Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Trash-bagged Bootlegger

Finish That Thought #51 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt: [Stupid] [gnomes], you'd think they'd know better.
Special Challenge: Trash bags


“Stupid broads, you'd think they'd know better,” Jimmy growled under his breath. He sat huddled under the basement stairs with a bottle of brandy tucked under his arm and a burlap sack draped across him. “Trash bag ain’t stopped no one before from going to jail.”

Heavy footsteps paced across the creaking floorboards above his head followed by the light clip-clop of several pairs of high heels. The basement door groaned open, letting the words of one of the clip-clops filter down.

“...no trouble at all, Sarge,” came the light twang of Marlene’s baby doll voice. “Here’s the basement if ya want to check it out.”

“Stupid, stupid broads,” Jimmy repeated. He shuffled his weight around to try to blend in better with the trunks and other paraphernalia hiding under the stairs with him. The heavy footsteps thudded down the stairs. Marlene’s clip-clops followed suit. The second pair of clip-clops ran in the opposite direction.

“You know what’ll happen to you if I find any alcohol here,” the booming voice of the policeman echoed in the cement cellar.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I ain’t worried, I ain’t got nothing here. You ain’t got nothing on me neither.”

The policeman said no more but clicked on his flashlight. Jimmy cursed.

“I’ve had reports that you’ve been smuggling liquor, Miss Hennigan. You also have a bootlegger sneaking in and out of here.”

“Bootlegger? What the heck is that?” came Marlene’s shrill reply. Jimmy winced. The beam of the flashlight drew dangerously close to his hiding spot. He stiffened.

“I think you know, Miss Hennigan.”

The beam came millimetres away from his nose.

“It’s true I got a man always coming and going all secret-like. But it’s...personal.”

The beam wavered.

“Do you like... personal, Sarge?”

Even Jimmy could smell Marlene’s cheap perfume from here. He hoped he didn’t sneeze. He could feel beads of perspiration forming on his forehead and starting to trickle down his nose.

“Miss Hennigan, I’m here on official business,” the officer reprimanded.

“Of course, Sarge, of course. But if you ever want to get a little... personal...”

The beam disappeared.

“Thank you, Miss Hennigan, I’ve seen enough.”

Heavy footsteps thumped back up the stairs. Clip-clops followed behind.

“Stupid broads,” Jimmy cursed in relief.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Kitten by Any Other Name....

Mr. M and I have a new housemate, and by the title of the post you can probably tell who it is.  Little Itty is approximately 8 weeks old and full of energy!  Any writing apart from flash fiction might get overlooked over the next few days/weeks as I adjust to full-time mothering this little attention-demanding squeaker.  [You just have to step out of the room for a second and she'll cry and whine as if she's been abandoned for months]

A social butterfly, snuggler, trouble-maker, and lover of plastic springs and music, this little bundle of meowing still has no name.  Mr. M and I have thought of a few but can't decide!  What do you think we should name her?

  • A] Venice {Vinny}
  • B] Maggie
  • C] Pipsqueak {Pippy}
  • D] Narcissa
  • E] Sonnet
  • F] {Insert name here}


video

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why You Should Not Listen to a LoTR Soundtrack and Write Flash Fiction

Finish That Thought #50 (Judge's Comments
Prompt: Dead ants [were everywhere].
Special Challenge: Spiders


Courtesy of ak_nemati @ sxc.hu
Dead ants, that’s what they’d be soon enough, but not right now. Clove watched with fascination as thousands—no, millions—of ants marched in neat little rows down the hallway of her apartment. Like the hoards of an invading army, each tiny soldier wielding a crumb twice their size, they traipsed through enemy territory to headquarters.

Clove pulled her head back and quietly closed the bedroom door on the invaders. She wandered over to her wardrobe. Hanging inside was a black suit and a cat-eared mask. The silky cloth slid easily over her clothes and zippered up the side. The mask fit snugly over her head. She glanced at herself in the door’s full-length mirror and purred at her reflection. A black gloved hand with cat claws reached up to remove the spray can of pesticide and a gas mask from the top shelf.

“Purrrfect, darling, you look simply divine,” she murmured to herself as she caressed the reflection’s masked face. She was ready.

With a kick from her stiletto boot, the bedroom door flung open, scattering hundreds of ants off their course.

“Prrrreparrre to die!” she screeched, aiming the spray can and pushing down the nozzle. A grey, misty substance billowed out. As the toxic gas filled the lungs of its enemies, they crumpled one by one into writhing balls of agony. Clove turned left and right as she slowly made her way down the long hallway, spreading the deadly poison and crunching dying ants under her heels as she went.

It was then she noticed the ants increasing in size the farther along she went. Though they were still affected by the toxic fumes, crunching them under heel was no longer an option. Some of them even came up to her knees!

“Die, you ants!” she hollered in frustration as she sprayed, kicked, and trampled the juicy bodies. “Die, die, die!”

Then she saw it. The ant general. Almost as tall as herself and with spindly legs like a spider, it slowly turned to face her as she approached. She faltered a step, the spray can momentarily ceasing its steady stream of death, and launched herself at the hideous creature. It screamed with rage as the poison burnt its flesh, but it did not go down.

The ant turned on her in an instant, dislodging the can from Clove’s paws. They were forced into hand-to-hand combat. Duck, weave, kick, punch, block, kick. One punch from the ant sent Clove flying into the wall, knocking the air from her lungs. She sat gasping and gagging until she staggered to her feet again. She would not be defeated by an ant!

“I. AM. CATWOMAN!”

With her strength renewed, Clove unleashed her claws on the beast and scraped, scratched, and tore the beast apart until it was an oozing, decapitated mess on her floor. She bent down to retrieve her spray can, gave the general one last puff of poison, and sauntered triumphantly back to her room.


She was victorious.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

One Misstep Too Many

Finish That Thought #49 (Judge's Comments)  
Prompt: The wizard's apprentice scratched [his] head, staring at the beetle in consternation.  
Special Challenge: Include a magic spell gone horribly wrong

  
The wizard's apprentice scratched his head, staring at the beetle in consternation. 

“Ten seconds remain,” the wizard prodded gently from her side of the examination table. In one hand she held a silver pocket-watch. In the other, a purple lace fan that fluttered lightly in front of her face to drive away the roaring fire’s heat. Her pale robes swooshed around her ankles as she pivoted on a bare foot to glide to the other end of the table. One footstep for each second. Her violet eyes never left the unruly brown-haired head hunched over the insect. 

Ryad bent his head closer to the magnifying glass to study his beetle in greater detail, looking for any clue to tip him off on its identity. It looked so natural, so real. How was he supposed to tell which of his 10,000 classmates it was? What kind of final examination was this anyhow? 

“And...stop.” The pocket-watch snapped close and was deposited in a pocket. Ryad moved away from the table and stood straight with his hands folded behind his back. 

“Have thee an answer?” the wizard asked her pupil though she already knew he didn't. 

Ryad chewed his bottom lip. He could always guess. Lucky guesses had saved his sorry hide many times before. In fact, a lucky [or unlucky he was coming to find] guess was the reason he was here, now, apprenticing under one of the greatest wizards of his day and age. Unfortunately, Instructress Zulu knew that and his entire apprenticeship so far had been dodging one trap after another. 

“I’m waiting.” Her voice may be soft like silk, but it carried an air of command. Now it was laced with the smugness of success. The odds were not in his favour and with his inability to pass his final exam, he would be dismissed from the school and sentenced to four years of hard labour until blood, sweat, and tears erased all memories of this place. 

“It’s Porgy,” he answered with confidence. When her gleaming smile started slipping into a frown he added as an extra barb, “Instructor Barnelm’s apprentice.” 

“Thy luck hast stayed with thee, young one. Pray, tell me how thee knowest this?” 

“My next task is to restore this beetle, is it not? And if I fail, he is the least likely to be missed since he is scheduled to be dismissed anyway.” 

“Aye, thy wit has surmised correctly,” Instructress Zulu held her arm out and gestured to the beetle with a sweep of her fan. “Pray, continue.” 

Ryad cracked his knuckles behind his back, relieved to have the first part over with. He resumed his place at the examination table and picked up his wand. If his luck stayed true, whatever nonsense words he babbled next would hopefully be a restoring spell. His wand hovered over the beetle while he murmured something unintelligible. 

Thunder rumbled overhead. A sound not unlike a train spewed from the wand. 

“Fool!” Instructress Zulu shrieked above the howling winds.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Boy's Dragon

Finish That Thought #48 (Judge's Comments)
Prompt: "I will be a real [gnome]," [she] said, hoping no one remembered [her] vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, [her whole life.]
Special Challenge: Include a flying, steam-powered contraption


"I will be a real dragon," he said, hoping no one remembered his vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, forever. The three foot long, shimmering blue drake propped his snout on the window ledge of the dorm room and peered at the humans wandering below. Behind him, Jireh’s human friend gently pushed his tail off the desk before dropping textbooks down.

“What, are you an otter now?” Tye teased. “You look pretty real to me with those scales, leathery wings, smoking nostrils...”

“You know what I mean!” Jireh humphed. He rolled onto his side and twisted his neck around until he was eye-to-eye with Tye. “I want to do what dragons are supposed to do!”

“And what’s that?”

“I...I don’t know.”

Jireh set his head on the ledge again and puffed a bit of smoke into the passing breeze.


This restlessness started on one bright morning when a ruby streak zipped past the window. Of course Jireh had poked his head out of the second storey window to catch another glimpse. The creature circled back until it hovered nearby. It was a female dragon not much bigger than himself!

“Are you a prisoner?” she asked.
“No, I’m a dragon.”
“What are you doing with humans?”
“I live here.”

Jireh pulled his head in so she could land on the sill. The sun glinted off her wings as they folded into place behind her back. She sniffed the air, the desk, and finally Jireh himself.

“Well, you *smell* like a dragon. And this place reeks of human,” she concluded with a delicate wrinkling of her snout.

“It’s called a university. Lots of humans live here.”
“What do they do?” she asked curiously.
“They sit at tables and type on machines all day.”

“*All* day? What a waste of time,” she snorted. “At least it keeps them from dragon hunting.”

“Why would they be dragon hunting?”
“Why, it’s what humans *do*!”
“Not here. I grew up here.”

“So you’re a pet.” The way she pronounced “pet” made it sound like it was some awful, fatal disease.

“Tye’s my friend...”

“Humans aren’t friends,” she snapped. “They always have to own things! How old are you?”

He puffed up proudly, “Two years.”

“Two years? I’m three months! You’re a stunted, brainwashed, human’s pet. You’re not free!” And with that, the dazzling female stretched her wings and flew away.


Jireh snapped to the present as Tye scratched him under the chin.

“What’s been eating you, boy? Why the moping?”

Jireh closed his eyes, savouring the tingling sensation. Oh how he wanted to stay and keep things the way they were! It was impossible. Haltingly, fearfully, he ventured to convey his yearnings.

“I want to leave and find out what it means to be a dragon.” Jireh winced, waiting for an angry reply, but it didn’t come. When he peeked at Tye, he only saw a small, sad smile.

“Then go. I’ll miss you.”

For the first time since the dragon’s visit, Jireh felt free.