Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking

“Whatta you boys wanna rent this crappy old track for, anyhow?”

The octogenarians examined the dirt oval near Odum. The track itself was in terrible shape, deeply rutted from decades of hosting racing events and eventual abandonment.

“Our fathers drove here in the thirties. They were bitter rivals when endurance racing was the rage. Their final contest was stopped 190 laps in by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935—the only race ever canceled here due to inclement weather.”

“There’s a wager to settle. We’ll finish when one of the vintage Fords or one of the antique men stops running.”

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100 words. For this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

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Old School Methods

Dan finally worked up the nerve to stop one of the passing angels and ask.

“Excuse me, sir, could you spare a moment?”

“Of course, blessed one, how may I help?”

“Well, we’ve all been patiently shuffling along in this queue, and we were just wondering how long it might be?”

“You all have infinite time to spare. What do you folks know about the Pearly Gates, exactly?”

“Just what everyone knows, I guess. There’s a description of New Jerusalem in Revelations, and some pop culture mythology. Not that much.”

“I’m Geburatiel, associate angel third class, pleasure. Well, Saint Peter is up by the Gate, and he looks souls up in the Book of Judgments to determine their final disposition, into Heaven or elsewhere. Peter has a massive angelic corps employed just to handle the addendum pages, new souls always being born and adding onto the Book at the modern end. Are you with me so far?”

“Think so. That’s pretty big.”

“Friends, you may rejoice when you advance far enough in the queue to see the nearest end of the Book of Judgments. At one soul per page side, the Book is currently just over 1500 miles thick.”

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199 words, for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

(The number of deceased homo sapiens is estimated at about 100 billion–with lots of margin for error, obviously. At 500 pages per inch… that’s one BIG book. Dead Tree Editions, tsk tsk so wasteful.)

Puss in Fins

“King Tigershark,” said Carabas, “I thank you for your most generous offer, which is far more reward than a simple cat of my humble origins could ever expect.”

“As for the lovely Princess Catshark, I’m so sorry, but I cannot accept. For my heart belongs to another, your majesty.”

“To whom?” the king inquired.

“Your majesty, my heart belongs to cleverest cat in the seven seas.” Carabas swam a sophisticated adiago and tour en l’eau, striking a pose. “It belongs to me, of course.”

Thereafter, Puss in Fins retired to his previous life, swimming only after whatever fish he desired.

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100 words, for this week’s Microcosms (9). Key words: cat/under the sea/romance.

So obvious, who could a cat possibly love more?

And the Hunter Home From the Hill

After several prototypes, I’d finally perfected a motorized gizmo for feline entertainment. I found the broken offering by my pillow this morning and Smokey looked smug.

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26 words, for this week’s Shapeshifting 13 assignment (“feline”, “gizmo”).

(Personally, I prefer the word “widget.”)

The title is from Requiem, the poem on Robert Louis Stevenson’s headstone:

Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.    
 
This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
Here he lies where he long’d to be,
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

I thought it appropriate for both mouse-widget and kitteh.

Trumped Again

The workers climbed in the scaffolding, attempting to bridge over a small section of the construction north of Matamoros. They lacked the marvelous tools and technology of the previous century, and the wall resisted their simple hammers and chisels. Without explosives, the current plan called for going over the top, but progress was slow and food supplies short.

The Monsanto plague wiped out the breadbasket crops and worked its way into the soil and ecosystem. The dust clouds made the construction effort more difficult.

All of the remaining arable land on the continent lay south of the Folly, in Mexico.

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100 words. For this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt:

See also: Trumped

Finally got semi-organized

And worked out what/where I’m going to write in terms of these challenges, like a good spreadsheet geek, to spread out a more organized flash working habit.

Not sure why I kept missing them (“doh, closed two days ago”) before now, guess I’m dense.

Now, if someone could work up a challenge that launches on Thursday…it’s an under-utilized day of the week.

 

Now, while I’m basking in productive mood, I do believe its time for that hair cut.

Round Tuit Seal

Ruh roh, Rhaggy

“So what is it?” Anton examined the unusual device, a constantly rotating metal circle with an hourglass in the center.

“It’s a fourth dimensional compass. You know how a standard compass points due north and south. Well, a fourth-dimensional compass points at the beginning and end of Time. The Big Bang and the End of Everything, I guess.”

“Why is it spinning?”

“It’s pointing at a direction that can’t really be expressed in three dimensions, from our standpoint it’s in perpetual motion.”

“Then what does that mean?” Anton pointed.

The stately rotation of the compass was slowing to a halt.

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100 words. For this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

Inspirational Statuary

Maria Shulman held her boyfriend captive in her arms. Her dilated pupils stayed locked on Sheonog while her hands roamed freely over Stephen’s chest. She whispered in her boyfriend’s ear and her teeth tugged at his earlobe. Young Stephen flushed and then nodded.

Father Flaherty watched the couple exiting the chapel hastily with amusement.

“Are you sure this isn’t witchcraft of some sort? You cannot control this effect?”

“Others have thought that. Some villagers in France once chased me away with pitchforks and torches. There’s some magic involved, that just comes from being a gargoyle, but it’s partly psychological and doesn’t seem to be inimical. There won’t be any local demon-children or a general rise in evil or anything.”

Shenog settled his heavy stone body into the relaxed kneeling position customary to his race.

“It’s muted by range, which is why we generally hang out on rooftops. I tend to inspire more “charming gothic romance” when viewed at a distance, instead of the close-up “wicked lustful thoughts” effect. Which is why I asked to rent your belfry, Father.”

“You might even be good for the parish population, if we established some sort of newlywed chapel belfry tour…”

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197 words, for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Hell is Empty and all the Devils are Here

Dust. All around her was dust.

Anomaly held her eyes shut and stooped on the sand, trying to still the coughing and feebly filter air through her cupped hands. The tempest raged on, and her simple bra and panties did nothing to reduce the sandpaper abrasions on her bare skin.

She drew the deepest breath she could manage and held it, concentrating on calm. Meditation techniques learned at the Facility helped push back the terror and control her coughing.

This dust storm was enormous even by west Texas standards. Oh yes, she could feel the immense power within it, the static potential from all of those countless trillions of wind-driven particulates rubbing against one another.

Anomaly focused and took control of the free electron soup, and she felt the snap of incoming power come leaping at her command. It was a trivial matter to apply an electrostatic charge to her skin surface, and she felt cleaner immediately when the dust and sand was repelled away and fell to earth. A few more coughs cleared her throat and lungs.

She stood, and expanded the charged bubble around her. The field blocked the blown dust at the charge horizon, and she stood watching the sandstorm unfolding from a bubble of clear air inside it.

“Put your hands up. You’re coming back to the Facility with me, freak.”

Anomaly half-raised her hands and turned very slowly, making no sudden moves.

The corporate mercenary stood atop a nearby hillock pointing a large-caliber automatic rifle her direction, its red laser pointer targeting dot dancing across her stomach.

She raised her hands fully, stepping closer.

“Sure officer, I’ll come along quietly.”

She could feel the delicious high-energy electron trails coursing throughout his armor and servos. That combat armor power supply would prove remarkably convenient.

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298 words. For this week’s Cracked Flash Fiction prompt (the first line).

 

 

Midnight on the Boulevard de Clichy

The bitter redolence of anise and herbs cloys and nauseates, lingering disagreeably on the palate like a penniless relation. The tourist sets the glass of “Bohemian wonder” aside, dismissing another exaggerated experience.

That evening, he slips in behind her, the cygnet he’s selected. She is a celebrated provincial artist’s model, an unattended swan with an exquisitely elongated neck. Beneath the great dark cloak, his fingers caress his dearest. Stroking the keen edge of his anticipation, he appreciates its firm chilly linearity emerging from its case.

Tonight, Paris’ flawless pen entertains his distinctive painting style. The traveler’s discovered the only piquant diversion offered in this fin de siècle washout city.

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109 words. For this week’s Microcosms (8) challenge, using Tourist/at the Moulin Rouge/Horror