Flash Frenzy Round 117

Posted: November 26, 2016 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Hello again! I hope everyone who celebrated this past week had a wonderful holiday. For those Black Friday shoppers out there, I trust your expedition was uneventful and free of injury, and now you’re ready to write some flash. This weekend, David Shakes is our judge.

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 and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

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photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

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Comments
  1. Richard Edenfield says:

    A Heartbeat in THX Sound
    ___________________________

    People do not understand. They really do not understand. How important it is. It means everything. It is no small deal. To see a movie on the big screen that was meant for the big screen. Would you put the Grand Canyon in your pocket? Your sister? Your cat? You have to see it on the big screen. Proportion is everything. And that is why we drove for 8 hours to see ‘From Here to Eternity,’ at a small theater in the midwest.

    The new devices that allow you to project films out of your eyes and onto any surface just didn’t work for me. You had to put those eye drops in and put that thing on that kept you from blinking – just not my style. I was old school. That’s right, fucking popcorn and gum under my shoes. I like to be seduced. I like the colors, tickets, the posters… the anticipation. I like waiting in line.

    Most of the revival houses are gone. Just a few here and there. Some antique to play with. But they had a cult following. Like vinyl records. Or kissing someone in person. Or believing in the truth. People would gather from around the world at this small theater in Iowa that could only accommodate a small fraction of the crowd. But they didn’t care. They would wait for the next show while talking to each other outside.

    When we arrived we saw cars parked outside of town. Farmers put up signs that said ‘PARKING 50 DOLLARS PER HOUR.’ People would pay anything because there was no parking in town. None. And people desperately wanted the experience of authenticity. They wanted to feel another person sitting next to them. That human contact that was so hard to find. And everyone could relate to Robert E. Lee Prewitt when he played taps. To that feeling of losing what you loved. The sound of bombs coming at one’s heart so unexpectedly from a future as precarious as the Arizona. With a long trail of oil to this day moving along the surface like a film strip playing the ocean as a movie of freedom.
    ____________________________________________

    (360 words)

  2. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word count: 357

    Through Hell and Beyond

    I found myself on a road today and I saw a sign that said: NO PARKING from HERE to ETERNITY. I was surprised. I hadn’t expected to see signs here. I understood though. I had to keep moving, I wasn’t allowed to stop or be stagnant. I had to keep pushing forward regardless of how I felt about myself or others. I walked on and saw many roads that branched off. I looked down these roads and saw nothing but death, destruction and mayhem. Down one road people were fist fighting but not in sport. Down another road people were looting shops and getting trampled by other looters. Still down another I saw the once proud, now looking unkempt and disheveled, their eyes devoid of animation. I kept walking down the narrow road I was on because it felt safe. It was well-lit and smooth beneath my feet. A gentle breeze whispered over me and my gown flowed well. The only thing lacking was company. It wasn’t that I was the only person there; it was just shocking how few other people there were. I remembered all those 5km runs I did, where you had to use your elbows more than once just to get through the crowd. Not on this road though. I saw someone standing on the side of one of the branches and my heart skipped a beat. It was my husband. I had lost him to cancer last year. Why was he just standing there? He beckoned me over and as much as I wanted to, I remembered the sign and didn’t stop. I peeped down his road and saw a casino. My Henry had always had a penchant for gambling, only, if you lost at these tables you burst into flame. I could hear a card shark screaming in agony. I was sad that I could not hold Henry but continued on my way. I saw many of my friends but I would not stop. I felt life coursing through my body as I got nearer to eternity. Once I was there I would be able to stop and then go on.

  3. stephellis2013 says:

    Composing a Sonnet
    353 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDog

    Funny how no one ever gets the message. You have to spell it out for them … literally. And even then the illiterate morons don’t get it. Take tonight for instance. They’re at it again. At the entrance to my driveway.

    My driveway.

    Mine. Mine. Mine.

    Have I made that clear?

    Yes? Good. Then you’ll know I have a job to do and I’m sorry. But it’s there in black and white. ETERNITY. Now with your obvious educashun, do you know what that word means? Do you, do you? You’re both looking at me as though I’m some sort of madman. Hah, you don’t know the half of it.

    Eternity means forever.

    And I live at that house. You can keep your Dunroamins and your Bide-a-Wees. My house is ETERNITY. It is Forever. So now, and I’m sorry, but there’s nothing else for it, you’re coming with me.

    Him, him we can leave behind.

    We can leave him HERE.

    You, you are coming with me. Now please, please don’t struggle there’s a good girl. You boy, you stay put. I told you, you stay HERE. No? You don’t want to? Well, I can soon put that right. There, there, all done.

    Now don’t you fret girl, I’ve got some fresh clothes you can wear, although I must say crimson is a most becoming colour against your skin. But look at you, why you’re a veritable Snow White. A rosy red apple just waiting to be bitten, just waiting …

    Hush, don’t you waste your time screaming. No one’ll hear you. Not out here. Nobody every comes out here. Except young couples like you. P’raps that’s why I opened my little guesthouse in this here vicinity. It’s back up there, off the track. Blink and you miss it. I’m not the sort to advertise. I’m what you might call exclusive. A word of mouth kind of guy. A poet even. And I have so many words for you, words to whisper in your pretty little ear. But I’m getting carried away. Come, Eternity’s waiting for us and for you I will compose a sonnet.

  4. alva1206 says:

    Alva Holland
    @Alva1206
    352 words

    No Through Road

    It didn’t take long but this isn’t what I expected. It’s an ordinary street, like any other in my neighbourhood. There’s nothing celestial about this place. I was sure it would be different, nicer, more heavenly?

    Is this somewhere in between?

    Am I to park here for a while?

    But, look at the sign. It couldn’t be clearer. No parking from here to eternity, so I must have to keep going.

    There’s someone watching me from the other side of the road. He can’t park there either. He’s moving through too. Do I know him? Looks oddly like Richard who accompanied me to our final school dance in 1968. He has a little dog – spit and image of Grandad’s Roscoe who welcomed us to Cherry Tree House every Sunday while we were living at home with Ma and Da. Happy days those, when Alice was still alive – before the accident. Nothing was the same after that.

    I’m walking on. There’s no-one on my side of the street. The trees are still but there’s a wind blowing a gale on the other side. Richard lookalike is fighting to keep hold of Roscoe-double’s lead. How weird is this place?

    Up ahead there’s a tunnel. Doesn’t look like there’s a sidewalk through but there’s no other way. The other side of the road seems to be fading into a fog through which I can hear a baby crying. No, not that – I can’t relive that pain. I need to go back. Can’t go forward through the tunnel if it’s taking me back there.

    I don’t seem to have control anymore. I look behind me. The No Parking sign has fallen over and the inked writing is washing into the gutter. It just says No Parking now – nothing about limits. Maybe I can stay here after all.

    I stop.

    Footsteps. I hear someone walking behind me but there’s no-one there. Many footsteps, no people, just the sound of their feet on the concrete. Boots, shoes, flip-flops, baby-shoes – no not baby-shoes. I don’t want to go this way.

    I am carried forward into the tunnel.

    No Parking.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Oh this is sad – particularly the references to the lost baby and having to face up to that earlier loss. Great read.

  5. A V Laidlaw says:

    @AvLaidlaw
    360 Words

    Those Things Are Going To Kill You

    I wind down the window as the policeman saunters towards the car. He wears mirrored sunglasses, big ones that cover half his face, as if he’s from some seventies cop show.

    “Is there a problem?” I lick my dry lips. Police make me nervous because of the speeding tickets and breath tests. My chest tightens and sweat prickles my face.

    He doesn’t take off the sunglasses. “You can’t park here.”

    “I’ll only be a couple of minutes.” I shrug. My left arm aches after all the miles driving for work.

    “There are signs.”

    My mobile, nestled among the polystyrene cups and fast food wrappers on the passenger seat, rings. Janice flashes up on the screen. She must have got my message about not seeing the kids at the weekend. I reject the call.

    “I’m just going to pop into the shop and get some cigarettes.”

    “They’re very bad for you.”

    My mouth’s too dry to laugh so I swallow air. “Is this some government thing, handing out health advice?”

    “Just saying, sir.”

    “I know.”

    “Do you? Last month there was a man, a business man much like yourself, smoking as he drove. He dropped the cigarette on his lap. Now a thing like that is going to cause a distraction. He crashed and the car caught fire. Flames and smoke like the very pits of hell.”

    “Okay, I won’t stop here. I’ll try a garage or something.” I stretch out my arm to relive the ache but it only gets worse, burning from my shoulder to my fingertips. The air is too thick to breathe.

    “My point is the end comes quicker than you expect. Sometimes it comes before you’re ready.” The policeman crouches down so his face is level with mine. Reflected in his sunglasses I see my blanched face and red rimmed eyes and the fat of my neck rolling over my shirt collar. “Perhaps just a warning this time.”

    I see the houses and the trees lining the street and a child’s bicycle propped up against a wall.
    “Drive safely, sir.” He stands. “It’s a long road ahead. Make sure you get where you’re supposed to be.”

    • stephellis2013 says:

      This is good. I read this as the man having a heart attack with the warnings of body and policeman a reference to that rather than the explicit ones towards smoking.

  6. Nicola Tapson says:

    @ InquisiHedgehog
    Word Count: 347

    No Parking

    Frank opened the car door and guided Ashley into the seat. He was hoping tonight would be the night. He had taken her to her favorite restaurant and allowed her to order whatever she wanted. She had chosen the Lobster Thermidor. He had smiled and nodded know that later she would be paying him back. He drove past her street . “Hey Frank, that was street,” said Ashley. “Yeah, I know, my butterfly but the night is just a pupae” said Frank with a glint of mischief in his eye. “Oh no, I thought this night was too good to be true” thought Ashley,“Time to plan an exit strategy”. “So where we going?” cooed Ashley. “It’s a surprise but you will love it” smiled Frank. Ashley watched as they traveled through the twist and turns. They were on there way to Lover’s Cove. “What we going to do at Lover’s cove?” whispered Ashley, wring her hands. “Well, I thought we could get to know each other better,” said Frank as he parked the car. The view before them was awe-inspiring. It looked like the stars had fallen and decorated the buildings below. Ashley lost herself if the majesty of the view for a moment but then she felt the slimy fingers of Frank traveling up her thigh. “Excuse me” shouted Ashley as she pushed herself against the door. She was prepared. She had the pepper spray safely tucked behind her back. “But darling is this what you wanted. You are wearing that hot pink number. And you ate me into bankruptcy. Don’t you think it is time for a little payback?” sneered Frank as he leapt towards her. In that instant Ashley sprayed him in the eyes. It all happened so fast she wondered how she was standing on the outside of the car with Frank screaming in pain on the inside. She walked to the petrol cap and unscrewed the cap. She lit a cigarette dropped it in. As she walked away, she laughed. “You will definitely not being parking anyone from here to eternity”.

  7. Thin Spaces, Shadow Places

    Hastily scratched though the script was, it was recognisably his. “Hey, you,” Jaime whispered, tracing the letters etched into the wood with her fingertips. “No ‘parking’; figures. No safe zone here. Alternatively, hurry it on up. Always the double meanings. Best make this quick either way.” Her dry lips quirked as she read the rest. “From here to eternity. Promises, lovely – lovely promises, one thin space after another. Ever with the chase. Forwards, backwards; backwards for forwards.”

    So saying, Jaime walked past the post, bracing herself for the inevitable charge throughout her body accompanying the displacement. “Through the thin spaces…” she muttered, closing her eyes, as the border passed clean through her.

    “Hey, you,” a low voice said.

    Jaime’s eyelids lifted. Familiar brown irises were looking into her lighter ones. She shook her head, sighing. “Wasn’t sure we’d get here, after before.”

    “Couldn’t resist trying though, could you?” Matt said, eyebrows waggling.

    “Well, you would keep with the messaging,” Jaime replied, shrugging. “Expecting a response.”

    “Cross border.”

    “Across space,” Jaime agreed. “Pretty damn persistent.”

    “Not quite what we envisaged though,” Matt said, bitter.

    “Losing our way? Each other?” Jaime asked. “We didn’t though, did we? Or haven’t – not yet?”

    “Lovely promises, lovely,” Matt said, wistful. “Still Here though, aren’t we? To eternity.”

    “Maybe we can just follow our noses,” Jaime said. “’Cos why the hell not now?”

    “Now?” The word was ironic. “What if there aren’t ways? Now?”

    “Why wouldn’t there be? Now?” After a pause, “there always have been. Before.”

    “What if this is what there is? Now? Trying?”

    “Forever, you mean?” Jaime asked.

    Matt nodded. “Eternity. Yeah.”

    “Would it really be so different? There? If we weren’t – here?”

    “Probably not,” Matt mused. “Unless…”

    “Eternity, you mean?” Jaime asked. “The actual?” She sighed, shaking her head. “Promises, lovely, such lovely promises.”

    “Aren’t they, though? And they always were. Promises, that is.”

    “Thin spaces. Shadow places.” Jaime paused. “We’ve been there, done that. Together, then apart. Now, we’re together.”

    “Maybe we need to make our own,” Jaime added. “In the here. Wherever that is. Create an eternity.” She held out her arms. “Wouldn’t that be a lovely promise, lovely?”

    (360 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Love in different dimensions and different times. Cleverly done, creating an eternity in the ‘here’ -beautiful idea.

  8. Mark A. King says:

    From Fear to Modernity

    @making_fiction

    209 words

     

    Her hands sting like the pain in her splintered heart.

    It has been moths since the miscarriage.

    The anti-bac gel seeps into open fissures. The soap not enough. Not enough.

    When she washes, washes, her hands she dries, dries, Egyptian cotton towels claw like a cheese grater on her once-delicate skin.

    Her abandonment complete in tone of her mother’s disappointed voice.

    Her failure written in the caldera eyes of her gaunt doppelgänger in the bathroom mirror.

    She thought about names, names. The books discarded in the drawer, with her hopes and future.

    She took folic acid, looked after herself. But violent illness can come from the most mundane of places.

    Outside it is a world…

    A world full of children.

    Of uncaring mothers.

    Of giggles and hugs.

    Of judgmental stares and un-whispered expectations of someone of her age, age.

    It is a world full of touchscreens, germs on door handles and bacteria on card pin machines.

    Outside, outside, it’s a world of faces that might be trolls on social media.

    Inside, outside, sometimes it doesn’t matter.

    Hell is not a fiery pit.

    Hell is not other people.

    Hell is the loss of what could have been.

    Everything is in twos.

    The same. But different.

    Erratic gasped breaths, inhale and exhale.

    Unsteady steps, left and right.

    It is a world of twins. Twins.

     

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Wow! That is a powerful, emotional piece, Mark, made even more so by that crushing final line.
      Powerful, evocative imagery too: ‘…the caldera eyes of her gaunt doppelgänger in the bathroom mirror’.
      I hope Rebecca is able to change ‘moths’ to ‘months’ in the second line, as I’m sure this is a winning entry.
      (Remarkably, my effort is the opposite side of the coin in many ways: tragedy/comedy, loss/discovery of pregnancy, beginning/ending with a pun on the photo prompt, quality/hack writing…)

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Powerful emotive piece, brought old memories to the fore – you don’t forget, you take the could’ve been with you with quiet moments of remembrance.

  9. Voima Oy says:

    LaVon King, Street Artist, Dies at 26
    @voimaoy
    282 words

    LaVon King, street artist, was not how he would have described himself. But he came from the streets and made art work there. His bus stop series was written up in the art section of the papers, and his work appeared in numerous galleries.

    His latest project was for the West Town neighborhood, where he had grown up. It would be a space for learning, discovery, making things, he said. A bank loan and crowdfunding made it possible to buy the old building that had once been a warehouse. It was vacant now, and abandoned, like the people who live in this neglected neighborhood. Decent people, just trying to get by.

    Mr. King was raised by his grandmother. She died in 2011.

    Like many of the children in West town, LaVon King had been arrested several times for “malicious mischief.” His first offense was defacing NO PARKING signs. “From ______ to______” became “From Here to Eternity” and “From Dusk to Dawn”.

    From there, he moved on to storage units, garages and trucks. He liked to think of the trucks as a mobile gallery for his work–dark eyes peering from jungles, angels weeping over expressways.

    Some of these pieces are in museums, now, thanks to the efforts of Maria Montoya, art critic for NewCity.

    Ms. Montoya, also LaVon King’s artistic representative, reported that he was found by a No Parking sign near the back of the warehouse at Jackson and 49th, apparently a victim of gang-related violence.

    “He was so young, so talented,” Ms. Montoya said. “He had such hope for this neighborhood. Yes, his work will go on.” She declined to comment further.

    Police details were not forthcoming. The Mayor had no comment.

  10. zevonesque says:

    Of Quantum Ticketing and Squashed Ducks (and don’t even mention the dog)
    A.J. Walker

    ‘Look at that sign, darling,’ said Suzanne.

    ‘What, what sign?, Philippe said, trying to avoid the dog rollerskating across the road.

    Suzanne tugged at his sleeve.

    ‘I wish you wouldn’t do that while I’m driving. I could career into something.’ He saw the dog get off the skateboard and pick it up as he got to the tall kerb.

    ‘You’re going slower than walking pace,’ she said. ‘You couldn’t career into anything.’

    ‘Better home safe and late than in an early grave.’

    ‘Maybe. But at this rate I’m not so sure there’s any difference.’

    ‘Shush your thinking. It’s stopping me driving. Did you see that?’

    ‘What, the duck or the dog?’

    ‘What duck?’

    ‘The duck was on this side walking along side us.’

    ‘What’s it doing?’

    ‘Not a lot, you ran over it.’

    ‘What! See, I’m going too fast.’

    Suzanne was contemplating walking, but had the wrong shoes on and anyway nobody walked in this town.

    ‘Should we get out. See if there’s anything we can do?’

    ‘What, throw it on a barbecue? Don’t sweat it.’

    ‘What was it doing anyway, before I ran over it?’

    ‘It was a duck, what do you think it was doing? Just minding its own business and then: squelch and it’s not doing duck things anymore. It’s a dead duck.’

    ‘Fuck.’

    ‘Yeah! Fuck a duck. Fuck a dead duck!’ Suzanne thought that was funny and couldn’t stop laughing.

    ‘Stop it will you. I’m not driving any further. We’ll have to park up.’

    ‘That’s what I was saying before. Before I mentioned the duck.’

    ‘What?’

    ‘There’s a sign there, just passed the squashed duck. It says “No parking from here to eternity.” I mean, is that even allowed – regulations that last forever?’

    ‘She-ite, imagine the ticket if you parked till the end of time.’

    ‘Exactly. We just gotta carry on. We can’t afford a ticket like that.’

    ‘We wouldn’t be leaving it for eternity, we’d be back tomorrow.’

    ‘How do you know? Do you even understand time and space stuff. It’s all quantum when it comes to parking tickets. We’d be fucked!’

    ‘Is that a giraffe at McDonalds?’

    ‘Those weren’t headache pills, were they?’

    ____

    WC:360
    @zevonesque

  11. @stellakateT
    251 words

    A Choice To Be Made.

    She couldn’t believe the sign ‘No parking from here to eternity’ were they having a laugh. She had been told this job was easy pickings. Deliver the cargo, someone would unload the contents, collect the empties and return to base. What could go wrong? She wondered if she could chance it, pull up and hope to find the two blokes that were on the delivery slip, Luke and Mick.

    She just did it with verve, like the White Van man of old. Climbed down from the driver’s seat and swung open the back doors of her articulated lorry. The cool chill hit her rosy cheeks and she staggered back with the shock of what was waiting to be unloaded. She hadn’t really thought hard about the need for refrigeration, maybe a lot of frozen chips or sides of beef.

    “You okay lady?”

    She felt a solid stomach collide with her back as she tried to regain her balance.

    “We’ll do the rest now. Won’t take us long” he winked.

    She drove back to the depot. Her hands trembling on the wheel, her foot shaking as she manoeuvred from accelerator to brake pedal, the empty containers sliding around making a hollow sound forming icicles deep in her soul.

    She handed her notice in. The foreman was happy to tell her that she’d never get a better paid driving job this side of the River Mersey. She didn’t care. She would never drive full coffins and empty ones back from the incinerator again.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      There’s a moral here about being careful what you sign up to. Nice twist at the end with what her ‘cargo’ turned out to be.

  12. Geoff Holme says:

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 316

    Big-Boned

    I grimaced as Louise let out another ear-piercing scream of agony.
    “I phoned 911. Told them you had excruciating abdominal pains.”
    “What did they say?” she said between moans.
    “They asked the same questions that I asked you. Could it be constipation? Where the pains on the right side or the left side? Stuff like that. They said it sounded like you needed to go to the Emergency Department, but an ambulance would be an hour or so.”
    “I can’t wait that long! You’ll have to take me in the car.”

    #

    I drove as quick as I could, but when we were approaching the hospital, there were loads of NO PARKING signs, and the parking lot was full. I stopped the car outside the entrance, bundled Louise into a wheelchair and took her through to the Emergency Department.
    After an agonising wait, she was eventually ushered in to be seen by a medic. He asked all the same questions yet again, then order various tests.
    “I’m sorry, honey,” I told Louise, “I’ll have to go for a while.”
    “WHAT?!?”
    “I need to move the car before it gets towed. I’ll be back in two shakes.”
    “David!”

    #

    When I got back, I couldn’t see Louise. I told a nurse I was looking for her.
    “She’s not here,” the nurse said.
    “Wh-what?”
    “Her bloods came back, and everything became clear…”
    “Well, what is it?”
    She’s… pregnant.”
    “Pregnant?! No… no, no, no… She can’t be!”
    “I’m afraid the diagnosis is irrefutable.”
    “I don’t understand. How did that happen?”
    “Woah! Do you really need me to tell you?”
    No… no, of course not… We had no idea! I mean she’s always been ‘big-boned’, and she has put on a little more weight recently, but… I really need to see her. Where is she?”
    “As I said before, she’s not here – they moved her.”
    “Yes?!?”
    “From ER to Maternity.”

  13. Geoff Holme says:

    I know this is probably not possible, but I’d like, please, to replace’…there werel ots of NO PARKING signs…’ with ‘…there were loads of NO PARKING signs…’.

    • Richard Edenfield says:

      Geoff, I have never laughted so hard in my life than when I read your last comment. I mean for the last hour there have been tears running down my face I was laughing so hard. If there is a God in the universe, and if there is any justice in this world, the powers that be will turn your ‘lots’ into ‘loads.’ I just pray that that happens, Geoff. For your sake as well as mine. But you know as well as I do that that may not be possible. Because once you have excepted your lot in life, it is simply a load you must carry.

      • Geoff Holme says:

        Many thanks for that glowing feedback, Richard. It’s made my day to hear that you enjoyed this rushed entry so much. ( I see from your closing line that you too are not averse to the joys of punning. 😀 )
        It’s one of my trademark pieces – leading up to a punchline. When it popped into my head, I felt that I had to do it, but I have little or no knowledge of how US emergency departments work – I’ve never even seen an episode of ‘ER’, I’m sorry to say. So I put off getting down to working on it until there was no time for research, and I had to wing it. Apologies for any glaring inaccuracies.

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