.

  7. CR Smith says:

    WC 338


    The Soul Club
    From here, I watch the nightlife awaken. See the coloured neon signs flickering to life. The hidden doors opening up, shining light across narrow streets. I hear the amplified sounds as they seep into the ether; the bursts of laughter, breaking free from overlapping conversations. I see and hear it all.

    As I play my saxophone, the red dots blink along the skyline, seemingly flashing in-time to the music. It’s so cold out here I can almost see the notes swirling upwards to meet them. Plenty of people rush past, hurrying to get out of the cold, but nobody seems to notice me. Glancing down at my upturned hat, I see a screwed up train ticket, a sweet wrapper and a sprinkling of change. The only thing I’ll be buying tonight will be served in a polystyrene cup!

    I’ve almost gone through my repertoire, there’s only one tune left to play. My fingers are so cold I can hardly feel them, let alone move them. My feet are frozen to the ground. As I bring the saxophone to my lips, turning my final breath into music, my eyes slowly close. The notes swirl around me until I’m lost in a haze. When I open them again, I’m lying on the ground with a man standing over me. He looks familiar, but I can’t quite place him.

    “Fancy going somewhere warmer, our sax player’s moved on, and I need one for a gig tonight,” he says.

    I can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true. I follow the man to the nightclub. To a staircase, where the further down we go, the hotter it becomes. Eventually, we enter a smoke filled room and I hear the familiar chink of glasses, the murmur of conversation. As the smoke clears I see the crowd, they’re not what I expected.

    “What sort of club is this?” I say, looking at the strange assortment of creatures.

    “Some people call it a soul club,” he says, laughing. “I’m a bit of a collector!”

  8. Stella T says:

    346 words

    A Sure Bet

    He watched the last note drift off down the road. He was bereft. No more busking, no more small change to spend in the bookies, no more Emma. This morning she had announced in a dramatic flourish that enough was enough. It was embarrassing to hear her boss say “Saw Ray last week outside Lidl”. Couldn’t he get an upmarket spot so at least she wouldn’t have to hear them all saying Lidl prices!

    She knew how hard it was to get a licensed pitch and if he did get one outside Waitrose, all her posh friends would be donating to his gambling habit. He didn’t have a problem with that. They’d be dropping pounds into his saxophone case not ten pence but Emma thought a few bets on losing nags was a crisis. He was surprised she hadn’t signed him up for Gambling Anonymous by now. He was careful to make sure he didn’t hand his regular wages over the counter to Caroline. He was no mug.

    “Aren’t you going to play some more?”

    Ray turned to look at the voice.

    Caroline from the Bookies, she looked different this side of the counter.

    “You have talent; you should audition for the X-Factor”

    Ray laughed.

    Sitting opposite each other in the Waitrose café, Ray learnt that Caroline shopped everywhere for bargains. She worked in the bookies to supplement her Open University studies. She was going to be a Maths teacher one day. She loved calculating the odds and did he know the odds were not in his favour especially backing three legged horses and dogs that didn’t like hares.

    Caroline learnt that Ray was in a relationship with Emma who didn’t like enterprise unless it was wrapped in an Armani suit. He loved his saxophone with a passion but he loved Emma more so Ray was going to pawn it and buy Emma a ring. Not an engagement ring she probably wasn’t ready for that yet.

    Caroline calculated the odds of the relationship surviving. Hoping she’d still be shopping in Lidl when Ray started busking again.

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