OLWG#69- Wanted- Dead or Alive

Flash fiction written for OLWG#69



He wasn’t a big man but he rode a big horse up the centre of muddy ole Main Street to the Jack Saloon. The Jack was crowded that day. The rails were filled to the right of the swinging door and a wagon was stopped to the left. Wrapping the reins around the branch on a struggling greasewood bush next to the Jack, he hitched his mare, Corazon, and pushed through the swinging doors and inside. A hush fell over the bar, but only for a moment. Then the piano took back up, the girls returned to their dancing, and the general roar, that was the Jack, resumed.

He made his way up to the rough plank that served as a bar top and leaned in to be heard over the noise.

“What’ll it be, Mister?” Clancy, the bartender asked.

“Shot and a beer.”

Clancy nodded and turned away, focused on the task at hand. Agnes sidled up to the stranger.

Agnes was a Lady of the line, a dancer, a flirt. Her job was to keep the miners, cowboys, and gunslingers spending money. She kept them buying drinks.

Agnes eyeballed the shiny finish on the pistols that he wore on his waist. She spotted the Bowie knife he wore in the small of his back. She figured him for a gunslinger and a killer, but she had a job to do.

“Well, hello stranger. Buy a girl a drink?”

He looked her over, raised a finger for the bartender and pointed at the girl, indicating to Clancy that he should bring a drink to the lady.

Clancy scurried to comply and Agnes carried on, “You look like a man who can take care of himself,” she touched his shoulder. “What’s your name?”

“You can call me Vegas,” he said to her and threw the shot glass of whisky down his throat.

“That what your Momma called you?” Clancy set a dirty glass of cloudy amber liquid in front of her.

“My Momma called me son,” he said, “but you can call me Vegas, like everybody else.” He pointed to the leaflet tacked up behind the bar. It pictured a desperado, of sorts, with a ten-gallon hat pulled low over his eyes. Above the picture, WANTED Dead or Alive was printed in large type; Les Vegas is sought for thievin’ murderin’ cheatin’ and rustlin’, and it continued by promising a $500.00 reward offered.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. splitting up a bag of potato chips
  2. you can call me ‘Vegas’
  3. tied to the branch of a creosote bush

 

 

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Tuesday Scribes – A Peaceful Passing on the Four Thirty-Three

A 44-word short story, written for this week’s prompt at Tuesday Scribes.



Sam stood on the platform watching the train gather speed and pull away. The spark of life was gone now, yet; he felt young and invigorated. Samuel scanned the station, looking for the light. He was supposed to see a white light, wasn’t he?


The challenge is to write a short story.
It can be as short as you like but no longer than 200-words.

Bombay, L.A., Monterey, Santa Fe, and San Tropez

Written for the September 20th Flash Fiction Challenge


The front of the line is Germany
and look, here comes Hungary
With all the green, I’d guess that’s Ireland
Close behind the high school band.

The drummers make time for dancers from Zambia
Those singers are from the Gambia
There’s Korea and Tanzania
Martinique and Mozambique
Caledonia – Estonia
All the nations are here.

Gymnasts from Romania
consorting with the Counts of Transylvania
and horseback riding dudes are arriving from Albania
Oman, Taiwan
round the corner, they’ve gone,
but that’s OK, here’s Kazakhstan.

Uganda, Rwanda, Albania
Barbuda, Bermuda
Lithuania

Even Alsatians
are represented
in our parade of nations.

 


The prompt and instructions were:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a parade of nations. It can be literal, or it can be a phrase that you use to describe a situation. Explore what it could be. Go where the prompt leads.

OLWG#68- Dystopian Family Life

A dark flash fiction written for OLWG#68



It’s mid-morning. It’s one of those days. One of those days infused with cold, dark, and damp. It was certain that snow was coming soon. Mom, Da, Claire, and Baby William huddled beneath a threadbare blanket; sharing body heat. There was no fuel for the fire, there hadn’t been for weeks. The larder was bare containing only a few crumbs of stale bread and a wee bit of sour milk that Clair had brought home last night and used to feed the baby. Mom had shown her how to use the last of the sugar to sweeten the unpalatable milk. They’d dipped the bread into the mixture to soften it. William had eaten, the others had not. There was no sugar left.

Da and Mom exchanged looks over their daughter beneath hooded eyes. They seemed to challenge one another with silence. Then they both turned their eyes on Claire.

Finally, Dad cleared his throat, “Claire, ye need to go out and forage, or hunt, or scavenge, or trade, or whatever it is ye do out there when ye go fer food.”

“I went last night, Da,” she shot back, “it’s not my time. It’s too soon anyways, they’ll recognize me. You should go; it’s been almost a fortnight since you went.”

He pointed his finger and spoke, “See, it’s like this Claire,” he lifted his chin; his eyes drilled, “Yer mum and me; well, me an’ yer mum, we think, you know someone. We think ye mighta made the acquaintance of a rich man. We think he mighta took a fancy to ye. We think ye might be doin’ sumpin fer him and he tosses ye a few crumbs, ya know. Trouble is, Claire, them crumbs is getting sparse. Yer mum an’ I, well we’re thinkin’ ye oughta be workin’ harder an’ spendin’ more time on yer back.” He stopped talking then. His face twisted, his eyes dark. He glared at his daughter.

Claire was speechless; she looked at her mom, squatting on her haunches staring at something only she could see. Mom was smiling nodding her head; agreeing with what her man had said.

“Is that right, Mom?” Claire asked.

“It’s right!” Mom spat.

Claire reached for William, but her mom turned away with the baby. She put herself between Claire and the boy. Immediately Claire picked up a large rock and swung with all her might, connecting with the side of Da’s head. Her father fell, limp and lifeless. Her mother screamed. William cried, and Claire wrestled the baby away from his grandmother. Then she snatched the blanket and clutched it to her breast. Mom started to stand, daggers in her eyes. Claire turned, still clutching the stone, and shook it in her mother’s face.

“Don’t move, Mom. I’ll kill you too.”

Mom froze in place staring at her dead husband. With the blanket in one hand and her baby in the other, Claire wrestled Da’s shirt off of him and wrapped it around William. Mother and baby then turned away from what had once been their family and began walking. Before vanishing between the trees Claire paused and looked back over her shoulder.

“Don’t think about following us, Mom. We’re done, you and I, but you’ll always be my mother. Good Luck to you.” Turning, she walked away.

 


This week’s prompts were:

  1. Mom needs more sugar
  2. we think you know someone
  3. Claire left

 

 

Elbow Macaroni

Written for the September 13th Flash Fiction Challenge


Margarite grinned wildly, stepped off the bus and hurried toward me.

When she got close she dropped her backpack and leapt into my arms.

“Holy smokes, Kiddo,” I pushed her hair back and kissed her, “what are you so excited about today.”

“Art class, Daddy. I made a picture of you.”

“With paints?”

“No.”

“With crayons?”

“No, Daddy. Mixed media,”

“Mixed media? What’s that?”

I put her down. She pulled a paper plate from her backpack and showed me.

Macaroni was glued to the plate. There were pencil lines and hints of orange marker. It looked just like me.


The prompt and instructions were:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

Hands

I found an intriguing prompt at writersdigest.com and I had some time so I decided to practice.



Chyna reached across the table and took his right hand in hers; in the dim light, she studied his knotted and lumpy knuckles as she massaged the back of his hand. He was old; his skin was thin, and mottled. He seemed relaxed and passive; accepting of her actions.

“Your hands are strong,” she told him.

“Used to be,” he replied, “not so much anymore.” He studied the differences. Her hands were young; his, old. His skin was parchment-like, fragile, and freckled with age spots; hers was clear and youthful.

Finally, she turned his hand over and ran the tip of her index finger around his palm.  She followed his life line first before shifting her attention to his unhealthy line. She clucked her tongue softly and moved her gaze to his eyes.

“What?” he questioned.

She took a deep breath, “I have concerns for your general well being; your health.”

“Why?”

“This line,” she pointed it out, “we call this ‘the unhealthy line.’ On you, this line is broken, composed of many parts. Rather than sweeping down with a single stroke, it is terraced as it works downward. This indicates ill health.” She shifted the location of her index finger, “But look at this,” she said, “look at your life line,”