Furious Fiction 19 – January 2021

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This story was meant to wrap up in December 2020, but the trials of Frankie are far from over. Once again I have entered a chapter of my now serialised novel in the Australian Writers Centre’s Furious Fiction competition.

The Furious Fiction short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. The plot twist fairies and the prompts are not helping me get to the end. Once again it runs on directly from the last instalment so read that first.

The criteria for Furious Fiction this month were:

  • Your story must begin at sunrise.
  • You must use the following words somewhere in your story: SIGNATURE, PATIENT, BICYCLE.
  • Your story must include a character who has to make a CHOICE.

This month’s Furious Fiction stats:

This month I submitted the story at 10:15 AM on Sunday. I started thinking about the story soon after the prompts came out on Friday night but did not start writing until Saturday evening about 6 PM. Then lots of tweaking on Sunday morning. 499 words.

The Biker’s Alarm App.

These days EVERYONE used the *amazing* Biker’s Alarm app. It went off an hour before sunrise automatically factoring in the daily astronomical variation. It gave a weather forecast, a half-way warning based on time, AND you could choose your favourite bike-related song for the alarm! These wonders of technology disguised some of the less palatable aspects of the app. 

This morning, like every other morning, O’Mallory was jolted from his restless half-sleep by Queen’s “Bicycle Race”, and despite his oppressive fatigue, his feet slapped on the floor enthusiastically. There was no way on God’s Earth O’Mallory was ever going to miss a single legal opportunity to wear coloured clothing!  As he pulled on his purple leggings and gold jersey, the Judge sang his favourite line of the song;  

“You say black; I say white!” and chortled at his courageous rebellion.

The ruling Ultra Conservative Party, which prohibited the wearing of anything other than black, white or grey clothing, had paradoxically exempted cycling gear. Although touted as a health initiative, most people knew it was a paper-thin excuse manufactured by duplicitous Middle-Aged Male politicians who fancied themselves In Lycra!  

In the end, it didn’t matter why the UCP let you ride in coloured lycra, they did.  *Everyone* in the country now had a bicycle, and the nation had never been fitter! 

O’Mallory unlocked his Bluetooth bike lock by agreeing to the App’s T&Cs from his phone. 

  1. Colour permitted forty minutes either side of sunrise. 
  2. No dismount for any purpose except to repair a flat tyre. 
  3. Maximum of four riders in any group. 
  4. No motorised traffic other than bicycles allowed. (Essential services excepted) 

Non-compliance: $5000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment. 

With an 80-minute window, there was no stopping for a coffee or a chat like in the old days. McDonald’s, never missing an opportunity, modified their drive-through so you could pedal-through and refill your reusable McGoCup with their signature McSunride brew.  

Mobile coffee vans pivoted to become tyre repair stations with all the gear an *unlucky* rider might need to fix a puncture. You could *guarantee*  a flat tyre every time you rode over a *particular* nearby spot.

Riding quietly, O’Mallory thought about his next mutinous steps. Armed with evidence, thanks to Frankie; it was time to act!  He’d been patient long enough. 

So engrossed by thoughts of sedition, O’Mallory didn’t notice the whisper-quiet Tesla creeping up behind him until it was too late.  The tinted windows gave no clue to whom was inside, but a  non-essential vehicle on the road at this time of day only spelt trouble. 

He rose in the saddle to pedal faster and negotiate the last hill before home, but as he rattled down the other side at breakneck speed, the Tesla broadsided him. 

In that nanosecond,  O’Mallory had to choose between going over the bonnet or under the wheels; either way, it wouldn’t end well for him.  

As he soared over the bonnet, he looked back to see the door open and saw …

Furious Fiction 18 – December 2020

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Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction

December Furious Fiction? Already? Or from another point of view: “is it only December? When will this year be over? The year has simultaneously sped past and dragged on. Here is another installment in Frankie’s story.

I had a story arc roughed out but as I was writing this story my “pantser” mind took over and created a plot twist. Pantser being a term used by writers to describe those who write the story “by the seat of their pants” compared to plotters, who plot things out carefully.

I wanted to finish it this month so the end of Frankie’s journey coincided with the end of the year.

Sigh…

This Month’s Prompts

This month the prompts for Furious Fiction were.

  1. The first sentence could only be three words
  2. You need to include the words rose, palm and match (or variants of like matched)
  3. You need to include a gift of some kind.

The Furious Fiction short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. I’m getting closer to the end!

This story runs on directly from last month so you might want to read that first.

The Stats

This month I submitted the story at 9:00 PM on Sunday. I spent about an hour on Friday afternoon, then 2 hours on Saturday morning and a rough polish on Sunday before submitting as I was out all weekend. 491 words

Thomas Ball takes a leak

“Who are they?”

“Dorchester and Williams,” Frankie said casually as he put down his beer. 

O’Mallory nearly fell off his chair. “DORCHESTER and WILLIAMS? His voice rising in a whispering shout.

“Yes-sir-ree! Prime Minister Dorchester here in the rose lamé number and his Deputy Williams in the nice peacock blue chiffon,” Frankie said pointing to the photo.

“Shhh…!” O’Mallory looked around the bar while simultaneously trying to melt into the plastic palm tree propped against the wall.

“Classic ‘80s D&G. Really, it was a  bit over the top for the occasion! It took me a bloody long time source those outfits and they wasted them on some small-time Party Conference. Bloody poseurs those two! No fucking class! ” 

“Do you think they’ll still have them? Tucked away in their wardrobes?”

“Maybe, it’s a bit risky and there *was* the *Second Purge Amnesty*. It would have been safer to toss them then onto the big public fires and make a song and dance of their righteousness. It doesn’t matter, there are plenty more photos where that one came from. Either way, those bastards are gonna pay for those years I’ve lost, ” said Frankie stabbing the image with his finger, “Fucking hypocrites!”  

O’Mallory’s face contorted with guilt as his part in Frankie’s incarceration flickered through his mind. Frankie took another deep, calm sip to drain the glass and as if reading O’Mallory’s mind he said, 

“You were only doing your job, Guv’ner. But not these bastards! They came up with the whole crummy scheme!”

“That’s very gracious of you Frankie, I am sure not everyone I’ve sentenced would match your generosity. How much do we owe you for the evidence?” 

“Nada! Think of it as a gift. Just do what you need to do to get these pompous gits out of the House.”

O’Mallory looked at his watch and put the photo back in his pocket. “I have to go, I’m meeting with the others. Listen to Question Time tomorrow. It should get interesting. 

The men shook hands, “ Thanks Frankie, the Nation will thank you tomorrow.” 

That whole exchange, the entire process of getting the evidence to topple a corrupt government had taken less than 10 minutes.  It was then that O’Mallory realised that Tom Ball the journalist, and Frankie’s minder, hadn’t come back from the toilet.  He’d been gone the whole transaction. Odd? 

As he stepped from the un-palatial Mumbai Sapphire to the grubby street, the bright white lights of a garden of video cameras dazzled O’Mallory’s eyes,

“Justice O’Mallory,” the reporter barked as he thrust the microphone forward, “is it true that startling new photos *supposedly* compromising the position of our National Leader are in fact, photoshopped deep fakes?” 

O’Mallory pushed through the pack of reporters. “No comment,” he shouted.  

O’Mallory’s mind whirled. How did they even know about the photos? Was Ball a leak rather than just taking a leak?  Had he played them for suckers?


Final episode next month! (maybe!)

Furious Fiction 17 – November 2020

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This month I found it really easy to use the prompts provided by the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Short Story Competition. The good luck fairies were standing on my side of the fence! I have been able to progress my Frankie story and have managed to get the Judge and Frankie in the same room. There may be a few continuity errors creeping in but heh…I’ll fix all that up when I combine all the chapters I have been putting together over this year.

This short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. I’m getting closer to the end!

November’s prompts

This month the prompts were as follows:

  1. LOCATION: Your story must take place at a HOTEL.
  2. OBJECT/PROP: Your story must include a PHOTOGRAPH.
  3. WORDS: Your story must include the following words: COLLAR, GLOOMY, POLICE, RHYTHM, SAPPHIRE.

In Australia, a hotel can mean a number of things. A pub or bar or a hotel where you can get accommodation. Theoretically all hotels have to offer accommodation.

This month I submitted the story at 6:30 PM on Saturday, although I had essentially finished it on Friday night. Exactly 500 words.


O’Mallory meet Frankie

It had been a long time since O’Mallory had been in a dive as gloomy as the Mumbai Sapphire.  Despite its name, there was nothing colourful or exotic about it. The air was fetid and the carpet sticky. He gingerly picked up his glass, and satisfied it was clean, he took a deep swig. He sighed and closed his eyes wallowing in the simple pleasure of an ice-cold beer.  

His eyes darted around the bar, looking for signs of recognition in the faces. Had any of these characters been in his courtroom?

As he sat waiting for the others he peeked at the photograph again, holding it under the table like a schoolboy with their phone. He snorted with glee! He couldn’t believe that the Honourable Karen Brooks, Minister for Social Inclusion, founding member of the Ultra Conservative Party and co-drafter of the Fashion Laws,  had been so indiscreet. So undeniably, comprehensively indiscreet! He snorted again! He wanted to drum his feet on the floor in a happy little rhythm. 

The longer he waited the less brave he felt. It was all very well to talk about sedition on a Friday night after a few whiskeys, but could he actually do it? He was tempted to leave the photo on the table and walk out. He was certain someone would report Brooks to the Fashion Police. The cops would collar her quicker than you could say Violation of the Federal Fashion Code. He’d read about it in tomorrow’s news from the safety of his own home, far away from any chance of being caught. 

He toyed with this safer but short-sighted option for a few moments.  The goal wasn’t to topple just one lousy Minister, however senior. He wanted to see every single duplicitous, shonky, hypocritical ratbag who made up the UCP scattered on the Parliamentary floor with no chance of political resurrection. 

To do that he needed more evidence. To get the evidence he needed Thomas Ball and the ex-con he was bringing, Frankie.  Frankly, he didn’t remember Frankie despite having sentenced him to five years.

Ball had heard about Frankie and his stash of incriminating photos when he was digging up dirt for his underground blog.  According to Ball, the stash was worth much more than a blog post.

The Judge looked up and there stood a man with a shock of Elvis-like hair, pasty skin and the eyes of a scared animal, dressed in the regulation grey outfit of the times.

“Guv’nor” the man said and then O’Mallory remembered Frankie, the serial offender. The one with the blue pants and green shirt. The one with the silver and gold sequins. 

The words fraternising with a known felon echoed in O’Mallory’s brain. 

“Right-o, Frankie, down to business,” O’Mallory said clumsily, “who are these men with their back to the camera?”

“Beer first, Guv’nor. Business second.” 

Frankie closed his eyes, and sipped his first beer in five years, he wallowed in the simple pleasure of the icy-cold liquid.


Are you a fan of short story competitions? Are there any others I could be entering? Add your ideas in the comments below.