Flash Fiction: Unhappy Meals

This story inspired by the Flashy Fiction Friday Picture Prompt for June 20, 2014:  Lillipution Invasion.

Lillipution Invasion

Unhappy Meals

It was a nice, sunny day -not too hot, with gentle breeze off the ocean. I didn’t mean to take a nap.  It just kind of happened when I laid back to watch the clouds a bit.  Coming back to the waking world, I heard small voices mixed in with the cries of the gulls, and felt something, somethings really, crawling over me.  Looking around, I saw tiny people on and around me.

“What in the world’s going on?” I shouted, causing a few of the little people to tumble from my over-sized belly. Yeah, I like cake a little too much.  Sue me.

“The birds are trying to eat us!” a few of them shouted back in an impressive harmony.

Apparently, they saw no need to fear me, but the gulls struck terror in them.  Looking back on it, I guess I can understand.  They made perfect unhappy meals for the gulls …that were everywhere, encircling and flying all around me and the Lilliputions.  I call them that since I don’t know where they really came from and they were about the size of those from Gulliver’s Travels.

“Where did you come from?” I asked. The Lilliputions didn’t get to answer, though, because just then a gull braved it and dove into arms’ reach of me.  I swatted at it while the Lilliputions dived out of it’s path. I missed the gull, but, never the most graceful, I lost my balance and fell…right atop two of the wee folk.

A hush fell over the beach.  Even the gulls stopped their crying.

“Oh, no!  What have I done?” I thought as I slowly pushed up into a kneeling position.  The Lilliputions held their collective breath as I looked at the mess on the front of my shirt. Panicking, I brushed at the squashed bodies, trying to wipe them off of me.  The rest of the Lilliputions wailed in horror as the bodies of their friends were smeared across my shirt before falling to the sand.

Another gull or two dashed in and snatched up Lilliputions as I stared at my fingers.  It took a few moments to realize that it wasn’t blood on my hands. I raised one to my nose and sniffed .  The smell confused me. “Icing? Cake?” I tried, and failed, to shake the fuzz from my head as more gulls dove in.  I stuck a finger in my mouth.

“Cake!” I yelled before my eyes glazed over and I joined the gulls in a snatch and grab of gluttony.

Lilliputions are yummy.

 

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Flash Fiction: The Bell Ringer

This story inspired by the Thursday Picture Prompt:  The Bell Ringer on Flashy Fiction, December 19, 2013.

The Bell Ringer

The Bell Ringer

Peering through the mist of her breath at the lady ushering her children off into the night, Fran uttered a half-hearted “Thanks” for the change that had just been dropped into her bucket. A few seconds later, she managed a “Merry Christmas” that likely went unheard. It seemed she’d been ringing the bell all day. In reality, Fran had only been at work for a little over half an hour. She chided herself for her lack of enthusiasm and Christmas spirit. It wasn’t the people’s fault she’d let her friend Becca talk her into having “so much fun” ringing the bell and calling out Christmas cheer…”to the tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells.”

Her poetry nerd-dom brought a smile to her face, to which the latest passerby responded in kind, then stopped, causing a small group of folks to jam up and reroute themselves, fished in his pockets for change and came up empty.

“Oops,” the man said, then reached for his wallet. A quick look revealed a handful or so of bills, which brought a small almost-grimace, which became a charming, half-smiled “I don’t suppose you take plastic? No. Of course, you don’t.”

“That’s okay, sir,” Fran said, smiling at him. “At least you stopped and thought about it.”

“It was your smile. I’m surprised people aren’t lining up to donate here,” he said, smiling at the ground. “I can’t believe I just said that. I’m sorry.”

Fran just stared, smiling, not sure how to respond.

The man went back to the bills in his wallet, looked through them again, and produced a one hundred dollar bill. “I just got a nice Christmas bonus. I guess I can certainly donate a bit of my good fortune to the less fortunate.”

As he bent down to put the bill into the can, Fran caught a flurry of movement before the man pitched forward, crashing into the bucket and stand, as somebody grabbed his wallet and pushed him over.

Without thinking, Fran stepped forward and bashed the wallet-snatcher with the nice shiny bell, sending him to the pavement as Poe’s words once again ran through her head: “By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells, Of the bells, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells.” She yelled for help and between she and the man, they were able to hold the would-be thief until, a few minutes later, the police took him into custody.

After all the commotion, the man introduced himself as Rand. The “ringer” supervisor found a replacement for the rest of her shift and, over a hot cup of coffee, she learned that Rand wasn’t short for Randolph, as she’d suspected. His parents were just rabid fans of some fantasy series she’d never heard of. They chatted for over an hour and, while she hoped the rest of her shifts would be much less exciting, Fran decided there were definite perks to making the Christmassy “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, in the icy air of night.”

Wee Little Stories – A new blog for flash fiction

I’m starting a new blog, Wee Little Stories, for the purpose of providing daily writing prompts for visitors to submit flash fiction/short short stories.  That part is fairly simple.  I may follow the Flashy Fiction idea and have different folks provide the prompt on different days.

The big question:  Should I just have Wee Little Stories mean flash fiction OR should I have a double meaning and have all the submissions be child-focused/child-friendly?

Let’s hear what you’ve got to say, folks?

Head over to Wee Little Stories and leave a comment on the first post with your thoughts on this.  Thanks.

Flash Fiction: Tears in Rain

This story inspired by the Tuesday Picture Prompt:  What do you see? on Flashy Fiction, August 6, 2013.

Automata (2013)image courtesy of Digital Blasphemy

Tears in Rain

I came upon them by chance. In this overcrowded, non-stop, bleary-eyed city, I try to take a break from the bustle by sneaking up onto the roof. I can still hear all the noise from the streets below, and the occasional hover car still buzzes up and over the building, but it’s less crazy…and not cramped like my tiny apartment.

So, I was up on the roof, and it was raining, which isn’t unusual. I was sitting down, leaning back against some sort of roof top ventilation box, I guess. I don’t know, I mean, I’m not a building expert, but it seems like it would be something for ventilation. Anyway, I thought I heard someone cry out. A few seconds later, I heard it again. I started to get up and turn around to look over the top of the box and I saw this half-naked guy standing there in the rain, holding some sort of bird in one hand and with the other, he’s holding up this guy in a trench coat by his wrist.

I didn’t know what was going on, so I froze, crouched down a little bit, actually, but not so much that I couldn’t still kind of see. Once the half-naked guy put trench coat guy down, he stood staring at him for a minute then sat down, never taking his eyes off of him. Then he started talking crazy, claiming he’d been off the planet and seen stuff no one’s ever seen. I rose up a bit higher to keep him in sight while he was talking about all these things being memories and how, once he died, they’d be gone, “like tears in rain.”  He paused a second, said it was time to die, grinned like he knew something, then bent his head and didn’t move again.

I looked over at trench coat guy, who hadn’t said a word the whole time, and he was just staring at the guy, like he was in shock. I recognized him as a cop I’d seen around now and then, so I decided I didn’t need to call the cops about a possible dead guy on the roof when I got back down to my apartment, which is a good thing because my wife started in on me as soon as I got back in the door.

“Tears in rain,” he said.

You can’t write this stuff.

Flash Fiction: Like the Rain

This story inspired by the Thursday Writing Prompt:  …and then, the rains came on Flashy Fiction, August 1, 2013.

Prompt:  Looking out my window on a dreary, wet and rainy morning, my thoughts are of nature’s power. Write a situation where rain or any other weather phenomenon plays a major part in your tale. You could be a farmer dealing with drought when the rains finally come, or someone sick of the constant barrage of downpours or blizzards, and to what end they bring you. Stretch the limits of things purely out of our control, and tell the story that’s inside you

Like the Rain

Life had never been fun for Luke. While his family hadn’t been poor, they never had enough money to buy the things other kids had. Most of his clothes had been second-hand. He didn’t quite fit in with the other kids. He got along with them, but he liked rainy days where they all preferred sunny ones so they could go outside to play sports, go fishing, or ride bikes. Those things bored Luke. In fact, most things bored him. He was smart enough, never having to study to get decent grades, and, maybe, that was the root of the boredom. As he got older, Luke never seemed to find his niche. He was okay at most sports, but not good enough to be a star. He had moments of interest in his classes, but nothing long-term. Even music failed to entertain him for long. It was like he’d been living under a black cloud, like the one currently camped out over his hometown.

The cloud had drifted in casually enough, like any other cloud, on Luke’s birthday, the day before his graduation from high school, and poured down rain. It caused the graduation ceremony to be moved indoors, but a contingency for that is always planned. At the time, he thought it was kind of neat that it was raining on graduation day. The rain slacked off the next day and had just been barely a drizzle since. It was just enough to keep things wet.

The meteorologists were all abuzz and scratching their collective heads over why this cloud was just hovering over this one town. The military had flown weather planes through the cloud, hoping to learn something about it. Other than not moving with the rest of the air currents, it appeared to be a normal rain cloud.

Going on two months of no sun, even Luke was getting tired of the cloud and rain, with one exception: Heather. He’d been sitting at his normal little table next to the window in Caffeine Up, reading a book, when Heather came over, drink in hand, and asked if she could use the other seat. He’d had a crush on her since his sophomore year when she moved into town, so he was amazed he was able to sound casual when he told her “Sure”. She’d mentioned how crowded the coffee shop was and he’d cited the rain as the reason. She’d been glad to find a seat. She smiled a lot. Luke was mesmerized, but managed to hold up a conversation she must have felt compelled to have since she’d intruded on his table. It had been an actual conversation, too. Not just a chat about the weather, but a full-blown, getting-to-know-you conversation that lasted over two or three cups of coffee. That had led to a number of subsequent coffee “dates”.

During the conversation yesterday, Luke had mentioned a really secluded spot that overlooked a bend in the nearby river where he liked to go to relax and think. Heather had said that it sounded pretty and he’d promised to show her someday, if the rain would ever stop. And it had. Right then.

After a few seconds of staring out the window, along with everyone in the shop, Luke had suggested they visit the secluded spot today, hoping that the sun would make an appearance since the rain had finally stopped. Heather had agreed, smiling expectantly. They had continued their conversation and then said goodbye, with plans to meet at the shop to get coffees before heading off.

Luke woke this morning more excited than on any day he’d had dates with Heather so far. He was going to show her his favorite place in the world. He opened his curtains and, while not sunny, it looked brighter outside. Heading out the door, he looked up and saw that he’d been wrong. That ominous black cloud was still there.

“Come on! Why are you here?” Luke screamed at the cloud. “Just go away!”

And it did. Right then.

The cloud began to break apart and was completely gone by the time Luke got to Caffeine Up where he found Heather, smiling like the sun, waiting for him. Luke knew his life would no longer be boring.

 

Flash Fiction: Kitty Rescued

This story inspired by the Thursday Writing Prompt:  Comic (Book) Relief on Flashy Fiction, June 27, 2013.

Prompt:  Pick two characters from two different comic strips or comic books and have them stranded in an elevator. Write their interaction in a flash!

Kitty Rescued

“Uh, oh,” said the man with the little notepad and glasses. “Why have we stopped?”

Garfield, the striped orange cat, barely pricked his ears at what the man said, thinking to himself, “We lost power, of course.”

“We appear to have lost power. Maybe, it’s nothing. I guess we’ll wait it out,” said the man.

“Like we have another choice,” yawned Garfield, curling up in a corner.

“I’ll just jot this down in my ledger. Could be part of a bigger story.”

The man scribbled in his journal for a few seconds then began pacing, which kept Garfield from falling asleep, and his thoughts soon turned to how he loved to harass Odie. He wondered how easy it would be to harass this guy. He seemed simple, easy-going enough to be a great target of abuse like Jon, his owner. He was thinking up how to begin the torture when the guy began talking to himself again.

“This is taking too long. There must be something dreadfully wrong. Maybe I can help.”

Garfield stared blankly at the man, then yawned again. “Sure you can, pal,” he thought.

“If I only had access to a phone booth, this would be a no-brainer,” the man announced to no one.

“Right,” thought Garfield, “I am getting hungry, though. I hope Jon has that lasagna ready.”

After a couple more minutes of mumbling to himself, the man said, “Enough waiting. There could be a real problem. I can’t wait any longer.”

As the man started unbuttoning his shirt, Garfield wondered where this was going and a half-curious, half-fearful look came over him as he watched the man strip.

Before long, he was staring at a buff guy in blue tights and a red cape with a big ‘S’ on his chest.

“There’s something you don’t see every day,” he barely had time to think before the man ripped the doors open.

Garfield was almost impressed for a few seconds before the man plucked him up and placed him on the floor outside the elevator to a rousing cheer. Someone yelled, “Look! Superman saved that cat!”

That brought Garfield right back to his normal sarcastic self. He looked up at ‘Superman’ and thought, “Of course, superhero disguised as a mild-mannered reporter. That’s so cliche.”

As if he had heard his thoughts, Superman looked down and whispered, “You’re just a fat cat with attitude. You’re so shallow, you’re two dimensional.”

 

Flash Fiction: idyll

This story inspired by the Tuesday Picture Prompt:  idyll on Flashy Fiction, June 18, 2013.

Digital Blasphemy's "Sakura"

Prompt:  A stream flows peacefully among beautiful flowering trees.  Write a little Flashy Fiction set in this idyllic locale.  How’d you come to be here?  What’s your purpose…romance, tranquility, or something a bit more nefarious?

idyll

He crept through the forest, dark and dreary, drawn by the sound of running water. It wasn’t a raging river sound. He’d not have been drawn to that. Hadn’t been for some time now. It was the peaceful sound of a gently flowing stream to which he shuffled, stirring up fallen leaves as he passed.

The transition from the old forest in decline to the bright glade was startling. The dark woods weren’t overly thick, withered as they were, but with no warning at all, he was suddenly stepping on lush grass with cherry blossom trees in full bloom all around. He removed his shoes, pulled up his pant legs, and sat with his feet in the stream, taken by the beauty around him.

After a while, he lay back, closed his eyes, and thought, “This must be what Heaven looks like.”

 

Flash Fiction: Pizza Delivery

This story inspired by the Thursday Writing Prompt:  Set the Stage:  The Bloom of Fatherhood on Flashy Fiction, June 13, 2013.

Prompt:  Here’s the gist of it:  You’re writing a story about fatherhood with a computer technician as the main character and a cheese pizza as a key object.  Set the story in a Flower Shop. Write the story!

Pizza Delivery

Herb sat on the uncomfortable stool, staring at the small screen, waiting for the slow computer to respond to his latest commands. He hated working on these types of calls, but they helped pay the bills. Brenda, the owner of the flower shop was nice, but wasn’t interested in spending much money to keep her computer up-to-date. As many times as he told her she needed to upgrade to a newer one, she replied that it did everything she needed it to do. “Slowly, so very slowly,” Herb added silently.

Brenda and her shop helper had gone to lunch. Knowing this job was going to take a while, Herb had called his favorite food delivery outfit, his wife, Maggie, and their six-year old daughter, Sarah, to bring him a pizza. Sarah loved making homemade pizzas with her mommy. He’d placed his usual order for “a medium cheese, please” when Sarah had answered the phone. She giggled at the rhyme.

Herb was beginning to wonder what had happened to his pizza. He’d gotten a text from Maggie almost five minutes ago that she was outside and Sarah was bringing the pizza in. He was just about to get up when Sarah came through the door to the front of the shop beaming and giggling. He smiled back.

“Thank you, sweety,” Herb said, taking the box from Sarah. As often as they did these pizza deliveries, they’d bought a supply of cheap pizza boxes that added to Sarah’s fun with the process.

“Open the box, daddy,” Sarah said. “I made this one special.”

Herb complied and had to conceal a brief moment of shock. “Did mommy help with this one?”

“No. I just thought the cheese pizza looked boring so I picked some flower petals when I came in and put them on the pizza. I hope you like it.”

“It’s very pretty, Sarah,” he said, bending down and kissing her forehead. “You know just how to brighten my day.”

Flash Fiction: The Call

This story inspired by the Tuesday Picture Prompt:  The Call on Flashy Fiction, May 14, 2013.

The Call

Prompt:  The phone rings.  You answer it.  Your life is changed forever.  Did you get the call at work?  Home? On the go? Did it turn a lazy day crazy or bring everything to a grinding halt?  Write a little Flashy Fiction about this phone call and how it changes your life.

The Call

It never failed.  Trying to get out the door at work a few minutes early always seemed to spawn the frantic phone calls about fixing this or that, or a visit from the boss to check on the status of a project.  Today it had been both.  Nate ended up leaving right on time, which left no time for delays as he tried to get to the closing on time.  He was finally selling the house he and his wife had lived in together for a few years.  He’d been torn up after her death and couldn’t imagine selling.  So many memories for such a short time.  After a handful of years, though, he’d finally gotten through most of the grief and realized he needed to move on, selling the house being a big part of that.
“A funeral procession and an accident.  Really?!” thought Nate.  “Is fate trying to tell me something?”
Trying to hurry without hurrying, Nate was now running a little late.  He tried to keep his speed to about 5 MPH over the limit, but kept catching it creeping closer to 10, as he screamed at the other drivers for going too slow.  They couldn’t hear him with his windows up, but it let out the frustration a bit.
Approaching the turn off the main road into the corporate area where the title company had offices, his phone went off.  He knew he was a few minutes late.  He grabbed his phone and glanced back up, noticing the red light and began slowing, timing the change to green.  He answered the call, “Hello.”
Everything went into slow motion at the voice on the other end.  “Nate, we’ll be together real soon,” said his wife.
Those few words sent him reeling.  He took the phone from his ear and looked at it.  The number, the contact photo…it was his wife.  He glanced back up, saw the light change to green as he was nearing the stop line, and accelerated.  He glanced back down at the phone, flustered by the call, and sped into the intersection without his usual check for idiots running their light, so he didn’t see the van coming.
The last thing he saw was the contact icon he used for his wife…of her smiling, opening the door of their new home for the first time.

Flashy Fiction: Show It some love

Flashy Fiction widget thumbnailI’ve been involved with a cool little writing site for about nine months now.  I’ve posted stories to it for longer, but became the Tuesday prompt provider back in September 2012.  Flashy Fiction is a blog site that aims to provide daily writing prompts for flash fiction.  A different prompt provider makes the initial post each day and people post their flash fiction stories as comments.  As with most sites, there are times when there is more interest and interaction from visitors, and times when there is much less.  Just as the visits and responses drop off, sometimes the interest of the prompt providers wanes a bit or they are unable to make prompts for one reason or another.  Recently, we created a little “widget”, for lack of a better term, that bloggers and website owners can place on their websites that will link back to the Flashy Fiction site to help spread the word and support it.  Hopefully, aside from just generating more traffic to the site, we’ll also see an uptick in stories written and posted in response to the daily prompts.

 

If you’re a blog or website owner, we’d appreciate your support in adding our widget.  The instructions for adding it to WordPress, Blogger, and websites can be found by clicking on the picture of the widget in the upper right of this post.  If you use a different blogging site and add the widget, please let us know which instructions you used or if you had to do something different to add it so that I can add it to the list of instructions.  Thanks.

 

If you’re a writer or have never written anything outside of a classroom, check the site out and give Flash Fiction a shot.  We’d love to see your contributions.