Flash Frenzy Round 132

Posted: March 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

Happy Saturday, writers! Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 132. Our judge this weekend is Voima Oy.

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.


photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. not accepting my story

    • fhaedra says:

      Now Sing by Margaret Lonsdale @fhaedra 358 words

      Fourteen minutes to showtime. He could do it. He’d done it before. He’d do it now.


      Already the song bored him. The practised dance steps old news. Stay in the present, damn you! His father’s voice startled him. Even from this distance it roared. Yes, yes. Discipline marks the boy. Boy makes a mark. Achievement enjoys reward.


      From the rooms behind him, voices of a thousand timbres conjoined in cacophonous frenzy. Rehearsals. Octave runs. Nervous feet pacing through last minute micro run throughs. Tekla heard it but everything in the immediate vicinity seemed contained in an enormous cardboard box tucked under a cramped basement stairwell, its flaps sealed with gaffer’s tape. He checked his fingernails. Ran his left hand across his lips. Cleared his throat. Tapped each foot, ensuring each toe was in precisely the right place. He lifted each foot, inspecting the sole of each shoe for debris. With the precision of ritual, he swiped both of them with the soft side of black velvet fabric hanging from a metal bar on stage left. He sighed. Twisted his mouth first to the left then to the right. He smiled wide his performer’s smile. Bijan straightened his shirt in back, checked his cuffs. The brothers looked after each other’s not easily visible details. Ready.


      Tekla closed his eyes. Bijan closed his last. They faced each other, lowering their heads as though in prayer. Their barely audible whispers rose, flawless tones in perfect harmony. An alluring cant. They were third and fifth to an unseen yet clearly present root. We. Are. Champion. We. Sing. Bright. We Dance. Light. Wearechampion! Wearechampion! We. Rise. Werise! Werise! WeeeeRiiiiiise!

      One minute.

      The boys took one step backward, raising heads and opening their eyes to gaze at one another without speaking. Bijan nodded. Lights dimmed. The house hushed. The cue.

      Tekla parted the curtain. He slipped through, raising his arms to shoulder height as he spun with soundless grace to centre stage. When the spotlight found him, he smiled, nodding his subtle acknowledgment to the audience he hoped was riveted. Then he raised his gaze to the rafters and began.


  2. Santa Played The Sax by Stephen Lodge@steveweave71 360 words

    Santa played the sax. What a band that was. Called ourselves “Even As.” Sadly, the snow we’d hoped for didn’t come but, determined not to let anyone down, we covered our saxophonist, Kieron Kiteley with industrial glue, then poured soft grain white rice all over him. Best darn snowman in Peramattoo County, Ladies and Gentlemen. Probably in the whole country, I shouldn’t wonder, and he moves about, obviously. Yes, OK, he occasionally swears too. Lenny’s kids were in fits of giggling.

    “Uncle Kieron,” laughed Jimi “They love you already. We can tell.”

    “You’ll get an encore out of this sure,” wailed little Toby.

    “Just hope this shi…pardon me, boys, this stuff comes off, cos did I mention I’ve got a job interview tomorrow?”

    “You may have slipped that into the conversation,” I laughed, “About a hundred and forty three times.”

    Hank roared. “Gordon, I’ve told you four million times not to exaggerate.”

    “Thish ain’t funny, guysh,” said Kieron, with a kind of whistle in his voice we hadn’t known him have before. “Shax is shtuck to my top lip. Glue too shtrong.”

    Unsympathetically we pushed him back on stage. “Big finish,” we told him “If it’s stuck to your top lip already, just blow it, man. Santa, play that sax. Jimi and Toby will pass out the presents to the kids in the audience. Then we’ll get this stuff off ya.”

    Truthfully, it was great. We closed with a medley of Even As favourites, threw in a couple of famous cover songs then ended with “Cool Hands,” a crazy song from some British group, Strange Band. Such a good finisher cos you can make it last as long as you need so we dragged it out until Jimi and Toby (with Lenny and his wife Lai Yee’s help) had passed out all the presents.

    It wasn’t the biggest gig we ever did but it was our favourite and we know all the kids and the staff at the Triple Mountain Orphanage loved it too.

    Total happy ending? Erm…not quite. Took Kieron Kiteley many showers to get that industrial grade glue off and he did stick to things for a while.

  3. Frank Key says:

    by Frank Key
    356 words

    For infectiously good reasons, the stage crew nicknamed him ‘JoySmile’ and it stuck with him into adulthood like grits in old molasses. His dad, a third rate magical act in a touring vaudevillian revival, immediately recognized the charming effect on the audience when JoySmile ‘spontaneously’ poked his head between the curtains and did his smilie thing that always evoked happy murmurs.

    “If we can perfect this act”, the father confided to his agent, “I foresee a television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in our not so distant future.”

    That was a lifetime ago (plus three kids and four grands not to mention a slew of Emmy and Tony nominations). The intoxicating effects of JoySmile’s grin on the celebrity obsessed culture failed to dissolve in the passing floods of time. He was certain that tomorrow’s guest interview with Ellen would seal the deal on a SRO opening night for his company’s new Broadway show.

    Unless, of course, the unexpected happened which, of course, it did.

    TMZ was the first to report it followed shortly thereafter by Breaking News on CNN.

    “What’s the prognosis, doctor?” The massed reporters queried as paparazzi flash bulbs popped all over the place.

    “Will the show still go on as billed? Did he train a backup? Are the rumors true of an A-list replacement actor being auditioned?”

    JoySmile’s flustered agent did her best to handle the questions but was clearly miscast for the role until rescue came in the form of JoySmile himself.

    A collective gasp, easily heard by visitors on the 33rd floor of One Rockefeller Center, ascended from the street. Shutters clicked like cricket thunder then…nothing…as JoySmile, with dragon tattooed back facing the stunned crowd of reporters, awkwardly raised the mic to speak.

    His attempt at humor fell short of the mark. “You guys remember that backward facing emoji I tried to market? Well, here it is, in real life.”

    The smiling lips on the nape of the neck paired well with the hair covered eyes but the twitching nose between was the real show stopper.

    “Wanna dance?” asked Ellen.
    “Of course,” replied #BackwardJoySmile™



  4. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word count: 360


    It was hot and humid that day. Being a Saturday, the train was full as it chugged past the rice paddies toward Eiga Mura, the movie town in Kyoto. I haven’t gotten used to how homogeneous the Japanese are. There are so few tourists that you couldn’t hide out if you tried. I have been here for two weeks already. The summer heat is unimaginable. I thought Africa was bad until I realized that I can’t live without the air conditioner here. We step off the train and walk along a dusty road the rest of the way.

    The town itself is beautiful. The buildings are varied as most of the movies are filmed here. There is even a monster in a pond that pops his head out every now and then. It looks like “Hello Kitty” has thrown up all over the curio shop. I walk around; fascinated as I observe Geisha-type actresses walking around and my heart almost stops when I spy a ninja on a rooftop. They like to position their mannequins in odd ways here.

    Children are the same all over the world. They are full of curiosity and excitement provided they don’t see a foreigner. I feel like a celebrity most days. When children see me their mouths drop open in horrified fascination. The question,”what is it?” is emblazoned in their eyes as their mothers shoo them away from me.

    I decide to walk into the theater and I sit on a hard bench at the back, trying not to draw attention to myself. Child actors peer from behind the stage curtain and stare at me wide-eyed. I stare back at them and smile. I get no response. I bring my fingers up to my cheek and yell “Kawaii!” The children giggle. The grownups turn and see me still showing the symbol for the word “cute” and they smile. I am escorted to the front of the theater as people around me jabber away at me in a friendly manner. I got to sit right up front to see an unforgettable performance of which I understood nothing. That, after all, is the Japanese way.

  5. crsmith2016 says:

    Dad Had A Fan In His Office



    That day… That day was so damn hot…

    I remember my t-shirt sticking to my back…

    I remember my little brother in his shorts, plasters across both knees.

    Dad had a fan in his office and we snuck in to cool ourselves while he worked but he soon shooed us off when two men arrived. We went to the auditorium.

    The room was almost in darkness.

    Light slipped past the blinds casting patterns everywhere. We mucked about moving along the rows, jumping from seat to seat, making up a game, daring each other to cross the room without touching them. Exhausted, we flopped down on velvet seats that did nothing to cool our overheated bodies.

    That’s when we heard it.

    A crack so loud it made us start. My little brother turned to me, surprise etched all over his face, looking for an explanation. I couldn’t answer. My stomach was in my mouth. I’d heard the sound before.

    “Let’s go and play up on the stage” I whispered.

    I told him we were going to play hide-and-seek — told him to get behind the curtain. He looked confused when I didn’t leave him but he didn’t say anything. We hid there for what seemed like ages, me too scared to go and investigate.

    When we heard a voice I froze. My little brother didn’t. He poked his head outside the curtain.

    “Well, what have we got here?” a man said.

    I willed him to run but he just stood there looking up in the direction of the voice. All I could see was a pair of shoes, splattered with red. I didn’t want to think what it was. I just wanted to grab my little brother and get the hell out.

    I couldn’t move.

    “What we gonna do with him, Jed?”

    A shot echoed around the room.

    My little brother fell to the floor.

    “I told you, no names,” I heard as I edged away.

    The only time I slowed was when I passed Dad’s sprawled body. His face was gone, his shirt red.

    I kept on running. I’m still running now.

  6. TanGental says:

    The Stain of Laughter
    290 words

    Liam never stopped smiling. We all thought he was just a happy kid but after the Incident you had to wonder if he hadn’t some private joke running through his head.
    He was about 4 or 5, settling in to our family as an adopted Vietnamese orphan. Mum always wanted more than me and taking Liam and his older brother Gyap filled her quota.
    Not everyone was happy. Grandpa for one. He’d spent two years on the Burma railway at the end of the war and Liam and his constant smile brought back something of those horrors. The Incident changed him too.
    It was a wet cold day and we kids were driving mum mad. Grandpa was in the snug, a little sitting room next to the kitchen, trying to do the crossword when she suggested we played hide and seek ‘but don’t disturb your Grandpa’.
    I suppose it was that admonition that made me avoid the snug. I spent ages checking wardrobes and boxes in the walk in attic. Finally I went to ask mum. She grinned. ‘Ask grandpa.’
    Gramps, as we called him, winked and nodded at the thick curtains. That’s when Liam’s face appeared wreathed in a grin. He jumped out doing a jig followed by a less than happy Gyap.
    He looked down at this trousers and we followed his gaze. Gyap was still getting to grips with English. The stain seemed to grow as he waved angrily at his increasingly excited sibling. ‘He piss me’.
    I thought grandpa would burst. He rocked with laughter. When mum came to see what the fuss was about Gyap’s trousers were a distinct lemon hue.
    Grandpa looked at mum. ‘I told you they were the yellow peril, didn’t I?’

  7. Sian Brighal
    261 words

    As Close As It Gets

    I was so angry. Not the sort that erupts and flows like a volcano, but the sort that grinds away, bit by bit, day by day. The sort that creeps through the years…yeah, more like a glacier as it gnaws the valley, hollowing it out, on its slow march through life. That sort of anger.

    Until I saw the photo.

    Why didn’t you ever say? Why didn’t you show your face? Wave a hand from the stalls? Wait for me after the shows? Something to let me know you’d been there, involved yourself in my best, my scariest and proudest moments.

    There were other pictures. I could lay them out in order: from my early, chubby-faced school shows right up to my first role on the stage, looking fierce despite the dread. Evidence of time, money and effort. Not where it was needed, but…still. But they’re not ones that get shoved in albums—token photos taken more for show than need. You looked at them, and often. Some of the older ones are creased and tattered at the edges. I can image you holding them. I need to imagine, to believe that you held them as you wanted to hold me.

    Because it’s too late now, isn’t it?

    And in this thaw, with hot tears running down my face, seeing the chewed-up trail emerge from the cold, running from now right back through my memories to where I first became cold, all I can do is hold your photo. So I have to believe it was enough, because it’s all I have.

  8. […] This was written for the Flash Frenzy challenge 132, here […]

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