Tuesday Scribes – Mercier and the Mysterious Case of Wilberforce

A mini saga (50 words) for this week’s prompt at Tuesday Scribes.


Mercier kneeled, surveying the scene.

Presently… “It’s clear what’s happened, Addington,” he addressed his assistant.

“Obviously, Wilberforce was perched on the wall, enjoying a cuppa and reading the Times. He angered the wrong fire god.” Rising to his feet and with a flourish of his cape Mercier added, “And exploded.”


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OLWG#61- Empty Canvas

 

You are never going to believe this, but I spent a couple of days on this one.
It was done for OLWG#61



Mixed Media; Blues and Greens

 


This week’s prompts were:

  1. you are never going to believe this
  2. well damn
  3. jiggle it a little bit

 

 

In The Wake of the 1986 Bombing of Libya

Written for the July 26th Flash Fiction Challenge



Changing planes at CDG, the public address system harangues, “The white zone is not a place to park automobiles; never leave your luggage unattended.”
 
A disturbance in the terminal causes me to look up from my reading, and I study a contingent of gendarmes scurrying across the airport to erect a barrier around an abandoned valise. A barrier that resembles something a film noir femme fatale would duck behind to change into “something more comfortable.”
 
The officers fall back, a muffled “POP” sounds, we watch a single nylon stocking rise above the screen before gently floating back to ground.

The prompt and instructions were:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what happens next to a stranded suitcase. Go where the prompt leads you, but consider the different perspectives you can take to tell the tale.

OLWG#60- And So It Begins

I spent more than twenty-five minutes
Writing this one for OLWG#60



Lucifer tipped his Windsor-backed chair against the wall and put his boots up on the table. He took a long draught of the ice cold beer he held in his left hand and watched the image of a barefoot young man trudging up the road, heat shimmered around him and his worn blue shirt was wet with sweat. The devil waited for the barefoot dude to arrive.
 
It’s hot outside, but inside minions and imps crowd the cool and darkened room; they huddle near the doors and windows, hover behind him, they crowd back of the bar – lest their master might desire another drink. They stare mostly at the floor, or the walls and never look directly at the devil. From time to time one or two will venture a quick glance at the holographic image of the young man. As he walks they can see the dust billow upwards with each step when his foot hits the ground. His feet have become coloured red by the dust as have the legs of his denim trousers, from the knee down. He looks hungry and thirsty.
 
Time passes. No one seems to be in a hurry. It is quiet ‘cept for the occasional giggle or snorts from one of the minions who will slap his hand over his mouth to maintain the silence.
 
Finally, the image they’ve been watching fades. They hear the sound of someone stepping up on the wooden porch outside. The young barefoot man opens the door. As he steps inside the minions coalesce into the form of a bartender who turns his head to look at the young man. The devil, himself, raises his eyes and studied the newcomer. They all nod, a silent acknowledgement of one another.
 
The barkeeper thing speaks, “Come on in and close the door, boy. You’ll be heating up the room if you don’t hurry.”
 
The young man steps further into the room and twists to close the door behind him. That done he turns back around and looks at the barman.
 
“Speak up, boy,” the recently formed landlord implores, “what’ll it be?”
 
“If I could trouble you for some water and a place to sit down for a piece?” the boy replies.
 
“Gonna buy anything?” the barman asks.
 
“I got no money.”
 
“And I ain’t no charity! Don’t plan on buyin’ somethin’ – then you should keep on moving.”
 
It was time for the boy to drop his gaze to the floor and as he turned back towards the door Lucifer dropped the front legs of his chair back to the ground with a loud bang.
 
“Hey – come on, Lucky” the devil addressed the bartender, “it’s not like you’re crowded today. I’ll buy him something.” He looked at the boy, “what do you want son?”
 
“I just want something to eat,” said the boy, “and a glass of water, if it’s not too much trouble.”
 
“Lucky,” ordered Lucifer, “you heard the man. Grill him up a burger and fetch him a beer, fuck the water. Man’s gotta have a beer to cut the dust and the heat in these parts.” He turned to the barefoot dude, “Come on over and join me, lad. Lucky’s shit as a conversationalist and I could use someone intelligent to talk to.” He beckoned.
 
The young man tried to brush some of the dust off his sodden shirt. He gave up and grinned, “Thanks, mister,” he said and he pulled up a chair to the devil’s table.
 
Lucky brought him over a beer, setting it down in front of him; then he headed back behind the bar and got busy at the grill.
 
Satan raises his bottle, “Cheers,” he says to the young man. “What’s your name boy?” he starts. “Where you from? Where you going? Wanna be rich? Ya wanna be famous? Tell me what your heart desires…”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. I just want something to eat
  2. Speak up, boy
  3. your call is important to us

 

 

Fannie Hooe

Written for the July 19th Flash Fiction Challenge



Grandma pointed at the faces in the photo one by one.

“That’s Bea, she was my mother. These here are her sisters; Beryl, Fannie, and Clint. Bea became an oilman’s wife and your great-grandma. Clint ran the ranch for as long as she could. Beryl taught at the schoolhouse. She was a teacher of mine when I was young, and Fannie – well Fannie disappeared up north. Some say she was a spy or an assassin. That her life caught up with her, others say she was a gambler; killed in a poker game at a saloon in Kewenaw.”


 

OLWG#59- The Ridge Trail

Just a Cigarette Story
Written for OLWG#59



Silver skin birch lined the ridge behind the house. We could see them from the porch, leaves, just a blur of undulating variations of green as the breeze rippled through them in the sunlight on those fair days. Celeste longed to hike up to those trees; we talked about it – we talked about it a lot, but somehow the time got away from us. We even went so far as looking up trails along the ridge, and there was one. Reportedly, it was little more than a track and we wanted to do it, but as I said somehow, time just got away from us.

Years sped by, as they will. We always had other things that needed doing. Work on the house that required doing. There were birthday celebrations, weddings, and funerals that needed attending. We took trips to Stockholm, London, København, Firenze, Paris, Sydney, Rio, and Hong Kong. We never did get around to that hike along the ridge, that walk through the birches. We both had our work.

When she took ill, the ridge walk dropped off the table. On hold, until she got well. We spent over a year in consultation and treatment with doctors, specialists. Yet, it was for naught. When Celeste passed, almost fifteen years ago now, it was for the best. She’d suffered enough. I found it difficult to move on. I developed a tendency to crawl into a nearby bottle when life got tough and life was pretty tough without her.

This morning, though, I was thinking of her and the weather was favourable. I grabbed water and food, food that was heavy on the carbs and protein. I threw my pack in the truck and drove south to the pass. I came to a fire road cutting east that disappeared into the foothills. I didn’t make it far before I had to jump down from the cab to lock in the hubs on my old truck. The road was climbing, and pretty rough, but I kept on. I finally had to pull off the track and leave the truck burrowed into the brush. I grabbed my supplies and started walking.

“I thought we’d get a bit further before we had to walk, Celeste. We may not make it to the ridge today. If we do, it’ll be late.” I told her, as I shrugged my pack up higher on my back.

I got to where what I figured the right ridge to be. It rose off to my left. I turned and walked a couple of hours before stopping. I had found a flat rock in the sun so I feasted on a PBJ, and half a bag of jerky, finishing it off with too much water. I studied the red and umber striations in the warm, flat rock where I lay and dreamed of Celeste. She looked young and unravaged by the disease that had taken her.

“Turn around,” she told me, “go back. You’re too old for this kind of shit. We’re both too old.”

“I want to see this place. I want to show it to you.” I said.

When I woke, the sun was a lot closer to the horizon. I judged that I had slept for at least an hour and a half, if not more.

I peed before continuing my trek, but the trail was tough. It had lots of ups and downs, lots of switchbacks. I still hadn’t made the trees when it began to get dark.

“We oughta pack it in for the night,” I told her. “This track will be pretty treacherous in the dark. I don’t want you getting hurt.”

She laughed at me, “Worry about yourself, old timer. I’ll wait for you at the treeline.”

I found a flat spot with good grasses for a cold camp and Celeste continued up the trail.

I slept – rested until well into the morning before continuing after her. The trodden grass, broken twigs, and turned over stones made her easy to track. Finally, around mid-morning, I caught sight of the trees in the distance. Pushing on, I found her in a clearing, waiting. She had a fire going and coffee on the boil. As I approached, she poured a second cup for me and held it out. She didn’t speak.

“Thanks,” I said taking the proffered cup. I scouted out the nearest tree where I sat down and leaned my head against the trunk; closed my eyes, and drifted off. She stayed nearby.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. the dead don’t care much for fast food
  2. the time got away from me
  3. the hole in your soul

 

 

OLWG#58- Interview

Just a moment or two
Written for OLWG#58


Brian Yednak looked at his phone. It was a message from reception telling him that his 1030 appointment was in the lobby. Sighing, he rose from the desk, pulled his sport coat on over his shirt and felt the pocket for his pipe. It was there and he longed to take it out, clench the stem between his teeth, and inhale the ‘over processed’ office air through the scented tobacco that he had loaded in the bowl. Years ago he could have gotten away with that but not today. These days you weren’t allowed to smoke at work. Hell, he couldn’t even wear aftershave, or a scented deodorant. Somebody might be allergic to it.

Brian grinned to himself as he made his way into the passage and headed to reception. Girls used to like the ‘Sport’ scent that he wore then. Girls liked ‘Sport’ and when it was combined with the vanilla scented tobacco, it drove ‘em crazy. Well those things combined with his boyish grin used to pack ‘em in. Then the world changed, but it was OK. These days; girls loved secrets. They’d do anything if they thought it would get you to tell them your secrets. Brian found it easy to make up secrets but he was getting older, he didn’t smell like ‘Sport’ anymore and couldn’t smoke in the office. Girls were harder to come by nowadays. He turned right at the main corridor and pushed his way through the door out to the reception and there waited a young guy with a bad haircut and an ill fitting suit; he was tall and lanky when he stood, appearing to be about twenty-five pounds underweight. He looked in Brian’s direction, but not actually at Brian. He didn’t say a word.

“Ballantyne?” Brian asked.

The young man nodded his head and glanced at a small slip of paper he held in his hand, “Mr. Redneck?” he asked back.

Brian grimaced, “Yednak,” he corrected the young man, “Yednak.”

“What?”

“My name… its Yednak. Not Redneck.”

“Oh, sorry; my mom took the message. She wrote Redneck. She’s getting older and her hearing must be starting to go.”

“Not a problem – happens all the time. You should just call me Brian. How old is she?”

“Who?”

“Who? Well your mom. Weren’t you talking about your mom?”

“Oh, yeah. She’s really old. She’ll be fifty in a couple of years. In some ways she’s still good, ya know? I mean, she still drives and cooks and all. She gave me a ride here today because, I don’t drive. She parked in the shade under that big tree in the lot. Do you think she’ll be OK there?”

There was an awkward pause until Brian laughed. He clapped the young man on the shoulder, “Let’s go down the hall. There should be a free meeting room close by.” He looked at Emily, the receptionist who nodded.

“407 should be free,” Emily informed them. She leaned over and handed Ballantyne a sticky note that she had folded in half. Her hand lingered on his.

“Call me, Matthew,” she blushed and looked down, “anytime.”

“Oh, sure, thanks.” he replied as he hurried after Brian Yednak who was strolling down the passageway, shaking his head from side to side.


This weeks prompts:

  1. a young guy with a bad haircut
  2. did you really think it through
  3. put that away