Here is my entry for June’s Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly competition. Lockdown is nearly over here in Australia, but things remain unsettled with racial tension adding another dangerous element to the world’s instability.
As I’ve said before, this competition is a fun activity with a terrific prize. You can read about it on their website.
Basically, it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.
The criteria for June were:
- Your story’s first and last words must begin with J.
- Your story must include a game being played.
- Your story must include the phrase MISS/MISSED THE BOAT.
I’ve continued with Frankie’s journey and although I feel it is unlikely this chapter will make much sense as a stand-alone piece, I am now more focused on the challenge of completing his story using the prompts given.
This month’s entry was submitted on Saturday night at 22:15. 496 words.
Chapter 5: Justice for all.
Justice is a tricky concept. Frankie knew justice didn’t mean fair. It didn’t mean right. It didn’t even mean protection of the innocent. It was a game invented by the people who owned the ball. A blood sport rigged to ensure the rich always won, even if they broke their own rules.
Frankie was playing for the wrong team. Judge O’Mallory, on the other hand, was on the winning side. Frankie imagined O’Mallory had been fullback for the First XV at St Swanky’s or wherever his type goes to school. He probably went to boarding school, packed off at five by his neglectful cold-hearted parents.
As the bailiff dragged him screaming from the courtroom, Frankie decided it was time he learnt to play by their rules.
He needed someone to tell his story.
“Bailiff! Take him down!” The thunderous words were still ringing in Judge O’Mallory’s ears as the door slammed on Frankie. He wasn’t feeling like a winner. He’d sentenced another poor wretch to five years in prison on the whim of a corrupt government. A government that allowed for the tyrannical rule of the black-shirted Fashion Police.
Personal grooming had sunk to all-time lows after COVID. People didn’t even bother wearing pants when they were Zooming! The lack of respect spilt over into other areas of life and before long there was anarchy!
The lack of decency and dignity was deplorable! Someone needed to do something!
The Ultra Conservative Party burst onto the scene after the Pandemic with their promises of a return to the “Old Normal”. Changes in the laws were incremental. Like a lobster in a pot, the heat was turned up so slowly no-one noticed until it was too late. The populous had missed the boat on the democracy front.
Low-slung jeans were the first to go. No more dudes with the crotch of their jeans down around their knees. Who could argue with that? A ban on exposed underwear was quickly followed by the prohibition of activewear anywhere other than the gym. Again a significant portion of the population supported that particular ruling.
Then bright colours, florals, patterns, stripes and animal prints.
The UCP controlled the market by buying out all the boutiques. Easily done, since most had gone under in the lockdown.
They introduced a regulated monochromatic capsule wardrobe which stipulated less than twenty items, a mandated date for changing from one season’s capsule to the next, and jail time for those who breached the code.
O’Mallory wasn’t the only judge feeling uncomfortable about the fashion laws. The secret rumblings amongst his colleagues were getting bolder.
They needed someone to tell their story.
Frankie’s opinion of O’Mallory was wrong. He didn’t know he had an ally in silk and horsehair
Both men needed the same thing, a fearless storyteller! Someone who was willing to blow the whistle on corruption and intolerance. Did such a person still exist?
What they needed was a bloody good journalist!