Flash Frenzy Round 126

Posted: February 11, 2017 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
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Happy Saturday, writers! Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 126. We have a first time judge this weekend, and it’s up to you to dazzle Firdaus Parvez so she’ll come back to judge again in the future.

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.

round 126

Photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. Running Through The Fog
    by Steve Lodge
    299 words

    Here lies an obituary for James Fenugreek, part-time leopard waxer and all-round entertainer of people. He was dignified in every defeat and at least tried a great many sporting events and goats. His appearances on fledgling TV under his stage name, Jed Faithbook, were riveting to couch potatoes.

    He once represented Shambolic Athletic twice at five-a-side pottery, the year they reached the Cookery Cup Final losing only to Grimeforest after extra time and a clay pigeon shootout and ham sandwich at The Dustbowl in Mirebottom. That was 1972, the year of The Silver Machine.

    A year later, a triple hernia sustained in a Preliminary heat robbed him of the opportunity to Toss The Caber at The Highland Games Finals, held in Invercorduroy and St Kilta.

    In spring of the following year, he had a fall in the changing rooms at his local swimming pool, where he and his team, Poshboys International Synchronised Swimming Team (PISST, for short) were training for the Olympics to be held in Belzon. Jed slipped into a coma instead of his swimming trunks.

    Sadly, he never recovered. D-E-A-D, pronounced dead 1st April. Unfortunately, due to an error between the Parks Department and the Graveyard Commission, Jed was buried under a large stone in Manifest Eaglewatcher Pass and a time capsule due to be dug up in 2075 was buried in Jed’s allotted plot under the name of James Fenugreek.

    This time capsule contains information and documents from the mentioned Cookery Cup Final won by Grimeforest. There are photographs of the Leading Chef, that talented mercenary, Squalid Dobbs, highlighting the inappropriate tattoos he made no effort to hide. They were particularly prominent during his TV Cook-offs against spectacular contestants like Basil Tarragon, Vic Royle, Gandalf Spike, Merlingo Flashmaster and the Shambolic Athletic supremo himself, Jed Faithbook.

  2. Frank Key says:

    A Tipper, A Tosser
    by Frank Key
    352 words

    The pub crowd’s eyes tilted towards Ian as he energetically thrummed the tipper on his Bodhran in his only featured solo of the set. Scattered applause followed as the accordion player picked up the lead and Ian gave a ‘thankee’ wink to the grinning barmaid propped against the wood post in the corner. She loved it when he and the other Lerwick Ramblers came to town and today was extra special since it was the night before the opening of the games.

    “One Guinness and no whiskey,” she reminded Ian as he lithely stepped off the stage. “Tomorrow’s your big day and you don’t want to blow it.”

    Ian’s squeaky laugh hardly fit with his hulking physique. “Dearie, a grand old hangover may help provide me with a welcomed extra boost. You’ve seen the list of other competitors, I assume.”

    “Aye. That group of judges standing around the bar been talking it up all night.”

    “Did you hear my name mentioned among the favorites?”

    She noticed the uncharacteristic lack of confidence and felt he needed the extra boost. “Three or four times, yes, I heard your name.” The honest answer was “none”, a reply she didn’t have the heart to say. “I foresee a 12:00 in your near future, or no worse than an 11:00 or 1:00.”

    This time Ian’s true deep throated laugh came through. “Your a damn fine liar, dearie, but I loves you all the same.”

    She smiled. “There’s no room for gossipy truth in a friendly pub, Ian love, you know that. The only truth we expect to hear is the jingle jangles in our tipping jars. Go join your mates at the table. One Guinness heading your way.”

    She stretched to the top of her tippy toes and gave him one soft peck on his scruffy cheek. “That’s good luck for tomorrow, and don’t you be getting no other ideas.”


    Ian’s mind was confident, sober, and clear as he maneuvered his clasped hands down to the rounded base of the Caber. Perfect balance against his shoulder achieved, he did the run up and tossed.


    • ewansmithxxx says:

      I really like the way the story is actually all about the last two sentences and the interaction between Ian and the barmaid just sets things up perfectly.

      A definite 12:00!

  3. An Afternoon In the Arena at the Duval County Fair

    The beast towered over him. Silent. Guymon hadn’t thought about spiders having vocal chords before this moment. It made sense. If they didn’t have any means of making noise before The Process, they wouldn’t have any afterwards.

    “Don’t hurt him Papa,” Carla shouted from the crowd. His daughter sounded just like she did in the basement when determining that the creepy crawlies in the window sill was a just a daddy long legs. She had no heart for other spiders, but daddy long legs always earned her sympathy. “Their mouths are so tiny they can’t even bite people. Just other bugs,” she would educate him.

    “OK, Carla. I promise I’ll never kill any daddy long legs.”

    Twenty feet above him though the spiders’ mandibles looked like they could exposed Guymon’s skull with the efficiency of a can opener.

    The rain-rusted loud speakers buzzed from the four corners of the dirt arena. “And here comes hometown hero Guymon Mallerno. Let’s see he’s a match for Big Daddy!” The crowd cheered. If it was for the once-defensive end of the Reagan High Growlers or the double decker sized spider threatening to eviscerate him, it didn’t matter. The noise of the drunken mob agitated the arachnid.

    The promise of The Process had bankrupted the nation. A chemical reaction that could instantly expand organic materials held unlimited promise. Produce and livestock could be exponentially enlarged to feed everyone and reduce the farmland needed. All government resources were steered immediately to the full scale roll-out of The Process by executive order.

    The problem was that ten months after enlargement, the cells broke down. Killing anything that had become gigantic. And anyone that had consumed Process-treated items. The only thing that The Process didn’t destroy were arachnids, leaving the nation stuck with thousands of the giant monstrosities. Not wanting to miss any opportunity to placate what was left of the masses, the beasts were put into service entertaining them.

    Guymon didn’t care about this history though. It didn’t matter in this moment. He seized the spiders leg and started to lift before the creature could react. He wouldn’t be able to keep his daughter’s promise today.

    360 words
    Brady Koch

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      Great idea for a story. And I love the tension between the Carla’s concern for the spider and Guymon’s need to survive. It gives a really satisfying last sentence.

  4. ewansmithxxx says:

    360 words

    The Fierce Traditions Of Scotland

    “It’s all such crap, Homish,” Kirstie muttered in disgust, poking at the muddy ground with a stick. “They’re not even big; Scottish men are never big. But they’re prancing about in that show-ring with their muscles and their cabers and their heavy stones…”
    The two of them were sitting on the grass leaning back against the wheels of a horsebox. Somewhere in the distance they could hear the cheers of the crowd, the tinny voice of the announcer.
    “It’s 2017, for God’s sake!” she cried out. “All the political parties in this country are led by women. But here we are watching a bunch of oiled up men throwing trees around as if that’s some sort of basis for admiration.” Her mouth was writhing in a twisting sneer. “Where are the women in that show-ring? Where are the gay men?”
    Homish held up his hand with a grin. “Here, miss.”
    She turned to him with a look of fury. “Don’t joke about yourself, Homish,” she said, her voice scalding in its intensity. “Don’t ever make yourself less than what you are.”
    Homish smiled awkwardly and looked away. He had never known her to be so serious. “You’re in a strange mood.”
    She let out a loud groan of frustration. “This country is so fake. All our traditions were invented for the sake of the tourists. Bloody kilts. Have you ever seen anything as stupid as a Scottish Country Dance Competition? Our national drink with its pretend colour…”
    “Is that Irn Bru you’re talking about?” grinned Homish.
    In the distance, the crowd was starting to sing ‘Flower Of Scotland’.
    “Oh God, that song!” cried Kirstie, hurling her stick at a nearby 4 x 4. “We even have a fake national anthem. It happened 700 years ago, for Christ’s sake!” She jumped to her feet in disgust, grabbing her roll of black bags and litter picker. “Come on, it must be finishing. Let’s go and earn our minimum wage.”
    Homish stood up. “Jenny Geddes,” he called out, hurrying after her. “Flora McDonald – the Edinburgh Seven.”
    “What are you gibbering about?”
    Fierce women, he thought to himself; that tradition was true enough.

  5. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word count: 358

    Caber Tossers

    I close my eyes and when I open them again, I’m at the Scottish highland games, preparing to take part in the caber toss. It’s part of my heritage after all. Generations of McLaughlin’s have taken part in this time honored sport. I remember as a little boy watching my grandfather perform.

    It was a crisp, cold morning with a few wispy clouds in the sky. Hundreds of Scots were in attendance all wearing their traditional dress. Each one proudly wore a kilt with his clan tartan. Even I was kitted out. It was, after all, a big deal to attend the festivities.

    My grandfather, Ewan McLaughlin, was the third man up. I screwed up my eyes to see as we were some distance away. The first man dropped his caber. The second man’s caber fell sideways. My grandfather took hold of his caber. He paused for just a moment and I knew a prayer of supplication was going up. He held the caber fast as it lifted off the ground. He pushed upwards with force, and even I could see the muscles in his neck stand up. The caber flew up came down fast hitting the ground perfectly as it flipped over into the 12 o’clock position. The crowd cheered and flags of every color waved in the bracing wind.

    “Angus! Angus!” I hear my wife’s voice over the highland cheers. “I want you to take the palm tree to the car.” I look at the potted tree before me, a rather pathetic looking specimen. I realize that I am not my grandfather. Being an accountant has made me soft rather than hard. I have a paunch rather than being staunch. I grin at my own puns. “Stop faffing and get a move on!” I hear my wife nagging and I look around me. Other husbands are carting potted trees to their cars and will no doubt have to move them from one side of the garden to the next over and over again. I begin to imagine us all at the games doing potted plant tossing, or maybe wife tossing… Nah! I’m just having a laugh.

  6. TanGental says:

    @geofflepard 360 words

    Some photographs capture history: the protestor in Tiananmen Square; the men atop Everest. And some are beat too soon.
    Bartholomew Grime had few ambitions beyond being huge. At three he used dumbbells; at ten he could dead lift his parents on a shovel; by fifteen he had broken world records for the clean and jerk.
    His desire began to outweigh good sense; he started ingesting a cocktail of substances. He ignored the warnings, even when a doctor described his pancreas as being Jurassic and was banned from all competitive sports. And while his astonishing feats still generated some traction, he began to fade from view.
    Then a wealthy Russian invited him to take part in the Ultimate Strength Challenge, and Barty knew this was his time. And the last test was one he was certain he, alone, could meet. As a grand finale, the contestants had to light a beacon with a giant flame-topped caber. This, it was reckoned would be beyond most, the friction alone rendering it nigh on impossible.
    Barty did everything to win. Knowledgeable people said he might kill himself but that was, he announced, a fair price for his own sort of immortality.
    Barty sailed into the final and now only he could complete the challenge. In the photo that survives we see Barty just before he lights the caber. He succeeds but where is the evidence?
    Precisely as the first red glow was detected, Barty farted; and not an ordinary release of gas, but rather a putrescent outpouring that comprised the most volatile combination of inflammable substances ever known.
    Colin Lubtink, the judge behind Barty vaporised first; onlookers, some 100 metres away had seconds before disappearing; Barty, powered by his own gas shot past the lighted tip and, in flames, exploded into the beacon, formally bringing to an end the show.
    Barty’s fame would have rested there, a footnote in history save for his meticulous notes which revealed exactly what he had taken. Scientists repeated the combinations and the most potent propulsion was invented. Man could fly to Mars in a week. Barty’s fart changed history but no one was able to record it.

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      lol! I do feel, after reading this, that the World’s Great Writers haven’t explored the topic of intestinal gas nearly enough.

      (I also have a feel that I once shared a very challenging journey in a lift (elevator?) with Barty sometime in the distant past…)

  7. Nicola Tapson says:

    The hunted

    The shadows danced as the full moon splintered through the trees. Behind us the breath of hungry wolves taunted our ankles. We ran towards the sound of the river. We watched the white water gushing pass, if we were to dive we wouldn’t make it. We searched the bank for another way. “Wait” screamed Aaron. I stopped. I hopped from one leg to another. Gazing up at the trees, I wondered which one would be the easiest to scramble up. Then I saw Aaron lift a tree. I screamed. His jugular was bulging out of his neck. The skin on his face was pulled taut as he carried the tree to the river. He chucked it over the river. “Quick” he whispered fiercely. I scampered across. Aaron followed. As we reached the other side, we saw the glow of eyes in the forest. The leader of the pack leapt onto the log. Aaron pushed the log into the river. The leader yelped and was dragged under. “How did you do that?” I wheezed as we stood on the other bank watching our enemy. “I was a caber toss champ in Scotland,” gasped Aaron. The pack snarled at us and then retreated into the forest. We had survived another night, but they would be back.

    WORD COUNT: 214

  8. zevonesque says:

    You’ll Need a Bigger Umbrella, Ella
    A.J. Walker

    I’ve heard of raining fish and frogs
    But never heard of raining logs
    But I saw a Scot’s man in a kilt
    Impaled by wood up to his hilt
    Was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen
    No idea what it could mean.

    My mum said don’t be silly son
    You’ve not seen that twas just some fun
    Was a Highland Games that we drove passed
    You saw a man tossing a mast
    Now who’s just having silly fun?
    Throwing trees – pull the other one!

    WC: 84

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