Trifecta Week Ninety-Two: Past My Prime

Bowling

Photo credit: Mustafa Khayat / Foter / CC BY-ND

The obnoxiousness of the bowling alley was overwhelming. Harsh lighting. The reverberation of incessant chatter and distorted music. The climatic wind-up of rolling balls as they thunderously cracked into the helpless pins. The roar of celebration.

I wanted to be anywhere but the lanes. The achiness I felt was imbedded deep within my core. My team was winning, but it was little consolation. I was exhausted, worn out. Maybe it was time to retire. Bowling had consumed my life. I needed a change.

“Your turn, Warner” yelled Jack. “One more strike and you got a turkey.”

I cringed. Another strike was beyond my capability.

Warner’s enormous hand yanked me from the ball return. He thrust his fingers into my three holes and assumed the position in front of the lane.

It was torture waiting for the toss. When it finally came, I felt as though I would shatter when I hit the wooden floor. The spin was dizzying. The collision with the pins was catastrophic. It was my final strike.

As I rounded the return, Warner let a moan of disappointment. My glossy green finish was disfigured by a gaping crack.

“Ah, man, Lucky Clover is cracked. He’s dead,” Warner said with regret.

I felt relieved. My career ended with a turkey, and now I could spend my retirement years as a crafty, embellished lawn ornament in the sweltering sunshine state of Florida.

This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge is to use the third definition of the word…

TURKEY
3: three successive strikes in bowling

The story had to be between 33 and 333 words. I did it in 233 words. I hope you enjoyed my take on the challenge. I didn’t know what a turkey in bowling was until this writing prompt. It was painful to write.

Matchbook Fiction: The Cigarillo Man

Strike a Prose!And so begins my first tale of what I’ve coined Matchbook Fiction: Strike a Prose!: flash fiction under 500 words.

I’ve collected matchbooks for almost 30 years. That seems like I’m giving away my age, so let’s just pretend I started collecting matches on the day I was born. They’re scarce these days, but I still find one here and there. My collection has been stuffed in a plastic tote for so long; I decided to bring them to life with short stories based on whatever the matchbook inspires. Continue reading

The Black Sheep Wears White: A Short Story

VisDareSheepShe was a blonde of magical proportions. A legendary bombshell who defied gravity and broke hearts. The moment she bounced into the reception, lust radiated from her glowing skin, her sensuous, crimson lips and her wedding-white slip dress. An imagination wasn’t necessary.

The quieting of the crowd and the eager look in the male guests’ eyes signaled the bride’s black sheep sister had arrived, uninvited. She made her rounds and charmed a captivated audience. She swigged champagne, dirty danced with anyone who would oblige and performed a modest striptease on the luxuriously adorned tables, while the portrait of a pompous monarch looked on with disdain.

She made a mockery of the wedding and of her sheepish sister. And when the night had ended, she fearlessly sauntered off attached to the groom’s dishonorable arm, clutching her sister’s shattered heart.

This baaaad sister short story brought to you by Visdare 34: Fearless photo prompt. This subject was a tough one to crack, especially in under 150 words.

The photo is from a fascinating collection by Justin Dingwall that you can find here. At first, I thought the photo was bizarre, but after I looked at the other photos in the collection, I like the quirky sheep.

Trifecta Week Ninety-One: Fly on the Wall

Amid the usual cafeteria hubbub of chattering teens and raucous laughter, she sat isolated in the corner. Always with her back against the wall, she watched the others play out their appointed roles.

She loathed them, yet deep within her core, she yearned to be one of them. They advertised their brands with gusto and played the stars in their Hollywood soap operas. The popular one. The funny one. The slutty one. The athletic one. The fat one. The anorexic one. She was the no one.

It was a brand she hated. To them, she was nonexistent. She drifted through long days of silence and indifference, from peers and teachers.

As the cliques gathered and shut out the rest of the world, she smirked at the thought of what she concealed in her backpack. She would show them that mediocrity was not her destiny.

She unzipped the pack and carefully removed what she called her payback. The journal gave her a feeling of power. Her pen became her weapon. While the others overlooked her, she effortlessly eavesdropped on their lives. She documented their secrets, recorded their exploits. She was a fly on the wall. Soon they would know that no one was listening.

I wrote this short story based on the Trifecta Week 91 word prompt (the noun not the verb):

BRAND (noun)

3a (1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership
(2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark
b (1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron
(2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty>

To join the challenge or read some of the other stories or poems, click here.

Trifecta Weekend Challenge: Perennial Love

Let me start by saying poetry is not part of my repertoire, nor is happy writing. For the Trifextra: Week Eighty-One prompt, Trifecta asked for “soul-soaring happiness” because we’ve turned too gloomy and doomy, of late. I tried some light and joy in the form of a poem, a little alliteration overload. (I can already hear the snickering.) Oh, and it had to be exactly 33 words.

Our inspiration this week was this fantastic photo: One year in one image by Eirik Solheim. Each thin section of the photo represents a different day of the year. It’s quite an amazing image.

Eirik Solheim Photo

Perennial Love

Our passion is perennial

enduring the blossoming of brilliant beginnings

the heat of feverish firsts

the frost of fleeting farewells

a blizzard of bonding breath

Our evolution of the endless seasons of love

The Glamorous Three: A Short Story

I skimmed by with 149 words on this week’s VisDare 33: Indifferent photo prompt. The max was 150. Enjoy the story based on this glamorous photo!

IndifferentPhoto Source

The Glamorous Three

He froze when he rounded the corner of the department store. His mannequins stood in the middle of the avenue in a stance of indifference. Rain pelted their multi-colored parasols, dripped from the edges and spoiled their once flawlessly coiffed hair. They had ruined his window display.

He approached his beauties and asked, “Why did you do this? Have I angered you?”

They didn’t move, their faces impassive. He waited.

Ingrid gave in first, “You made us look matronly. We want sophisticated. Hollywood glamorous.”

Facing forward, Hedy pouted, “We’re better than those frumpy housecoats and slippers you put on us.”

“We’re making a statement. Plain Janes in the rain with a sexy secret underneath,” sultry Elizabeth exclaimed.

A crowd gathered. He realized their conversation seemed disturbing.

He scooped them up by their stiff waists, dashed to the front door and said, “We’ll discuss this inside, ladies. You’re embarrassing yourselves.”

Trifecta Week Ninety: A Whimpering End

As the city bustled, the flyovers unleashed a delicate vapor, barely detectable to the unaided eye. While I sat on the restaurant’s open-air patio, sipping wine and reading, I felt it touch my defenseless skin, seep into my exposed pores and drift into my nostrils. It burned, ever so slightly, as it infiltrated my lungs, surged into my bloodstream and signaled my brain that something wicked was unleashed.

Shrieks pierced through the commotion of daily life on the street. They grew in intensity and frequency until all other sounds were drowned in their deluge. People crumpled to the sidewalks like discarded rag dolls.

I stood, knocking the wine glass and book to ground, as I tried to grasp the horror of the situation. My body began to shut down, the poison taking me into its dark oblivion. Continue reading

The Daily Post Prompt: An Open Letter to a Mosquito

I wrote this based on a daily prompt from The Daily Post: The Art of the Open Letter. Some of you will understand why I wrote it.

 

August 13, 2013

Dear Mosquito,

Your fixation on my blood has become quite disturbing. You lie in wait, watching, hovering until my scent elicits action. The covert attacks happen anywhere and everywhere. In my house. On the screened in patio. In the yard. While writing, shopping, eating, sleeping, swimming. Continue reading

Size Does Matter: Flash Fiction in 25 Words or Less

FlashFlash fiction. Short short. Smoke long story. Postcard Fiction. They go by many names. I like to call them boiled-down fiction. A brief beginning, middle and end. A complete, condensed story without all the filler, the extra broth, so to speak. Enlighten the reader’s mind and let him or her visualize what they will.

My favorite flash boiled-down fiction story, “Knock” by Fredric Brown, was only 17 words:

“The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door…”

It’s simple and quite disturbing. What happened to all the people? I imagine all kinds of post-apocalyptic monsters lurking outside his door. On the other hand, maybe it’s another human, a companion to end his loneliness.

Writing stories with 25 words or less is a challenge, but I tried my typing hand at a few flashy stories. I hope you like them.

Feel like composing a boiled-down tale of your own? I would love to read it. Leave a reply, if you are so inclined.

Torture

He wept shamelessly. Waves of intense heat flooded his body. Sweat beaded his brow. Between short breaths he choked, “Needs more hot sauce.”

Foot-Note

The detective examined the murder scene. One high heel shoe discarded in the ditch.

“Where’s the body?” he asked.

“Inside the shoe,” replied the coroner.

Moving On Up

“Our planet is dead. We must evacuate,” announced the leader.

“Where will we go?” cried the followers.

“The third planet from the sun,” he declared.

Her First

“You’re my first,” she whispers.

“Don’t be nervous. I’ll be gentle,” he replies.

With a smirk she asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

Prelude to a Postlude

World War III. Shock waves. Black rain. Radioactive dust. Blanket contamination. Misery. Pestilence. Humankind is unresponsive. Earth is sterile.

The Mother Ship

This story is dedicated to K, M, E, & D.

Three vertical lights appeared in the night sky. Five observers watched and wondered. Time stopped. The lights vanished. So did their conscious memories.