My Boss, “Handsome Johnny”

This poetic story was prompted by the following image:

Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.
Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.

Whisking me off my sensible feet, Mr. Roselli took me out to play–

So giddy–I didn’t know he even felt that way!

This morning he called at eight, arrived at three,

Thrusting brusquely past our janitor to get to me.

My top button suddenly felt too tight,

My shy smile grew wide; inside I soared like a kite.

Just yesterday I was well-coiffed, pinned-down,

But in his penthouse my hair was ruffled under Sinatra’s soothing sound.

“It’s Secretary Day!” Roselli cried with glee,

He moved the years of imaginary employee’s flowers to pass me a key.

My trembling hands, forever smelling of our office soap,

Inched to open his envelope.

My blood rushed as I squelched my dreams,

Although my heart-wrenching wanderlust burst at the seams!

Hopefully glancing at my board, pinned with snapshots from afar,

I was distracted by the window framing his car.

Crestfallen, instantly my nerves were grating,

While he cooed, “My dove, why are you waiting?”

A relic from his travels, a scratched postcard from ancient Rome,

Scribbled on the back it said “Just call before visiting my home!”

Nuzzling my neck, he pressed the key into my palm.

I glared at the Marilyn Monroe in his Maserati, centering my raging calm.


Written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

Compare A.Ravenel Clay’s story, The Bastard’s New Job, written with the same prompt

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On Her Own Two Feet

This following story was written based on the following image as a prompt:

Jeanne d’Arc, 1876. Painting by Eugène Thirion. Public Domain.
Jeanne d’Arc, 1876. Painting by Eugène Thirion. Public Domain.

 

The stone might be dusting her toes, but Joan can stand on her own through a little dirt.

What I’m concerned about it whether she war away the sticks and stones. Can she fight off heartbreak? A friend’s betrayal? Cruel laughter or an enemy disguised as her boyfriend?

She was always a tender reed, an unlit wick in my arms. I’d wonder how one so thirsty–needy–could be one so strong. She used to giggle adorably when I’d use our lamb skin to hide my face. Even then, with a chubby grasp on the leather, she wasn’t scared when her protector was out of sight.

Pigtails and arrows, swimming holes and swords; braver than I, but I’d hold her to comfort while enveloped in the dark.

Despite the plague, despite the wars, she was her own but she was everyone’s–especially mine.

Then one day, my fragile girl flew away.  Joan handle the world, I’m just not sure I can.

 

This story was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction contest.

Syzygy Enchantment; Syzygy Eclipse

The story was prompted by the following image:

Spying, 1972. CC3 photo by Daniel Teoli Jr.
Spying, 1972. CC3 photo by Daniel Teoli Jr.

 

“Boop, boopity-bloop,” my nails rattled, clutching the box while I jerked, gripping tightly to control this stone and my hopes in it.

“Don’t you mean ‘Beep, beepity-bleep?’ ” Harold asked, concerned.

“‘Boop’ works just as well as ‘beep.'”

“Are you sure?” Harold’s unibrow rose a smidgen.  You could call us brothers–thanks to our rabid family dynamics–so I knew he was nervous.

“It will work,” I assured, my faith living. We couldn’t keep living these monthly nights of terror.

Harold whimpered, “What if the Uncles find out?”

“Shut your chops so I can concentrate!” Relenting, I added, “We’ll bring something home from the butcher’s.”

Harold wrapped his fur-streaked arms around himself, rocking, waiting. I beeped and booped the incantation on the lycanthropy amulet.

Finally we heard the roar, that hopeful promise brewing. A flash banished the dusk while the city heedlessly moved around us. Searching for the russet moon, I tensely reached for Harold’s paws, but instead our smooth, calm palms collided, curse-free.

 

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This story was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction contest.

Hydra’s Dancers

The following story was prompted by this image:

Edmonton Chinese New Year. CC photo by IQRemix.
Edmonton Chinese New Year. CC photo by IQRemix.

If I could only remove the blurred dancers, the stabbing in my brain would be soothed.

These dragons sway, a waltz of mirth and color. But they also ring shrilly, shrieking as they bite down, chomping-off the heads of bystanders. The blood rushes, pooling at toes and tingling nerves, crimson cascading from empty sockets.

I rub my temples. If I squint tightly I can almost imagine they’re shinning lights, marking Wintertide and the change of seasons. The screams then morph into carols; the wings, melded from knives into free-spirited tinsel.

I’ve scoured this purse all evening with no avail. Ironically–as if I could have thwarted misery all along–relief surfaces, taunting from the clutter.

Ignoring the whirling, hellish beasts, I inhale from a vial of eucalyptus and peppermint, then pop two capsules of reprieve. This migraine forged of daggers dissipates as I slip on my impish, disappearing, specs.

Relieving in clarity, the ballerinas now move lithe and lovely, their bloodlust quelled.

 

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This short story was originally written for Flash! Friday flash fiction, awarded as follows:


SECOND RUNNER UP: Hydra’s Dancers 

Judge, Sinéad: This story’s title was an excellent, and witty, reference to not only the prompt image but also the ‘many-headed’ narrator, who is dealing with conflicting messages from all corners. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the author recreates the visual and auditory disruption the headache causes, and how well it all wraps into a performance, both the dance of the writhing, clashing dragons and finally the gentle whirl of the ballerinas as everything settles into its proper place. Another tale with an unusual take on the prompt image, and a story which made great use of all the senses.

Judge, Pratibha: One word, execution. From the opening line to the resolution, the tension builds gradually and unwinds skillfully. This unique take on the prompt left me breathless. The image of the dancers as a collective unit, hydra, as seen through the eyes of an aching head, is painted vividly in the second paragraph. Tension mounts in the third paragraph, as the music reaches the crescendo. I loved the description, “the wings, melded from knives into free-spirited tinsel.” Upon finding the cure for his/her headache, the narrator is relieved and so does the dramatic tension, and the dancers now move “lithe and lovely.”   The skillful use of language and clear story arc put this story high on my list.


Manny-Claus

This short story is based on the following image:

Creative Commons License  Kevin Dooley via Compfight
Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

 

“Red hat down!”

“Scruffy and bloated!”

“Sleepy, ugly bruises on cheeks, blooming.”

 

That is how they describe me, warning the little mousies. As if I am criminal and they are the saints.

 

All I did was fluff their beds, cuddle their baby, and drink leftover milk, gorging on the cookies they had colored with sugar all night long.

 

But now I see my face on every newspaper and screen. It seems the public has an odd fascination with my infamy.

 

I didn’t mean to start a thing–I just thought I would leave a present or two (or three). You know, to make them smile when they awoke and found me missing cold. The stockings were for laughs, the tooting train was just an excuse while I lay in wait for the headlights to come back up the drive.

 

Unfortunately for me, I had to be the best babysitter ever.

 

This story was inspired by Flash! Friday flash fiction prompt. 

Welcome ElectrAliens

This short story was prompted by the following image:

 

Chef at the Trans-Siberian rail wall, between Moscow and Khabarovsk. CC 2.0 photo by Leidolv Magelssen.
Chef at the Trans-Siberian rail wall, between Moscow and Khabarovsk. CC 2.0 photo by Leidolv Magelssen.

 

Never before has the wind whipped like cream and the ocean churned like butter as much as it did this time, in their new device.

 

I don’t believe in magic; fate either. But electricity–now that’s the hummer. I’d been a big fan of Tesla’s back in the day, yet now we electricians are considered old-fashioned. Biology dug its heels in the terraform, botanists growing tree-hanging flank-steaks and zookeepers corralling hybrids (I’ll never understand why they innovated Dragonflaorillas).

 

They must have come to me first–no less than eighteen times–because I’m loyal to The Currents. Nothing else could explain their quick-with-thunder appearances. And how else could the foreigners speak without talking into the circuitry of our brains?

 

Which is why I’ve stood as an “x” marking the spot, waiting the return of the electric geniuses to reveal their lighting, reverberating in glory from the stars. I’ll bridge this gap, assuring the masses they aren’t invaders but mentors. (They might even be gods.)

 

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Written for Flash! Friday fiction

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These Brave Birds

Joe’s New Bed

Falling For The Oceanographer and Halo-Shoe Narrative #3427

Average Advocate page of stories

 

These Brave Birds: A Very Clever Story

This short story was prompted by the following image:

Georgian writers Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, 1873 St Petersburg. Public domain photo.
Georgian writers Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess, 1873 St Petersburg. Public domain photo.

 

Winter came upon them like a rainbow; their minds had been dancing in preparation.
Finally they found themselves in the “Coughing Lair” as they called it, cigar fumes so rich and red.

 

Taking their seats they wondered, “Why do all these fellows always think they’re the best?” Their fingers alternated pushing pieces and twiddling their facial hair, making it rather crooked. The laughter molted-off them as in silence they smirked.

 

Perchance they weren’t pitted equally, but it was doubtless who’d win. One move, one stop closer, the previous partner moping onward to the bar. Then they plowed forward and through the next, exchanging glances over the mossy hair.

 

Finally, at the table they met. “Can’t they tell we’re sick of being nestled in homes, with no right to vote? It’s not as though everyone births babies by the click,” the women guffawed. One loosened her binding and the other slammed her drink back, silent shock reverberating through the men’s lounge.

 

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Written as part of Friday Flash Fiction

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Similar Posts:

Joe’s New Bed

Falling For The Oceanographer and Halo-Shoe Narrative #3427

Tunic in the Night 

Or go to the Average Advocate page of stories