Flash Frenzy Round 129

Posted: March 4, 2017 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , , ,

Happy Saturday, writers! Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 129. This weekend Ewan Smith returns to judge your stories.

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 129

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. Dawwww, sweet photo. Makes me want to participate. 🙂

  2. If The Bar Burns Down, The Rain Gonna Cry All Night
    by Steve Lodge

    356 words.

    Piril Quench, child star of the 1960’s, was well known by people who knew her well. Stardom knocked on her door when she was chosen for the role of little Georgia Nibbles in that exciting, early Sixties TV soap, “Home With The Nibbles,” when she was 9.

    Georgia’s catchphrase was “I fink the ‘amster’s dead,” yielding the family response “We ain’t got an ‘amster.” Ground-breaking as a catchphrase in those days but now, of course, so lame.

    This serial about everyday family life in London’s East End, starred the famous Sunny Muldaur as the implausibly lovely Sally Nibbles, her with the exquisite hair, and Keith Boyle as husband, Tony. The first episode started with the following line from Sally:

    “You’re a lazy toerag, Tony. You only got shot in the shoulder. How long you gonna sit at home all day on the sofa, waiting for television to be invented?”

    The show spawned three other successful TV series, “Knackers Yard”, “Do You Mind Awfully?” and “It’s Just Scrap Jack.”

    “Home With The Nibbles” lasted 2 popular seasons and some of the cast went on to star in “Knackers Yard.” Sadly, Piril’s character was considered unnecessary by the writers of the new show, which was much darker in content, and shown after the 9pm watershed.

    Piril’s best line was from a touching moment visiting her brother, Darryl, in prison. She hands Darryl the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card from the family’s Monopoly set, saying “Use it, Darryl. We miss you.”

    Piril’s star waned and she fell by the wayside. She developed a drink problem but rallied briefly when working with Garry Arrogant on an outdoorsy, adventure series on TV. It was on this show that she met the love of her life, producer Stiletto Sexton, who was herself a former teenage TV star of such period costume dramas as “Whitby” and “Tears In The Crimea, Beers In The Sahara.”
    Only “Garry On Camping” and “Garry On Cruising” had been filmed, though, when, at such a young and tender age, Piril Quench was taken from us in a freak boating accident. One less star in the night sky.

  3. The Broken Spoons

    by Jambo Stewart

    299 words

    “Budge up. A little closer. Perfect.”

    “Really? Your arms are cupping my boobs.”

    “Five seconds ’til the picture, head down. Three, two, one. Okay done.”

    “Good. I could feel things crawling underneath me.”

    “Wonderful Dana it couldn’t have come out better.”

    “What’s with the board anyway?”

    “It’s going to be an album cover for an American Indy band, The Broken Spoons. They contracted me to create one, so I’ve been listening to their album all week.”

    “And this is what you came up with? Boy and girl sitting in front of a large photo?”

    “Well obviously it won’t look like a photo-board. It will look like we are sitting in a park somewhere.”

    “Sounds a bit corny Ashwin.”

    “Well it’s my vision Dana, don’t stifle my creativity.”

    “Sure.. but why can’t it be authentic. We live in a modernised cabin in the Highlands of Scotland. How quaint and romantic is that?”

    “It doesn’t fit with the album Dana. Besides, I can’t pigeon-hole myself by continuously taking pictures of the Highlands. The only album covers I’ve done so far have been ‘Sounds of Nature’ volumes and Scottish Folk Music. Modern bands want creativity and human passion, and I need to expand.”

    “It just feels so forced. Come on. Where did the picture even come from? And where was it taken.”

    “I found it in my dad’s old collection. I don’t know, Seattle or something?”

    “So you’ve got a contract for an American band, then you’ve dug out an old picture of somewhere you think might be in America, and given me grassy shorts to impress them. Do you not think you’re trying a little too hard?”

    “It’s Art Dana. Here let me show you the picture.”

    “Let me guess. You’ve put a black and white filter on?”

    “Why? Do you think I should have used Sepia?”

    • This is very realistic dialogue. Did not even realize it was *all* dialogue until I scrolled up to check. Nicely done.

    • Angelique Pacheco says:

      Love this! Nice touch using Ashwin 🙂 Great dialogue.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Nicely done. Love the idea he’s worried about being typecast as a Scottish photographer after only 2 covers. And his understanding of the representation of human passion shows he might not quite make it …

  4. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word count:359

    Loving Whole

    Many people will tell you that love is about romance and poetry, roses and chocolates. Women want chivalry and independence. They want to be spoiled but not kept. Let me tell you about what love is not. It’s not about any of the things I mentioned before. Roses give you hay fever, chocolates make you fat, no one reads poetry anymore and romance hasn’t been seen in the world for a very long time.

    I will never forget the day my world came to a grind stopping halt. I lost my twin sister, the other half of my being. She was picking me up and thought to text me quickly to let me know she’d be late. She never saw the truck pulling out of the lot and was gone in an instant. The police found her phone still in her hand with her message to me. Everyone looked at me with sympathy. Why didn’t they look at me with horror instead? I was the reason she was dead. My lack of patience had resulted in someone dying. I could hear the family move around the house talking but they sounded so far away. I stopped speaking and I wouldn’t leave the house. I would stare out the window and watch people going about their daily lives as though nothing had changed. I didn’t even realize that the boy next door was watching me.

    Bryan and his brothers had gone off camping the previous summer and had decided to river raft after drinking heavily. Bryan was the only one who came home that summer. The rivers had swollen from a heavy year of rainfall and the raft had capsized. Bryan managed to cling to a branch in the water until rescuers found him. Everyone had felt sorry for him. He withdrew from the world.

    I left the house and started running. I made my way to the bay and sat looking at the view that was my sister’s favorite. I felt a warmth envelope me and I knew it was Bryan holding me. He was hugging me tight to put the pieces back together. That is what love is.

  5. A Certain Tomorrow

    Jeff can see himself reflected in the whites of Laura’s large brown eyes as he looks down at her from above. “Okay?” he says, smiling.

    Laura nods, her dry lips quirking a little. Jeff reminds himself mentally to use the lip balm tucked away in the top drawer later, before he leaves. “As ever.” So he fills the small, sparse room cluttered with flowers with his words, taking her with him, upon them, before her eyelids finally flutter and close and she is away and beyond them – and him. Only then does he fall silent – watching, waiting; seeing the sharp planes of Laura’s cheekbones beneath the geometric, yet currently dishevelled, displaced fringe. He straightens it for her as she breathes, slow and steady. She does not stir as he twitches it back into place. She will be back, in a little while.

    “Still here?” she says, eyes opening, several hours later. Jeff shrugs.

    “There’s always tomorrow,” Laura adds. Jeff’s eyes catch hold of his wife’s for a moment, as her hand reaches out for him. Their fingertips touch, above the bedclothes, warm curling around cold, despite the bedcovers.

    “Always,” Jeff says. Then, “tired?”

    Laura nods again, after a pause.

    “There’s tomorrow,” Jeff says. “And the tomorrow after tomorrow. Sleep, now. Okay?”


    “I’ll wait a while.”

    With the words, Laura curls in upon herself, turning her head to one side. Once, her eyes check for him, before she settles into genuine slumber once more. Jeff reaches over, passing a hand across her slightly furrowed brow.

    “We have tomorrow, right?” Jeff asks, in an undertone, a little later, as he passes the manned front desk. The light haired woman standing there smiles a little, though it fails to reach her eyes and she does not acknowledge the question with an answer.

    “We’ll see you tomorrow, Mr Atkins,” another darker haired lady says. It is a response, of sorts.
    “Tomorrow, then,” Jeff says. This time both nod.

    Right now, they are holding on to each other, though neither can speak for tomorrow for certain. Soon enough though, he knows one or the other of them – likely both -will have to let go.

    (360 words)


  6. […] The Angry Hourglass flash frenzy, 360 words in 36 hours […]

  7. The Quarrel (https://muninnsmemory.com/2017/03/05/the-quarrel/)
    by Kecia Sparlin

    348 words

    She threw a plate that Mike dodged; Jessie always did throw like a girl. The china shattered against the wall and clattered on the kitchen tile like shrapnel. He grasped her wrist, but she twisted free like a cat in a bath and slapped his cheek. Mike spun, tears in his eyes. When she rushed for the door, he let her go, unable to change her mind.

    Lying awake, Mike watched his alarm clock digitally tick the minutes he was alone. Three a.m. Still not home. He sat, reaching for his phone. Maybe he should call the police. He never should have let her go when she was that upset. Never. He texted again and heard a familiar ringtone from the living room.

    Tossing off blankets, he rushed in striped boxers to find her asleep on the sofa, a meager shawl for a blanket. He dropped to his knees and slung his arm around her bare shoulders. “Jessie,” he breathed at her ear. “I’m sorry about what I said. If you want the surgery, I understand. We’ll make ends meet.”

    Groggy, she rolled to face him. “Your cheek is red.”

    Mike brushed snarled bangs from her eyes. “You throw a mean punch.”

    “I shouldn’t have.”

    “You were angry. With good reason. I don’t have a right to tell you what to do with your own body. The money belongs to both of us.”

    “That’s no excuse for hurting you.”

    “The only thing that hurts is when you leave me. Don’t walk out, Jessie. I need you.”

    “Then you’re really okay with the procedure?”

    “I’ll be with you the whole way.”

    “Can I show you the clinic brochure?”

    “Now? It’s three in the morning.”


    Mike breathed for the first time in twelve hours. “Sure. I’ll make coffee.”

    Jessie found her purse and smiled when she saw his text on her phone. Baby, come home. I love you. She tapped the lamp and spread the brochure diagramming the last step on her long journey to being whole, the reassignment surgery.

  8. davidshakes says:

    Profile Pix.
    336 words.
    David Shakes.

    I’m cradled in your arms. The air smells sweet – a floral hint carried on the light breeze. There’s a buzz of insects above the distant growl of traffic. Gentle waves lap the hulls of a few sailing boats serenely traversing the lake.

    I feel contented.

    I’m cradled in your arms. My breathing is shallow and my head aches. The scent of flowers in the air is cloying and there’s an insect buzzing around my ears but my hands are too heavy to lift and swat it away.
    The waves of the lake match the waves of nausea now washing over me.

    I feel sick.

    I’m holding your hand. We’ve just met – an internet thing. They told me not to meet you out by the lake. They said keep to the city, have people around you. I ignored them – I need some excitement in my life and this is thrilling.

    You’re as beautiful as your profile picture.

    I’m cradled in your arms. You’re whispering in my ear that there’s no place for the likes of us in this world. My body is shutting down. You’ve poisoned me haven’t you? We’ve only just met and you’re killing me?

    I don’t understand.


    There’s a body in my arms. I thought I’d feel better but I don’t. She looks like you. Scrolling through the pictures on the website, I caught my breath when I first saw her. The likeness was not as striking this afternoon.

    I brought her to the lake – because you always liked the lake too. We had good times here, so why did you end them? You broke my heart when you left. I think my mind broke too. I tried to find you. I scroll through the sites incase you’re there.

    There’s a body in the lake. My arms are empty.


    I’m scrolling through a dating site. Something about your picture makes me pause. There’s an intensity in your eyes – a longing. I click and see that you’re favourite place is the like.

    I’m sending a message…

  9. Sisters
    357 words

    Laughing, we jostle into Katja’s living room with our shopping bags.
    She drops hers. She is not laughing anymore.
    I turn to see what she does – two embracing figures. One is Katja’s husband. The other is a woman I do not recognize.
    Katja shoves past me, back out the door.
    I follow her.
    She runs up the street to the park on the corner.
    “Katja,” I call. She does not slow down.
    She turns onto the park’s running trail. I fall further behind but am confident I will catch up. She has always been the faster of us, but I have always had more endurance.
    It’s been years since either of us has done running of any significance. She tires after less than half a mile and collapses on the grass next to the trail.
    When I reach her, she is hugging her knees and sobbing.
    “This sucks,” she says.
    “It does,” I say, “but you can’t run away from it.”
    “Didn’t I just, though,” she says, laughing through hitched breaths.
    I laugh, too. “I mean, I guess you can. You did. But, you’re going to have to go back. Deal with stuff.”
    She rocks back and forth on her bottom. Watching her, I’m reminded of a game we’d played as kids.
    “Remember, ‘Rotten Tomato’?” I ask her, joining her in the grass and hugging my own knees. I push myself backward and attempt to use momentum to right myself without letting go of my knees. I flop onto my side.
    “Oh, yeah,” Katja says, then tries herself, rocking backward and then straining to come back to sitting position. She fails; her hands slip and she releases her knees.
    We each try again, hugging our knees and rocking backward.
    Attempts once again unsuccessful, we lay sideways in the grass.
    A teen-aged couple appears on the trail. They stop, staring at us.
    We stare back.
    I ask, “wanna play ‘rotten tomato’?”
    They do not answer as they continue past, wearing worried expressions.
    When they disappear around the corner, Katja and I laugh.
    We laugh until there are no tears left for crying.
    Then, I walk her home.

  10. stephellis2013 says:

    Holding the World in your Arms

    360 words


    Have you ever held the world in your arms? I did once … or thought I did. But I soon came to realise I knew nothing of the core within, nothing of the volcano until the lava flow of fury burned hard against my skin. And with every explosion a little more of me turned to ash, my soul as empty as any Pompeian plaster cast. Invisible chains forged in fear kept me at your side, a false mask of marital bliss fixed on my face, clothes hiding the brand of your fist.

    Today we sail on still waters, temporarily becalmed and I am allowed a moment to stand and stare, to see others as we once were, wrapped up in each other, oblivious. Or was it just me, too blinded by your attention to see you weren’t holding me but taking me prisoner. I want to warn her. I want to scream, ‘Look out, it’s a trap,’ but she won’t hear and even if she did, she’d laugh and say they are nothing like us.

    You sit beneath the sun wrapped up in your newspaper, in yourself. But soon you will look up irritably, make some trivial demand simply because you can. Attention! Do not rock the boat, do not pass go, go straight to jail. The thermos sits ready. As do I. ‘O Captain, my Captain our fearful trip is done!’ I almost give myself away with a giggle as the line pops into my head. Now you give the order and I serve you as always. Will you notice the bitter taste, my bitter smile? No. You don’t even look. What if I didn’t get the dosage right? No need to panic. I am at the steering wheel and there are rocks up ahead. Your head is drooping on your chest and we are nearing the shore. The wind has risen, the sky is black, a storm as sudden as any I have weathered with you. A swell catches the boat and a boulder emerges from the water and I feel nothing as I fall into the deep. Acheron’s waters are familiar to me. I am home.

  11. @stellakateT
    213 words

    A Personal Challenge

    It’s the hug that finished it. Arms around me like bands of steel, hot breath searing my neck. The heaviness of his head forcing mine downwards as the ground rose up to suffocate me. I could only see the chains of domesticity dangling in front of me. I was terrified. My arms limp, fingers caressing the daisies hidden in the grass like ancient overturned gravestones.

    The city skyline calling to me, “Run! Run! Before it’s too late”

    Whispering in my ear he said the word I’d been dreading. I tried to breathe gulping air into my constricted lungs. I couldn’t push away. Hadn’t I been working for this all my life? Twenty five years! The counsellor had told me how to deal with my underlying anxiety. It was easy just concentrate on breathing.

    “You okay Ruby?”

    I gasped for air and shook my head. He reached into my bag and passed me the blue inhaler. I wasn’t ready. The strong steroids soothed my lungs air passing down into the bronchioles. I felt stronger but not fit for a battle to end a war.

    “I thought you might like to flat share with me”

    I shuddered. I’d never shared anything in my life not even my parents and I wasn’t going to start now.

  12. zevonesque says:

    As The Sun Goes Down
    A.J. Walker

    The sunset. It will be perfect then. Apart from the mossies of course. This lake beloved of me and mosquitoes. Oh, and those winos around the other side that hide by the trees and picnic area. Like I say, it is going to be perfect. Apart from the mosquitoes. My baby in my arms. My soul mate. I am the luckiest man on earth. The most beautiful woman, she fits into my embrace like she was made to measure for me. Her scent sends me reeling every time. I wish those children would stop screaming and running around. They’re spoiling my moment; our moment. Children and mosquitoes and those invisible drunks are spoiling my thoughts here. It’s so almost perfect.

    Fuck. This guy. He’s crushing the wind out of me. Is he trying to constrict me like one of them snake things? What are they, boas? Do they eat mosquitoes? Could do with something here that eats those things. And maybe one to crush Simon too. He’s too much. I bet he wants to sit here like this until the damn sunset. Fucking better not. I’m freezing my tits off. It’s not like it’s summer is it? Fuck. Is he trying to feel my tits now? I can’t even feel them. It’s too bloody cold. And those bloody mosquitoes. I’m sure there’s a couple gone up my right nostril. I can’t stand it here. Hold on Simon. Hold on for dear life, cos once you let go this time you ain’t ever gonna hold me again and I ain’t ever coming to this damn lake again. Listen to those children having fun. It’s like they’re mocking me, freezing me tits off with this creepy nob-head. It’s my fault . I can’t half pick ‘em. I don’t remember being that desperate. But I must have been. Wonder what’s on tele tonight?

    ‘Look at the sky, Sarah. The colours are amazing. With you here too it’s a perfect evening. Isn’t it, baby?’

    ‘What? Oh, yeah. It’s nice. Er, could you let go of my arms thought, they ‘re going a bit numb. And I’ve got mosquitoes in my ear. Doing me nut!’

    WC: 360

  13. […] This Month’s featured Short-Short is the winning entry for round #129 of the Angry Hourglass flash fiction competition. […]

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