Furious Fiction 15 -September 2020

You know the drill! Another month, another Furious Fiction story. This month I had to deviate from my Frankie adventure as one of the prompts was a picture of a cruise ship.

The prompts for September 2020 wereScreen Shot 2020-09-07 at 20.29.48

Check out the Australian Writers Website to see who wins Furious Fiction this month.


Stevie and Nic’s Romance at Sea.

“Should we go inside?” Stevie asked “It’s starting to get cold. We don’t want to get sick, not now!”

“Wait a little longer? We can watch the sunset one last time.” Nic replied

“Stay here and I’ll get us a jacket. We can switch sides and watch the moon rise too.”

Nic liked that about Stevie.  So thoughtful and romantic, sprinkling the world with loving-kindness wherever they went.

It was hard to believe they had met less than a month ago. Nic had first spied Stevie sitting in a full lotus position at the Yawn-Dawn Yoga Class. Decked out in white baggy pants, tight singlet and one of those stretchy bandana things that claim you can wear them fifteen different ways, Stevie was the epitome of stylish serenity.

Nic?  Well, Nic couldn’t even hold tree pose for more than 15 seconds without a significant death wobble cascading the tree to king dancer to forward fold all with the grace of an elephant.

“Did anyone notice?” Nic asked themselves as they stayed head-down-bum-up in the only pose they knew they had mastered: downward dog.

Stevie had noticed. Yes, Stevie had certainly noticed Nic. Nic was so unsure of themselves. Their perky energy not harnessed or restrained, but bubbling over in a torrent of words as if they feared the silence. Feared silence and the thoughts it may bring.

When they had introduced themselves to each other,  Nic started laughing.

“Haha we must have been made for each other! Stevie Nic,” Pointing from one to the other. “You know, like Stevie Nicks! The singer…” Their voice trailing off as they realised that  Stevie had in fact, got the joke. Realising it wasn’t that funny and they were probably just making themselves look sillier by the second. Contrary to Nic’s fears, Stevie felt like they had scored the winning goal and found a potential life partner.

By coincidence, their 8-day cruise had been extended by another 14 days. The cruise company said the all-expenses-paid extension was a beyond their control. Many of the other passengers complained. For Stevie and Nic, it was a chance to cement their relationship even further. No point whinging, whichever way you sliced it they had more time to spend together.  More time to discover if this holiday romance had hope once they were on land.

****

Stevie came back up on deck and broke Nic’s reverie. They put their jackets over their shoulders and kissed softly.

“Last day tomorrow,”  Nic sighed.

“Yes, back to normal, well new normal anyway!”

“Yes, new normal.”

*****

In the morning as they lined up to disembark they had to wait for the Medical Officer to stamp their forms.

COVID-SAFE in bold red letters.

This passenger has been isolated for 14 days and tested negative for COVID.

They walked gingerly down the gangway into a barrage of questions from the jostling media frenzy, “What was it like? How many people died?”

New normal indeed.


Gender ambivalent storytelling?

I am hoping it is a gender-ambivalent story and that Stevie and Nic could both be male or female or neither. The story is not about gender but about people making the best of a tough situation. It was a new experience for me to deliberately use nongendered pronouns to replace he/she and him/her.  Some of that difficulty arises from it not being my usual form of speaking or writing and also because they/them frequently refer to a plural form.

I am not sure if I succeeded and this story was penned in the final few hours of the Furious Fiction’s competition window after I had tried to force Frankie onto a ship, then developed 3 other stories lines before hitting on the Stevie and Nic story. It’s not my best story, but I got it done!

497 words submitted at 20:15 on Sunday night.

 

Furious Fiction 14 – August 2020

Another month, another attempt at the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Furious Fiction Competition. 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

This month the criteria were

  • Your story must contain HUMOUR/COMEDY (which is defined).
  • Your story must include the following five words: DIZZY, EXOTIC, LUMPY, TINY, TWISTED.
  • Your story must include a sandwich.

 

If you have been following my stories over the last few months, you’ll know I have centred them around Frankie the Flamboyant Dresser.  Last month, I couldn’t progress the story because there was no wedding or funeral needed in Frankie’s world.

This month’s criteria fell into Frankie’s lap! I was looking for a way to create a bridge between him meeting his kindred spirit, George in the Gibson Desert, to his arrest and entrapment in the park. This story gets me part of the way there. Next month, with suitable criteria I can make to next leap.

On the other hand, I am also looking for a route to the finale where Judge O’Mallory, Andrea and Frankie join forces. But that’s beginning to give too much away!


Fried up Kombi

Teetering on the window sill of the 18-wheeler rig, George was making exploratory darts left and right, up and down with his boot searching for any foothold to stop him from dropping to the ground or falling into the cab completely.

Attempting to charm the driver, a lumpy-arsed blue-singleted specimen, he agreed that yes it was a long way, but it really wasn’t that far out of his way to take them to Perth.  Or…  no… no worries, if that didn’t work for him, Adelaide would be fine too. Just anywhere other than here next to the fried-up Kombi.

Frankie, George’s companion, couldn’t resist the obvious next line, “Just smile and give him a Vegemite sandwich George! That’ll convince him!”

George twisted his neck out of the window at such an angle, that Frankie thought his head would snap right off and onto the road.

“Shut up Frankie!” George hissed “He’s agreed to take us to Adelaide. Stop acting like a dick!”

Frankie held his finger to his mouth in an exaggerated shush, “Yes Boss!”

Seconds later, Frankie was twerking down the road like an exotic dancer, singing to himself. He stopped abruptly and spun around  “Hey, where exactly is Brussels, anyway?”

Shrivelling away from George’s withering glance, Frankie spun back around and continued his dancing only to stop even more abruptly before exclaiming “Shit, I’m dizzy!” and spewing all over the road.

That ended George’s discourse with the lumpy-arsed, blue-singleted driver who unceremoniously pushed George out the window, as he put his truck into gear and sped off. Well, as fast as a fully laden 18-wheeler can speed off from a dead stop.

“Bloody wankers!” the driver yelled out the window as he rumbled away in a cloud of bulldust.

Photo 27-04-13 8 51 02

“Nice one, Frankie! Nice one! Now we’re stuck here until the next truckie comes along, and who knows when that’ll be!”

“Sorry, I  got a teeeeeensy bit too excited!” Frankie slurred, trying to defuse George’s anger with a cute voice and a gesture with his fingers showing exactly how tiny his excitement was.

“You’re pissed” George sighed.

“YES, I AM!!” said Frankie “And dehydrated and hungry! And smelly!”

It had been a long night since George’s Kombi had literally fried, leaving him stranded six hundred kilometres east of Broome with a lost soul he had only just met.

A long two-bottles-of-bourbon night, where Frankie and George had talked and talked about ALL the things, cementing their new friendship with secrets and dreams.

All the bourbon was in Frankie’s belly now, so it could only get better. They’d just have to sit and hope the next driver would take them to Perth or Adelaide or anywhere! Anywhere, before THEY fried.

“Hey George, do you reckon he says chunder or plunder?”

With that, George stood up with a menacing smile and rolled Frankie into the ditch whispering, “You better run, you better take cover!”

And then he whistled like a flute…Do-diddle-do-Do-da-di-da-di-do-da!

(You’re singing it, aren’t you!)

Desert Pano3


In case the cultural references are too parochially Australian, they refer to a Men at Work song  From the Land Down Under, a big hit in the 1980s.

Furious Fiction 13 – July 2020

Another month, another attempt at the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Furious Fiction Competition. 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

This month the criteria were

  • Your story must take place at either WEDDING or a FUNERAL.
  • Your story must include something being cut.
  • Your story must include the words “UNDER”, “OVER” and “BETWEEN”.

If you have been following my stories over the last few months, you’ll know I have centred them around Frankie the Flamboyant Dresser.  Frankie’s story was not suited to a wedding or a funeral, so I have branched out this month with a completely different story line.

I have Frankie’s next moves planned, so I will wait till next month’s Furious Fiction competition to see if I can make that happen.


Rebecca’s Wedding

Somewhere between the speeches and the cake being cut, he told her it was over.

The blood drained from her face.  Her rouged cheeks and overly red lips making her look like a zombie bride. Her thoughts whirred through her brain but they were trapped under a blanket of ugly rage.

“The drinks package hasn’t even expired and you’re telling me it’s all over?”

She glared, he slumped.

“Why didn’t you tell me yesterday? Why didn’t you tell me last week? Was it all for nothing?”

“I didn’t know!” he spluttered, “I’m sorry! It’s not really my fault, Rebecca.”

She smiled ferociously like a lion might smile at a gazelle.  He turned away, wiping a tear from his eye realising too late it definitely was a case of like mother, like daughter.

The echoing, too loud voice of the DJ pierced their private angry moment,  “And NOW let’s welcome the happy couple to the dance floor for their first dance as Mr and Mrs McGRATH!”

Rebecca hitched up her skirts and grabbed his wrist, “Listen, pal, we’re going to put on such a show that no-one will suspect anything. You’ll say nothing until tomorrow, do you hear me? Nothing!  I am not going to have my mum in tears over this now! Not after all she’s been through! And if you thought I was planning on using your name, you’ve got another thing coming!”

The instant they were on the rickety parquetry squares the reception joint called a dance floor, she melted into his arms in such a deceptive display of loving-kindness, the whole room was fooled.

“Such a lovely couple!” they cooed.

Rebecca’s mum Evie, did cry. She cried tears of joy for her lovely daughter and new son-in-law as they swang so effortlessly in synchronised perfection. The best man and chief bridesmaid, the only ones to join them; sensed the tension.

It had been worth everything to see them here so happy!

The waiter chatted as he cleared the table. “You must be a bit annoyed Evie?”

“No, why? They look so happy.”

“I thought you’d be disappointed. You had such a lovely wedding planned”

“But it is lovely.”

“Yes, but didn’t you hear? It’s all over.”

“Over?” Evie stuttered, the bottom falling from her stomach like she’d been punched.

“Yes, they lifted the restrictions this morning. The Corona rules have changed again. As from today you could have had fifty people, not just five! Ahh well,” said the waiter whimsically “At least you’ve saved a truckload of money!”

Now the blood drained from Evie’s face. The battle over who was going to come to the wedding had been fierce. So fierce,  in fact, she had regrettably but quite literally, stabbed her ex-husband in the back. He was now cooling his heels in her freezer.

“Look on the bright side,” she thought “at least we can have one hundred people at his funeral!”

 

Furious Fiction 12 – June 2020

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

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.

You can read the previous chapter in Frankie’s story here.


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! 

Someone did. 

The UCP. 

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! 

Furious Fiction 10 – April 2020

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

Another First Friday rolls around and here is my entry for April’s Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly competition. This month I didn’t have to feel guilty about being at home in front of my computer on both Friday and Saturday nights. Australia and most of the world remain in some form of lock-down. Your location will add a different flavour to your circumstances, with some countries in complete lockdown and others having what can only be described as a half-hearted attempt.

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 April were:

  • Your story must begin on the side of a road.
  • Your story must include the words APRON, PIGMENT, RIBBON, ICON, LEMON (plurals are okay).
  • Your story must include a splash.

As I said back in March, I intended to  write the next chapter in my story about Frankie, the flamboyant dresser. I actually had a story mapped out and had even made a voice recording so I would not forget it.  It WAS going to be the next chapter, after Frankie’s arrest and prison processing. However, I could not get the prompts to fit that story so I have written Chapter 0, the start of Frankie’s journey. Perhaps next month I can get Frankie into court!

This month’s Furious Fiction entry was submitted at 8:20AM Sunday. 497 words.

a red dirt road stretching into the horizon

Frankie Starts His Journey.

Frankie stood up at the first sight of bulldust rising on the horizon. He got ready to wave down the approaching road train. His ticket to the big smoke. He’d had enough of living a lie out here in the back of beyond. It was time to cut those apron strings and leave the family home. He was never going to fit in out here. Never. He was a round peg in a very square hole.

The bulldust cloud was getting closer. The bright red pigment paint screaming out “Broome or Bust!” from his sign. He hoisted his backpack, so he’d be ready when the driver slowed down. Frankie was in no doubt the driver would slow down, it was outback lore. No one, no decent person, would leave a lone hitchhiker out here without asking if they were OK.

By the time Frankie’s imagined road train was a hundred metres away, it had morphed into a yellow Kombi. The front tyre was flat, and the VW icon dangled on a ribbon from the windshield wipers.

Frankie wasn’t sure he wanted a lift in this particular lemon. Would it even make it to the next town, let alone Broome? He couldn’t be choosy, it was the first vehicle to pass him in four hours, and it was getting dark. The Kombi did slow down. It clanged to a stop with a burst of black smoke exploding from the dragging exhaust.

“MAN!” the driver said, “AM I glad to see YOU! I’m lost, my Kombi’s stuffed and I JUST ran out of petrol!”

Frankie blinked. When he opened his eyes, the Kombi was still there, still smoking.

The driver jumped down and held out his hand. “Name’s George,” he said, pumping Frankie’s hand enthusiastically while raising his eyebrow quizzically.

“Errr…Frankie,” Frankie said after an awkward pause. He realised he had been staring. George sure must have had some balls to be out here, in this place, dressed like that! His outfit was a riot of colour and style. A glorious cascade of sequins on satin. Frankie’s own chambray and denim, a shameful deception hiding his real desires,

“Let’s get this piece of shit off the road!” George said as he put his shoulder against the dead van. The heaving ended abruptly when the Kombi rolled down the embankment, hit a rock and teetered over.

CRUNCH!

“SHIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT!” they said in unison, laughing. Unfazed, George scrambled down to retrieve some gear through the now smashed window. A huge suitcase, a pair of tall black boots, and a bottle of rum.

“Care for a splash of something smooth, Frankie? I think it’s gonna be a long night.”

They laughed again and sat down to wait for a real road train.

For the first time in his life, Frankie felt at ease with another human. He had found his tribe, here on the edge of the Gibson Desert. He’d found another round peg that wasn’t trying to squeeze into any square holes!

270413_3193

NOTE: some Aussie slang:

Lemon = a broken down car bought cheap and not likely to last long.

1 May 2020: EDITED TO ADD: I just realised my main character’s name changed.  In the first episode, his name was Charlie and the guard’s name was Frankie. Here I called our protagonist Frankie! Whoops! From now on he’ll be Frankie, the flamboyant dresser.

Furious Fiction – From the Archive

Furious Fiction – Australian Writers’ Centre.

Coronavirus “Iso” has given us the time to do things we would normally leave to  “when we got around to it”. What started as a valiant attempt to sort out my digital storage, descended into a trove of old stories found in my messy Google Drive.  Included in that hot mess were previous attempts at Furious Fiction competitions,  and fragments of stories I don’t remember starting let alone have an inkling of where I was going to go with the storyline. (I’ll publish them later and challenge you to finish them!)

Here is the entry I wrote for the September 2018 competition. The criteria that month were:

  • The entire story must take place in an airport.
  • The story must include the word SPRING somewhere. (Plural also okay.)
  • The story must include the phrase: IT WAS EMPTY.

This is the second of two found stories from my archive. I have also published other FF stories which you can find here.

Pam’s deception.

Always ready to spring into action, Krysia was scanning the crowd of bleary-eyed, unwashed, overfed and under-slept travellers who stood at the carousel waiting for their bags to be spewed out onto the belt. 

Like a tractor beam in an old sci-fi movie, her eyes locked onto the guy in the suit. Too tidy. Too neat. No doubt he flew first class. She directed her hidden camera on him. It scrolled through the biometrics, settling on an identity within seconds:  Clifford Saunders. Australian. DOB 25/09/78. No flags. No tags. No dossier. A clean skin. 

BINGO!

She turned to her boss. “Looks dodgy, Pam, I am going down on the floor.”

Pam nodded. “I’ll put the decoy in play.”

Decked out in civvies, Krysia sidled up to him and rubbed her eyes in a mock yawn. 

“I hate this part – just give me my bags already!” she said. “What flight were you on?”

Cliff ignored her. Not many refused her charm. Definitely dodgy!  

The decoy bag came in view. When it was right in front of him, she leapt forward. The accidental collision, a perfect distraction, as she triggered the micro-gas detector.

“Quick Pam, test that”  she whispered into her sleeve, as she wrestled the bag to the floor.

After thirty minutes of tense and awkward waiting,  there were only two bags left on the belt. The bag with the first-class tags was going past again. This time, Krysia stepped up to grab it, simultaneously flashing her ID and a smug smile. Cliff shifted on his feet, ready to run. She made the signal. A cloud of black-uniformed officers swarmed around him.

“It’s light – scan it” she barked. 

The X-ray showed it was empty.

After seven hours of intense interrogation, Krysia had to let him go. There was nothing. No residue of drugs, explosives or wildlife. 

She went upstairs to report to Pam. The walk of shame. She’d have to listen to the lecture about picking the wrong mark – again.  She’d been so sure this time! Apparently, there was nothing illegal about having an empty bag. There should be!

Pam’s office was empty. That’s odd?

Krysia filled out the forms and emailed them through. An out-of-office email pinged back within milliseconds. “That’s odd,” she thought “Pam didn’t say she was going on leave”

Odd indeed.  Krysia began to panic. She pulled up the CCTV footage.

There! Right there! Just when Krysia was causing a huge commotion with Clifford Saunders’ arrest, with every officer on shift in one place at one time, there, right there, was Pam picking up the second of the two remaining bags from the belt. There she was with a passport and a boarding pass like any other traveller. There was Pam walking through the arrivals hall and buying coffee. And there, seven hours later, was Pam, in the back of a limo, leaving the car park with Clifford. 

“I’ll put the decoy in play,” Pam Saunders had said.

BOOM! 

 

Furious Fiction – from the archives

Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition

I was trawling through my Google Drive trying to tidy it up a bit and came across this story I wrote back on the 3rd August 2018. Given that that was a “First Friday”, I can only presume I wrote it for an Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition.

My suspicions were confirmed after searching through their archives, where I discovered that the prompts for that month were:

each story had to include the following three sentences:

  • The door was locked.
  • She laughed.
  • It felt familiar.

I can see now that although I included the words, I did not include them as stand-alone sentences which means I did not fulfil the requirements. I guess that’s why I didn’t win! 🙂

The closest I’ve got to winning so far is this entry where I was longlisted.

The Erikson Case

As she fumbled in her bag for the keys, she came to grips with the fact that this time, he had, in fact, meant it. The door was locked, she was late, and her resentful husband was on the other side of that thick piece of wood and glass. She turned the key and pushed. Nothing. She pushed again this time with her shoulder.  She laughed! Oh, how she laughed. 

“Cunning bugger,” she thought “He’s gone and locked the deadbolt as well and I don’t have that key.” 

In the morning, when she was leaving for work, shuffling with the stilettos half on and the toast clasped between her teeth, he had asked her not to be late.  

“If you are late again. I’ll lock it! I mean it!” 

She grabbed the toast and pecked his cheek. 

“Yes, darling, of course you will.” 

“No, I mean it!  I really mean it! You said you’d be home by seven last night and you didn’t get home till 10:30. I cooked…”

She cut him off with another kiss, this time full and passionate. To distract him. To try and convince him that she was sorry. It had become their daily routine, and it felt familiar. Too darn familiar.

She pulled the door shut and wriggled her foot completely into the shoe.

“I mean it” she heard him yell through the door. 

She pulled a face “Yes dear!” she mouthed and started the car. It wasn’t as if she wanted to be late!  It came with the job. The long hours, the high stakes. 

“Are you having an affair?” he had asked on Tuesday. 

“No! Don’t be silly” she replied without thinking more of it. She wasn’t, and it didn’t occur to her that he needed more than a quick reassurance. 

Truth be known she was. Not with another man but with her work. It absorbed her. Took all her energy and gutted her soul. It drained her every day, and she felt like a battery with only 5% charge. A thin red line. 

“What is it exactly you’re working on this time?” he asked on Wednesday.

“The Erikson case.  Very tricky commercial law” she said, a little too quickly. They both knew she was lying. She changed the subject ineptly. That was something she needed to work on – lying. 

The locked door was no obstacle though. Not to her. She took the little tool case out of her handbag. The one with the tiny little lock picking tools. The lock clicked, she stepped inside. He was on the couch, the sound of the TV muffling his quiet snoring.  She kissed him gently and covered him with a blanket. The air smelt of pizza. 

One day, maybe one day, she’d be able to tell him, but right now she remained in her Majesty’s Service and her code name was classified.

She dragged her tired body up the stairs and winced at the bruises she gained in today’s “tricky Erikson case”. 


A post on a Wednesday? “That’s odd”, I hear you say. “Don’t you normally post on a Friday and Sunday?” Yes! I am experimenting with posting days to see if there is much difference in my “view” count.

Furious Fiction 9 – March 2020

Wentworth Street, Port Kembla

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

Gosh, the First Friday sure does come around quickly bringing another chance to enter Furious Fiction, the AWC’s monthly competition. As I’ve said before this 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 March were:

  • Your story must include a PERSON IN DISGUISE.
  • Your story must take place in a PARK.
  • Your story must include a MIRROR.

I made three starts to this story. The first attempt was about a private eye trying to catch a wandering spouse, then it morphed into an internet dating story before I finally decided to run with the same story arc as last month’s story. It had to stand alone and not rely on the previous episode to make sense. I have already hatched out the next episode and hope I can bend April’s criteria to suit.

Here is this month’s Furious Fiction entry, submitted at 9:55 PM Saturday night. 488 words.

Clark in the Dark

Miriam was swinging her legs under the park bench. 

“Stop fidgeting! You’ll blow our cover!”

She sighed deeply and went back to pulling at the fringing on her poncho. 

“How long do we have to sit here?”

Clark ignored her. 

Miriam shuffled along the bench, tapped her feet on the ground, stood up, sat down, adjusted her mohawk wig, looked at her watch and sighed again. 

“Gov, this is ridiculous. We’ve already hit our quota for the month. Anyway, don’t you think THIS is dangerously bordering on entrapment?”

Miriam waved her hands over the “this”. An orange and white crocheted poncho made from acrylic yarn, white lace-up boots and tight orange velour pants. 

“Miriam…” he said “It’s not about the quota. It’s about the law. We don’t just stop upholding the law because we hit our quota! We don’t just let the fifty-first murderer off the hook because we only needed fifty for the quota!”

Specks of white saliva were gathering in the creases of his lips.  

“No, Miriam, we seek out those poxy crims wherever they are! ”

When DCI Clark Weston was working up to a full spitty episode, DC Miriam Hensen knew it was time to take a backward step.

“We have a duty to society! We have to stop these scum corrupting our youth with their grooming. If you can’t stand the heat Miriam, get out of the sweatshop!”

“Gov, I joined the Unit so I could create change! I expected undercover work to be more than sitting in Hyde Park in a clumsy disguise trapping lost souls. I didn’t think I’d be using a bag full of second-hand clothes from Double Bay Vinnies to entrap the disadvantaged.”

“Don’t come the liberal social justice disadvantaged angle with me, Miriam! These people DO have choices! They can look in the mirror before they leave home you …”

He stopped mid-sentence, “Look!  There, case in point!”

There, coming towards them was a travesty of colour. A man in a blue shirt, green pants and no belt. 

“A Code 10! Bet you’ve never seen THAT before!“ Clark whispered excitedly “Blue and green with nothing in between!”

Miriam was shocked. The man’s eyes were bulging like a junkie craving a fix. Clark pushed her towards him.

“Remember, he has to agree to buy!”

She sashayed up to Mr Blue-Green, “Wanna look at my stash fella,” she cooed, swishing her fringing and holding the bag out provocatively.

“Yeah babe, if you’ve got any sequins, I’ll buy the lot!” 

And just then, just as he committed to the sale, DCI Weston of the Fashion Police, lept up and cuffed him. 

“You’re under arrest  for a Code 10 Violation – Catastrophic Colour Clash.” Clarke shouted, “You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be used as evidence.”

Clark looked across at Miriam with smug satisfaction. “Never forget our motto, Miriam. Dress Proud. THAT’S what you signed up for.”

 

 

Furious Fiction 8 – February 2020

Wentworth Emporium

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

I didn’t get a chance to submit an entry for the December and January editions of Furious Fiction but here is my effort for February 2020. Furious Fiction is a fun competition with a terrific prize and you can read about it on their website.

Basically it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

The criteria for February were:

  • One of the characters had to be a GUARD
  • It must include the words NARROW, GLOSSY, GOLDEN and LEATHERY
  • The first and last sentences can have only two words.

Let me know what you think!

Frankie’s Folly.

“Not AGAIN?”

The guard’s exasperated look said it all. This was the third time Charlie had tumbled through the narrow shute from the prison van into the processing room.

“Lord, it’s only two months since the last time you were here! Will you never learn?”

“‘Fraid not, Frankie,” Charlie said as he held out his leathery hand for a defiant high-five. “I will always express myself as the creative individual I am. They will never wear me down!”

When there was no return slap Charlie withdrew his raised hand, seamlessly morphing the gesture into a head scratch. Frankie wasn’t risking being seen on camera fraternising with the inmates. Secretly, he hoped that one day, Charlie might learn how to keep himself out of trouble. At the very least, learn to keep his felonies private and behind closed doors.

The first time they met, four years ago, Charlie was in for three months. He arrived in golden hot pants and silver knee-high boots.  A clear Code 7 Violation: Mixed Metallics.

The rigorous and brutal re-education sessions had had little impact because a year later, Charlie was back. This time in a glossy vinyl jumpsuit adorned with sequins AND fur. Code 8 slapped down right there! Texture Abuse.  The Judge was less inclined to be lenient for a second offence and Charlie was in for a full year.

And here he was a third time. Granted, Charlie was a little more subdued in a blue shirt and green trousers, but Frankie wouldn’t help him this time. There’d been a crackdown on contraband and it was too hazardous to smuggle the ‘Zines in. Last time, he had pushed pages torn from Vogue under Charlie’s cell door but despite the hints, he just didn’t get it! It was too much for Frankie, he had compassion fatigue.

Frankie read Charlie’s charge sheet and shook his head. The Judge had really thrown the book at him.

“Crikey Charlie?” He swore under his breath. “Everybody knows its law!” The mandatory five-year sentence was excessive but without a doubt, this was a serious offence. There it was in black and white:

“Blue and green should never be seen unless there’s something in between. Code 10 Violation: Catastrophic Colour Error. Maximum penalty!”

As the other guards dragged Charlie away,  Frankie felt for him, he was obviously trying. He had made a rookie error, he had forgotten the belt.

Frankie sighed, it was definitely time to forget this fella. He had done what he could.  Who knew what sort of family Charlie grew up in? No doubt his mum wore black bras under white t-shirts. His dad probably had a mullet. There was little hope of redemption.

Frankie squared his shoulders in a Scarlett O’Hara-esque way and strode down the hall to unload yet another van-load of sorry souls in their offensive glad rags.  The decal on the cop car outside at least reminding his jaded psyche of his raison d’être.

Federal Fashion Police. 

Dress Proud.

 

 

 

NEWS FLASH!!! I didn’t win but this story did get long-listed! woot woo!!!!

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