Tag Archives: Sunday Photo Fiction

Just Like Paradise

Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt *thud*

Blrergharghgroan No please, not yet. Just a few more minutes, please let me sleep.

Yeah, yeah. You’re going to nag me about responsibility and shit until I get in the shower, aren’t you? My mouth tastes like litter box. That’ll motivate anybody right out of bed.

As I take off my wristwatch in preparation, I notice it’s glowing faintly blue. Wow, that looks weird. I can even see the gears whirling inside.

I fiddle with the watch stem, and I notice the sun…going back down again. Turn it forward, and the sun rises once more.

Gamers are familiar with third-person view, somewhere over the left shoulder of your avatar, staring over his back at the world. Rolling the watch stem forward, my body got dressed, had breakfast, went to work; all with me watching, a spectator. Everything was moving fast forward, a literal blur.

I watched me working on autopilot. Hah, I always knew deep down that was possible! I can stay solvent without ever experiencing the tedium. At the end of the workday, I stopped winding, and everything snapped back to normal.

The implications are enormous. I’ll finally get enough sleep!

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Peace Begins with a Smile, not a Beak

“So you brought me another olive branch? Where do you even find an olive tree in Manhattan, Harry?”

“I just find them,” he mumbled. “I know, I know, our nest already has so many of the bloody things. Olive branches are supposed to be a symbol of peace. So how come we always have to fight about them?”

“We’re peace symbols,” Sally said. “I’m pretty sure the olive branch is just a stick. All from that Noah story, olive branches just indicate that land is somewhere close. Like a symbolic ‘Land Ho’ for boys on the big boat doing the flood control refugee number.”

“They make perfectly serviceable nesting material.”

“When you have too many they only make the whole nest smell of olive oil. We need something lighter and fresher. Could you look around for some citrus branches, maybe some nice pine or evergreen, Harry?”

“Where am I going to find citrus in Manhattan?”

Sally pointedly pecked at the latest olive branch, and at Harry.

“Okay, okay, I promise I will look around for something else. It’s harder to find anything good down there these days. Everything is so empty and overgrown.”

“I know. I really miss humans, sometimes.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

August 16th 2015 Pair of loved up doves

Great white what did you say?

I first laid eyes on Lono in a dockside dive, an immense Pacific Islander sporting an impressive tat collection. He was nursing his beer perched atop a barstool like a rhino balanced on a stork’s leg. As it happened, he was generous in both conversation and rounds. And we had come to the dock for the same purpose, seeking work.

Lono knew a guy who knew a guy, and we soon arrived on the deck of a multi-masted sailing vessel with employment paperwork in our hands. We turned to see the peg-legged captain of the vessel thumping in our direction, hefting a harpoon.

“Good luck to you, Lono.” I hurried back down the gangway and got off that ship. “But I’ve totally read this book.”

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125 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

More Than Expected

January 1931.

The boy in short pants rounded the corner, bounced off Mrs. Baddeley’s knees, and planted hard on his backside. Miraculously, he kept a grip on his football.

“Get up, you filthy guttersnipe.”

For a “pillar of the community,” Mrs. Baddeley produced an impressive howl. She battered the hapless Stanley with her umbrella as he scrambled to his feet. He raised his hands to protect his head and repeated apologies, clearly terrified.

Seven year-old Sarah recoiled from her aunt’s fury and watched the sport enthusiast fleeing for his very life.

“That one will never amount to anything,” her aunt predicted, scowling.


November 1946.

“It’s chucking elephants & giraffes,” Sarah declared, spreading her umbrella against the downpour. She stepped out of the news shop doorway with Mrs. Baddeley.

Turning, she found her elbows gripped by a young officer.

“Whups, hold up there, careful miss.” He prevented the head-on collision and released her gently.

“Thank you,” Sarah exclaimed, feeling her heart accelerate in something other than surprise. They exchanged radiant smiles and Stanley tipped his hat.

Mrs. Baddeley conspiratorially whispered as he walked away. “You run into a stranger and he’s a handsome war hero? Did you notice the D.F.C.?”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Statue of Air Force pilot at Battle of Britain memorial in Capel le Ferne in the UK

Twilight of the Gods

The high priest of Shamash contemplated the sun and bowed to the west, repeating the holy chant of the sunset. For three thousand years, the cult had been preparing for this season’s solstice, when the planets came into unique alignment and Shamash would be at his greatest power. The sacrifice was properly prepared and spread-eagled on the altar. All was as it should be.

A shadow crossed the altar moving from right to left…

The holy sunset blocked by the shadow of monstrous buildings!

Traction City Cleveland thundered southwest on titanic treads, starving for the oil fields of western Texas.

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Science Fiction fans may have been exposed to mobile cities novels at some point (Cities in Flight, Mortal Engines, the Cyberiad, lots of steampunk titles).

Springing this one on the unsuspecting visitor at sunset… That feels like a cheat. But hey, it’s what I saw in this image!


Automated Inquisition

The ringing of the bells is daily routine. While Friar Francisco y Campillo marched across the clock tower square back to the refectory, his right knee clicked annoyingly, creating a hitch in his normal stately march. Dry weather this week only made the condition worse.

He stopped for a moment to oil the sticking gear, and then whirred his way laboriously down the ancient torch lit staircase to the cell door.

Inside, a terrified young Portuguese girl cowered on the filthy, rat-infested hay. She screamed when the clockwork priest pointed a bronze finger at the stenciled sign reading: “Confess, Jew.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Clock tower

How we arrived at this today’s tale is a kind of interesting mental connection journey.

I see ‘clock tower’, and a building that’s ‘a church’. Leading to “Priest”. “Clock tower” leads to “Clockwork”, then google produces an image of an automaton priest here. (Go look, he’s really creepy!) 16th century, really??

Oh yeah, creepy friar, 16th century, that’s totally Spanish Inquisition, right? The end of the Spanish Inquisiton and the early automatons actually overlap!! Wow. Oh yeah, this’ll be fun.

And, well, the Inquisition was much  less about Witches than it was about Crypto-Jews, and their expulsion from Spain. (Also some heretics and sodomists and assorted; plus a witch or two).

So yeah, that’s rather a lot of disparate elements to tie up in a hundred words but…

Here we are.


A serious game

In a few hours, they’re going to burn out a part of my brain. It’s my sister’s fault.

She bought it for my sixth birthday. It’s a solitaire game, just a piece of sanded pine cut with a router and thirty-three marbles, exactly. I remember being disappointed after I opened it.

I played the game and tried to enjoy it anyway. Counting the marbles as I laid them out on the board, counting them again each time I put them away.

One day I noticed that the layout of the holes was imperfect. Several of the marbles were off center from the neat, orderly lines they’re supposed to form. The dimples in the wood are misaligned, which really bothers me.

The universe needs much more order and precision, don’t you think?

There are exactly ninety-seven grains across the playing surface of the set; I’ve re-confirmed the count many times. I soak the marbles in a jar of alcohol every night to kill the germs. Sometimes, my hand shakes while I carefully count out the thirty-three marbles, and I leave bloody fingerprints. That’s from the repeated hand washing.

They’re going to try gamma ventral capsulotomy, the gamma knife. I blame Jenny.

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200 words. Prompted by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:



Gamma Knife

Schadenfreude Sports

Drake and Palmer have shared this bench for the past thirty years. The slats are bare of paint from Drake daily occupying the west end and Palmer the east. They meet every morning to enjoy the sunrise over the ocean, and watch the families and young people slowly filling up the beach.

“That family under the green and white striped beach umbrella, for fifty,” said Drake.

“Right oh. Those two girls sunbathing on the purple blanket,” said Palmer.

The old friends leaned back on the bench expectantly. After a brief wait, the village church bell began ringing Terce.

Palmer pointed, “Over there.”

An overweight bather in striped blue trunks suddenly vanished, instantly swallowed by the beach sand. After a few moments, sand erupted upward from the spot and a pair of blue swim trunks fell back to the beach.

“No winner,” said Drake.

“See you tomorrow, then,” Palmer agreed.

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150 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

A line of benches overlooking the sea

Rough work

“Well, he’s a billionaire.”

Leala leaned on the bar and toyed with her drink.

“He sends me all over the world, I’ve got a generous expense account, travel first class, and stay at the best hotels. I gotta admit, I have had worse jobs,” she grinned.

“You’re an art appraiser?” Dan asked.

“I have Masters in Art History from Swarthmore, ASA and ISA certifications, so it’s the salary I demand. Watterston isn’t interested in collecting old masters or fine art, really. His tastes are eclectic,” Leila replied.

“He’s into odd sculptures from unknowns?”

“He’s into everything. I’ve purchased armor, cannons, even a tall-masted ship for Watterston. It was fun to research; I didn’t know a damned thing about boats.”

“So the nautical angle explains his interested in this piece?” Dan said, tapping the photo of the Anchor sculpture.

“No, I don’t think so. Most of the art he chooses has some sort of personal connection for him. I can’t figure out what this one means to him.”

Dan smiled slowly, and ordered another round. “Watterston has ex-wives, right?”

Leala blinked. “Yes, I think so.”

“By any chance would he refer either as the ‘old boat anchor’?”

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198 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

A pair of Anchors


A mission of gravity

“All units, status check please.”

“Propulsion systems ready.”
“Navigation systems ready.”
“Communication systems ready.”

“Very well. As per mission parameters, at oh niner hundred we will deploy, seek and engage active targets in the southeast sector. If we find any active targets, we will apply standard targeted marketing systems. If successful, we will deliver our payload and return to base for debriefing. It is now oh eighty five nine, rolling out on my mark…three, two, one…mark!”

The lightly armored suburban assault vehicle sparkled in the morning sunlight as it rolled out from home base and turned southeast into “The Haven at Harvest Creek Gardens” subdivision.

“Communications. Deploy targeted marketing, please.”

The loudspeakers broadcast a jingling melody as the ice cream truck rolled past the playground.

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125 words. In response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

LEGO Ice Cream van